On May 19, a mysterious Facebook post went up on the Axanar Fanpage (not to be confused with the Axanar Fan GROUP on Facebook) announcing the first-ever AXANAR COMIC BOOK titled “The Final Plan.” I say “mysterious” because the post was made by “Captain Magnus” with no other identification. The announcement said:
Alec Peters loved my idea that, in order to help honor and preserve the great legacy that which is Axanar, we are going to present something very special to you wonderful guys and gals, and hopefully to all trekkies and trekkers everywhere! The Axanar Fanpage is going to be doing a mini-series graphic novel/comic (nothing too big mind you, about 3 full length colored pages long–like I said “mini”), expanding upon if you will but still being directly tied into the story of Axanar (more closely to Prelude to Axanar). This will be one way to pay a special tribute to the Fans/Donors, the entire Axanar Production Team (and all else involved whether directly or indirectly), and of course to Alec Peters. (Hopefully several more installments of the graphic novel to follow). As soon as it is ready to launch we will post it right here for everyone to enjoy!
Believe it or not, this is not the first time a Star Trek fan film has been adapted into a comic book or graphic novel. Way back in 2002, the fan film Starship Exeter was featured in an 18-page comic. Seven years later in 2009, Starship Farragut also got its own comic, this one a whopping 48 pages! Both comics were produced by Kail Tescar on his StarTrekAnimated.com website. And of course, there’s the more recent fan film novelettes based on the fan series Star Trek: Phase II.
Many fans wondered who this pseudonymous fan creator was and why he was using a pen name. So I tracked down the mysterious “Captain Magnus” and it turned out to be none other than Axanar mega-fan TREY McELWAIN, who created that same Axanar Fanpage on Facebook in the first place!
So mystery solved, but I still had a whole bunch more questions…
JONATHAN – So Trey, why did do initially take on the alias of “Captain Magnus?
TREY – It’s no big deal, really. Years ago, when I was in school and was writing a lot (well a lot more often than I am these days), I would always use a pseudonym on my work. I think initially I had done it in those days because I thought “it was cool.”
Later on, when I was with the volunteer fire department, I got the nickname “The Captain” because I was working so hard to move up through the ranks. Eventually, everyone I knew started calling me “The Captain,” and it just stuck.
So when I first started up the Axanar Fanpage, I thought it would be fun to take on the identity of “The Captain” there, too. But then I started getting these brutal and ruthless posts from the people you call “detractors.” I don’t know what to call them, but they tried to turn my fan page into a battlefield!
The attacks that I received as “The Captain” for my support of Axanar and me running my fan page were rude, mean, and downright hateful. They had no care in the world at all for me, my passion, or the fact that I’m just a guy loving what I love and doing what I do. I mean come on, what type of world do we live in where you get bashed and hated on for what you love? It really is all so crazy sometime.
Anyway, every time I thought of dropping the pseudonym and using my real name, to be honest with you, I actually got a little scared…not just for me but for my wife and family. The things these people were saying, the onslaught I received, they made me afraid that the people I loved would be attacked, as well…certainly online and maybe even physically.
JONATHAN – Wow…that just leaves me speechless. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Trey. Should I not use your real name for this interview then?
TREY – No, it’s okay. I’ve decided to stop hiding. Two weeks ago, we had a death in the family, and it gave me time to reflect and realize that life is way too short to worry about what someone else thinks of me or what they may or may not do. That’s no way to live. So here I am: “The Captain” as myself…Trey McElwain.
JONATHAN – Well, then, tell us all a little bit about Trey McElwain.
TREY – I live in Austin, Texas, and I have been married to my best friend, my wife, for six years. After high school, I joined up with the Fire Department where I grew up, and then made the move to the veterinary medical field back in 2005. Now I work as a Technician’s Assistant at a specialty animal hospital here in town, where I absolutely love my job.
I have a wonderful pit bull named Thor (who loves to give lots and lots of slobber kisses), and two cats that are more like roommates than they are house pets.
I tend my mother’s garden on the weekends, where we spend our time there chasing butterflies with the cameras. And in my spare time, I write sci-fi short stories and play video games…when I’m not doing “honey-do’s” or throwing the ball with the mutt.
Other hobbies of mine include collecting figurines, comics, and movie props. I’m 42 now, and I can remember way back when my father was still alive how we would watch his favorite TV show called Star Trek. I have loved Star Trek my entire life and will until the day I die.
I fell in love with Axanar, and now run the Fanpage in the evenings when I get home from work.
JONATHAN – As an Axanar fan, what made you decide to go the extra parsec and create an actual Axanar comic book?
TREY – Well, I’ve been a Star Trek fan my entire life and a comic book collector for almost as long…so I figured the two would go together like peanut butter and jelly!
But seriously, I don’t know how to put this in to words, but I will try. Financially speaking, my wife and I have what some might consider a “paycheck-to-paycheck” lifestyle, although we’re doing slightly better now than we were three years ago. Back then, we lived in a perpetual state of “gray-mode” (that’s something that I picked up from a Voyager episode), meaning that we would turn off the lights to conserve as much power as possible and just use candles for light in the room that we were in (or going to), and most times we went without A/C, and ….well you get the basic idea.
We still would use the computer (pretty much our only form of entertainment at the time), and I remember I found a fan film that I really liked called Star Trek: Of Gods and Men that we always used to watch.
One day when I came home from work, not turning on anything in the house except for the computer, I found something that sort of changed my life forever. That night, when I went to the Youtube channel, on the side there is a list of recommendations of videos that I might like. One of them was this thing called “Axanar.” So I clicked on it. And I was completely blown away by what I saw!
Something that my mom always tells me is to “write it down” and “finish my story.” And here was this guy who I had never heard of before, telling HIS Star Trek story of Axanar. I had just come home, was hating life and the world, and there was this amazing story that was so… Star Trek.
In Prelude, there is a line that Alec Peters as Garth of Izar delivers. The line is, “We didn’t sign up to be warriors, that’s not what Starfleet’s about.” That line resonated within me on a level that I had not been touched in some time. It was so inspiring to me. It inspires me still to this day, and has given me hope.
I was 100% completely hooked, and became a fan instantly. As time went on, I learned about the Kickstarter campaigns for it, and about becoming a donor. I thought how cool was that, to become a donor and to help out and show my support for this incredible “movement” that was taking place right before my very eyes.
But with our financials the way they were—and no end in sight to “gray-mode”—I thought that might never happen. So to show my support, I started the Axanar Fanpage. As time went along, and we were starting to become more financially sound, I found myself wanting to do more. To give back. To become a donor.
But with the legal settlement, becoming a donor has become more of a dream than a reality for me…since Axanar is no longer allowed to do crowd-funding. But I still have this feeling of wanting to give something back. So I thought to myself, how cool would it be if I did this comic thing based off of Axanar, something for all the fans to enjoy?
And the ideas that I had for it have been never-ending. But in the end, my goal is to have it be like an adaptation of Prelude to Axanar, highlighting those incredible scenes. I’ve always wanted to write…and to write about something you love just makes it so much more enjoyable.
JONATHAN – I’m guessing you cleared this with Alec Peters first before proceeding, right? What did you tell him, and how did he react? Has he given you any input or direction?
TREY – Yes, I did clear this with Alec Peters before starting this project. That guy is such a wonderful sport (I can’t help but smile). I must have bugged him about this whole thing now at least a couple of dozen times…if not more! When I came up with the idea months ago, I started bugging him about it. The very first time he said, “Great idea!” and told me to “Go for it!”
I don’t know if he realized at the time how passionate I was about this project—or if he simply thought I was some crazy (or crazed) fan—but I had his blessing. So a few months back, when I started to get more serious (writing down some rough ideas that I had about it, tracking down an artist and seeing if he was willing to do this in his spare time), I messaged Alec again about it. And of course, he assured me that my project was “fine” and that it was “a good idea.” So on I have trodded.
Something you have to understand, mind you, is that I have bugged this man with endless texts and messages since I first learned about Axanar. Everything from wishing him a good day to telling him everything about my “crazy plans” to how much I love Axanar itself. Maybe it’s our mutual love for Star Trek, but that every time I have chatted with the guy, it’s like talking with an old friend. And we have chatted about so much: our love for Star Trek, our love for Captain America, the future of Axanar…it’s always so cool talking with him.
As I was finishing the script, it became clear to me of how this is going to be sort of an adaptation of Prelude, and I wanted to make sure once again that he was okay with it, and as always with his blessing, he has told me to go for it. So while he has not given any direct input or direction, he has been very supportive of the project and the direction that I am taking it.
JONATHAN – Are you concerned at all with being legally challenged by CBS for creating a comic featuring their intellectual property?
Next time – We get the answer to that cliff-hanger question (you know how much I love to end on those!). We’ll also discuss finding an artist, determining the number of pages for the comic, and whether the future holds the promise of more Axanar comic stories or if its “one-and-done” for Trey.