Turning popular products into manga versions is a common thing to do and the “Star Trek” franchise was not spared. “Star Trek: The Manga” was a Tokyopop venture from 2006-2008. This manga featured the original ’60s-era cast in a three-volume series, according to Memory Alpha. One of those volumes was a version based on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The volume consists of four stories, including ones by writers who had contributed to the “Star Trek” series itself with art by a different artist for each one.
Written by David Gerrold
“Changeling” features everyone’s favorite twerp, Wesley Crusher, as he is taught a valuable lesson about respect for his peers by becoming each of them. E.J. Stu’s art appropriately portrays both the silly events going on and the Star Trek universe in manga form. Though the art also makes Wesley look like a slightly grown Shinji Ikari. “Get in the turbolift WESLEY!” The story is ridiculous and slightly weird in how it approaches the lesson being taught. But, it also features Klingon Wesley so … yeah. The other forms he takes will not be spoiled here.
Written by Diane Duane
“Sensation” gives Counselor Troi a spotlight as the crew is afflicted with a disease only she can cure. This is a much heavier story and Chrissy Delk’s art handles the terror and pain involved well. It’s good that Troi got a spotlight and wasn’t involved in a dream episode or appearing to not know what a containment breach is.
“The Picardian Knot”
Written by Christine Boylan
“The Picardian Knot” has Picard unable to feel, and the crew tries to teach him how to. It’s not certain if this is meant to be serious or silly, but it ends up being silly. Don Hudson’s art is good, but doesn’t seem to have any traces of manga elements. This story’s result is wacky and features awkward moments like the one featured above.
Written by F. J. DeSanto
“Loyalty” is an utterly fascinating story. The other three stories could fit into the story line of the show or not, but this one absolutely does. Trek fans will remember Picard’s recover from being Locutus, and this story is a powerful tie-in to that adventure, featuring Riker. Bettina Kurkoski’s art, which is generally excellent, did have its weirder moments. Riker looks either creepy or like he’s Orson Welles in “The Critic” with his leafy green peas. With the series discontinued and of course Tokyopop’s bankruptcy, the volume is now a relic, though easy to find on Amazon, but worth getting if for no other reason than the pure silliness. Though “Loyalty” is especially worth it if one can look past how Riker looks ridiculous in nearly every panel.
An open question is ‘what counts as manga?’ Some argue it has to originate in Japan, but others argue that is not a requirement. If you want more on that subject, Casey Brienza delves extensively into it. Tokyopop was known for their various local projects like the “Rising Stars of Manga,” and arguably most of the artists did connect with what one would expect from a “manga” title. Certainly the danger with licensed properties like “Star Trek” is that the creative team won’t be true to the series. “Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Manga” does not have this problem. The writers knew what they were doing and the artists drew every character accurately, albeit with the varying styles noted.
Are you a Trekkie? Have you read the out of this world “Star Trek” manga? Let us know in the comments!