Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comparing IDW and WP "Star Trek" comics!

A few months ago, it was announced that an Australian publisher, Wilkinson Publishing, had won a bid for the reprint and distribution rights to the current IDW "Star Trek" comics and trade paperbacks - and yesterday I actually spotted a batch: issue #2 of the US TOS mini-series, "Burden of Knowledge", in a local Sydney newsagent.

I guess the deal commenced with issue #1 last month. There were eight copies of #2 on the shelf, along with a few copies of "James Patterson's Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland", another IDW title.

The "Star Trek" deal, IIRC, is the first time "Star Trek" comics have been printed locally since the DC Comics' "Star Trek III" movie adaptation by Federal Comics (Aust.) in the 80s.

Curiously, there are a few differences:

Comparing IDW and WP "Star Trek" comics

Above: The IDW logo has been replaced on the front cover by a WP logo. Issue/price details are different, lowering the creators' credits. The "R" registered trademark symbol after the title is smaller. The barcode is gone, along with Joe Corroney's cover art credit. Ah! An Australian barcode appears on the back cover.

Comparing IDW and WP "Star Trek" inside covers

Above: No comparison art, featuring the US alternate chase cover, is presented. Some of the type is shifted around to fit in extra details and the comic is noted as "Printed in Korea".

Inside back cover

Above: Some advertising pages are also different: The US back cover promotes "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #156. The Australian back cover promotes "Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland". Instead of a promotional page for "Archie as Pureheart the Powerful", the Australian issue #2 carries a creator page (which had appeared in issue #1 of the US edition).

While I don't perceive a difference in internal paper or printing quality, both issue #2s have much thinner covers than the US #1. It will be interesting to see how sales go and whether WP gets the trade paperback omnibuses into general bookshops.

Captain's Log: Supplemental.
I found some WP copies of "Burden of Knowledge" issue #1! IDW's US edition had a choice of three covers, but Australia only gets Cover A, by Frederica Manfredi and the inside cover's text has been redesigned to eliminate the small insets of the three selections. The cover is printed on the same heavier stock used for the US edition of this issue. Again, the Australian barcode appears on the back cover, which has an advertisement for "Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland" instead of "Ghostbusters Con-volution!" Manfredi's cover credit does not appear on the front cover, as it did on the US version of Cover A.


Therin of Andor said...

The reason for a local printing is price. I can (and did) buy issue #3 of IDW's "Burden of Knowledge" in a specialist comic store, but certainly not on newsstands or "paper shops" (ie. equivalent of US drug stores, without the drugs, but with the daily newspapers - we've never had the newspaper vending machines on street corners), the traditional place where the general population are used to seeing comic books.

Whenever a publisher takes on a US title for a local printing, it's so the comic can be offered at a better price, or the distributor has to sea freight the issues and they end up being about four months old. The Australian cover price of "Burden of Knowledge" #2 is $4.95 (I can imagine a lot of parents baulking at $5 for "a comic!" anyway), but the $US 3.99 price of the air-freighted US issue works out to be $AU 7.50, running one issue behind.

mmtz said...

So there are at least a dozen Gold Key reprints from Rosnock and DC ST III from Federal. Any other Star Trek comics published in Australia? I just bought a copy of The Sev Trek Collective from John Cook's website. He signed it with an amusing drawing of Captain Pickhard.

mmtz said...

I added a page with Australian reprints of Star Trek comics to the Star Trek Comics Checklist. It's probably incomplete, but it's a start. Since Wilkinson published IDW's ST:TNG Ghosts in hardcover, I had to order a copy. I googled the ISBN and picked out an online bookstore named the Computer Outpost somewhere in Blacktown BC NSW. They specialize in automotive books but apparently have the good sense to stock Star Trek comics too.