‘Star Trek’ when Sulu was black and Uhura was white

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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15 Responses

  1. Jay Willson says:

    Continuity Associates had the contract to produce all of those POWER Records comics, so you are correct in saying that Neal Adams probably did some inking on those pages. You can see that frequent Continuity artist Russ Heath pencilled part of the story, as did Neal, Dick Giordano, Joe Brozowski, and others. Neal would also go out and get some others in the industry to produce those jobs, which is why Buscema was used.

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      Having seen the entire thing, the first story is definitely Neal's layouts, although I can't peg the inker (or as the case probably is, inkers).I will note the irony of a company called Continuity Associates making this kind of a continuity flub, though.

  2. Tony Isabella says:

    What strikes me as nothing short of incredible is that, with all the young artists who worked at Continuity or rented space there, no one pointed out the errors to Neal.

  3. steevo says:

    I'm curious as to if the character changes were a flub or because of some licensing issue. Maybe they didn't have the rights to all characters likenesses, only their names. For any casual fan of the series this mistake is glaring and one would think someone would have fixed it before publishing. For this reason I'm assuming it was intentional. Any thoughts?

  4. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    I think the real question, Glenn, is why you were digging out your STAR TREK Peter Pan comic book and record. How does it sound after all these years? But I too would vote for a licensing issue at work here.

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      It was, ah, research. Something I came across while looking for something else.Listen to it? Are you mad? I read the story, and that was painful enough.And as I look at it, I just noticed the heavy usage of ellipses to try and simulate Kirk's speech patterns…

  5. Jay Willson says:

    I think the issue was licensing, as the variations in characters changed from the television show, but were consistent in the stories (i.e. Sulu was black in both of them). I think Neal and Continuity just drew the work, as the stories in all of those records were rather wacky, almost as if they existed in some sort of Power Records universe and didn't relate to the DC, Paramount, etc. universes that were so familiar to us at the time. Actually, I haven't listened to it in years, but I'll bet that the voices of the Star Trek characters only match Shatner and Nimoy, with the rest being done by voice actors that didn't require separate licensing deals. I think that the characters were redesigned to deal with the fact that George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, etc. weren't a part of the voice cast. I don't think that Neal drew much of the Star Trek record, but just inked them in his heavy-handed inking style.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I recall, as a little teeny tiny Star Trek fan (okay, so I was about 16, maybe not all THAT teeny), owning some of these (I don't have them anymore.. I swear it… I know it sounds insane but you MUST believe me…) and I also recall meeting Nichelle Nichols and her manager (whose name now escapes me) at a Star Trek convention back in 19-coughty-cough. At the time, I mentioned this rather… um, interesting… continuity gaffe to the manager; neither he nor Ms. Nichols had known anything about it and were slightly perturbed.So it does seem likely that Uhura's and Sulu's little makeovers were a question of licensing issues; Paramount probably never bothered to contact Nichols or Takei to ask permission, and simply instructed Continuity to draw them as unlike the actors as possible.

  7. Keith R.A. DeCandido says:

    The Power Records comic books only featured Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, and Uhura. Scotty and Chekov were nowhere to be found and, as explained, the characters were not recognizable. My guess? Power only had the likeness rights for The Big Three. (Also "The Crier in Emptiness" was obviously written to have Lieutenant Arex from the animated series, but was hastily redrawn and rewritten for a human navigator — I suspect they didn't have the rights to that character, either….)

  8. Jonathan Miller says:

    Reading this article gave me a surprising sense of deja vu. :-) I guess "great minds think alike" applies here? (Assuming you consider yourself and Bully to be great minds, of course…)

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      Now that's funny. I had mine in earlier in the week, but we held it for the weekend because we figured– what are the odds? Oh well. A tip of the hat to the horned one.

  9. Evan says:

    Top o' the mornin' to ye, Lieutenant O'Hura! Warp factor three, Mr. Zulu!

  10. Bob A says:

    A few years ago we did a parody of TREK IV ( The Voyage the Hell Home)… since we didn't have an actress of af/am decent, we used my red-headed wife…. Scarlet O'Hoohrah!"What's the matter, Jimmy boy? Doncha LIKE girls?"

  11. Anonymous says:

    The ellipses aren't there to simulate Shatnerian speech patterns. Sadly, I remember this story (I'm just a freak that way), and the reason those ellipses are there is to indicate that time is running at the wrong speed and the characters' speech is being slowed down. That's why Sulu has them in his speech, as well.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Johnathan Miller's link is correct, the artist's model for Uhuru is blonde Lieutenant Palmer.The model for Sulu looks an awful lot like Lieutenant Boma from Galileo 7, also.http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Boma