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TrekWeb Interviews 'New Frontier' Comics Artist

Posted: 15:02:25 on September 06
By: Anonymous Coward
Dept: TrekWeb Features

TrekWeb.COM brings you this exclusive interview with Mike Collins, artist for Wildstorm's upcoming 'Star Trek New Frontier : Double Time' comic one-shot, written by New Frontier creator and comics legend Peter David.

Q: Mike, how was working on the first 'Star Trek New Frontier' comic adaptation ?

"It was an interesting challenge : Though it takes place whitin the recognized TNG/DS9 universe, (visually) the characters were mostly new, I didn't have actors to refer to. Partcularly in the case of Kebron. I had to define them to the satisfaction of Peter [David], John Ordover, Wildstorm and Paramount. Acting as a 'casting agency' I suppose.

"Having the 44 pages helped too : It gave Peter the chance to develop the story, using visual themes that work well in comics, rather than books. That sense of scale [would] cost a fortune to put up on the screen.

"There['re] some great scenes in this book : action, humor, pathos - and Peter was able to link back to areas in the main characters lives that've only been hinted at in the novels. It was exciting for me as a fan of the books to have the chance to see this stuff realized."

Q : Did your experiences drawing the 'Babylon 5' comics help you with this project ?

"I've done many comics strip versions of TV shows, but Babylon 5 probably came closest to this in approach. Working with Peter again was a pleasure.

"I hope that the big step forward here will be in the coloring - Babylon 5 was my first experience of total computer coloring. I didn't get to speak to the colorists on Babylon 5 and aspects of the book suffered for that - here, I've provided detailed notes for Dan Brown and Wildstorm FX and I have faith they're going to dazzle."

Q : Some of your early sketches for Si Cwan were deemed "too villainous" by some New Frontier fans. Did you or David check out some of the fans' comments?

"I was kept apprised (thanks Gustavo !) but Peter has always had his own ideas on how the characters should look, and approved these designs. One of the problems with rendering solo images is that they capture a single moment : I was expressing the haughty, 'keep back' nature of Si Cwan (clear from the start in the books, the guy's an aristocrat!). He was never meant to come across as villainous."

Q : Do you have the rights to make some of the characters look like the actors? For example, Shelby (Elisabeth Dennely) and Leftler (Ashley Judd) ?

"I think the actors have to sign off on likenesses - some retain vetoes (I think Patrick Stewart and William Shatner particularly). It's different for different series - I did a TOS story set between Trek's III and IV that featured T'Pring where Paramount ordered the art changed because they DIDN'T hold the right to her likeness (first time I got vetoed for being TOO MUCH like the original actor)."

Q : How was working on the U.S.S. Excalibur exteriors and interiors ? The only time we've seen an Ambassador-Class bridge was in 'Yesterday's Enterprise'.

"And that was an Ambassador-Class bridge from twenty years earlier. I took designs of that bridge and upgraded them to the TNG era. They've established in the shows that bridges 'drop in' to the saucer sections, so I extrapolated from what we see (bashed and battered) in 'Yesterday's Enterprise', and took notes of details from the New Frontier books (Peter estabilishes that they have a ramp like the Enterprise-D, and two command chairs as in Voyager). This is a Starfleet vessel and so looking at designs and styles from when the ship would have been fitted, I designed a new bridge schematic that then got sent to Paramount for approval. [Editor] Jeff Marriotte may be running the technical drawings in the back of the comic, along with my character designs.

"On the outside : Well, Gustavo, you sent me links to sites where folks had done these marvellous 3-D renderings of Ambassador-Class ships -- but, unfortunately I cound't get the darn things to work on my machine (oh, I love technology)... I ended up buying and buiding the ship kit and having my brother-in-law stand in the yard while I snapped shots from a variety of angles (it amused and alarmed the neighbors : 'Ok, now TILT, no, no - FURTHER...!)."

Q : How about the Redeemers ?

"The Redeemers' ship is based on Peter's descriptions in the books - a mean, terryfying, pyramidic structure. I gave it hard, uncompromising angles to contrast with the smooth curves of the Excalibur. Lots of heavy shadows, hints of half hidden weaponry. Not friendly."

Q : Overall, the fan anticipation to 'New Frontier Double Time' has been very positive. Have you and Peter David discussed any future Trek projects together ?

"We have : When anything's concrete, TrekWeb will be the first to know."

Q : What's next for Mike Collins ?

"I've drawn the bulk of the Nightwing 80 Page giant, due out next month, and I've been working on part of a special Batman project due out later in the year.

"There's other things bubbling under - anyone interested, can always go check out my site : where I'll be putting up teasers for the inked art this week.

"In the future I also hope to be developing web-only work, so keep checking back!"

Thank you very much for taking your time to give TrekWeb.COM this exclusive interview, Mike.

"The pleasure's mine - I'm really happy how this book has come out, and am looking forward to people's reactions to it!"


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