It was near the end of August when Roddenberry.com (a merchandise and publicity outlet run by Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek’s creator) announced a contest. Readers were encouraged to take a given sample of one of the site’s two comic strips and provide pithy, fan-relevant dialog for its blanked-out speech balloons.
I figured I’d give it a try, having dabbled in comics for a year or two in college while working on the student newspaper. The modern-day strip in question is one of several amusing means by which the Roddenberry organization attempts to maintain fan interest in a franchise whose copyright holder appears to have lost almost all interest in promoting, J.J. Abrams’ movie notwithstanding.
I wouldn’t have bothered except for the flimsy connection I maintain with the organization by two frayed threads. My first exposure to Roddenberry.com was through its earlier incarnation, Lincoln Enterprises, a means by which the Roddenberry family could market Trek and related sf television memorabilia. Through most of the 1970s, I was the avid fanboy who perused their catalogs, wishing I had the disposable income to indulge myself with something more than the handful of scripts, storyboards, and film clips I still possess.
The second connection is more tenuous, but it’s my source material for the contest entry. A few years ago, Rod participated in and gave further support to a fairly successful fan effort which attempts to continue the original Star Trek storyline from its NBC cancellation in 1969. My discovery of this operation led me, by various means, to volunteer for two of their episode shoots in upstate New York. The experience, as with every other volunteer group I’ve ever been involved with, yielded both joy and frustration. It is the latter which I attempted to express with my contest entry.
For context, the cartoonist’s original (which relates the fictive adventures of a young Gene Roddenberry):
The original blank:
Yeah, I talk a lot.
I was informed on 11 September that I’d won the grand prize. My prize arrived shortly afterwards.
How odd. I’d figured my sarcasm was just an indulgence on my part and of limited appeal to anyone else. I’m glad to be proven wrong in this case.