Location: Portland, Oregon
Goal Date: February 20, 2020
Currently Funded: $36,158 pledged of $35,000 USD goal
Campaign Type: All or Nothing
Ron Randall’s continuing Trekker series is back with another Kickstarter, but this time, Randall is collecting all of Mercy St. Clair’s original early stories into one massive hardcover volume. Back in the 1980s, when Trekker first debuted, the pages were printed in black and white (it was the same case with its subsequent Dark Horse compilation as well). These stories have been out of print for some time, but this Trekker: The Complete Journey Volume 1 now has all those stories in color for the very first time.
The Trekker series has it all: a female-led protagonist (Mercy) whose job as a bounty hunter takes her on wild action-fueled adventures; her girlfriend Molly, a wildly talented musician who perfectly balances and grounds Mercy; and Mercy’s pet fox Scuf, arguably the reader’s favorite side-character. There’s also spaceships, tense action, and alien creatures. Basically, the Trekker series has it all and more. And now, with this deluxe volume, readers can finally see where it all began with over 470 colored pages of content in a beautiful hardcover format.
For new readers, Randall has also made available a PDF of the first 24 pages of Trekker’s introductory story; it can be accessed through the main Kickstarter page: Trekker: The Complete Journey Vol. 1.
From the Kickstarter:
When TREKKER first came out in the 1980s it was a ground-breaking series: A badass bounty hunter who lives by her own rules and takes orders from no one as she makes her way through the violent and complicated world of the 23rd century. As Gail Simone wrote in her introduction to an earlier collection, “It’s of stuff like Trekker that revolutions are begun. A female character that is sexy but not sexualized, that is tough but not without flaws and doubts, and that is dangerous but not without compassion.”
All of those original tales are collected in this hefty, deluxe volume which introduces Mercy St. Clair, her world, and the cast of characters that are still developing and unfolding in the new stories that grow out of the adventures that all begin here. Whether you are new to the world of Trekker or a long-time fan and reader this book is designed to thrill and to satisfy you… and to leave you wanting still more
Rogues Portal’s recommendation is the $50 backer level that includes a physical hardcover copy of Trekker: The Complete Journey Volume 1. If you want to complete your collection, Randall has also made available add-ons to any backer level. Additional books: Chapeltown $15, The Darkstar Zephyr $15, Battlefields $15, Second copy of The Complete Journey $50. Additional commissions: B&W with Inkwash $160, Watercolor $335.
The main pages of Trekker are written and drawn by Ron Randall of Helioscope studios in Portland, Oregon. Although he’s worked with major publishing giants such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and IDW in the past, Trekker is Randall’s own personal pet project.
Other members of the creative team include cover coloring by artist Jeremy Colwell (Batman/Ninja Turtles), interior coloring assistance by Caitlin Like (Maiden in the Machine), and printing consultants/production by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein and Allyson Willsey.
Though already funded, here are a couple of Stretch Goals for the Trekker campaign:
$38,000 – Bonus behind-the-scenes content for the book.
$40,000 – Cover spot-gloss.
$42,500 – Embossed Cover.
$45,000 – Ribbon bookmark.
$50,000 – Newsprint edition of the first original story.
Help give the campaign a boost to meet these stretch rewards as well as get your hands on your very own piece of Trekker history at the Trekker: The Complete Journey Vol 1 Kickstarter.
For this Kickstarter campaign, we reached out to creator Ron Randall with a few questions about the Trekker universe and this hardcover compilation:
RP (Rogues Portal): Tell us a little about yourself as a comic creator.
RR (Ron Randall): I’ve come to realize that I see my primary job as being a storyteller. Rather than an “artist,” or anything like that. Because what drives me is trying to convey a story in a clear and compelling way, to engage the reader and not let go of them ’til we get to the end of the ride, whatever that might be.
I do like to draw well. I have worked damn hard at that craft for many years now. But it’s only meaningful to the extent that it better lets me serve the needs of a story I’m trying to make you believe in, of characters I want you to care about. Plus, I’ll say that, as I’ve gotten better at my craft over the years, and get to apply my skills to telling the best Trekker tales that I can, I have never been happier or more fulfilled in my work than I am right now. And that feels incredible.
RP: How did you originally come up with the concept of Mercy St. Clair?
RR: I was in the right place at the right time, and was invited to, essentially, create my dream project for pay. That just does not happen, in my experience. So, I saw that I had one shot, and set about asking myself what my dream project would be. That one series I would work on if I didn’t have to be worried about selling it to a publisher or building something that was “marketable” or anything like that. So I knew it would be science fiction, because I love sci-fi, and there were few opportunities to make sci-fi comics back in the late ’80s when this was happening. And I knew I wanted a female lead character, who was a badass, action lead, and dressed appropriately for the job. Believable, in other words. And someone I wouldn’t have to apologize to the women in my life for creating. That was a pretty good starting point. That felt super interesting and fun to me.
Then, I knew that I loved a lot of different kinds of sci-fi stories — noirish stuff like Blade Runner, swashbuckling adventure like Flash Gordon (and later Star Wars), sprawling, epic stuff like Frank Herbert’s Dune novel, alien monsters like in Alien, outlaws in the badlands like Mad Max, space battles … the works. So, I wanted a character who could move around through that kind of world, or galaxy, and have a wide range of adventures. And a bounty hunter seemed like a perfect concept that could contain all of that. And, I knew I wouldn’t get bored, because I could (and have) shifted from one “sub-genre” to another from tale to tale.
What would hold the whole series together would be the main character and her personal journey of development, evolution, and self-discovery. Because those are the kind of tales — ones with a compelling, believable character — that appeal to me as a reader the most. All that in mind, I designed the character and some environments, worked up a story outline, and sent it into Dark Horse. It was a completely non-commercial project. They said “Looks great!” and my fate has been sealed ever since.
RP: Did you always intend for Mercy and Molly to be a couple, or was their relationship an idea that evolved over time?
RR: It wasn’t in my mind from the very beginning. I knew Mercy needed a friend. One person that was safe for her. And I wanted that friend to have nothing to do with Mercy’s bounty hunting life. To be her counter-balance. Someone through whose eyes we could see Mercy far more clearly than she sees herself. Like so many of us have in our own lives. But, as the story continued to unfold, and Mercy kept needing to return to Molly, it became clear that these two had that special thing. And that Molly, being far more intuitive and aware, knew it all along while Mercy was 100% clueless. So, that sparked the long, long arc of Mercy’s journey to that particular, revelatory awakening. I wanted to do it “right” as far as I could. To make that feel real, and important, and exhilarating. I’ve been thrilled to see so many readers think it really worked when that all crystallizes at the end of the story Chapeltown. Which yes, I named very intentionally. It turns out, I’m actually a romance writer at heart. Had no idea.
RP: What do you say to potential new fans of the Trekker series to get them to read your books?
RR: I usually lead with, “It’s a science fiction series about a young woman who is a bounty hunter.” And, if that seems to connect, I will sometimes expand and add that it’s also a long-form journey of discovery and destiny, disguised as a series of self-contained action adventures with explosions and alien swamp creatures and space battles because part of me is still 12 years old. I think that represents what I’m up to pretty fairly.
RP: What other mediums or stories inspired or influenced the Trekker series?
RR: Well, I’ve mentioned some of them earlier. I discovered Al Williamson’s elegant Flash Gordon comics at an impressionable age. Jonny Quest, too. And, inescapably, Star Trek. Later, I read Dune, saw Star Wars and the streak of varied sci-fi classics that followed. I loved the vast majority of it. I also liked some westerns. Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite novels. So, some of my favorite Trekker moments have that sci-fi-western tinge to them that later turned into shows like Firefly. Also, in the early ’80s, I worked with writer Gary Cohn on a series for DC, The Barren Earth. Gary had cooked up a sci-fi series with a female lead character. In that case, it was more of an Edgar Rice Burroughs kind of thing. But it was an absolute blast to work on! So, that set something of a template that I built from when building Trekker. Lastly, I have to mention some favorite, classic adventure comics: Hal Foster on Prince Valiant, Joe Kubert’s Tarzan comics, Will Eisner’s The Spirit. In one way or another, those influences seep into the Trekker pages.
RP: Has there ever been anything that surprised you when working on the Trekker stories?
RR: Many serendipitous things! Some major, some minor. Like I said, it was a bit of a slow-dawning surprise that Mercy was in love with Molly. And I’ve been totally surprised at just how much I enjoy depicting their relationship. It’s now so very central to Mercy’s life. Also, in those earliest stories, I knew only vaguely about what I was shooting for. So, I was planting a lot of seeds. Characters, references to entities, organizations, and stuff. I figured I’d develop and connect those dots as the series went on and I got more experienced as a writer. And, that has worked out much, much better than I could have dreamed.
RP: This is your fourth Kickstarter with Trekker. What keeps you and fans returning to the Trekker series time and time again?
RR: For me, it’s finding out what happens next for Mercy. And now, for Mercy and Molly to a great extent. And then sharing that next step with the readers. I know where I’m going, and I’m having the most amazing time getting there. Discovering the worlds and characters we meet along the way. And I hope that comes across to the readers.
RP: Which character do you most relate to in the Trekker universe?
RR: Oh, I think, for better or worse, none of these characters are really foreign to me. They all come bubbling up from inside, and if I don’t feel any connection with them, I just can’t have them in the story. If they don’t feel in SOME way real and relatable, even if they are sometimes ugly, selfish, brutal, I think it would be a colossal waste of both my and the reader’s time to inflict them on us! So, sometimes I’m as impatient and impulsive, as clueless or fierce as Mercy. Sometimes I’m as insightful and understanding as Molly. Sometimes I’m thoughtful yet light-hearted like Bolt, or quietly supportive like Mercy’s uncle, Alex. And sometimes I’m as ugly and angry and defiant as the criminals that Mercy tracks down.
RP: If you had all the financial backing you needed, what would your dream Trekker project be? Where would you like a Trekker story to go?
RR: It’s almost embarrassing to admit, maybe it’s a failure of imagination on my part. But, I would just be doing exactly this. Telling these exact stories in this exact way. Only, I’d have to worry less about making the Kickstarters successful so that I can keep oatmeal on my table while I do that.
RP: What do you want fans to take away from this Trekker story reprint?
RR: I want them to feel they’ve had a series of thrilling rides, met some great characters, and be completely satisfied with the experience. Because that means they will also want to come back for the next journey. I’m in this for the long haul, to take Mercy all the way to the end of her story. If I do my job right, the stories get richer as we go. And I want readers along for it all.
The Trekker Kickstarter can be found here.