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…
I know I usually cover fan films, but today I’m looking at a full-length COMIC BOOK…written by well-known fan filmmaker MARK LARGENT.
Mark gained notoriety as the creator of the hilarious STALLED TREKseries of 3D-animated Trek parodies using puppet/muppet versions of our favorite characters. The first Stalled Trek was the 15-minute episode “Amutt Time” and the other was the award-winning “Prelude to Ax’d-We Are” (which I worked on, as well). But before there was Stalled Trek, there was a comic book!
Well, actually, the comic book existed both before AND after Stalled Trek. Let me explain that statement. Back in late 1991, Mark Largent and his friend Mark McCrary both wanted to break into the comic book industry, Largent as a writer and McCary as an artist.
TNG had just aired the 2-part episode “Unification,” which featured the elder Spock trying to bring the Romulans and Vulcans back together. A month later, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country came out and looked to be the final appearance of the original TOS crew. No one imagined that the seventh Trek feature would bring back Kirk (and the kill him off) or that Scotty would appear in a TNG episode called “Relics” a year later.
Fans might not remember that, back then, the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” was the only hint anyone had of what happened in between the two series. So after seeing “Unification” and then Trek VI, the two Marks decided to create a story that would fill in the missing 78-year gap of time between Trek VI and the beginning of TNG…leading up to Spock’s decision to go to Romulus and showing the final fate of James T. Kirk. (Remember, this was years before Generations.)
Largent wrote the script, and McCary pencilled some 60-odd pages. They created Starfleet uniforms that seemed to be a reasonable guess of what was halfway between the “monster maroons” of TOS and the jumpsuits of TNG, and the story featured most of the main TOS characters. They photocopied the pencilled pages and mailed them to DC Comics, which was publishing Star Trek comic books at the time. But they never heard back.
Then came the TNG episode “Relics,” and it completely screwed up their story since they had featured Scotty along with Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Now only an “imaginary” story at best, the comic book project was abandoned—until something happened nearly a quarter century later…
Now, this is pretty crazy! Back in April of 2016, while the CBS/Paramount v. Axanar lawsuit was still going strong, MARK LARGENT and I decided to create a parody of the whole mess with a short animated spoof called PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE-ARE. We wrote the script together in about five days, and I provided the voices for half of the characters. Mark did the lion’s share of the work, animating the entire seven-minutes in just 31 days! (For more background on how this all came together, check out this blog.)
When I first heard about the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest back in June, I posted about it because, for the first time that I was aware of, an international film festival was featuring a category specifically for FAN FILMS! I suggested to Mark Largent that he might want to enter Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are. After all, it was just 15 bucks. Other Trek fan films were also entered—including the excellent Chance Encounter, Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”, and Survivors—and we figured we might have a shot…maybe. There were also three Star Wars fan films (one from the UK and another from France), a Blade Runner fan film out of South Africa, and a horror movie spoof.
And then we saw that Prelude to Axanarhad been entered. Oh well, we thought, there goes our chance to win. (Prelude is pretty much a juggernaut.) But at least audiences would be able to watch both the parody and the original it was based on.
We actually made it to the semi-final round, along with Tears in the Rain (the South African Blade Runner fan film with some great acting), The Secret of Tatooine (all in French with awesome visual effects), and of course, Prelude to Axanar. With competition like that, we figured that “semi-finalist” was as far as we’d get. We were wrong.
We won BEST FAN FILM!!!!
Mark and I thought it was a typo! But no, there is was up on their website with our poster image. “I feel like there’s all these guys in my class who studied for months to pass the exam and all I did was cram at the last minute and ace it!” Mark told me over the phone.
I joked to ALEC PETERS of Axanar, writing, “I hope you’re not pissed at us.”
“Why would I be pissed?” he wrote back. “It’s awesome. Its all in the family. We have won 47 awards. Nice for you guys to win one.”
So Mark and I, co-writers and co-producers, can now also call ourselves winners of an international sci-fi film festival competition. And that is totally cool! Thanks for letting me share that news with you.
And in case you missed it, here’s Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are in all of its 7 minutes of glory…
How’s this for a first? A parody fan film of another fan film! And not just any fan film…it’s a parody of Prelude to Axanar!
Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are is a love letter to the amazing fan production that has become so popular… and it also doubles as a bit of light-hearted satire on this whole copyright infringement controversy. Oh, and it’s pretty darn funny, too!
So how did this Axanar parody come about? Who can we blame?
Last week: it was time to play the music, it was time to light the blinky lights, it was time to meet the puppets on the starship Second Prize…
I’m referring, of course, to the 15-minute computer-animated Star Trek parody fan film Stalled Trek and its lone episode, “Amutt Time.” It’s unique in that it features computer-generated puppets as the familiar characters of our favorite starship in a hilarious parody of the second season episode “Amok Time.” In this case, though, Mr. Spott is a Vulcanine (WOOF!) going through heat and needing to return to his home planet for mating with T’Pomeranian. Of course, Mr. Spot is only half-Vulcanine, so he’s essentially a “mutt”…hence, the title.
Truth to tell, when I first found this little gem—entirely by accident on YouTube—I wasn’t expecting much. It looked silly, and I didn’t really get what the title meant. And then I watched it. Hilarious! Brilliant! A perfect parody of one of the most classic fan-favorite TOS Star Trek episodes: “Amok Time.”