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Behold the idol who demands the death of the three strangers! — "The Cosmic Cavemen" was a Star Trek comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1973, the 17th issue of their TOS series. It was the 15th story drawn by Alberto Giolitti and the first written by Arnold Drake.

In this story, on the planet Neesan, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty were stunned to see an idol of Spock worshiped by the natives, primitive people who were now sentencing them to death.


As they fly the endless seas of space, the crew of the starship Enterprise constantly "weigh anchor" at strange and dangerous ports of call. But none so unusual as the planet Neesan, where fire is magic, the wheel unknown, and cavemen reign supreme!


Part I

On the planet Neesan, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty are stunned to see an idol of Spock worshiped by the natives, primitive people who are now sentencing them to death...

Captain's log: star date 19:24.3 In standard orbit around the uncharted planet we have named Neesan, our sensors and scanners have brought back strange tidings...

Spock discovers lifeforms on the planet. The lifeforms are at the Stone Age level of development and Captain Kirk orders that the crew observe the Prime Directive and not interfere in their culture. Kirk decides to lead a landing party down to the surface to quietly observe the inhabitants.

On arrival on the surface, the party is attacked by primitive men riding pterodactyls and carrying spears. After a brief fight with the primitives, Kirk and his party surrender to the men to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed. As Spock calls via communicator to check on the party's progress, it is smashed by a primitive who is frightened by the "spirit voice in a small box".

Kirk and his party are led into a cave system where they are put before Lok-the-Wise, who tells Kirk that she "saw" the landing party tresspassing on the sacred ground of Unruho using her telepathic abilities. The penalty for trespassing is death, and they are led to face the statue of Unruho, and discover that it is the image of Spock, flanked by strange carved creatures. The party attempt to make their escape but are stopped by Lok after she blows Backi tree powder from the local trees that put the party to sleep.

Kirk's head is on the execution block when Spock is beamed into the area and is instantly hailed as Unruho. Kirk, McCoy and Scotty awaken to find maidens ministering to them. Spock dismisses the natives, who are called the Tol people; he does not know why they have made a statue of him. The Tol are about to be attacked by the Kovars, a more savage tribe, but the Enterprise officers must not aid them. Scotty is enjoying Lok's company when they are charged by a Kovar advance guard riding a powerful creature...

Part II

Captain's log: star date 19.24.5 For some unexplained reason, the Tol people of the planet Neesan believe Mr. Spock to be a god, which saved the rest of us from execution. But then we found ourselves in the middle of a war...

Scotty carries Lok into the woods, and they rejoin the others. The Enterprise officers beam back to the ship, Scotty fondly bidding Lok farewell. Back on the Enterprise, McCoy points out that Lok took Scotty's phaser; Kirk and Scotty beam back down to recover it and preserve the Prime Directive. They dodge a party of mounted Kovars, but must go around them to get to the Tols. The two tribes meet in battle. Lok draws the phaser to protect the idol, but Scotty and Kirk climb over the carved head of Spock to confront her. She threatens to kill Scotty, but Kirk kicks the phaser from her hand, and he and Scotty escape. Kirk uses his phaser to cause a rockslide, cutting off their Kovar pursuers, but more Kovars appear and knock them unconscious.

On the Enterprise, Spock realizes why the Tols consider him a god: early in the Enterprise's mission, on the planet Dukar, Spock encountered a huge creature similar to those carved on either side of the idol of Unruho. Briefly panic-stricken, Spock sent out an uncontrolled telepathic cry for help before stopping the creature with his phaser. Lok received Spock's message, mistook it for a vision of Unruho and ordered the carving of the statue.

The Kovars destroy the idol and prepare to burn Kirk and Scotty to death, but Spock again appears and is hailed as Unruho by the Tols. Jeebo, the Kovars' chief, refuses to believe in Spock's divinity and tries to hit him with an ax, but Spock uses the transporter to disappear from one spot and reappear in another. Jeebo is restrained by his followers, who now believe Spock is Unruho. The Tols and Kovars pledge to live in peace. Lok promises to build a much larger statue of Spock, but he tells her to build no idols to him: "The spirit of the universe is everywhere – in every form! And your finest worship lies in the deeds of your lives!"

Scotty again bids farewell to Lok, who tells him she shall see him wherever he goes and gives him a crystal flower as a parting gift. Back on the Enterprise, Spock makes a snide remark about Lok's flower; Scotty nearly punches him, but Kirk breaks up the argument.



JeeboJames T. KirkLokLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpock
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class)


DukarNeesan (LydoXamgina)
Referenced only

Races and cultures


States and organizations


Science and classification

axbulletclubcommunicatorcudgelgunpowdernuclear furnacephaserscannersensorspeartechnologytransporterweaponweapon belt

Ranks and titles


Other references

animalartBacki treebagpipebloodbuttoncanyoncaptain's logcavecavemancave paintingcrystal flowerdinosaurdrumDukar dinosaurexecutionexecution blockfiregodGolden Fontsgrassheatherheavenidolknock-out powderlifeformlight-yearlovemagicmentalistNeesan armadilloNeesan pterodactylNeesan cariboupterodactylpterosaurorbitpeacephysiologypipeplanetporridgePrime DirectivequeenScotsmansea • "Sleep of Eternity" • solar systemsolar windsolar-wind stormspacespiritstatueStone Agestunsupernaturaltea partytelepathytribetruckuniverseVulcan palm treewarwheel


Circa 2265
Spock encountered a dinosaur on the planet Dukar.


Related media


  • This issue marked the first time in Gold Key that Scott's uniform was colored red, Kirk's was gold, and McCoy's was blue. In previous issues, they all wore green-colored shirts.
  • When Kirk, McCoy and Scotty were brought before the idol of Unruho, the panel was partly copied from the story's splash page, but McCoy and Scotty have traded positions. Each is in the same pose as the other was on the earlier page.
  • Scotty said he once studied physiology.
  • After Kirk triggered the rockslide, one of Scotty's word balloons came from Kirk.



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 comic:
#16: Day of the Inquisitors
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#18: The Hijacked Planet
Previous story:
first story
Stories by:
Arnold Drake
Next story:
The Hijacked Planet
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Devil's Isle of Space
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Dwarf Planet
Previous comic:
The Devil's Isle of Space
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
Dwarf Planet
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2266.
The Memory Beta Chronology places events from this story in 1 other timeframe(s):
Previous adventure:
Dark Traveler
c. 2265
Spock's visit to Dukar
Next adventure:
Furlough to Fury
2265 flashback
Production history
February 1973
First published by Gold Key Comics.
August 1974
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1975 (World Distributors Limited)
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 2 (Golden Press)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 3 (Checker Book Publishing Group)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
August 2014
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Gold Key Archives, Volume 3 (IDW)
14 September 2017
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #19 (Eaglemoss)
French: In the omnibus Star Trek Album #5 (Remparts)
October 1974
French: As "Les Hommes de la Caverne du Cosmos" in Star Trek #11 (Remparts)
15 November 1974
Italian: As "Il Cavernicoli Cosmici" in Albi Spada #6 (2nd series) (Edizioni Fratelli Spada)
Finnish: As "Kosminen Luolamies" in Avaruusmatka Star Trek #4 (Apulehti)
Dutch: As "De Holenmensen van de Ruimt" in b/w in Star Trek #7 (De Vrijbuiter)
September 1976
Portuguese: As "Os Primitivos Cósmicos" in Jornada Nas Estrelas #5 (Abril)
25 May 1976
Spanish: In Domingos Alegres #1153 Viaje a las Estrellas (Editorial Novaro)
German: Serialized over two issues as "Der Planet des Steinernen Gottes" and "Spock und die Barbaren" in Zack 1976 #10-11 (Koralle)
Portuguese: As "Homens das Cavernas No Cosmos" in b/w in O Caminho das Estrelas #19 (Aguiar)
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 5 (Free Books)

External links