Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Fun stuff

I was starting to think the Star Trek publishing world was becoming full of unnecessary and gimmicky things -- the latest quote book, the Klingon language picture book, the overpriced chunk of plastic with the Federation book, etc -- but a couple of recent books are great ideas, well executed.

Juan Ortiz's movie poster art has been all over the Internet for some time now. See the gallery at Space.com if you've managed to miss it so far. The new book Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz is a big and beautiful hardcover book printing his posters for each episode of the original series in full colour. Drawing on a variety of poster art influences, from Russian constrictivists to Saul Bass and beyond, the images provide a fresh new way of looking back at those old classics. This is one I'll be going back to.

Another fun new back is Paula Block and Terry Erdmann's tribute to the 1976 Topps trading cards. It's a smaller book, a nicely bound hardcover with a dustwrapper meant to remind the reader of the wrappers of those old bubblegum card packs. The book reproduces the back and fromt of each of the 88 trading cards and 22 stickers in full colour, adding comments for each card. As a special bonus, there are a few new trading cards in an envelope in the back of the book. As someone who became a fan in the 1970s, I get a kick out of revisiting old artefacts from the days when all we had were the reruns of the original and animated series. (You can see some of the cards and stickers on my Stardate 7600 minisite.)

One thing the book explains is that the Star Trek cards weren't as widely distributed as they could have been. They went on sale in 1976 but I never saw them anywhere in Edmonton. By 1977 I had Planet of the Apes, Space: 1999, and Star Wars cards, but I hit the jackpot that summer when we went back to Nova Scotia on vacation and my mother's cousin, who owned a convenience store, gave me an unopened box. 36 unopened packs of cards. I sorted out a full set for me, one for one of my cousins, and gave a bunch of extras to a friend who gave me his Star Trek Enterprise catalogue. Ah, memories.

Anyway, two good books for any fan of the original Star Trek and colourful art books.


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