Myriad Universes: Doug Drexler’s comic work

This post exists mostly to introduce someone who will go on to play an important role in the future of Star Trek. Doug Drexler is a versatile visual artist and passionate Trekker who has been, at multiple points in his career, a makeup artist, a set designer, an illustrator, a graphic designer, a dedicated archivist for Star Trek’s production history and, briefly in 1977, a comic book creator.

A first generation fan, Drexler briefly ran a Star Trek boutique in New York City in the mid-70s before authoring and editing some early magazines and technical reference works and, after sneaking onto the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, made a promise to himself that he would be involved in the franchise professionally some day. It took Drexler awhile to fulfill his dream, though: He spent the early 1980s doing makeup work for movies like Amityville 3-D and C.H.U.D. and while he struck up a correspondence and friendship with Michael Westmore during the pre-production of Star Trek: The Next Generation, he was unable to secure a job on staff.

Drexler eventually won an Academy Award for his work on Dick Tracy in 1990, after which he stunned Westmore by going back to the TNG office and asking for a position, as Oscar winners don’t typically go out of their way to take a dramatic pay cut jobbing for TV. Drexler worked in the Next Generation makeup department for the rest of its run, before seizing the opportunity to pursue his true calling, graphic design, by jumping into the art department for the newly announced Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When the time came, Drexler moved over to Star Trek Voyager, and finally Enterprise. After Star Trek wrapped for good, Drexler for many years maintained a blog called Drex Files, an invaluable source for behind-the-scenes anecdotes and information. He’s also known for his work on the yearly Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar.

It was during his time in New York that Drexler came in contact with the production team on Gold Key’s by this point staggeringly long-running Star Trek comic book. Drexler wasn’t terribly pleased with the quality of the book, and the exchange led him to supervise and consult on two issues of the series: The September and October 1977 issues, to be exact: “This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit” and “Sweet Smell of Evil”. Well, if nothing else we can say Drexler certainly has a firm grasp of what makes a good Star Trek title. Actually, we can say the same about the rest of these stories: As one might expect of a passionately dedicated fan with professional aspirations, Drexler’s stories are, by and large, solid executions of familiar, standard Original Series story structures.

“This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit” concerns the Enterprise stumbling upon a trio of giant capsules of pure energy in deep space that resemble seed pods. After whacking the ship with a pulse of energy the temporarily drains the power systems, the crew pursues the pods to Beta Niobe III, where they reveal themselves to be energy beings seemingly motivated by pure destruction.…

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