Before Star Trek came to the BBC in 1969, British sci-fi fans were introduced to the crew of the Starship Enterprise in a series of weird and wonderful comic strips in the pages of TV21—a series of adventures rarely printed since, and never available to American audiences. That is, until now.

For the first time, IDW will print the first year of Star Trek comics from TV21 in an anthology series, collecting dozens of stories told in a serialized format in the pages of the weekly kids’ comics. Not only are the comics exceedingly rare, especially outside of the UK, but they also paint a slightly bizarre picture of Star Trek because the artists and writers had never actually seen the series. (This is quite similar to how TV21’s infamous Doctor Who comics often skewed their portrayal of the Time Lord a bit differently to how he appeared on TV.)

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The BBC had planned to bring Star Trek to the UK in 1968, but its plans were delayed, leaving TV21 without much reference material beyond publicity shots from the U.S.

That delay made the Star Trek comics a bit strange to read from the perspective of a fan: Spock could be strangely bloodthirsty and relentless; the Enterprise would often inexplicably venture into the wild reaches of space beyond our galaxy; and in general, there was much more of an emphasis on action and violence compared the more diplomatic approach of characters on the show.

Oh, and at one point, they fought Satan. Because of course they did! In all, over 5 years, 37 Star Trek stories were told in the pages of TV21, released in serialized 3-page blips. After decades out of print, it’ll be amazing to see this lost pocket of Star Trek history once again—especially since Rich Handley, who edited this new IDW collection, has campaigned to get the strips released in the U.S. since the company released anthologies of the L.A. Times Star Trek strips a few years ago (the first time those comics had been available in nearly 30 years).

Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics’s first volume, covering 1969-1970, will be available in March of next year. Oh goody.

[Via Comic Book Resources]

Header Image Credit: TV21 #29 cover, 1970, via Hasslein Books

Secondary Image credit: Frank Bellamy’s Star Trek comic strip illustration for Radio Times, 1970. Via DowntheTubes.net