Reviewing the AXANAR reviewer!!! (editorial with three exclamation points!)

Last summer, shortly after an early version of the 90-minute AXANAR script was leaked, a detractor going by the name of Kate Stark (pretty sure that’s a pseudonym) wrote a 19-part, 30,000-word blog series essentially ripping the poor draft version of that script into tiny literary pieces…trampled under the feet of a very self-important and erudite reviewer.

Yep, 19 parts, 30,000 words.  Don’t believe me?  Just click here and then scroll down to the bottom and click “Older Posts.”  Also, that’s just July.  Remember to also scroll to the bottom right for the blogs from June!

So yeah, that happened.  And the detractors, of course, were ecstatic.  Not only was someone reviewing the Axanar script, but the reviewer seemed to be REALLY smart and really HATED it (like 30,000 words worth of utter disdain written so intelligently!).  The high-fives and posted photos of pies were flowing like water over Niagara Falls on the detractor Facebook groups for quite a while.

But then…frustration.  There was no new Axanar anything left to review and eviscerate.  The 19-part blog series was all but forgotten.

Until last week, that is.  I rescued blogger Kate Stark from endless months of boredom and obscurity by releasing the first-ever Axanar illustrated short story: Why We fight.  Finally, the reviewer’s poison pen—er, keyboard—could come out of hibernation once again!

This time the blog series was much shorter: only 7 parts and 6,000 words.  (Just FYI, my short story itself was a total of 1,900 words.  So, yeah…three times as long.  FUN!)

Actually, it’s a very intelligent review (read part 1 here).  You know it’s intelligent because the reviewer almost immediately compares my short story to one of Ernest Hemingway’s works (and of course, finds my story lacking).  By the time you get to part 7, I’m being criticized for everything from bad character development to using too many question marks and exclamation points.  Hey, that’s my thing!!!  Isn’t it???

I wasn’t going to say anything, but then Kate Stark did something that changed my mind…

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Drawing AXANAR – an interview with “WHY WE FIGHT” artist MARK McCRARY

Last week, I premiered the first-ever AXANAR illustrated short story, “Why We Fight,” written by yours truly and illustrated by MARK McCRARY.  I met Mark through another Mark, MARK LARGENT, with whom I co-wrote and co-produced the fan parody film Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are.  Mark and Mark are buddies, and together they wrote and illustrated an awesome fan comic book about the final voyage of James T. Kirk entitled “Save What From Heaven Is with the Breezes Blown.”

You probably already know about me (and if you don’t, read some of my biography blogs here).  But my illustrator Mark McCrary is still a mystery to most fans.  Not anymore!  I felt that Mark deserved a decent interview to finally tell the fan film world a little bit about himself.

And so, without further ado, the man who made my Axanar fan fiction story look totally amazing…

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Has the ANTI-AXANAR “vendetta” finally gotten RIDICULOUS?

Actually, I think the AXANAR detractors have been pretty ridiculous for quite some time now.  In fact, one Axanar supporter told me recently, “Y’know, if Alec Peters goes to take a leak in a restaurant, someone from one of the hater groups is gonna follow him in to see if there’s any piss left on the toilet seat.  Then Carlos Pedraza will write a blog about how Alec has no respect for janitors!”

What a great image to begin a blog with, huh?  Well, it seems that the Axanar detractors are stooping nearly that low (if they haven’t already surpassed it) in their latest efforts to try to embarrass and sabotage their favorite target of ridicule, Alec Peters.

While I usually ignore the day-to-day antics of the Axanar detractors, every so often something pops up that just leaves me scratching my head.  And let me tell ya, my scalp was itching like crazy when I saw a recent Facebook IM conversation that recently went on between Axamonitor blogger Carlos Pedraza and the assistant of Tony Cade.

But before I show it to you, there’s a quick bit of background you need to know first…like who the heck is Tony Cade???

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“WHY WE FIGHT” – the first-ever AXANAR illustrated short story!

Click here to view the PDF version of “Why We Fight”

Read more about the creation of this original Axanar short story by clicking here.  And come back next week for an interview with illustrator Mark McCrary.

“Why We Fight”

An Axanar Short Story

Written by Jonathan Lane
Illustrations by Mark McCrary

Stardate: 2244.9
Location: The 602 Club, Mill Valley near San Francisco, Earth

At a table…

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The latest AXANAR NEWS!

Last October, it was announced that Marvel Comics writer PAUL JENKINS would be joining ALEC PETERS as co-writer of the 2-part Axanar fan film allowed by the settlement with CBS and Paramount.  I interviewed Paul shortly thereafter, and you’re welcome to read what he had to say here.

But then Axanar went pretty quiet over the holiday season and through the entire month of January.  But last week, Alec posted a flurry of updates, and suddenly I’ve got LOTS to report on!

If you regularly visit the website, chances are you already know most of what I’m about to tell you.  In fact, I’ll be taking a lot of the updates verbatim from there.  But since not all my readers go there, I’ll be providing all of the updates here in one convenient blog post.

So let’s jump right in…

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Coming next week: the first-ever AXANAR SHORT STORY written by…me!

Yes, folks, I wrote an Axanar short story…and you’ll get to read it in just one more week!

Inspiration hit last spring when another Axanar super-fan, Trey McElwain from Texas, announced that he would be releasing a three-page (plus cover) original Axanar comic book story.  I interviewed Trey back in June (read it here) and was really excited to see the finished product…which would debut in July.  But I also thought about how much fun it would be to write an Axanar comic book myself.

The first thing I needed to decide is what the story would be about.  Space battles with Starfleet fighting the Klingons seemed obvious…perhaps too obvious.  After all, Prelude to Axanar had already given us quite a bit of starship combat, and so had Trey’s Axanar comic book.  I didn’t want to simply do more of the same.

To me, the most interesting aspects of the Axanar tapestry were the characters themselves and also the world of the Federation a short 20 years before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission.  At the time, I hadn’t seen the script for the full Axanar feature or the two 15-minutes “mockumentary-style” fan films being planned.  So I didn’t really know what I could and couldn’t do with the characters…even if I set the story during the events of Prelude.

So that left the world of 2245 and where the United Federation of Planets was at that point in its history.  Yes, there was a four-year-long war with the Klingons going on.  But for me, there was something even more significant, and it all came from a single line from Prelude

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Why one AXANAR detractor is now a FORMER Axanar detractor! (audio interview)

Some call them “haters.”  I call them “detractors.”  Any way you slice it, though, they are the Captain Ahabs and Khans of the fan film community.  They will chase ALEC PETERS ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before they ever let go of their anger and resentment for him and his fan project AXANAR.

And their wrath and indignation aren’t simply reserved for Alec himself but also for anyone who supports him and his production, anyone who stands up to defend him, and in fact anyone who has any connection to him and Axanar whatsoever…real or perceived.

Sometimes, the detractors just insult people, call them names, and/or create a few snarky memes.  Sometimes it’s angry tweets and posts on Facebook.  But occasionally it goes beyond that to attempts to sabotage people in social media through reports to Facebook and the like, online threats, or even interfering with people’s livelihoods.  Such a thing happened the week before last…and I wouldn’t have even known about it had not a member of Carlos Pedraza’ AXAMONITOR Facebook group contacted me privately to share his newfound concerns and disgust for the group.

I personally stopped visiting the Axamonitor Facebook group (and any other lingering detractor echo-chambers) many, many months ago.  It was a waste of my time, as the petty nastiness and cruel vulgarity in those groups was frankly nauseating.  And it wasn’t just the insults against Alec (or me).  These guys often turned venomously on each other, and the moderators had to frequently warn members to be respectful of other members (just not respectful of any Axanar supporters).

So when JOES DIAZ sent me an IM request on Facebook on Superbowl Sunday morning, I had no idea who he was or what had happened in the Axamonitor group.  When I found out, I was pretty disgusted myself…although not entirely surprised.

As we messaged back and forth, I asked Joe if he felt strongly enough about this incident, and about his fellow detractors, that he might want to do an interview to share his story.  He said yes, and the next day, we had the following very eye-opening discussion…

I can imagine how the detractors will react to this interview.  But maybe, just maybe, a few of them might hear Joe’s words and begin to realize that hating on Axanar and Alec Peters won’t solve anything…and perhaps it’s finally time to just settle down and move on.

AXANAR DETRACTOR changes his mind about ALEC PETERS!

On Saturday, GABE KOERNER, a well-known detractor of Axanar and ALEC PETERS, sent me the following e-mail out of the blue:

I’ve given up on the Idea that the guy is some kind of willful criminal. He isn’t. He’s just a mix of Massively Egotistical and Massively Incompetent which can LOOK “criminal” but it really isn’t.

Yeah, it’s obvious that Gabe isn’t ready to finally stop trying to disparage Alec (frankly, I doubt that Gabe will ever be able to completely let this go).  But this was a HUGE revelation and step forward for someone who, like many detractors, had been calling Alec all kinds of synonyms for crook, thief, criminal, liar, embezzler…the list goes on and on!

At the heart of the most extreme detractor arguments has been a contention that Alec had willfully taken money from Axanar donors to fund a lavish lifestyle of things like jet-setting around the world, eating sushi, paying for health insurance, and buying new tires for his car.  I’ve seen the full Axanar financials—endless pages of spreadsheets!—and I’ve tried to explain about a million times here and elsewhere how this wasn’t the case at all.  It was like trying to reason with jello!

And even if you’re one of those people who thinks the Axanar books were somehow cooked, the fact remains that the goal of embezzling is to come out with MORE money, NOT less.  And yet, Alec Peters has put in close to a quarter of a million dollars of HIS OWN money (generated from the sale of screen-used props from his extensive collection) to fund this project.  Of course, you can argue whether or not a studio should have been leased/built or simply rented, But even Alec himself now agrees that he should have filmed Axanar on James Cawley’s TOS sets in upstate New York as originally envisioned.  So that’s not the point today.

Now personally, I have no idea if any other of the detractors on their various public and secret Facebook groups are now in agreement with what Gabe has just acknowledged…and frankly, I don’t feel like checking those crass and vitriolic places to confirm.  And I don’t really have to.

The story today is simple.  I received an e-mail on Saturday, unsolicited, from someone who is a good friend of, and has been conversing with, former Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT.  And in this e-mail, Gabe Koerner finally gives up on a long-standing claim that he has clung to that Alec Peters is some kind of willful criminal.  That’s a BIG step forward.

And if Gabe can finally move past such a deeply-held belief—despite the other digs that he still feels he must make—then maybe there is some hope for other Axanar detractors out there.  Maybe…

Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 2)

Last time, we began a fascinating discussion with PAUL JENKINS, who will be the new co-writer of Axanar.  Although ALEC PETERS has already written complete drafts of the two 15-minute short fan films allowed thorough his legal settlement with CBS and Paramount, and at least ten major iterations of the full 90-minute script exist, Alec has asked Paul to come on board to help polish and finalize all three long and short scripts.

Paul himself is a very impressive writer and film producer in his own right.  He is credited as one of the main reasons that Marvel Comics escaped Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the 1990s when he helped to create the “Marvel Knights” series of titles.  He has written a wide range of both Marvel and DC comics characters, winning an Eisner Award and five Wizard Fan Awards.  His work on Wolverine: Origin was even turned into a blockbuster feature film.

Paul has written and creative directed numerous titles for the video gaming industry, and he’s worked on projects with many of the major motion picture studios.  Paul currently lives in Georgia and chairs an advisory committee to educate the Georgia General Assembly on the evolution of digital and interactive technologies.  He’s also been tasked by Georgia’s governor to help cultivate and nurture the growing film development industry in the state.

And now Paul will be lending his impressive talents to Axanar.

In the first part of our interview, we learned how Paul first got involved in the project, and how the announcement of his involvement almost immediately caught the attention of Axanar detractors who contacted him with very negative and angry messages.  (Seriously, guys?)

But Paul is taking it all in stride.  Having been a prolific comic book writer for more than two decades, this isn’t Paul’s first rodeo.  As far as he is concerned, the lawsuit has been settled, and now the job ahead is to make the next two Axanar episodes as good as they can be.

And now, back to our great interview…

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Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 1)

AXANAR has a new co-writer!  Ladies and gentlemen, meet PAUL JENKINS.  As you can see from his IMDb page, this bloke (he’s British) has done a LOT of stuff in television, film, and video games.  He’s also one of the writers credited with helping to rescue Marvel Comics from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the late 1990s with the introduction of the “Marvel Knights” series of titles.  Since then, Paul has written everything from Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk to the ground-breaking Wolverine: Origin (which served as the basis for the feature film with Hugh Jackman).

And now, Paul will be helping ALEC PETERS complete the scripts for the Axanar fan films.

The script for Axanar has trekked a long road.  Alec first began working on the story back in 2011.  And Alec welcomed input from folks like John Muenchrath (who played Dr. McCoy on Star Trek: New Voyages under the stage name “John Kelley”), Star Trek novelist Dave Galanter (see Dave Galanter’s post below in the comments section), Prelude to Axanar director Christian Gossett, and of course, “Trouble with Tribbles” episode writer David Gerrold.  During 2015, then-Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT brought on BILL HUNT to take yet another pass at tweaking the script.  By the time Axanar was ready to shoot in early 2016, the 90-minute script was already on version 7.

During the lawsuit, Bill Hunt and Alec worked on additional revisions of the script.   I read one of their iterations, and it was up to version 9.

Finally, after the lawsuit settled, Alec was permitted to make Axanar not as a 90-minute feature film but rather as two 15-minute short fan films.  There would still be a full 90-minute script distributed to donors, but two 15-minute scripts would now need to be written, based on the longer version.

Alec decided to write the new 15-minute scripts as “Part IV” and “Part V” of The Four Years War mock documentary, with Prelude to Axanar having been “Part III.”  The first drafts of both of those scripts were completed by Alec this past summer, with a number of people (including me) reviewing them an providing feedback.  Then, on October 6, Alec announced that Paul Jenkins would be joining the Axanar team as co-writer.

So what was a major comic book and Hollywood writer was doing coming to work on a Star Trek fan film???

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