Comic Book Legends Revealed #317
Welcome to the three hundredth and seventeenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, Comic Book Legends Revealed goes where no Comic Book Legends Revealed has gone before…an all Star Trek edition!!! Learn the bizarre story of black Sulu and white Uhura! Marvel at the reason why there never was a Superman/Star Trek crossover! And discover the truth behind the Dreadstar/Star Trek crossover that never was!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixteen.
COMIC LEGEND: In a number of 1970s Star Trek tie-in comics, Sulu was black and Uhura was white!
Between 1975 and 1979, Peter Pan Records put out a number of audio stories featuring the characters from Star Trek. The first few of these were released as “Power Records” while the rest were released as Peter Pan Records. They were re-released in different formats (vinyl, cassettes, etc.).
Alan Dean Foster, who had done a number of novelizations of Star Trek stories, wrote a bunch of these audio stories.
Some of the audio stories came with a comic book story to read along with your audio story. Amusingly enough, for some strange reason, in the comic book stories, Lieutenant Sulu, who normally looks like this…
and Lieutenant Uhura, who normally looks like this…
were depicted like this in the comics (here is the art from the first story, “Passage to Moauv” – the later stories were the same, so I’m just showing you this one)….
Amazingly enough, even Lieutenant M’ress, from the animated series, was drawn differently! In the cartoon show, she looked like this…
in the comic, she looked like this…
There are various theories over WHY this happened. One of the more popular ones is an issue over likenesses, that they didn’t get George Takei and Nichelle Nichols’ permission to use their likenesses. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, though, as they tended to play a bit fast and loose with likeness rights back then (which is why Leonard Nimoy sued Paramount in 1977 over the use of his likeness).
I think the other most popular theory, that it was just a mistake by the art team, is the most likely scenario.
But I honestly cannot say for sure. Any other theories out there?
Either way, it makes for a bizarrely interesting comic book read!!
The great Star Trek site, Memory Alpha, has a lot more information on the Peter Pan Records here.
Check out the latest TV Legends Revealed to see TWO legends about R-Rated goings-on on children’s television shows, specifically was there a special R-Rated Dextor’s Laboratory and did a stripper appear on Soupy Sales’ show? Also, did a producer of Buck Rogers, angry that the show was canceled, let an intern direct the finale, leading to that intern having a long career directing TV shows?