I’ve been covering the stupendously awesome Star Trek retro posters created by artist Juan Ortiz for over a year now, and I still look forward to each new batch with giddy glee. But this month Christmas has come early, because we’ve been given an exclusive look at two of the four new posters for November! Above we’ve got the poster for “I, Mudd” and below you can see the one for “By Any Other Name.”
For those not in the know, here’s the skinny: artist Juan Ortiz, a dude whose creativity is only exceeded by his work ethic, set out many months back with a mission to create an original, retro-style poster for every single of of Star Trek: The Original Series’ 80 episodes. His approach varies each time, with the posters done in the style of pulp book covers, traditional movie posters, and numerous other concepts. It’s all about finding that visual element that succinctly suggests the story or theme of the episode, even if that image isn’t something lifted directly from the episode in question. For instance, when it comes to notorious interstellar conman Harcourt Fenton Mudd, it’s all about that mustache.
Mudd first appeared in the first season episode “Mudd’s Women,” where flim-flam man Mudd was trying to sell three women as wives to a group of lithium miners. The women were all going along with it willingly, but it was still pretty shady, especially given that they were also using the illegal “Venus drug” to appear more physically beautiful than they really were. In the second season episode “I, Mudd,” Kirk and company crossed paths with Mudd again, and this time he was the self-declared emperor ruling over a world of androids.
I love Ortiz’s choice to slap a pair of eyes and Mudd’s trademark facial hair onto the image of the planet, and having the hand twirling the mustache in classic Snidely Whiplash fashion is brilliant. It’s an image that tells you a lot about the tone of the episode and about the character of Mudd, all without having to use a single word.
The second season episode “By Any Other Name” finds the Enterprise encountering a crew of Kelvans, aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy who came to the Milky Way aboard a generation ship, which was damaged and rendered useless while crossing the galactic barrier. They hijack the Enterprise so they can report back to their home and begin plans for an invasion of our native galaxy. The Kelvans have a unique way of dealing with troublemakers: zapping them and reducing the human to small “cuboctahedrons” composed of their base minerals.
It’s these cuboctahedrons that Ortiz seizes on as the key visual element for the “By Any Other Name” poster. Couching it in the form of an advertisement is very clever, and the poster contains tons of little easter eggs, from the “collect all 426” blurb, to the “made in Andromeda” fine print, to the “do not crush” warning. (In the episode, the Kelvan leader crushes and kills one of the reduced crew members as a warning to Kirk not to defy him.) Overall, he’s nailed the style and look of the silly ads you’d find in the backs of comic books back in the day.
Stay tuned early next week to see the other two new Trek posters. If you’d like prints of these or any of Ortiz’s excellent poster prints, you can purchase them at http://www.qmxonline.com/. You can also get many of the prints as t-shirts at http://www.welovefine.com.