John Byrne is no stranger to breaking new ground and he is doing it again with the extra-length Star Trek Annual 2013, arriving this December from IDW, which will be in the format of the old photonovels.
Now I'm sure many of you are asking, 'What the hell's a photonovel?'
Well back in the mid-1970's and early 1980's Pocket Books put out a series of Star Trek paperbacks, called photonovels, that featured comic book like panels, complete with word balloons. But instead of using illustrated panels, they used photo stills from the TV series. The books were a way of putting existing episodes into book form. They even did photonovels of Star Trek The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan.
Now Byrne is reviving the photonovel concept with a new twist—for this annual, he has created a completely original Star Trek story that plays out like a “lost episode,” using a uniquely constructed photomontage to create an entirely new story. “Strange New Worlds” serves as a direct sequel to the fan-favorite episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which aired as the third episode of Star Trek’s first season in 1966.
"There was a visual richness to that second pilot that really drew me in," said writer/artist John Byrne, "and since I have long wanted to experiment with something like this project, that episode seemed the perfect choice for a sequel."
Years ago, James Kirk saved his ship, but the price was the life of his oldest friend in Starfleet—or was it? Fans will see Gary Mitchell’s story take a surprising turn in this story. But the uniqueness of this project does not end with the plotline; rather, it continues with the photomontage art form that Byrne has chosen to tell this original story. Unlike the old photonovels, Byrne didn’t just insert film stills, he created them. In order to tell a new Star Trek story in this “fumetti” style, he did much more than pluck existing images, instead compositing together multiple pieces of film stills and manipulating them to tell the exact story he wanted.
“This project started out as just a fun diversion for John in between other projects,” said Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall, “and as is wont to happen with JB, it continued to grow and become something much bigger than his original intent. It’s a blast to see an ‘all-new’ original series episode done this way. Byrne has produced over 500 pages of Star Trek comics for us already, but I can promise readers that they’ve never seen this kind of Star Trek comic from him before.”
Star Trek Annual 2013, a 48-page issue, is under license by CBS Consumer Products and will be in stores third week of December.