- New Star Trek artist Marcus To is reuniting with past ‘Joy Ride’ collaborators Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly.
- Together, the creative team’s upcoming Star Trek comics will finally bring the mysterious Tzenkethi to life.
- Dinosaur-like and highly dangerous, To teases the “challenging” process, and the story coming soon to Trek fans.
Warning: contains spoilers for IDW’s ongoing Star Trek seriesA new chapter has begun for the world of Star Trek, finally bringing an aien threat to life that fans have been waiting for years to see. But according to the storytellers, the long-awaited debut of the mysterious Tzenkethi will offer more than the heroes bargained for.
Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, who helped mastermind this year’s Day of Blood crossover with Christopher Cantwell, will be returning for the book’s second year. Joining Lanzing and Kelly for the book’s new arc, titled “Glass and Bone,” is superstar artist Marcus To. To was gracious enough to sit down with ScreenRant and talk about his beginnings with the franchise, as well as what fans can expect from the book’s new storyline.
Screen Rant: Everyone has a story about how they became a Star Trek fan. What is yours? Were there any episodes/shows/movies/characters that really influenced your love of Trek?
Marcus To: I honestly got into Trek mostly on my own. I came to it from mostly watching Voyager when it was on TV. I loved the style at the time and wanted more. But when it was released for streaming was really when I got into it full steam. There were so many episodes that got me, such as The Next Generation – “The Drumhead”, Deep Space Nine – “Trials and Tribble-ations” and Voyager – “Lineage.” I mean I can go on and on.
What I loved about Star Trek was the message that we can accomplish anything with morality, science and compassion (Kirk-Spock-Bones)
SR: How did you come to work on Star Trek with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly?
MT: We can all thank Heather Antos for putting us together again. Heather and I have been talking about working together for so long and this was the perfect situation.
SR: This isn’t your first time working with Lanzing and Kelly either, having collaborated on Joy Ride. What was it like working with them again?
MT: I love Jackson and Collin, we’ve stayed in contact for years–they came to my wedding in Canada. They are my favorite collaborators, and I am so happy to be a part of the team again.
SR: Joy Ride was a creator-owned title, with all the freedom that comes with that. What was it like to switch gears and work on a licensed property like Star Trek?
MT: Joy Ride was our love letter to the Star Trek style, episodic sci-fi which was a dream to collaborate with Jackson and Collin on. Being on the actual property is a different experience but also a very rewarding one. To have even a small place in the history of making Trek is something that I am very blessed to be involved in.
SR: On that note, Lanzing and Kelly have said Star Trek was an influence on Joy Ride. How did that book prepare you for drawing Star Trek?
MT: I think, art wise, they have very different mindsets. With Joy Ride it was like sitting around with your friends making up an entire world of possibilities. When you work on a licensed property you have to work within the parameters of the world which has a rich history already. Both are very fun exercises. With Trek, since I have watched and read so many past stories, I felt at home with how I felt like the characters would move, emote and act. I believe I was prepared for this project for years.
SR: What kinds of research did you have to do before working on Star Trek?
MT: I watched and rewatched every episode of Trek and read many of the books, so you can say I have been researching for the last decade or so.
But in all seriousness, drawing likenesses has always been a struggle for me, so pouring through images of the actors such as Avery Brooks and Gates McFadden was something I have been doing for every issue. It’s been a great learning experience drawing from real life photos and screenshots and how to draw different people.
The Tzenkethi Are Finally Taking Shape in Star Trek Canon
SR: This arc involves the Tzenkethi, an oft-mentioned but never seen race in the Star Trek universe. Furthermore, almost all that exists about them is in fan lore and media tie-ins. This makes them kind of a blank slate–did you have any say in designing this unique race?
MT: The crew and I had long talks over what we wanted to do with them. Heather, Jackson, and Collin had a base idea of what they wanted the feel of the Tzenkethi to be and what their world would look like, and we had a bunch of back and forth discussions while I was sketching them initially. I hope the fans can enjoy the work we put into them to make them feel like a part of the world of Trek.
SR: The descriptions of the Tzenkethi ships are wild. Will we get to see these up close?
MT: The ships have been quite challenging to draw, they will be a key point in the story.
The never-seen Tzenkethi were first mentioned in the Deep Space Nine episode “The Adversary.”
SR: IDW’s Star Trek comics are taking characters from all incarnations of the franchise and bringing them together. You’re drawing a bunch of them in this arc, but are there any characters that you would like to work on, but didn’t get a chance to here?
MT: The Ferengi. I have been a huge Ferengi fan since Deep Space Nine. I have yet to draw them, but I hope to one day. Second is the Cardassians.
SR: What’s next for Marcus To? Any cool projects you’d like to talk about? Anything else Trek-related on the horizon?
MT: At the moment, I am still finishing off this arc on Star Trek, which I am relishing every moment with this creative team. I do have another book coming out in the spring with IDW called Kingdom Riders that I co-created with Shannon Eric Denton, that is a graphic novel about a rally-type race involving fantasy riders upon mythical beasts. I am also working on more creator-owned stuff with my cohorts at the RAID studios. The creative train never stops.
Star Trek #14 is on sale November 22, 2023 from IDW Publishing.