Free Comic Book Day is always the first Saturday in May. To highlight this important day for new and seasoned readers and collectors. I decided to feature award-wining author and producer Vivek Tiwary and chat with him about his first of, I hope, many licensed property stories in comic publisher IDW Star Trek WAYPOINT anthology series entitled: “The Fragile Beauty of Loyalty.”
It’s the only ENTERPRISE story in the comic medium, written by Vivek Tiwary and Artist TK. Anchoring issue # 4 of what wil be a six-part Bi-Monthly Anthology Series “Waypoint” To celebrate 50 years of STAR TREK, IDW Publishing, under license by CBS Consumer Products, boldly launched the series in September which honors the legacy of the various Starfleet crews which have inhabited the Star Trek universe over the past five decades.
AY: Vivek, in your totally unexpected tale, Captain Archer’s pet beagle Porthos takes center stage in a Temporal Cold War! Why did you write this particular story and how did you get involved with the Waypoint Anthology series?
VT: As you know I’m a huge sci-fI Geek, since I was a little kid. A big Star Trek fan, I’m 43, so my parents were truly of TOS generation, I remember watching re-runs of the original series with my folks. I grew up in NYC so I had the good fortune to grow up in a town that had regular Star Trek Conventions. They’d bring out the actors and other creatives involved. I grew up going to these events and I waited on line to see these folks, so I can claim to be a bonifided Trekkie.
AY: Same here! We may have bumped into each other!
VT: I wouldn’t doubt it! They were much smaller affairs back then.
AY: They were! I remember little hotel lobbies!
VT: Totally! Ahh, those were good days. You know I have to say I obviously go to all the Cons. There are a number of really good ones, but they’ve gotten so large and unwieldy I feel that they are missing a little of the “homeyness” of the ones that you and I grew up with.
AY: I totally agree! I must thank you as a fellow long time Trekkie for making me appreciate Captain Archer! ENTERPRISE wasn’t my favorite Trek series, but your story is so compelling with young Archer and Porthos, I feel inspired to give the series another shot.
VT: Thank you! It’s unusual but I’m a HUGE fan of ENTERPRISE. It is quite possibly my favorite series after TOS. Which I know places me in the minority. But I guess I’ve always been fascinated by the stories when Man first reaches the stars. First Contact with Alien species!
AY: Yeah! FIRST CONTACT is one of my favorite of the Star Trek Films. All the Zephram Cochrine stuff!
VT: Yes! I’m inspired by SETI the non-profit organization who’s mission is the search for extra terrestrial intelligence. So as a fan of those kinds of narratives so that’s why Star Trek ENTERPRISE really appealed to me because it showed mankind stumbling into space and getting into all the things that might go along with that. Defining the Prime Directive as opposed to trying to follow it. In ENTERPRISE they’re tying their best to understand it.
AY: They are sort of taking the “baby steps.”
VT: Precisely! So I can appreciate the show does have a different feel because of that. It contained a lot of elements that made it different from a typical STAR TREK show. And maybe that’s why I appreciated it so much. That was why I wanted to write an ENTERPRISE story. I enjoyed the series so much and though it ran several seasons I felt it didn’t get the respect it deserved or that other Treks got, so my story let me shine a little light on it.
In the last five to six months I decided do want to work on licensed projects as long as they can be limited. So I called my editor friends and told them I was looking for short term projects. They all had approached me are you interested in writing for this or that title? And I thanked them but refused because I’m working on my own things. So I wanted everyone to know I had a change of heart concerning licensed properties with short-term commitments. One of the first punishers I got an offer from was from Sarah Gados from IDW who does the STAR TREK books. She said she had an anthology book WAYPOINT every issue has two stories taken from anywhere in the STAR TREK Universe so I had my pick of what I’d like and I asked about ENTERPRISE it turned out an ENTERPRISE story had never made it into comics so that fueled my interest further!
AY: So what made you shift from developing your own work to writing for existing properties?
VT: Well we’ve talked about and I’m incredibly proud of The Fifth Beatle. And I’m currently working on the follow-up to the Fifth Beatle from a Graphic Novel perspective that book will be called “A Mess of Blues Col. Parker & The Unmaking of Elvis Presley”. It’s a proposed book about Elvis’ Manager. Total baby steps; haven’t written the script yet I’m currently finishing the research. I haven’t picked an artist so I’ve still got a lot of work to do on this project.
In the wake of the Fifth Beatle, I’ve gotten to meet some of the best artists in the business and some have expressed interest in working with me. These folks are very busy and take their time on projects. Graphic Novels take several years and I don’t want to make my fans wait several years for new writing from me. So with this new outlook as a comic book writer I though what I need to be doing is more one-offs, more short stories, maybe two to three issue arcs? I need to be doing that stuff partially because it’s super fun! Partially because it will keep up my writing chops. Writing is a craft and like any craft, you need to practice it. Stretch your muscles and this would keep me writing. And my fans would have stuff to read and not have to wait three years so my name can stay out there. It’s been a shift for me as much as I’ve been a fan boy I wasn’t into working on someone else’s projects licensed properties to use a more technical term. So I wanted everyone to know I had a change of heart concerning licensed properties with short-term commitments.
AY: I was researching for this piece and I couldn’t find another ENTERPRISE Comic Book story so you are a pioneer much like Capt.Archer!
VT: Yes! I was very excited about that also! I always loved Porthos! I’m a dog lover myself my dedication is Mika the Soviet space dog. the second is Suki sue, she’s my dog, my fearless four-pound Papillon! Which is another thing I found different and cool about ENTERPRISE was the fact that Archer’s dog Porthos was such a major character! If you think about man reaching out to the stars it makes perfect sense that the Captain of a Starship the first time out would bring his dog. We’re just heading into space know one knows how humans will adjust to long missions. Pets are both a stress relief and a comfort for a Captain to have her or his dog with them. Makes perfect psychological sense. Given my love of dogs and my love of Porthos who was a fan favorite! There’s tribute to Porthos in the JJ Abrams Stark Trek Film Chris Pines Kirk meets Simon Peggs Montgomery Scott Scotty talks about working on the transporters “Everything was going great until I tested it on Admiral Archer’s pet beagle.” A little blink and you’d miss it Easter egg for Porthos fans! I thought, “wouldn’t it be fun to tell a Porthos story?”
AY: It seemed so canonical! Had you written STAR TREK fan fiction before?
VT: No. That’s kind of you to say that. I’m just a Geek! (laughs) I’m a Star Trek Geek and I’m a fanboy and I’m a fan of ENTERPRISE in particular so I thought if I’m going to work on an ENTERPRISE story I want it to fit. Archer grew up in upstate New York and moved to San Fransisco, he was very close to his mother who ended up passing away and super close with his dad who designed Starships. I wanted to make sure I captured all of the details correctly. Archers father appears briefly in the ENTERPRISE Pilot and I sent the artist photos of the actor for authenticity. I really wanted to get it right so it felt like it fit within the filmed universe.
AY: I’ve got to ask will there be a “Mirror Universe” evil Porthos?
VT: (laughs) There was a mirror ENTERPRISE Porthos was a Rot wilder. So we’ll see maybe I’ll get to tell that story next! –
I’ll have more of this in depth interview with Vivek Tiwary in an upcoming All Things Geek.
Get IDW STAR TREK WAYPOINT #4 (If you can get one cover misprints collectors have been snapping up!) While you’re shopping Vivek’s first Graphic Novel The Fifth Beatle is every music aficionado, Beatle fan and bibliophile’s graphic novel dream come true!
Remember to support your local comic book shops this Saturday May 6th! Here is a full list of comics announced! I’ll be stoping by my favorite shop East Side Mags in Montclair, New Jersey! Find your local comic shop here!