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Cornered — by an alien being, frantic to know who he is! — "Spore of the Devil" was a comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1978. It was the 18th of 22 stories drawn by Alden McWilliams and the 19th of 20 stories written by Arnold Drake. In this story, Kirk, Scotty and Spock discover an alien directing the development of a medieval world, but the alien does not know where he is from.


The Enterprise is on a diplomatic mission to a world of armored heroes imprisoned, fair maidens and fire-breathing dragons! Behind the all-powerful emperor is the mysterious figure of the evil wizard, the Great Vrunon! Captain Kirk and his crew are soon to incur that wizard's darkest wrath!


Captain's log, stardate 19:29:51:

I am dispatching a landing party of Mr. Spock, Mr. Scott and myself for a protocol visit to Planet Jodarr...

The group is met by Mixodar, then they ride brown unicorns across a moat into a medieval castle. Inside, they join Emperor Ledoy for coronation festivities involving dancing girls, knight swordfights, as well as a battle between deposed King Wobine and a winged kurgo beast. Major Rolano takes the landing party to guest quarters, but when his sweetheart Sylva tells him she will be unwillingly married to Ledoy tomorrow, Rolano is arrested for touching the king's fiancée and sentenced to death. Kirk appeals to Ledoy, but the king insists on ruling through fear and strength, as advised by his wizard, but he agrees to consult the Great Vrunon first.

The landing party travels with Ledoy aboard a barge along a river to the wizard's palace, the Shrine at Dafu. Inside, they see Vrunon, a large disembodied head floating within a crystal, but Vrunon agrees that Rolano should be executed. Spock scans Vuron with his tricorder and determines that he is not native to the planet, so that evening the landing party climbs out of the castle and returns to the shrine. Underneath the crystal they climb down a trap door and discover the real Vrunon, a shape-changing reptilian.

Captain's log, supplemental.
I joined Mr. Spock and Scotty just as the mysterious Vrunon began an "illustrated lecture"...

Vrunon explains that he was sent to the planet, but his ship crashed before he was born, destroying any microtapes that would have explained his mission, leaving only tapes on science. Intuiting that his role was to advance the culture toward peace, he allied with Ledoy to forge a unified empire, using holography and other technology to imply magical abilities. But he suffered from unexplained seizures, and he agrees to order Rolano's release if Spock can cure him.

En route to his crash site, Vrunon is attacked by a giant bear. After stunning the animal with a phaser, they find remains of his equipment in its cave. Spock dives into a volcanic lake, recovering the device that caused the seizures as well as a mission tape. The seizures were triggered by radio signals whenever Vrunon deviated from his assignment and guided the culture through fear instead of love.

Meanwhile, Kirk delays Rolano's execution by taking the major's place in a stadium battle with a gordoon, combating the dragon as if he were a bullfighter. Arriving late, Spock stuns the creature at Vruon's request. The wizard confesses his true origins to Ledoy, who then agrees to rule through love and frees Sylva to marry Rolano.



James T. KirkLedoyMixodarRolanoMontgomery ScottSpockSylvaVrunonWobine
Referenced only
King ArthurSir GalahadSaint GeorgeHikaru SuluUnnamed USS Enterprise personnel (transporter chief)

Starships and vehicles

emergency capsuleUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • imperial bargerowboatVrunon's spacecraft


Jodarr (Shrine at Dafu)
Referenced only
Earth (Medieval Europe, Spain)

Races and cultures

Human (Spanish) • Jodarr nativeVrunon's speciesVulcan

States and organizations

FederationKuderian GuardsStarfleet

Science and classification

armorbio-energybraincloningelectricitypower generatorgenetic engineeringholographyholographic projectororientation tapeprinting pressradarradioradio energytransportertricordervideo tape



Ranks and titles


Other references

arenaassignment patchbearbullringcaptain's logcastlecavechivalrycoronationcrewcrystaldancingdaydiplomacydragonemotionempirefanfare trumpetfeudalismfiregoldgonggordoongrasshelmetHomeric shiphorseironjoustinglanding partylizardmagicmarriagemedievalmeteoritemoatmountainoarorbitpeacepennyplanetplantquartersriverscienceseizureshrineStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)transporter roomtreevolcanowarwar flagwaterwinged kurgoyear


Related media

Medieval/feudal societies were also explored in:




Gold Key Comics stories and publications
Issues "The Planet of No Return" • "The Devil's Isle of Space" • "Invasion of the City Builders" • "The Peril of Planet Quick Change" • "The Ghost Planet" • "When Planets Collide" • "The Voodoo Planet" • "The Youth Trap" • "The Legacy of Lazarus" • "Sceptre of the Sun" • "The Brain Shockers" • "The Flight of the Buccaneer" • "Dark Traveler" • "The Enterprise Mutiny" • "Museum at the End of Time" • "Day of the Inquisitors" • "The Cosmic Cavemen" • "The Hijacked Planet" • "The Haunted Asteroid" • "A World Gone Mad" • "The Mummies of Heitius VII" • "Siege in Superspace" • "Child's Play" • "The Trial of Captain Kirk" • "Dwarf Planet" • "The Perfect Dream" • "Ice Journey" • "The Mimicking Menace" • "Death of a Star" • "The Final Truth" • "The Animal People" • "The Choice" • "The PsychoCrystals" • "A Bomb in Time" • "One of Our Captains Is Missing!" • "Prophet of Peace" • "Furlough to Fury" • "The Evictors" • "World Against Time" • "The World Beneath the Waves" • "Prince Traitor" • "Mr. Oracle" • "This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit" • "Murder on the Enterprise" • "A Warp in Space" • "Planet of No Life" • "Destination... Annihilation!" • "And a Child Shall Lead Them" • "What Fools These Mortals Be.." • “Sport of Knaves” • "A World Against Itself" • "No Time Like the Past" • "Spore of the Devil" • "The Brain-Damaged Planet" • "To Err Is Vulcan" • "The Empire Man!" • "Operation Con Game"
Additional stories "James T. Kirk: Psycho-File" • "A Page From Scotty's Diary" • "Spock: Psycho-File" • "From Sputnik to Warp Drive"
Collections Star Trek Annuals (1969197019721973197419751976197719781979198019831986) • The Enterprise Logs (Volumes 1234) • The Key Collection (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key Archives (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key 100-Page Spectacular
Related media "Voyage of Discovery" • "The Exile" • "The Red Hour" • "The Tunnel of Death" • "... Wild Goose Chase!" • "A Hint of Life" • "Space Chase" • "Escape from the Clinging Dags" • "Eye of the Beholder" • "The Menace of the Mechanitrons" • "Trial by Fire!"


Published Order
Previous story:
#56: No Time Like the Past
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next story:
#58: The Brain-Damaged Planet
Previous story:
No Time Like the Past
Stories by:
George Kashdan
Next story:
The Brain-Damaged Planet
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
The Final Truth
Previous comic:
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
The Final Truth

Production history

November 1978
First published by Gold Key Comics.
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD. (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
28 March 2019
Reprinted in Graphic Novel Collection #59. (Eaglemoss)


Dutch: As "Spoor van de Duivel" in the omnibus Ruimteschip Enterprise Classics Strip-Paperback #3. (De Vrijbuiter)
German: As "Die Saat des Bösen" ("The Seeds of Evil") in the omnibus Raumschiff Enterprise Comic Taschenbuch #3. (Condor)
German: As "Die Saat des Bösen" in some editions of Condor Superheiden #1: Star Trek Jahrbuch. (Condor)

External links