I, Emperor was a 12-page Star Trek: The Original Series comic strip. It was the 19th weekly story arc in the UK comic strips series, published in four installments in TV21 Weekly in 1971. This was the first of six stories drawn by Vicente Alcázar and Carlos Pino, who together would contribute a total of 106 pages. In this story, a landing party investigated a large, sarcophagus-shaped space station.
- 1 Description
- 2 Summary
- 3 References
- 4 Appendices
- 5 Timeline
- Teaser, March 13, 1971
- While investigating a moss-covered space station, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy were transported to a planet resembling Earth during Roman times…
Sensors from the USS Enterprise detected a space station not recorded on star charts. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy landed the Galileo (NCC-1701/1) shuttlecraft on its hangar deck and stepped out to explore the station. Oddly, the interior and exterior were covered with a type of red moss that was not lichen- or plant-based. The moss was hypnotic, producing visions of a floating skull in red mist. Further ahead, they became stuck in spider webbing. Giant mechanical spiders approached and the landing party fought their way clear with phasers. They felt the ship moving, endured visions of a large green monster, then located the control centre. When Kirk reached out to override the helm setting, the trio were paralyzed, surrounded by a crystal-shaped transporter chamber and beamed down to a class M planet.
The trio spotted a Roman driving a horse-drawn chariot. He blasted out an alarm with a trumpet. They were immediately trapped in nets by Roman soldiers. The landing party was kept overnight in a prison, then were escorted to an arena, where citizens hailed their Caesar – a robot wearing a red cape. Kirk, Spock and McCoy were forced to participate in a chariot race where all losers would be burned to death. During the race, soldiers fired arrows at the drivers and installed bladed obstacles to the race course for added drama. Kirk won the race, and as he was brought forward to be given his laurel leaf crown of victory, he struck the robot with his racing whip, knocking it down. It broke into pieces, shattering its hypnotic hold over the populace. McCoy thought that the world now resembled ancient Rome in its heyday.
- Caesar robot • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • mechanical giant spiders • unnamed USS Enterprise personnel (2260s)
- Referenced only
Starships and vehicles
- chariot • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Galileo (NCC-1701/1) (class F shuttlecraft) • Mark Theta space station (coffin ship)
Races and cultures
States and organizations
Science and technology
- arrow • blade • bow • catapult • communications • communicator • computer • control centre • long distance transporter • net • phaser • robot • scanner • spear • star chart • stun • survival kit • transporter • viewscreen
Ranks and titles
- assignment patch • automatic pilot • beam • bioluminescence • cape • death • dog • execution • hangar • helmet • horse • hypnosis • landing party • lichen • lion • maze • minute • mist • moss • plant • practical joke • prison • prison cell • replica • skeleton • space • spider • spider web • stadium • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270) • starship • steel • tree • trumpet • whip
- The story was not printed with a title, but it was given one ("I, Emperor") for its reprinting in the omnibus The Classic UK Comics, Volume 2. The title alludes to Isaac Asimov's anthology "I, Robot" and perhaps the Robert Graves novel "I, Claudius".
- Shuttlecraft Galileo (NCC-1701/1) was visibly named and marked with the non-canon registry in this story. This version of Galileo made its second of four (possibly six) appearances in the UK comic strips series. When the coffin-shaped space station disintegrated at the end of the story, the shuttle was declared a loss. However, this vessel, or a replacement with the same registry, was featured in arc 12 "The Marshall Plan", arc 24 "Vibrations in Time" and was Kirk's command shuttle in arc 34 "The Void of Storms". If this shuttle was in service during the events of arc 15 "Thorpex", it would have been destroyed, as all four of the ship's shuttles were stuffed with bombs and blown up in that story. If it was in service during the events of arc 17 "Revolt on Dak-Alpha", it would have been one of the six shuttles depicted in that story. This particular shuttle was also featured in a Gold Key Comics story, where it was duplicated by a Tactisian in TOS comic: "The Mimicking Menace".
- The scene in which the landing party were caught in spider webs was depicted on a cover. Its cover blurb coincidentally promoted a Spider-Man story.
- Kirk also raced a chariot along a California freeway in 1955 in TOS comic: "A Bomb in Time".
- The unusual story elements of transport to a hypnotized Rome-styled world led by a robot Caesar in a Roman arena recurred in a 1979 Doctor Who story featuring the Fourth Doctor, whom Kirk, Spock and McCoy met in TNG - Assimilation² comic: "Issue 3". ("Doctor Who and the Iron Legion" article at Fandom's TARDIS Data Core)
- It was unclear how the Enterprise was able to beam back the landing party at the end of the story without using the coffin's long distance transporter. Although the coffin ship moved, and the Enterprise followed, the story did not state that either had entered orbit of the Rome-like planet.
- Spock deduced that the Caesar robot and the coffin ship were somehow connected, but that story point was left unexplained.
- DSC episode: "The Vulcan Hello" – In May 2256, the USS Shenzhou investigated a Klingon sarcophagus ship hovering motionless in Federation space.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 11 novelization: Bread and Circuses – In 2267, the USS Enterprise visited Magna Roma, another Rome-like planet.
- Kirk having to explain to McCoy that Spock's "thought processes are different than ours" suggests a placement in 2265, during the characters' early association.
Where Giants Tread
UK comic strips
Slaves of the Frogmen
- None of the UK weekly installments were printed with titles.
- Each segment began on the cover and continued onto two interior pages of TV21 Weekly magazine.
- 20 February 1971: Pages 1-3 published in TV21 Weekly #74.
- 27 February 1971: Pages 4-6 published in TV21 Weekly #75.
- 6 March 1971: Pages 7-9 published in TV21 Weekly #76.
- 13 March 1971: Pages 10-12 published in TV21 Weekly #77.
- December 2016
- Reprinted in the omnibus The Classic UK Comics, Volume 2 (IDW Publishing)
- 1 February 2018
- Reprinted in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #29 (Eaglemoss)