Set Phasers To Fun: 45 Space Cartoons Even Non-Trekkies Will EnjoyBy Sachin P
How do you express your love of a fandom? For Matthew Wils, after watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time, he was inspired to see more media like it. He created a comic series called STARS, exploring life in space in a way that only comics could depict. His series is filled with humans and extraterrestrials learning about each other and voyaging across the stars. The corridors of this starship are alive with space werewolves, extraterrestrial chickens, and demonic Roombas. Because STARS is centered on a spacecraft with a diverse cast of aliens, Matthew concentrates on their characteristics and interactions rather than worldbuilding and action. This leads to one entertaining series of comics, which you will soon see!
All images in this article are courtesy of _mjwills on Instagram.
The vastness of space
There is no credible reason to believe that we are alone in the universe. And we have no reason to assume that alien life forms look anything like the images made famous by the media. You know, the type with big heads, long arms?
The Roswell alien, Marvin the Martian, and E.T. are usually the go-to. But how can you say, the vastness that is space, that there aren’t any space dwarves? Yeah, that’s right. Got to keep all the options open on this topic now!
We are a bit on the fence about this particular one. We’re not certain if this is a fourth wall break, or something greater, like an extra dimensional being. If it’s the latter, we’d say the depiction is spot on!
We are three-dimensional beings and we can perceive the dimensions below us on a comprehensive level. Anything above those three, though, we can’t quite grasp it as we do not know how to structure it into a simple form that everyone understands.
Eau de Granite
Bol’daar kind of reminds us of Korg. You know, Korg the Kronan, who appeared in Thor: Ragnarok? Fun fact, he was voiced by Taika Watiti, the director, who also provided motion capture as well! Korg really is an unforgettable character.
The geologist, if we were to guess, looks like some space-faring star-nosed mole. What a perfect fit, because moles are great diggers, so they’d make the perfect geologists! We can understand Bol’daa’s reaction, but what a sweet ending to the comic.
Loyalty is creed
Bol’daar is probably a tough son of a gun. A rocky-based life form, so surely he’s tough to beat. He’s an absolute unit of an alien being, who can rip phone books apart using his pinkies. So why is he flustered like this?
Because Bol’daar knows what is up! He respects the captain just like Detective Santiago from Brooklyn 99; it takes all the effort he can muster to keep that “all business, no play” attitude going on, without looking like a total suck-up.
Desire has no race, creed, or in this case, biological makeup. The only issue was the language barrier but Bol’daar was there to save the day! Acting as the Captain’s translator. Surely it’d be easier to have a babel fish, wouldn’t it?
In case you forgot, babel fish are universal translators from the mind of Douglas Adams. These fish reside in your brain, allowing you to understand nearly every single alien language available. They’re almost fail-proof, so if you can get over having one in your brain, it’s worth it!
This one reminds us of Ben 10 more so than Star Trek. In the animated series, Ben has a watch called the Omnitrix, which is a mobile repository of cosmic genomics information. It allows the wearer to transform into any sentient creature it contains.
Normally, Ben gets to transform into cool aliens to help save the day. This scientist here must be a genius to have built one for himself. But, you best be careful when dealing with non-Earthlings. What might seem cool to you can be offensive to that species.
Love is all around
Now before we address the bigger issue here, we need to take a moment to discuss her outfit. Have you seen the meme asking how a creature would wear pants? Well, Matthew answered that question for centaurs in a creative way.
It shouldn’t matter how someone looks; especially in space. Unfortunately for this stunner centaur lady, she just can’t get a break. If she wants to hook up with a biped, maybe an inverse centaur is the answer. You got to have faith and keep looking in this game!
What a clever rock-paper-scissors joke! Of course, Bol’daar is afraid of the documents because it is on paper and he is made out of rock. The only question is why in the space-age, they still use paper. Digitize everything, duh!
Reminds us again of Korg the Kronan. When he was first introducing himself to Thor, he makes a rock-paper-scissors joke. Then when he accidentally kills Miek, the knife-handed alien, that’s another related joke because rock beat scissors. Man, Taika is a comedic genius!
Well, at least Lucas is pretty straightforward about his condition. He is considerate enough to give a prior warning to his shipmates before he turns into an all-out feral space werewolf. Safety is better than precaution, more so in deep space.
Considering most of these explorations take place on moons, they really have to restrain him in a safe enclosure, for their own good. That would mean that they’d either avoid certain missions or be down one member of security for all moon landings.
This reminds us of the Stabby the space Roomba Tumblr text post from years ago. We are overjoyed to see that it has been refined and used here in a perfect comedic sense. Just look at the instant decision-making skills of the captain.
The guy doesn’t even flinch! He assigns the murderous Roomba to the security detail. Now that is a good sign of leadership where you assign tasks to the most relevant individuals. No wonder this ship will be considered a nightmare for space pirates.
Oof! We might have to walk on eggshells around Bean here. S/he seems mighty touchy about who gets to dabble with the advancements in sciences found aboard the intergalactic ship. This possessive tendency is something we’d expect to see more in humans.
But being touchy about certain things isn’t a human-only trait. Sure, we humans are touchy about the way we dress, our possessions, and the list goes on and on. But that doesn’t mean that other sentient races can’t have this behavior, too.
I don’t know what I expected
Pascal the punny psychedelic pineapple is one heck of a mouthful, don’t you think? It kind of reminds us of that speech from V for Vendetta that is basically all Vs. Well, we doubt that the members of this crew need to say his full descriptor every time.
Hopefully the rest of the crew appreciates puns the way the Captain does, otherwise, that pineapple will get really annoying really quickly. Still, we have to admire the positive attitude of a coworker, even if they are a sentient fruit.
We can see the Star Trek: The Next Generation creeping in here. AN-2E, the humanoid android on the left, reminds us of a certain lovable droid in Next Gen. But he should take a minute to slow down and think before making replicas. That usually doesn’t end well…
Take a page from the experiences of Bender, the robot from the series Futurama. Having mini versions of yourself can lead to a sort of God complex, and that doesn’t usually end in anything good. At least the mini AN-2E seems harmless enough.
Keep the dang volume down!
When living with different species, it’s important to consider all the different biologies. What might sound like a decent volume to one creature can be deafening to one like this bat-like alien. If it’s anything like Earth bats, it’s likely extremely sensitive to audio frequencies.
Of course, that is a separate issue from the actual sound itself. Even if it’s at a decent volume, an unpleasant sound is just as grating. Fortunately, the Captain seems to be respectful enough to turn off the music upon request.
Ain’t that great?
Oh, come on! Don’t tell us that in the distant future, humans are devoid of simple pleasures. That’s a really good pun from this dog-alien counselor. You should have had the common courtesy to laugh man! Even if it’s not funny to you, you can at least pretend.
And, if this means that there is a planet full of anthropomorphic dogs like aliens who qualify as counselors, then sign us the heck in! We love our dogs so much and the possibility of them being able to talk is a huge win!
We have to give credit to the education system in the future. Clearly, they are still teaching people about ancient Egyptians and Middle Ages. Even if it may seem barbaric today, but leeches were the go-to medical treatment long ago.
And some are still being used in advanced treatments today. Although they wouldn’t be useful for a twisted ankle. Still, this crustacean-based lifeform is incredibly supportive and empathetic. To wait until the help arrives, providing company in a way it knows how to, is quite thoughtful.
Attention to detail
Wouldn’t kill you to be a bit more patient eh, officer? This axolotl-looking alien clearly has a different speech pattern, so there’s no need to rush if he takes a little longer to get his words out. He can’t help it!
It was trying to tell you that the space fleet uniform it has been provided is the wrong size! With that level of impatience, we wonder if he even stuck around to ask if there was the right atmosphere for this creature. Being thoughtful at such things does go a long way.
Now, how convenient it is to have a warp inverter with you? In a space voyage scenario or in any day-to-day scenario we mean. If any machine is behaving in a way that it isn’t supposed to, there’s a solution.
Just point the warp inverter at the problem and zap it. Voilà! It has been fixed. You have no more problems left to make your hair go grey at the edges. Now, why can’t we have a warp inverter when we need one? Sigh.
Okay, who let the newbie operate the teleporter? They had one job: to teleport beings from an Earth base to the starship in one piece! We went through these controls for a long time until you grasped the simple calculations needed to teleport successfully.
It is a bummer that you got your feelings hurt but what do you expect here fam? You got your legs and arms switched places, and your head is where your stomach should be. And don’t even get us started on the elbow ears.
Well, the dog counselor cannot provide any medical assistance as he is not a doctor. But he can provide some dang good counseling, which he is doing right in this cartoon with Lucas. Man, it must be so liberating to talk openly about such problems.
This is why therapy matters, y’all. It is a great comfort to have someone who would listen to your problems and offer you a solution, based on years and years of experience. No wonder the space werewolf feels so understood.
Hear him out
A crab with a mustache? My, deep space has some truly unexpected offerings when it comes to life forms. Well, we have lived through panels that had space werewolves, psychic pineapples, and rock-based life forms so this ain’t that much of a biggie.
He does have a point though. You can hardly go wrong with a bit of home cooking. The setting is a space station rather than a home. Plus he looks super cheerful and quite into making food for his crewmates!
Better safe than sorry
Well, you can’t take a risk now, can’t you? The tips were colored luminous and that is a major red flag. Prevention is better than cure and we are pretty sure that this particular space officer is from Australia if he knew to pick up on those cues so easily.
“Why do we assume that,” you might ask. Well, the Aussies live with some of the most poisonous fauna ever known to man. Among them is the stonefish, who like this spiny alien, has a row of poisonous spines along its spine. One step can prove fatal.
We guess this particular bovine has some beef with the security. Bol’daar is just trying to do his job; you have to cooperate. This is a civilized spaceship filled with unique life forms from all corners of the known universe.
Would it be udder nonsense to be told to put on some clothes? This is not some high steaks game, cow. Stop mooing and get to it. We are on the side of Bol’daar because there is no way that this cow doesn’t understand what’s being said.
Keep it on the down-low
While we haven’t figured it out yet in our world, science fiction has figured out cryostasis for living beings to survive lengthy space travel. While it’s just a dream right now, perhaps someday we’ll achieve this technology. After all, cellphones and credit cards were once only “science fiction.”
Although being frozen would prevent you from seeing the sights, science fiction logic says you won’t age. But this alien thinks it’s worth it for the opportunity to enjoy a few weeks without his wife. But any longer and she might notice he’s aged faster than she has.
Sure we might follow the five-second rule in our homes, but not in the halls of a starship. Who knows what’s on the bottom of people’s shoes! Messes are probably quite common with so many people living together, so it’s important to have an efficient cleaner.
Well, we can’t say that this janitor isn’t good at what he does. But with that gaping mouth filled with razor fangs and tendrils flailing everywhere, we can’t help but think of a Malboro from Final Fantasy. What a terrifying crewmate!
He just wants to play
We hate to enforce stereotypes and make assumptions, but the ship’s counselor has already established himself as a dog in previous comics. He sympathized with Lucas about how annoying fleas are, so we can’t be faulted for thinking he might have other doggy traits.
We have to hand it to the Captain; we wouldn’t have thought of it as a metaphor. Although it may have been interpreted as a great idea, there seems to be a miscommunication here. Well, so long as it works that’s all that matters, right?
We’d just like to start by saying that the human officer is being rude and presumptive here. There are so many lifeforms aboard a starship, why should the android try to have a “human” sounding name? It’s not human. It’s just a biped!
But this isn’t Matthew’s fault. This is a common theme in science fiction and fantasy. Though, we do have to wonder about AN-2E’s sense of self-preservation if s/he considers themself expendable enough to not need a “proper” name. Why is their life worth any less?
While we only see the outer casing of this android, we can’t even imagine what complex technology is hiding underneath. And, based on this comic, it’s likely that its internal systems are just like a human’s, with its memory banks located in its head.
It looks like the engineer could have designed it a bit better. It doesn’t look like it took much to give AN-2E a “concussion” and erase its memory banks. This android should learn to prepare for any eventuality, especially if it’s a cheap shot like that one.
Women have a special relationship with one another. Even close friends can be hyper-aware that their buddy is smarter, more talented, or prettier than they are. And, unfortunately, such compliments don’t take away any jealousy women can’t help but feel for one another.
We can’t tell if this is jealousy or assumptions based on the stereotype that pretty women can’t also be smart, resourceful, and friendly. Has Legally Blonde taught her nothing? Can’t we just get along and start accepting people for who they are?
Ah wormholes. A classic in science fiction space travel. Sadly, there’s no evidence that wormholes exist in our universe…yet. It would make travel so much easier, and according to this officer, understanding how to utilize wormholes isn’t challenging. So much so that even a baby could understand.
Is it the words like “vector” and “axis” that are throwing the baby off? Or is it the concept of using bends in space-time to shortcut through the universe? This is one of those situations where it’s best left to the experts. No explanation necessary.
Somebody call the NWBA
One thing they don’t really address in shows like Star Trek is the similarity between humans and other species. Sure they may look or act different, but having the same number of eyes and limbs, as well as fitting through the same doorways is all very…similar.
This goes back to the assumption that whatever alien life forms we find will fit our human definitions. But, that being said, there would probably be some issues with such variety living together. For one, you’d need to make sure all the doorways can accommodate everyone!
Stop being so possessive
It’s not addressed much in shows like Star Trek, but resource management is a big problem in space voyages. Not every place you dock will have what you’re looking for, and it could be weeks or months before you can even restock at all.
Bean clearly didn’t get the memo that you can’t just take supplies from other sections! We’re no engineers, but we’re pretty sure that it’s vital for them to have everything they need to keep the craft functioning. Stop hoarding Bean and give back what you stole!
Can’t catch feels
While unfeeling androids is not a Star Trek-specific concept, they went along with it. We might look at Star Trek and think that it’s riddled with science fiction cliches, but it’s important to remember that some of those “cliches” started there!
Empathy is something AN-2E doesn’t want to have to deal with. He was designed as an android to help around the ship and protect the space cadets. So, in a way, for him to have a Vulcan approach to certain things, has its merits.
As our technology advances, some concepts in science fiction are coming to life. Submarines and elevators used to only be figments of the imagination. Another concept coming to life is stealth suits. They may be a long way away from this officer’s suit, but we’re working on it.
What teamwork! Bol’daar might not think so, but we think that those officers are using their stealth suits correctly. After all, stealth isn’t just for missions. It’s also for pranks and starship shenanigans. We do want to take a moment to note that Bol’daar seriously reminds us of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy here.
Sometimes, the old ways are better
We can’t say it enough: with so many different species living together, it’s important to take everyone’s needs into consideration. So, if it’s your job to take care of before the ship departs, you need to give equal weight to things you might find unnecessary.
If their ship is anything like the Enterprise, there will be gravity, so they won’t need to worry about installing toilets to handle waste in zero-G. Rather than a suction-based receptacle, a regular toilet will do just fine. Directly teleporting waste sounds appealing, but what if something goes wrong? We’ll stick to toilets, thanks.
There are few things more iconic than the outfits in the Star Trek series. Each division has its own color, so the viewers can easily tell what their role is. After all, how else would we know when someone was going to die if they weren’t wearing red…
Apparently, some of the female actors of Star Trek: The Next Generation loved their uniforms. The costume designers knew what they were doing…unlike the tailors on Matthew’s starship. They don’t know what materials to use for a form-fitting, comfortable uniform!
Get me that cup of joe!
Some people can’t get enough coffee, and basically require it to start their day. And, it turns out, that’s still true in the future. Fortunately for Lucas, they still have coffee, unlike some science fiction series where it’s an expensive rarity.
While Lucas may be appreciative, it looks like not everyone feels the same way. AN-2E and its mini-me can’t help but be jealous of the gratitude given for a simple hot beverage. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do better than a coffee bot.
If you’ve ever visited a foreign country, you can probably relate to this. Even if you have a rudimentary understanding of the language, sometimes you get a brain fart and can’t remember the word for the place you’re looking for.
But this officer should pick up on context clues. This poor crewmember looks like they could really use those toilets mentioned earlier. It may sound gross, but when in doubt, describe what it is. You’ll come to an understanding eventually.
Apples and oranges
Oops! It looks like there was a bit of a misunderstanding here. We applaud the commanding officer for knowing what all the species’ needs are, and expressing concern for a crewmate’s wellbeing. But, as responsible as that alien is, they need to learn the difference between narcolepsy and necromancy!
Narcolepsy is a long-term sleep disorder that affects a person’s sleep-wake cycle. Necromancy, on the other hand, involves raising the dead. Sure, magics like necromancy might be tiring, too, but staying up late to raise the dead has a whole different set of issues other than sleepiness.
It pays to be smart
In lore and mythos, Amazonians were giant women that towered over normal men three-fold. Their power and strength were not to be messed with! While we don’t know if this tall alien is an Amazonian, she sure reminds us of one.
But looks aren’t everything. With a bigger body, it’s not just her muscles that are larger but her brain, too. So, why waste that intelligence just to put her on security duty instead of science? You have to play to everyone’s strengths!
Old is gold
Ah, Clippy. Kids today are missing out on the joy that was the animated helper in the old Microsoft Word. Even if we didn’t need the pop-up help, sometimes it was just fun to have him there on our screen.
Apparently, the engineers of this ship were nostalgic for the old days and included their own version of Clippy in the computer. Well, with a noticeable difference: cool sunglasses. Why does a program need sunglasses? In space, no less? Don’t ask!
Someone call medical!
What better choice for a medical officer than a species with more than two limbs (well, two aside from limbs for walking). Then again, with tools like 3D printers you don’t need the extra arms. What you need is to read the textbook!
As technology advances, 3D printing organs is becoming a more viable solution every day. In the future, we can imagine devices like this being standard aboard every starship. But the doctor should brush up on their species anatomy before operating such machines.
Crossing the Milky Way just at the speed of light would take 100,000 years. However, with warp drives, you can throw logic out the window and visit other galaxies in the blink of an eye. But this is only science fiction.
You can’t go faster than the speed of light! Still, it’s fun to imagine. Even with fake science jargon, it’s hard to understand the concept of it, much less the calculations. We appreciate the science officer’s attempt, but we’re with Starbeard here.
Remember the injured officer from a few comics ago? We know he was successfully healed, but what happened after? Don’t worry, Matthew answered that question. Apparently, the officer went about his normal duties, equipped with one hand and one paw.
However, it looks like he should have gotten that taken care of before resuming his normal duties. Canines may be used to using their paws, but us humans would be pretty clumsy without the opposable thumbs. We don’t blame the science officer. That equipment is too expensive to drop!
As we mentioned earlier, inclusivity is vital when you’re living with many different species. Especially if you’re enforcing some uniformity, it’s important to factor in everyone’s needs and abilities. In Star Trek, the colors of the uniforms easily clued in the viewers to the character’s role on the ship, but what if you were color blind?
If you look closely, the different divisions have their own icons, too! Matthew did a great job of incorporating it into his comics. Although they’re not Star Fleet insignias, the visual info built into the uniform is a great way to help aliens like this one.