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"It's A Living" is a Star Trek: The Original Series comic strip. It is the eighth story in the US Comic Strips series, published in 35 daily installments by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in 1981. The story was set after TOS movie: The Motion Picture, depicting events from Captain Kirk's second five-year mission aboard the refit USS Enterprise. In this story, Captain Kirk runs into Harry Mudd on a mining planet.


After a brief layover for recalibration of our inertial platform, we are leaving Starbase 22 on a heading for Argus IV, to investigate seismic disturbances that may imperil a mining colony there.

Commodore Cobb of Starbase 22 calls as they are leaving orbit, alerting Kirk that a long-range shuttle has just arrived with a VIP passenger, endorsed by Admiral Nogura himself.

Our mission to investigate seismic disturbances at the Argus IV mining colony is delayed by orders to take on a passenger, with a letter of transit signed by Admiral Nogura.

Mudd returns

Joining the crew is Jo Williams, "best-known broadcast journalist in the quadrant," who is preparing a documentary about Starfleet after budget cuts "left Starfleet under-allocated." Six days later, as the Enterprise settles into orbit, Nyota Uhura is unable to contact the colony. Beaming down, Kirk, Spock and Williams discover that a recent earthquake took out the subspace communication transmitters at the thermium mine. Its foreman and previous owner Max Vargas introduces them to the new owner of the planet... Harry Mudd. Another violent quake hits, and Kirk orders everyone off the planet. Though he is a wanted man, Mudd warns Kirk that he cannot be extradited from this sector.

Public perception of Starfleet

Spock detects massive life readings below the surface. After a few more quakes, the planet begins to break apart, with massive tendrils extending outward and unfolding at least 30,000 kilometers wide. The planet is an egg hatching a huge creature. Spock theorizes the egg could have been put in orbit by a parent for solar warmth, and its motive power appears to be "heliogyro, photon drive."

A creature hatches

Mudd sells back the planet before Vargas knows its fate. But Spock points out that with the planet's crust now scattered, its thermium can now be towed away without having to mine it first, making Vargas very wealthy. Mudd thwarted himself. As the creature moves off, the Enterprise launches sensor probes to follow it. Kirk jokes that he doesn't want to find out firsthand what it eats.



Pavel ChekovCobbMarcella DiFalcoJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyHarry MuddMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota UhuraMax VargasJo WilliamsArgus IV creatureunnamed Humans (miners)
Referenced only
Heihachiro Nogura

Starships and vehicles

craneUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • SW7-class shuttlecraft


Argus sector (Argus system Argus IV) • Starbase 22

Races and cultures


States and organizations

space programStarfleet

Science and classification

geologyinertial platformminingphoton driveradioRichter scaleseismic probesensorsensor probetransmittertransportertricorderturboliftviewscreen

Ranks and titles

admiralbroadcast journalistbusinessmancaptaincommodorecon artistforeman

Other references

alienassignment patchbeambridgecenturyclothingcomic stripcontractdayearthquakeeggencyclopediaengineeringextraditionFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)headachehonorhourkilometerlifeformslog entryminuteofficer's loungepolicequadrantratsectorStarfleet ranksStarfleet uniform (early 2270s)sunthermiumtreewarp factor (warp six) • year


Production history

22 March25 April 1981
Published in daily newspapers. (Los Angeles Times Syndicate)
25 December 2012
Collected in the omnibus The Newspaper Comics, Volume 1. (IDW Publishing)
23 November 2017
Collected in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #24. (Eaglemoss)


Related stories


Art credits


Kirk: I hope your documentary will correct the popular image of Starfleet. We're just people, doing a job... But the public views us as heroic figures, battling mysterious alien forces... like characters in a 20th century comic strip.
Williams: You could have fooled me.



Media featuring Harry Mudd
Episodes "Mudd's Women" • "I, Mudd" • "Mudd's Passion" • "Choose Your Pain" • "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" • "The Escape Artist"
Miniseries The Return of MuddThe Return of Harry Mudd
Novels and collections Mudd's AngelsMudd's EnterpriseMudd in Your EyeThe Light Fantastic
Short stories "The Business, As Usual, During Altercations" • "A Sucker Born" • "Dilithium Is a Girl's Best Friend"
RPGs and Video games 25th Anniversary25th Anniversary (NES)Starfleet Academy (game)Through a Glass, Darkly mTrexelsStar Trek TimelinesFleet Command
Comics "Operation Con Game" • "It's a Living" • "When You Wish Upon a Star...!" • "Mudd's Magic!" • "Mission: Muddled" • "The Sky Above...The Mudd Below" • "Target: Mudd!" • "Made Out of Mudd" • "The Survival Equation" • Discovery - Succession, Issue 1 mYear Five, Issue 15Year Five, Issue 16
m : Mirror universe
Published Order
Previous comic:
#7: Heads of State
TOS comics
(US Comic Strips)
Next comic:
#9: The Savage Within
Previous story:
Heads of State
Stories by:
Thomas Warkentin
Next story:
Last story
Previous adventure:
Heads of State
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Eclipse of Reason
Previous story:
The Business, As Usual, During Altercations
The adventures of Harcourt Fenton Mudd Next story:
When You Wish Upon a Star...!

External link