Tuesday, April 23, 2019

QBP #133 - Lost Universe #1 & i-Bots #9

Quarter-Bin Podcast #133

Gene Roddenberry's Lost Universe #1, Tekno Comix, cover-dated April 1995. "O Brave New World," by Lawrence Watt-Evans, with art by Jim Callahan & Aaron McClellan.
Isaac Isamov's I-Bots #9, Tekno Comix, cover-dated February 1997."Rebirth, Chapter 3: Bot to Front," written by Cliff Biggers & Brett Brooks, with art by David Jacob Beckett, Pat Broderick, & Mark Heike.

This is the first of a two-episode mini-series focusing on the Tekno Comix line of books.

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Promo: Drawn and Paneled

Next Episode: Teknophage 1 & 10, Tekno Comix, cover-dated August 1995 & March 1996.

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Source: In The Ballpark


  1. Interesting to find any commentary on Tekno*Comix titles at this late date; your reviews were well-expressed and dead on-point.

    I worked as an editor (and writer) for Tekno*Comix during most of its short existence, and yeas, the quality of the books varied quite a bit. The company was a chaotic place to work, with creative and business demands often contradicting each other, and generating tensions that were impossible to resolve. The editorial department was comprised of some of the most talented, knowledgeable and comic-loving individuals I've ever had the honor of working with. Unfortunately, the corporate powers that be had no understanding of - nor interest in - the medium, and were only interested in building their own personal fortunes and, hopefully, exploiting the properties through film and television and other licensing… which they failed miserably at, because they never understood the value of carefully developing the properties through the comics and making said properties genuinely appealing to audiences and, thus, potential licensors.

    There were many other random factors that affected the quality of the books, as well. Some of the celebrity creators were directly involved in the development of “their” properties, while others simply took the money and ran, without providing any creative guidance. In some cases, we were dealing with the estates of deceased “creators,” who had demands but no directions, and so were not particularly helpful. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that some of the freelancers hired to write and draw the books didn’t feel much, if any, real commitment to the work, correctly understanding that the company wasn't going to be around long and, since Tekno was paying higher-than-industry-standard page rates in the beginning, were basically just trying to make bank while the gravy train lasted.

    Editorially, we were never given adequate prep time before titles were launched, and thus, were constantly playing catch-up, trying simply to maintain the mandated monthly schedules. We never had enough time to properly refine and revise scripts or artwork, and a lot of material just got pushed through. We tried, but man, it was disheartening, and trying to elevate the material, accommodating the random whims of the owners, and somehow staying on schedule was nigh-impossible. But I don't believe we ever shipped a book late, and I take some small pride in that.

    I also believe that we did ultimately manage to produce a fair number of quality comic books, despite the less-than-ideal conditions, and that is a testimony to the hard work and sheer love of comics by most of the editorial staff. We also pioneered some practices that are common today, with an in-house digital letterer, and some of the artwork being delivered digitally from the UK (although back then, that took special phone lines and HOURS to send and download!).

    I don’t have much insight into other aspects of the company’s business ventures, as I was plenty occupied just trying to keep books coming out. I know that they did have a couple of working retail kiosks in Florida and one at the Mall of America, and that several licensing deals were supposedly signed; but to my knowledge, nothing ever came of any of it, except for putting more money into the pockets of the powers that were. In that regard, at least, I guess they were successful.

    Looking forward to your TEKNOPHAGE reviews, even though it sounds like you didn't much enjoy your revisit.

    1. Thank you so much for this insight. I appreciate you listening to the episode, and responding in such a comprehensive manner.