It is truly the end of an era, people. Way back in August 2012, artist Juan Ortiz launched a massive undertaking: he would create an original, retro-style poster for every single freakin’ episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Each month since then, he’s released a new batch of four posters through StarTrek.com. Some have been funny, some surreal, but pretty much all of them are gorgeous and well worth adorning the wall of any true Trekker. (He even took a detour to create posters for Star Trek: The Animated Series). Now, some 19 months after he began, Ortiz has shared the final four posters, highlighting the episodes “Shore Leave,” “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” “Metamorphosis,” and “Turnabout Intruder.” As always, we’ll have details about how you can order copies of these prints down at the bottom of the story. For each poster we’re including Ortiz’s commentary from StarTrek.com as well.
Up top is Ortiz’s take on “Shore Leave,” a classic episode penned by sci-fi legend Theodore Sturgeon. It found the Enterprise visiting a beautiful, tranquil planet that soon proved to be full of surprises, including a katana-wielding samurai, the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and Kirk’s Academy rival Finnegan. Needless to say, shit gets weird but fast.
Let’s start with ‘Shore Leave’ from this month’s quartet. What inspired this one? And you just couldn’t resist including a rabbit, eh?
ORTIZ: It began with the rabbit. I tried several different illustration styles, but couldn’t quite get the right level of seriousness. The collage direction was the way to go, for me. The grays and muted colors give it a more mature look, away from the obvious guy-in-a-rabbit-suit aspect of the episode.
Our understanding is that this is your favorite of all 80 of the prints. If that’s accurate, what is it about this one that you like most/are proudest of?
ORTIZ: I seem to have a different favorite depending on my mood, but this one keeps popping up. I like when an idea comes together with ease, like this one did. It’s simple, but works without being too illustrative or too colorful. It’s the right balance of seriousness that I was trying to achieve, especially when your main image is a rabbit in a suit. I wanted it to be more thought-provoking. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll get it. If you’re not a Star Trek fan, you will hopefully want to watch the episode.
Serving as Star Trek’s second pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was written by Samuel A. Peeples, who also penned the Animated Series episode “Beyond the Farthest Star.” “Where No Man Has Gone Before” featured Kirk’s old friend Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood), who gains increasingly powerful psychic abilities after the Enterprise attempts to pass through a strange energy barrier at the edge of our galaxy. Power, as they say, soon corrupts, and Kirk is tasked with figuring out how to stop a man possessing godlike powers and a steadily diminishing respect for lesser beings such as the Enterprise crew.
Up next is ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before.’ How did you go about creating that very cool, 3D-ish effect for it?
ORTIZ: The image was created in Adobe Illustrator. A lot of it is by trying and failing until I get it right. I may have spent more time figuring out the color before finally settling in on the blue.
How much of an inspiration was The Motion Picture on this particular piece?
ORTIZ: That thought did enter my head at first. And for a while I considered going in that direction, but it worked better for ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before.’
“Metamorphosis” was written by Trek power player Gene L. Coon, whose contributions to Trek are many, from the invention of the Klingons and the Prime Directive, to helping establish the tradition of Spock and Bones’ playful back-and-forth banter. “Metamorphosis” finds Kirk, Spock, and a Starfleet diplomat stranded on an alien world, where they then meet someone wholly unexpected: Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive.
What were you aiming for with ‘Metamorphosis?’
ORTIZ: I wasn’t trying for anything fancy on this one. I felt like I had a pretty good layout, so I kept it as is.
Finally, we come to “Turnabout Intruder” — appropriately enough, the final episode of Trek’s Original Series. Written by Arthur H. Singer, “Turnabout” saw Kirk switching bodies with a crazy lady who’s determined to kill him and take over his command. It’s not exactly the show’s finest hour.
Lastly, there’s ‘Turnabout Intruder.’ It’s got much more copy than usual, or if not more copy, than at least it’s bolder and fills more of the page. Take us through your decision to go that route.
ORTIZ: I had been inspired by Japanese posters. That’s why the copy is so bold. It morphed into more of a magazine cover, instead. But that’s okay. Where I start is not as important as where I end. I did spend a lot of time at the magazine section of the Japanese bookstore. So that may account for the course change.
How about the color choices, particularly the pink and blue?
ORTIZ: Despite the obvious, I did not pick the pink and blue because of the male/female switch in the episode. I wanted something bold and the blue and black both really popped against the pink. I was worried that this one may not sit well with the rest of the group, but it makes a good segue into the more brighter Animated Series prints that I created the next year.
Which one of these four would you put on the wall in your own home and why?? (we’re assuming ‘Shore Leave’ if that’s really your favorite of all 80).
ORTIZ: I would pick ‘Shore Leave.’ But I would pick a wall that doesn’t need all that much color. Like an exposed brick wall, maybe.
You can order copies of these latest Trek prints, as well as the ones that came before, via the StarTrek.com shop. Each print is 18×24 inches on “100-pound, aqueous-coated, satin-finish paper.” I’m just going to assume all of that is a good thing. The set of four will cost you a mere $34.95. If you’re in the UK, you can purchase the prints via Amazon.co.uk, ForbiddenPlanet.co.uk, or Oneposter.co.uk. You can check out our previous coverage of the posters right here, and you can also purchase a book featuring Ortiz’s Trek prints on Amazon.