Look at that cover.
Howard Chaykin, am I right? I loves me that cover.
I am a total sucker for those compendium encyclopedia thingies that DC and Marvel publish like The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and (to a lesser extent) Who's Who in the DC Universe, so when DC put out a guide to their Star Trek comics, I was on that shit like yellow on corn, baby.
Who's Who in Star Trek follows the same template laid down by DC's regular Who's Who books; it has biographical/historical info on noteworthy Trek characters and creatures paired with graphics of wildly varying quality. On one page you'd get a killer illustration of Khan or The Horta by John Byrne and on the next page you'd get an entry for James Kirk that looks like it was drawn by a fifth-grader with his left hand. A blind fifth grader. With a withered, deformed hand. Such was the nature of all DC's Who's Who books - it was just one big smorgasbord of crap and quality art all smooshed together between two covers.
This particular Who's Who includes both people and aliens from the original series and first couple movies as well as lame-ass Star Trek comic book characters like Konom the Klingon pacifist and Bearclaw, the pastry chef on the Enterprise. When I first flipped through this book it challenged my smug sense of Trekkieness - who were these people? My God, were there actually episodes of Star Trek that I hadn't seen? Then I realized that they were just non-canon comic book characters and totally didn't count and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Phew.
The laughs kept coming as I flipped through some of the entries, which were graced with crude, rushed-looking art. Here's the Chekov entry, take a look:
OK, anchoring the piece we have an unsteady, full-color Pavel Chekov who is looking dangerously thin and perhaps a little drunk. Not everybody can pull off those pirate pants, can they? The collage-thing illustrates Chekov during three formative periods in his life:
1) Finally mastering "Axel's Theme" from Beverly Hills Cop on his Casio,
2) Experiencing a crippling "charley horse", and
3) Getting rounded up by security after a drunken night out on the town.
John Byrne, get on the mike and show us how it's done. Here's Byrne's Khan:
That's how you do it. That's a guy who understands composition, design, and perhaps most importantly, the purpose behind the illustrations for these entries in the first place.
Don't get me wrong, I loves me the Who's Who for what it is - I just wish the art was consistent and halfway decent throughout the book. What's the point of getting John Byrne to do art if you've got Ted the Intern on the next page? At the bare minimum, recruit people who know how to put together an image - and that includes backgrounds. Some of the artists skimp a little on backgrounds (see Chekov, above) while others include background art that looks a lot like bathroom tiling or gingham.
Bonus points for Who's Who in Star Trek #1: they include an entry for Deltans, who sort of look like Cirque de Soleil performers with Alopecia. I just love the idea of Deltans and their Planet of Orgies. HOTTT.
Enough petty bitching, here's your Klingon Komedy for the day: