Mike Feehan, a local comic book artist, has been brought on to illustrate one of the most iconic science fiction series of all time. It all started with a tweet.
“The short answer is that I just tweeted out that I would like to work on the Star Trek comic, specifically I tweet that I would like to do one of the covers,” Mike Feehan told The Independent.
Within hours, a friend living in California retweeted his message where it was seen by senior editor Heather Antos at IDW – the company that’s been handling the Star Trek comic book series since 2007- who then reached out to Feehan.
Antos asked him to do some character sketches to make sure he could nail the characters’ likeness. A week after that initial tweet, Feehan said he had the job to draw the cover for issue six.
Another week passed, and he was asked if he was interested in illustrating the comic book run’s second arc, “I was like ‘yeah, that would be great!’”
This was back in early October. He’s currently working on his first issue, which is the second arc of the current storyline. That will be issue seven through ten, the first of which comes out on April 26.
That’s the short story of how it all came about. But just tweeting out into the universe you’d like to work on a dream project isn’t likely to get someone where they want to go. The longer story is that Feehan spent years in the comic book industry doing excellent work and networking.
Feehan explained that he is an established professional in the comic book world, and has worked on projects including DC’s Exit, Stage Left!: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, which was nominated for an Eisner and won a GLAAD award. He had also previously met IDW’s Heather Antos: they were on a panel together in 2019 at Toronto’s Fan Expo talking about breaking into comics.
“So I wasn’t some rando tweeting out to work on Star Trek.” The folks at IDW still looked over his portfolio to check out his credentials. “And it just kind of worked out really nicely,” he said.
Right now, Feehan can’t even hint at the story he’s illustrating. He did get me up to speed on the premise of the comic. The first arc, in the issues which are out now, established where this comic takes place in the greater Star Trek universes.
It picks up where Star Trek: Deep Space Nine left off – spoiler alert for a show that’s twenty years old – where Captain Benjamin Sisko heads to another dimension with the prophets and ascends to a godlike status.
Writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing start the story three years later; Sisko is back with a mission from the prophets and he’s assembled a crew of iconic and familiar Star Trek characters to aid him. Data is there as his first officer, as well as Worf, Dr. Crusher, Scotty, and Tom Paris, including new characters.
“And they’re on this big, epic mission and yeah, it’s pretty cool because it’s characters that I’m familiar with. I’m a big fan of Star Trek, particularly the era of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, so it’s been fun to get to play with those characters,” said Feehan.
He clammed up when I asked him who was his favourite character to draw; apparently he couldn’t say because they haven’t appeared in the storyline yet and he can’t give anything away.
Prelude to Day of Blood, a 10-page comic book illustrated by Feehan and written by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Chris Cantwel will appear for May’s annual Free Comic Book Day, after issue seven.
“Now I’m well into working on the first issue and it’s like, oh, this is real. People are going to buy this and it’s part of the Star Trek story so it’s pretty daunting but it’s cool.”
Working on Star Trek is a really big deal for him. He grew up in a Star Trek-watching family. His cousin’s basement had even been converted into a makeshift bridge from the Starship Enterprise. As a kid he’d dress up as one of the ship’s crew members for Halloween.
Hooked, Feehan started rewatching the other series and movies, and is working through the original series right now.
“I’ve become a huge Trek fan since then. And it all just built up to this happening. It almost felt like I was unknowingly preparing myself for this job. So it’s been really cool and surreal.”
Elizabeth Whitten is currently writing a book on the history of Newfoundland and Labrador comic books, which will be out later this year through Engen Books.