Hasslein Blog: January 2017


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Nostalgia

By Matthew Stephen Sunrich

I was in ninth grade, in 1989, when I experienced nostalgia for the first time.
I had recently begun collecting comics, and while flipping through an issue of The Incredible Hulk from early in the decade, which I had gotten from a friend along with a stack of others, I ran across an advertisement for a book of puzzles and games featuring characters from classic video games (Pac-Man, Q*Bert, et al). You might recall how they merchandized the crap out of these characters during the so-called Golden Age of Arcade Games. I remember stuffed animals, PVC figurines, t-shirts, candy, and jewelry, amongst tons of other junk.

I had, of course, been a video-game enthusiast since 1980, when I played Pac-Man in the local Kroger for the first time (I had no idea what I was doing, but I was hooked). I spent a lot of time in arcades, which in those days were everywhere. I grew up in a pretty small town, and we had at least five or six of them. I didn't get an Atari 2600 until the price went down to twenty-five bucks (despite numerous attempts, I could never get my dad to shell out the bread for one before this development, even though he bought a Commodore Vic-20, which I really only used as a video-game console), but my cousin had one, and we spent an insane amount of time playing it. My uncle even subscribed to some sort of "cartridge of the month" club that mailed new games to you every few weeks. We were, perhaps not surprisingly, completely oblivious to the fact that the market crashed in 1983; all we knew was that you could suddenly get Atari games for pennies on the dollar.

Since then, I had graduated to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which I still consider the greatest console ever made. Even though it had only been seven or eight years since the Atari heyday, video games, both home and arcade versions, had changed immensely in that time. Even though we played a lot of Atari, we often complained about the poor quality of the graphics and gameplay. The home ports didn't come anywhere close to stacking up to their arcade counterparts (the worst example of this was, of course, the Atari port of Pac-Man, which was infamously thrown together quickly so it could reach stores by the Christmas season and was a major contributor to the aforementioned crash). We always hoped for something better. When the NES hit, it felt like we had entered a completely different world.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Eaglemoss Boldly Unveils Star Trek: The Graphic Novel Collection

By Rich Handley

Star Trek fans are pretty damn lucky when it comes to comic books. Although the various TV series and films frequently go on hiatus for years at a time with no new episodes, the comics have remained in near-constant production for the past fifty years from numerous publishers, including Gold Key/Western, City Magazines/IPC, Power Records, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Malibu Publishing, Paramount Comics, WildStorm Comics, TokyoPop, and IDW Publishing (the current publisher).

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

There have been a few gaps here and there throughout the years, but other than in 1999 and again from 2002 to 2005, new Star Trek comic books and/or strips have been published every single year since 1967. With more than 1,100 issues to date, attempting to find them all can be a pretty daunting task, unless one is willing to forego the physical issues and read them digitally. For many fans, half the fun is being able to look at one's collection on a shelf or in boxes.

Thankfully, a British publisher called Eaglemoss has made this easier, by launching a new series of hardcover graphic novels that will eventually collect every Trek comic to date, and look damn cool on shelves, to boot. Star Trek: The Graphic Novel Collection, debuting today in the United Kingdom and sometime next month in the United States, is not merely an archival reprinting—it's a thing of beauty (check out this video). A painting of the various spaceships of Star Trek adorns each volume's spine, forming a single image that grows as a collector acquires new volumes. It's a gorgeous presentation, and it would look fantastic sitting on any fan's shelves.

Once again, click to view a larger version.

As the company explains at its website: "For the first time ever, a new hardback book collection celebrating the 50 years of Star Trek in a single series. This extraordinary new collection spans decades and contains all the key moments of Star Trek comic history; everything is here, from Gold Key’s first Star Trek comic published in 1967 to the latest adventures. Beautifully presented in brand new hardback editions with brand new introductions, this series is a must for any fan. With this collection, you can revisit all the classic characters and incredible art from the Star Trek comic archives. Every edition has a specially commissioned introduction to provide context to the story. Every book contains a number of collected comics and a bonus reprint of one of the comic archive’s classic stories."

Full disclosure: I wrote one of those introductions and hope to contribute more. But I'd be discussing this series even if that weren't the case, because Star Trek comic books are a passion for me (otherwise, why the heck would I maintain this?), and this series is a passionate fan's dream.

And again, click to enlarge.

The books are available from Eaglemoss on a subscription basis, and those who sign up will receive a number of cool bonuses: a specially commissioned metal lapel pin featuring the iconic Starfleet symbol, an original set of high-quality movie posters from the Star Trek films that can be stored in a unique collector's tin, two embossed tin signs that reproduce classic covers from the comic archives, and a pair of steel bookends featuring Klingon and Starfleet symbols.


How cool is that? Answer: very.

Those who go in for a premium membership will also receive a set of hardback photonovels reprinting John Byrne's wonderful comics from IDW, inspired by the Bantam Fotonovels published in the 1970s. For my money, Byrne has written some of the best Star Trek comics ever produced, so even if you don't end up buying The Graphic Novel Collection, I highly recommend tracking them down in some other format.

You get how this works by now, right? Click.

For more information about Star Trek: The Graphic Novel Collection, check out The Trek Collective's write-up. And here's a solid piece looking back at the history of Star Trek comic books, courtesy of The Comics Alliance.

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