The Star Trek franchise is having its first summer comics crossover this year in Day of Blood, a story whose roots lie in the world of tabletop RPGs. The story arc is promised to act as a season finale to the IDW comics series Star Trek, written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly and illustrated by Ramon Rosanas. The IDW comic already features a crew made up of characters from different Trek shows, and is a kind of Trek mini-crossover on its own.
In the summer of 2023, however, the Trek crossover action really heats up, with the cast of Star Trek coming together with that of IDW’s other major Trek series, Defiant, in the ambitious Star Trek event, Day of Blood. While beloved Star Trek characters and cast members have met up before in various films, TV series, and tie-in media, Day of Blood will be the first time that such a confrontation occurs in a summer comics blockbuster extravaganza. Surprisingly, though, the roots of the idea seem to be not so much in previous comics crossovers, but rather in the RPG roots of writers Lanzing and Kelly.
Star Trek Role-Playing Led to Better Star Trek Comics Writing
In a recent interview on the Ideas Don’t Bleed podcast, Lanzing reveals that he once ran a Star Trek RPG campaign that “crashed together” different parties. “[I] played a World of Darkness campaign,” relates Lanzing, “and the GM was like, ‘I’m gonna do all these different parties and we’re gonna switch ’em all up.'” Lanzing goes on to explain that the GM didn’t fulfill his promise. So he modified the World of Darkness character sheets to create a retooled, customized Star Trek RPG, which Lanzing then played with, among others, his own longtime writing partner, Kelly. In his Trek campaign, Lanzing let the players go in all sorts of unexpected directions, bringing their various Trek characters together in ways that inspired Lanzing to be a better writer.
“I didn’t know how to keep [the other players] on the rails at all,” Lanzing admits. “And the more that I learned to keep up with them, I think, the better I became.” Years later, Lanzing and Kelly are bringing the same energy to the IDW Star Trek comics canon, allowing for the “crashing together” of a huge number of familiar favorites. IDW has promised that Day of Blood will feature characters from original Trek, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, all interacting on the page in one gigantic narrative. Lanzing and Kelly are surely qualified to handle the burden of so many huge personalities in one story, having strengthened their writing muscles via RPGs. Lanzing says in the interview that the game-play helped train his mind to handle all the unexpected turns that a story can take. As he puts it, “I used to refer to [running RPG campaigns] as ‘writer push-ups.‘”
Star Trek fans love crossovers as much as anyone, and they were already looking forward to this summer’s Day of Blood, ever since IDW first announced it. After what Lanzing has revealed about the roots of the event, fans have even more reason to be thrilled. They now know this is certainly not something that Lanzing and his fellow Trek writers have thrown together on a whim. Rather, it is a huge narrative event that has been years in the making, with roots going all the way back to the authors’ days as fans of both RPGs and of the Star Trek franchise.
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Source: Ideas Don’t Bleed