You can tell how busy I’ve been lately by the fact that I nearly let the entire month slip by without sharing the latest batch of gorgeous retro Star Trek episodic posters from artist Juan Ortiz. Given all the hubbub surrounding the character of Khan in recent months, it’s only appropriate that Ortiz’s tenth installment of his ongoing quest to create a retro poster for every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series highlights the episode that first introduced us to the character. In addition to Khan’s origins in “Space Seed,” Ortiz is serving up his renderings of “The Menagerie, Part 2” (Pike and the buttheaded Talosians!), “The Empath,” and “All Our Yesterdays.”
As usual, we’re including Ortiz’s commentary from StarTrek.com with each poster, and you can find out how to order prints the artist’s posters at the bottom. Of this group I think the “Space Seed” is the most impressive, although I do really love how the poster for “The Empath” almost reminds me of a cover from the classic pulp science fiction books I spent my adolescence raiding out of my dad’s closet..
OK, up first among this month’s TOS Art Prints is “The Menagerie, Part II.” What inspired this particular print?
’The Menagerie, Part I’ did. I almost didn’t do a part two. Instead, I almost created one poster for both episodes. But since they are two separate episodes, I decided that it was necessary. I’m glad that I did, too, because it gave me a chance to work on the old phaser or laser pistol.
Is it just us, or is the phaser particularly large and detailed?
I drew over an actual phaser image, so the hand is in scale to the handle. I did stylize the whole piece including the phaser; that may be why it looks larger.
The “Space Seed” print is particularly creepy. What were you aiming for with this one?
The hand represents Khan. The skull represents evil. The poster is sliced in half so that the hand would read as growing out of the bottom half, like an evil vine of some type reaching out.
We love the malevolent hand. Was that at all an homage to Chiller Theater?
I wasn’t conscious of it, but I can see the similarity. The poster was inspired by the work of Saul Bass. Particularly his poster for The Man with The Golden Arm.
Our favorite this month is “The Empath.” You evoke tremendous emotion with just a few simple touches: the eyes, the Enterprise as a tear, the mouth and the angle of the face. Give us a sense of how the idea for this one evolved.
Gem was like a character out of an old silent movie, so for dramatic effect, I zoomed in for a close-up. The simple style that I used was inspired by 50’s designer Joaquin Pertierra. Like Saul Bass, Joaquin was a genius at saying a lot with so little. The Enterprise for a tear was an afterthought, an idea that I think has since been done by another artist.
How many passes did this one take until you felt you’d nailed it?
Not many. Once the layout was sketched out, it was a quick one to create. I went with a paperback feel to it as well.
Lastly, there’s “All Our Yesterdays.” What made you choose to use an image of Spock attacking McCoy?
I think there’s some good acting in that scene, and one of the most memorable scenes from the series. It’s also a good grab for anyone that has never seen the episode.
The creature above the title interested us. What does that represent? Zarabeth?
The creature is actually Zarabeth, as we see her for the first time, wearing her fur coat. I remember seeing Zarabeth in her coat and not knowing who or what she was at first. I felt that would be a good image to entice the viewer with.
Last question: Of the four prints, which would you mostly put on your own wall… and why?
I think “The Menagerie, Part 2” would be a good one to pair with “Part 1”… if I had the wall space.
If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, you can buy Ortiz’s Trek prints at StarTrek.com. You can get a set of all four plated lithographs on aqueous-coated, satin-finish paper for $34.95. They each measure 18 x 24 inches.
Or, if you’re lacking in wall space and/or just want to see all of Ortiz’s artwork bundled together, you can pick up the lot of them in book form as Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz. It will hit shelves on September 3, but you can pre-order it right now on Amazon.