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"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 investigates a large, sarcophagus-shaped space station.


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 detects a space station not recorded on star charts. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy land the Galileo (NCC-1701/1) shuttlecraft on its hangar deck and step out to explore the station. Oddly, the interior and exterior are covered with a type of red moss that is not lichen- or plant-based. The moss is hypnotic, producing visions of a floating skull in red mist. Further ahead, they become stuck in spider webbing. Giant mechanical spiders approach and the landing party fights their way clear with phasers. They feel the ship moving, endure visions of a large green monster, then locate the control centre. When Kirk reaches out to override the helm setting, the trio are paralyzed, surrounded by a crystal-shaped transporter chamber and beamed down to a class M planet.

The trio spots a Roman driving a horse-drawn chariot. He blasts out an alarm with a trumpet. They are immediately trapped in nets by Roman soldiers. The landing party is kept overnight in a prison, then are escorted to an arena, where citizens hail their Caesar – a robot wearing a red cape. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are forced to participate in a chariot race where all losers will be burned to death. During the race, soldiers fire arrows at the drivers and install bladed obstacles to the race course for added drama. Kirk wins the race, and as he is brought forward to be given his laurel leaf crown of victory, he strikes the robot with his racing whip, knocking it down. It breaks into pieces, shattering its hypnotic hold over the populace. McCoy thinks that the world now resembles ancient Rome in its heyday.

Guards return the landing party's equipment, and Kirk hails the Enterprise for beam-up. Hikaru Sulu reports that the shuttle has disappeared along with the coffin ship.



Caesar robotJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota Uhuramechanical giant spidersunnamed USS Enterprise personnel (2260s)
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

chariotUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Galileo (NCC-1701/1) (class F shuttlecraft) • Mark Theta space station (coffin ship)


Interstellar spaceunnamed planet (unnamed star system)
Referenced only
Earth (Rome) • Jupiter

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Starfleet (command divisionoperations divisionsciences division)

Science and technology

arrowbladebowcatapultcommunicationscommunicatorcomputercontrol centrelong distance transporternetphaserrobotscannerspearstar chartstunsurvival kittransporterviewscreen

Ranks and titles

captaindoctorFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)rankStarfleet ranks

Other references

assignment patch automatic pilotbeambioluminescencecapedeathdogexecutionhangarhelmethorsehypnosislanding partylichenlionmazeminutemistmossplantpractical jokeprisonprison cellreplicaskeletonspacespiderspider webstadiumStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)starshipsteeltreetrumpetwhip


Related media


  • 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". Each segment began on the cover and continued onto two interior pages of TV21 Weekly magazine.
  • Shuttlecraft Galileo (NCC-1701/1) is visibly named and marked with the non-canon registry in this story. This version of Galileo makes its second of four (possibly six) appearances in the UK comic strips series. When the coffin-shaped space station disintegrates at the end of the story, the shuttle is declared a loss. However, this vessel, or a replacement with the same registry, is featured in arc 12 "The Marshall Plan", arc 24 "Vibrations in Time" and is 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 are caught in spider webs was depicted on a cover. Its cover blurb coincidentally promoted a Spider-Man story.
  • Kirk also races 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 recurs 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 (comic story) article at Tardis Data Core, the Doctor Who wiki)
  • It is 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 does not state that either had entered orbit of the Rome-like planet.
  • Spock deduces that the Caesar robot and the coffin ship are somehow connected, but that story point is left unexplained.
  • 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.



UK comic strips
Weekly story arcs "Life Form Nonexistent" • "The Crucial Element" • "Beware the Beast" • "The Third Party" • "The Children of Stai" • "Skin Deep" • "The Eagles Have Landed" • "Spectre of the Zond" • "Nor Any Drop to Drink" • "Menace of the Moloth" • "The Klingon Ultimatum" • "The Marshall Plan" • "Mutiny on the Dorado" • "The Ageless One" • "Thorpex" • "Under the Sea" • "Revolt on Dak-Alpha" • "Where Giants Tread" • "I, Emperor" • "Slaves of the Frogmen" • "Key Witness" • "Nova-Thirteen" • "Prison Break" • "Vibrations in Time" • "The Aging World" • "By Order of the Empire" • "Creeping Death" • "Ground Zero" • "The Collector" • "To Swiftly Go..." • "The Mindless Ones" • "The Perithees Alliance" • "The Saboteur Within" • "The Void of Storms" • "Spheres of War" • "Shell Game" • "To Rule the Universe"
Annual stories "Target: Zargot" • "A Bite of the Apple" • "Captives in Space" • "Planet of Rejects" • "Gateway to the Future" • "The Zodian Sacrifice" • "Smoke and Mirrors" • "Planet of the Dead" • "What Is This Thing Called Spock?" • "The Gods Have Come!" • "Rock and a Hard Place"


Published Order
Previous comic:
Where Giants Tread
TOS comics (UK comic strips) Next comic:
Slaves of the Frogmen
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Planet of Rejects
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Mutiny on the Dorado
Previous comic:
Planet of Rejects
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year One Next comic:
Mutiny on the Dorado

Production history

February 1971
March 1971
December 2016
Reprinted in the omnibus The Classic UK Comics, Volume 2 (IDW Publishing)
28 September 2017
Reprinted in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection, Volume 20. (Eaglemoss Collections)

External link