It was inevitable!
Somebody finally emerged with the will, interest, energy and considerable luck who would cut through years and reams of red tape and finagle the old 1980’s Star Trek newspaper strips into re-publication as a collectors’ book! Star Trek expert and aficionado Rich Handley pulled it off!
I’d presented Rich with a stack of Xeroxed copies of my Star Trek strips during a visit to NYC back in 2000, not recognizing the fire which had suddenly been fueled. For the next 12 years, Handley undertook what most folks long considered impossible: cutting through “rights,” locating original art from around the world and landing a publisher for this long-overlooked but very much official part of the Star Trek universe. (Rich gets things done. Anything you want to know about Planet of the Apes or Back to the Future, contact Rich Handley. He’s published a number of books on those subjects.
Having wrestled with how I would respond to publication of this “fascinating” book, my decision is to go minimal and let it speak for itself. Featuring the works of a number of artists (the strip became somewhat of a revolving door after artist Ron Harris left), my work filled out the Star Trek strip’s final five months.
There are bright spots in my efforts, and some forgettable images as well. My then self-taught “sight-drawing” techniques did not always hold up under that six-strip-per-week grind, peppered with a full time job as graphics manager for model kit manufacturer Testor Corporation. Adding to the mix, I was also serving my home town as a part-time Alderman, and newly-scheduled nightly committee meetings often punched gaping holes into my drawing board time. In one dire deadline-fueled instance, I had to draw six strips overnight!
Producing this series from an isolated, backwards (oops, I meant “backwoods”, hate when my phone does that) burg, Rockford, Illinois, presented another dilemma. There I would be denied that all-important audience reaction which served me extraordinarily well in my local political cartooning, public response worth living for! Here are some memorable, heartfelt examples:
- “Re: That cartoon you did showing the shadow of a hanging dog over a union picket sign…Yeah we hung it, so what…we are going to picket YOU!” (and they did!)
- “Your cartoon slamming our utility rate increases is uncalled for and misguided!”
- “We object to your strip showing us speeding to a donut shop. Resign!” — Local cops
- “A student who wore your anti-school supt. cartoon on his T-shirt just got suspended for a day.”
See? Everyone loved me and I missed my “fans”, since most performers live for their audience reaction. I would have relished hearing the words “your Spock sucks!” since that input keeps us on our toes. Instead, I worked in a vacuum, and we all know what nature abhors.
Despite all that, there are indeed some high points, and having seen the book, I can tell you, they show! When drawing Star Trek in “high gear”, hurdles were overcome, drawings drew themselves and I was not stoppable. Thirty years later, the artistically-enhanced “Captain Cartoon“, South Florida caricature artist, continues to carry on as my most successful artistic venture…by far.
Diehard Star Trek fans are already calling this book a “must-have”, and folks familiar with my work will want to include this in their library. You can get it here, and be sure to tell ’em Dick Kulpa sent you. If you are a “Bat Boy” fan, you’ll be doubly pleased. Those pointy ears didn’t just come from anywhere…he’s Mr. Spock’s son! Contact Rich Handley here.
Dick Kulpa Illustrates New Book and it’s On Sale Now!
While I’m at it, here’s a fun new book moms, grandmoms and little girls will truly appreciate! Guys too, actually!
Originally drawn as a custom baby-shower gift, “What A Babe” generated so much positive reaction it was decided to release this as a “real” book! A cute, colorful illustration fills each page of this soft, light-hearted pun-filled 28-page book written by Starlette Universe creator Kathy Johnson.
I’ve been helping Kathy develop the Starlette Universe for some time now, and a full 100-page book is also being readied for publication through a regular publisher. More on THAT later.
To be sure, the Starlette Universe, spotlighting the trials and tribulations of six stunningly-beautiful teen girls (and their little dog too) aims for a totally different crowd than the Star Trek books, but, what the hey, at least there are “stars” in it, right? Besides, those gals are prettier than any of Captain Kirk’s TV show conquests, since writer Kathy Johnson has worked in beauty pageants with her own daughter winning a major event.
Better yet, it’s cheap! You can get it for $5.70-something here!