Star Trek comics are published under licensing agreements with Paramount Pictures. The publication history of Star Trek comics can be divided into distinct eras by publisher.
Western Publishing produced 61 Star Trek comics under the Gold Key Comics imprint from October 1967 to February 1979. The early issues bear little resemblance to the television series and were published on an irregular schedule. The first nine issues have photo covers. At times, reprints were used to fill out the publishing schedule. 35 issues were reprinted in four oversize paperback volumes as "The Enterprise Logs". Paramount pulled the Gold Key license shortly before the first film was scheduled for release.
The release of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" ushered in the first Marvel Comics era. Marvel published a movie adaptation and 18 issues beginning in December 1979. Marvel's Star Trek comics didn't sell very well and the series was cancelled in February 1982.
DC Comics purchased the Star Trek comics franchise and began publishing in February 1984, following the release of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". DC's first Star Trek series produced 56 issues, three annuals, two movie adaptations, a two-issue Who's Who reference, and a six-issue mini-series introducing Star Trek: The Next Generation to comics.
In November 1988, DC stopped publishing Star Trek comics, revamped and renewed their licensing agreement, and began anew in the fall of 1989 after the release of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". For six years, DC published Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation comics. Each series produced 80 issues, six annuals, several movie adaptations, mini-series, and special issues. Two Star Trek graphic novels were also published. DC Comics lost their license to publish Star Trek comics in December 1995.
The first Star Trek graphic novel, Debt of Honor, was originally published in hardcover and reprinted in trade paperback. DC also published and reprinted several collections of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation comics. Most remain in print and may be found in new and used bookstores in addition to comic shops.
In the summer of 1993, Malibu Comics acquired a license to publish comics based on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Malibu published 32 issues, two annuals, three mini-series, including a DS9/TNG crossover, created jointly with DC, and several special issues. Malibu brought new marketing techniques to Star Trek comics, publishing several comics with foil-enhanced covers, photo covers, and a hologram cover. The enhanced issues are probably of interest only to completists.
Marvel re-entered the Star Trek universe via the back door by acquiring Malibu Comics in November 1994. In 1995, Star Trek: Voyager comics, based on the premiere episode of Paramount's fourth Star Trek televison series, were scheduled to join Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in Malibu's line-up, but never materialized. Malibu lost their license to publish Star Trek comics in December 1995.
Marvel Comics and Paramount Pictures launched a line of Star Trek comics in Fall 1996, the 30th anniversary of the original series. Marvel produced 93 Star Trek comics, publishing stories from the first four television series. Two new series featuring Captain Pike's Enterprise and Nog's Starfleet Academy classmates were introduced. Also published were one-shots, including a movie adaptation, a look at the Mirror universe, Romulan first contact with the Borg, and crossovers with Marvel's X-Men. In 1998, Marvel experienced financial turmoil and gave up their license by mutual consent with Paramount, unfortunately leaving some unfinished story arcs.
In 1999, Wildstorm Comics, an imprint of DC Comics, acquired the license for Star Trek comics. Wildstorm chose not to publish any ongoing series, focusing on mini-series and one-shots, giving them more flexibility to bring in new creators with science fiction backgrounds. Wildstorm published 29 comics, including two hardcover graphic novels and three collections of their one-shots and mini-series, and participated in the Deep Space Nine relaunch, a continuation of the DS9 saga in print, orchestrated by Pocket Books. In July 2001, Wildstorm scaled back publication plans due to poor sales and ultimately didn't renew their contract with Paramount.
Checker Book Publishing Group began reprinting Gold Key Star Trek comics in 2004.
Titan Books began reprinting DC Comics Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation comics in 2005.
Tokyopop published a Classic Star Trek manga anthology September 2006 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Star Trek and released two additional volumes. A Star Trek: The Next Generation manga anthology was published April 2009.
IDW Publishing acquired the Star Trek comics license Fall 2006 and began publishing comics January 2007. IDW also acquired a license to reprint some DC and Marvel Star Trek comics Fall 2008.
Graphic Imaging Technology (GIT Corp) acquired a license to publish Star Trek comics in digital format on DVD-ROM. A collection featuring comics from Gold Key, Marvel, DC and Wildstorm was published September 2008.