The Nineteen Coolest Illustrations from Star Trek Fanzines
Sci-fi fans are not a passive lot, by and large. When they like something, they want to write about it, they want more of it, and they want to see it their way – hence, the multitude of Star Trek fanzines in the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s enjoy some of the best art from ’em!
Nobody knows just how ‘zines were made, or how many still exist, but the Fanlore wiki is the best resource out there. This list is in rough chronological order, and I’m going to focus on ‘zines produced while the original series was on the air, because they’re the oldest and I like old things. I’m also going to stick to what’s called “gen” material, non-sexual in nature. Slash is a whole ‘nother article.
1. The Fandom Gets Started.
Vulcanalia #1, January 1967
No actual art involved, of course, but this is an imporant historical document, considered to be the very first Star Trek fanzine. Look at the date: January 1967. The show debuted in September 1966. Damn! The fans (women, by and large) acted fast in those days. Also, by this point the term “Vulcanian” was still being used on the show, before the producers realized it sounded clunky.
2. Spock and Emma.
Plak-Tow #6, April 1968
Much to William Shatner’s chagrin, Spock was Star Trek‘s sex symbol, so it’s not surprising that the fans paired him up with one of the other big sex symbols of the time: Diana Rigg, as Emma Peel from (Not-Marvel’s) The Avengers. For you youngsters, Rigg is currently playing Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones, and she’s just as awesome as she ever was.
3 – 4. Spock and Barnabas.
Plak-Tow #9, August 1968
Artist: Kathy Bushman (most likely)
Vampires were already gettin’ sexy back then, hence Barnabas Collins from the original Dark Shadows stopping by. And on the back cover, he annoys Spock by turning in to a bat.
5. Spock and Emma, Again.
En Garde unknown issue, 1968-ish
Artist: Kathy Bushman (f’reals)
En Garde was primarily an Avengers fanzine, with the occasional Trek crossover. The final issue was devoted to The Prisoner, and if there was any Trek content in that one – Patrick McGoohan’s Number Six in the captain’s chair would just be the best – I hope it surfaces eventually.
6. Early ASCII Art!
The Monthly Trek #1, January 1968
Artist: Craig Highberger
The Monthly Trek appears to have only existed for a single month (irony in spaaaaaace!), but it was long enough for Craig Highberger to make this piece on his typewriter. Oh yeah, his freakin’ typewriter. Think about that. I’ll bet it wasn’t even a fancy-pants IBM Selectric, either.
7. Oh, Harlan.
ST-Phile #1, January 1968
Artist: Bjo Trimble
Illustration from an article entitled “What We Did on Our Visit To Desilu,” by the legendary Bjo Trimble. She was a bigger fan of Star Trek from the beginning than you’ll ever be of anything, and the entire article is available in PDF form from Laura J. Sweeney’s website, as are other neato tidbits from ST-Phile and Spockanalia. And if you don’t know who Harlan Ellison is, go watch Dreams with Sharp Teeth. His book about the writing of “The City on the Edge of Forever” is also one of the most brutally honest takedowns of Trek worship (and especially Roddenberry worship) you’ll ever read.
8. Oh, Chekov.
Stardate #1, June 1968
Artist: Jane A. Bowers
I’m not at all certain what’s going on here, but whatever it is, I approve. Also, note the tribble cameo.
9. Yep, This Oughta Save it.
Antimatter #2, December 1968
Star Trek was never not on the verge of cancellation, and a lot of the fan mobilization was done via ‘zines. Also, I just really like the graphic design of this cover. Which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate messy covers…
10. A Little Bit of Everything.
Captain’s Log #1-ish, December 1968 / January 1969
Artist: Scott Sabath
No, really, it was called Captain’s Log, never mind the lack of those words on the title. And, again, not a big boost to Shatner’s ego, what with Nimoy right there in the middle. The reason it looks like it was drawn by a 12 year-old is ‘cuz it was in fact drawn by a 12 year-old. Pretty good for a 12 year-old, all things considered. And, another tribble cameo.
11 – 12. Again with the Ears!
The Voyages 1, 1971
If I were to try to quantify how much joy this picture brings me, I would fail in the attempt. So, I won’t. Suffice it to say, lots and lots and lots of joy.
This is not the only Spock-in-a-bunny-costume to appear in a fanzine; another one appeared on the cover of Engage! #13, April 1992. The artist was Zaquia Tarhuntassa.
While it’s far a more technically accomplished picture, it doesn’t quite have the same charm. All the same, at least two Spock-in-a-bunny-costume pictures appeared in ‘zines, and for my money, that makes the world a better place.
13. A Brave Little ‘Zine Whom We All Admire.
Bags End Gazette, Summer 1972.
“The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” in 1968 was not the end of the Spock and Tolkien connection; around that same time, the first issue of Bags End Gazette was published by There and Back Again, “a fan club for Leonard Nimoy run completely by Hobbits,” an offshoot of the Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans. It was still going strong in 1972, though the fridge-magnet illustration indicates that they were running out of cover ideas.
14. Before There Was Obama As Spock…
Beta Lyrae, 1974.
Artist: Karen Flanery
15 – 19. The Ship’s Doctor.
Enterprise #1, April 1984
Artist: Tom Holtkamp
When a colleague of mine discovered the IDW comic series Assimilation2, he tweeted something to the effect of “A Doctor Who / Star Trek crossover?!?!? KILL ME NOW.” It seemed a rather extreme reaction to me, both because I don’t really do the “pop culture outrage” thing, and because a Who crossover had already been done 30 years ago. (But that’s, like, history and stuff!) “The Doctor and the Enterprise” wasn’t officially licensed like the IDW series, of course. Originally published in 1981, the story was reprinted a couple times before it appeared in Enterprise, and Enterprise itself was far more professional and less DIY than most of the other ‘zines in this list. In fact, it almost doesn’t qualify, being more on the Starlog end of the scale, but what the heck. Holtkamp’s illustrations are worth it.
Here, he perfectly nails the style of Mad‘s great Mort Drucker.
This final illustration has nothing to do with Doctor Who, and I’m not sure who the artist is, but it tells you everything you need to know about how popular Garfield was in the mid-1980s. (I may or may not have had a Garfield poster on my bedroom wall around that time.) And the Stooges will never die.
Curiously, I didn’t come across any Star Wars crossover art. Maybe next time, when I look at Star Wars ‘zines.
Previously by Sherilyn Connelly:
The 9 Coolest Sci-Fi Read-Along Records from the 70s and 80s
15 Awesomely Nerdy Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries You Can Watch for Free Right Now
The Eight Funniest Recurring Themes in the Original Star Wars Trading Cards
The Six Coolest Things In Starlog #001: The Voyage in Retro-Nerdery Begins