In the late 1980s I went to a handful of Star Trek conventions in New England. They were produced by Creation and I quickly tired of their cookie-cutter format and emphasis on merchandising.
I don’t remember if I wrote about Creation before—I’m sure I’ll start repeating myself on here soon, if I haven’t already—but I truly went because I was seeking community and belonging with other like-minded fans. I loved Star Trek for the characters and storytelling—and still do! (And also the music!)
But the conventions made me feel more alone than when I was just on Martha’s Vineyard with nobody to talk to. The fans’ interest in Star Trek seemed so...superficial. It was just, let’s compete to buy a bunch of junk and recite trivia and dress up.
And boy, Gary and Adam, the proprietors, seemed to treat us all like idiots who couldn’t wait to throw money at them for trinkets. But maybe they were right?
One of the first cons I went to was a few months after Star Trek V disappointed the world, so this is probably summer 1989. The special guest was George Takei.
I remember the timing because I rehearsed the one cutesy fan line I would say to George, which I did: “I hope in the next movie, you get to do more than fall off a horse.”
He laughed—he is a nice man—and turns out, he did: In Star Trek VI, he got to captain the Excelsior. He sure seemed proud of that. It’s like, “George, Sulu’s just a character, you know. It’s not actually your ship.” But like I said, George is a nice man.
Here is a picture of me with George:
Incidentally, one of the guys in the background (I think I remember which one, but will protect his anonymity) became a long-distance friend who would review and critique my hand-created Star Trek blueprints. Then he got a girlfriend and ghosted me. Good for him!
Here is George with my younger brother, Tyler:
Go back to the pic of me—and on the left side of the image is Arne Starr. He was also a guest, and he was actually inking pages, during the con, for the retooled Star Trek comic book that DC launched to coincide with Star Trek V.
I looked over Arne’s shoulder at his work, and I noticed that the Enterprise had been drawn incorrectly by the penciller. It had the nacelle struts going in the wrong direction.
I pointed it out and Arne was like, “Huh?” I explained and he seemed to understand. I even offered to correct the pencils myself, and I forget his exact words but it was an emphatic NO...he said he would fix it himself, though he didn’t seem very excited to do so.
Sometime around 2008, there was a DVD-ROM released of the complete collection, to that point, of Star Trek comic books. It’s still available and if you like these things, I recommend it.
The Star Trek comics were always kind of dopey but they had some great runs—particularly the first DC series with its “Mirror Universe” saga between Star Trek III and IV. Good stuff!
I went through the CD-ROM thinking, okay, let me find that panel with the wrong drawing of the Enterprise—I wonder if Arne Starr actually fixed it?
Friends, I think I found it—in issue #2 of the 1989 series. See the pic at the top of this post. It was that drawing of the Enterprise on the right-hand page, seen from below.
He fixed it!
And that is my Arne Starr anecdote.
UPDATE! I sent this blog post to Arne via the contact form at his site...and he wrote back! And he said I could print his reply—
Cute story. If that was the Hartford con, that was actually my first con. I'm sure I wasn't showing disdain to the point out at the time, but as far as anyone else working on it, wasn't allowed to do that. But, I was the 'expert' on both TNG and classic at the time, so I was always correcting stuff on both books... 🙂
Hartford! Yes, that was it! I can’t believe my mom drove us to Hartford, Connecticut! Between the boat and drive, that’s like a three-and-a-half hour trip from the Vineyard. What a mom! (CORRECTION! My mom doesn’t remember this one. So it was probably my dad. What a dad!)
And...I looked up a summer 1989 Creation ad in Starlog magazine. It was, indeed, Hartford, July 8–9, 1989:
This means I was still 14, about to be 15.
Many thanks to Arne for his interaction and good humor with “the fans,” then and now!