Star Trek Comics Checklist

Star Trek: The Case of the Missing Sunday Panels

During the four year run of the Star Trek newspaper strip, only 152 color Sunday strips were published, 12/2/1979 thru 10/24/1982. The complete Sunday strip was designed to fill a "half" page, but was frequently reformatted and published in "full tab", "third", and "quarter" page formats. To reformat a half of the Star Trek Sunday strip into full tab, a single panel on the upper right of the half is dropped and the remaining panels are arranged in four rows. To reformat a half into a third, the entire top row of the half, including the title panel, is dropped. To reformat a half into a quarter, the panels are rearranged in two rows, dropping the upper right panel.

For example, here is the complete Sunday half strip for April 27, 1980.

#22 April 27, 1980

Compare that to the Sunday full tab strip for April 27, 1980 (with upper right panel dropped).

#22 April 27, 1980

The Sunday third strip for April 27, 1980 (with top row dropped).

#22 April 27, 1980

The Sunday quarter strip for April 27, 1980 (with upper right panel dropped).

#22 April 27, 1980

Unfortunately, newspaper publishers were free to format the Star Trek strip however they desired, in order to make room for advertisements and other local content. Consequently, only a few newspapers published the complete comic strip.

Beginning on May 10, 1981, the layout of the Star Trek Sunday strip changed. Some of the panels were resized so that the strip could be displayed as a half, full tab, or quarter without dropping a panel.

The new complete Sunday half strip layout original art for June 21, 1981.

#82 June 21, 1981

The Sunday full tab strip for June 21, 1981 (with nothing dropped).

#82 June 21, 1981

What does all this fractional esoterica mean? Well, it means that most readers of the Star Trek strip have never seen the complete Sunday strips. To simplify reading the Sunday and daily strips together in Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, Volume 1, graphic designers at the Library of American Comics used full tab page format for the Sunday strips, dropping a single panel from some of the complete half page strips and arranging the remaining panels like four daily strips. I believe there are 75 panels originally in the Sunday strips dated 12/2/1979 thru 5/3/1981 which were omitted from the collection.

Just to be clear, the omission of these panels doesn't affect the story at all. They were designed to be dropped by mean-spirited newspaper publishers determined to squeeze more advertising space onto rolls of newsprint, thereby facilitating the removal of more money from the pockets of forlorn Trekkies looking for the continuing adventures of the original crew. Little did these greedy, grasping newspaper publishers know that Star Trek, and the comics inspired by the television show and films might outlive printed newspapers, thanks to IDW Publishing and the Library of American Comics.

But obsessive-compulsive Trekkies (we know who we are) must see them all.

For your enjoyment, the missing panels. OK, not all the missing panels, but as many of them as I've been able to find so far. Can you help find the others? You'll need to look for the Sunday strips in half page format. The Baltimore Sun was one of the newspapers that published the half. I've seen a few others, but don't know which newspapers published them. If you can provide scans or snapshots of the upper right panel, please send them to stcomix at mac dot com. Better copies of any of the panels would also be appreciated. If possible, please include the date of the strip and the name of the newspaper. Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for missing panels, better versions of panels, and verifying that the panels I think are missing are really and truly missing. Thanks and keep on trekkin'.

#1 December 2, 1979
#2 December 9, 1979
#3 December 16, 1979
#4 December 23, 1979
#5 December 30, 1979
#6 January 6, 1980
#7 January 13, 1980
#8 January 20, 1980
#9 January 27, 1980
#10 February 3, 1980
#11 February 10, 1980
#12 February 17, 1980
#13 February 24, 1980
#14 March 2, 1980
#15 March 9, 1980
#16 March 16, 1980
#17 March 23, 1980
#18 March 30, 1980
#19 April 6, 1980
#20 April 13, 1980
#21 April 20, 1980
#22 April 27, 1980
#23 May 4, 1980
#24 May 11, 1980
#25 May 18, 1980
#26 May 25, 1980
#27 June 1, 1980
#28 June 8, 1980
#29 June 15, 1980
#30 June 22, 1980
#31 June 29, 1980
#32 July 6, 1980
#33 July 13, 1980
#34 July 20, 1980
#35 July 27, 1980
#36 August 3, 1980
#37 August 10, 1980
#38 August 17, 1980
#39 August 24, 1980
#40 August 31, 1980
#41 September 7, 1980
#42 September 14, 1980
#43 September 21, 1980
#44 September 28, 1980
#45 October 5, 1980
#46 October 12, 1980
#47 October 19, 1980
#48 October 26, 1980
#49 November 2, 1980
#50 November 9, 1980
#51 November 16, 1980
#52 November 23, 1980
#53 November 30, 1980
#54 December 7, 1980
#55 December 14, 1980
#56 December 21, 1980
#57 December 28, 1980
#58 January 4, 1981
#59 January 11, 1981
#60 January 18, 1981
#61 January 25, 1981
#62 February 1, 1981
#63 February 8, 1981
#64 February 15, 1981
#65 February 22, 1981
#66 March 1, 1981
#67 March 8, 1981
#68 March 15, 1981
#69 March 22, 1981
#70 March 29, 1981
#71 April 5, 1981
#72 April 12, 1981
#73 April 19, 1981
#74 April 26, 1981
#75 May 3, 1981

Most of these panels came from scans Rich Handley made a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Oops. Wrong franchise. Anyway, a tip of the hat to Rich for making the Star Trek newspaper strips one of his obsessions. I scanned a few panels from my collection. Constantine Hannaher has provided a new batch of missing panels and better copies of panels in hand. If a panel looks like the Star Trek newspaper strip logo, well, that's a missing missing panel.