When looking at the incredibly unique and memorable Star Trek: The Next Generation 30th anniversary poster by Dusty Abell, one of DeForest Kelley’s lines from an earlier Star Trek adventure comes to mind: “Have you ever seen the like?”

Luckily for us, we have! If you made it to last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, then you were able to see Abell’s incredible 50th anniversary Star Trek poster that featured every Original Series character that one could imagine; from the recognizable to the most obscure – helpfully for those fans less versed in their one-time guest characters, the TOS posters also included an identification guide to assist in putting names to faces.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of The Next Generation, so of course, the annual Las Vegas Star Trek convention is rife with both TNG stars and fans alike – and also features Abell’s newest work, a two-poster take on his character showcase artwork centered around The Next Generation heroes and villains!

I sat down with Dusty Abell ahead of the Vegas convention, to discuss his latest artistic creation.

It was after my interaction with the guys at Roddenberry at 2016’s Las Vegas convention that this really started to take off. It was really fun!

I’d never been to a “Star Trek” convention and the first question I got (about the 50th Original Series poster) was: are you going to do a Next Generation one?

This was a venture that was destined to succeed from the very beginning. Abell has been an artist with Warner Brothers Animation, and has worked on some of their most memorable and iconic characters. A comic lover and devoted Star Trek fan, it’s very cool to see his love of Trek transferred over to a body of art that not only drips homage to the comic artform, but also real respect and reverence for the characters from both series.

These days, however, it’s Abell’s Next Generation piece that is captivating Trek fans! Now, with the support of both CBS and Roddenberry Entertainment, this new work of art is sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of Star Trek fans everywhere – and is here just in time for both TNG’s 30th anniversary and 2017’s big convention out in Las Vegas.

The Duras sisters.

Looking at the poster pair, Abell has dedicated the first to TNG’s heroic and ‘good’ characters, with the second featuring a medley of less-then-heroic enemies of the Enterprise-D. Focus on either one, and I guarantee you’ll be staring at it for at least half an hour trying to place each character and their episodes.

There are so many characters in this show that I had to break it up into the two posters. I mean, there are 178 episodes and it would be wrong to cram it all into one!

It’s the sheer variety and amount of characters that almost overpowers the viewer upon first glance. Then, it becomes a challenge to identify every one of them. Finally, after checking with the included answer key to verify your identification, you then have the opportunity to smugly declare yourself a true TNG fan.

In the end, you are left with a tremendous experience and a scintillating work of art that would do any Star Trek fan proud to have hanging on a wall.

Kivas Fajo and Sirna Kolrami.

In my conversation with Abell, I asked him to elaborate on how he settled on the concept design for this year’s posers.

For the first one, I envisioned it as being on the bridge of the Enterprise. I was going to put everybody, there, but I didn’t think it did justice to the ship design. So, the first one was placed planet-side so it could showcase all the great ships as well.

There are a lot of fans of the ships as well. The tough part about the Next Gen piece was that there weren’t as many iconic structures or landmarks as there are in the Original Series.

The Miramanee Obelisk stands out in the first one. But that was a challenge for the Next Gen piece. So that was why I thought the holodeck arch would be perfect for all the characters to gather around and for the ships around them. That’s they there are grid patterns in front as well.

That kept me guessing!

The careful observers will also notice that the Next Generation piece is completely rich in detail. While the characters are present – in various incarnations and forms – Abell spared no effort in exhausting both his memory and available external references to fill the two works.

There is something from every episode of The Next Generation in these prints. That’s the fun part for fans. Then it becomes sort of a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ contest and they really need to be seen up close to be fully appreciated.

It’s filled with small images and really needs a careful eye.

One of the fun things for me to do in San Diego and Las Vegas last year was to see people off to the side with their friends and family, going through the TOS piece – and there was a lot of finger pointing and cries of ‘Oh, that’s that guy!’ and discuss who they were – that was the best part for me.

They’re such interactive works of art that for me, that’s so gratifying to see people enjoy my work so much.

Young Ro Laren, Timothy (from ‘Hero Worship’), Sarjenka, and Alexander Rozhenko.

The real measure of art appreciation is how much time people are willing to invest in looking at it. For me, looking at Abell’s earlier work in an art gallery at San Diego Comic-Con last year was a fully interactive process. I remember looking at my watch and realizing that fifteen minutes had passed by while I was looking at the 50th anniversary TOS piece.

I had a similar experience looking at the Next Generation posters this week, and it was one shared by my family. This time however, this was not a silent appreciation period, it was one of constant questioning and explaining as I went through every character in the prints — and had to provide a mini-summary of the episodes the characters were in.

It became a fun family experience, and I’m sure it can be one for other families as well – and in my mind, it’s that meaningfulness in any shape or form that makes art successful.

Abell has a great love of comics and he cites this background as instrumental in his work.

I’ve been really fortunate to have the background I do. I’ve worked with some great people and that’s given me the inspiration to do what I love. I

’m a big comics guy and you get to run in all those circles and meet your childhood heroes and become close with a lot of them. It was quite a thrill and a real privilege.

Abell was very modest in his description of his background, but when he casually dropped names like Jerry Ordway, Mike Carlin, or even Star Trek fan and comic book creator, John Byrne, then it became apparent that his comic circles were fairly rich in their pedigree.

It was a real thrill. John Byrne was a real influence in my work growing up.

Jenna D’Sora, Janice Manheim, and Hugh.

The TNG piece is currently featured on the Roddenberry Entertainment website. I asked Dusty to talk a little about what it was like to work with the folks over there, the original source of Star Trek.

It was nothing but a real pleasure. I had a real sense of independence in putting the piece together after we got back from Las Vegas last year. They were very accommodating and I made sure that I hit all my deadlines and they had everything printed!

I can’t say enough good things about them. Rod [Roddenberry] was really cool and he really enjoyed the Original Series one. Like I said, they’ve been a real pleasure to work with.

Dusty also made use of the visual archives and other references that TrekCore has available to complete his work. We talked a little about how he took advantage of our massive library of TOS and TNG resources as he used them for his designs.

It was beyond helpful! I don’t think I could have done it without the resources I found on TrekCore. I mean, the screengrabs…

I’m a real stickler for little details: ornamentation, jewelry, weapons – the technology you find on the characters. Fabrics – particularly for the first series. Gary Seven’s tie has the same pattern as you’ll find in the show. The ships, the crazy hair, the likenesses…

TrekCore has some really finely categorized images.

Dusty Abell’s work is vividly entertaining. One of his past projects includes a homage to 70’s and 80’s sci-fi shows and he hopes to continue with future projects in the same style. However, don’t take my word for it – take a look at his official site and when you see the Enterprise-D storm out of your monitor, you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about.

Dusty Abell at STLV 2017.

To fully appreciate the work, you really need to check it in person. While you can order the prints online at Abell’s website, if you are one of the fortunate fans to be at Creation Entertainment’s Las Vegas Star Trek convention, you can also stop by the Roddenberry booth to pick up these pairs – and Abell will be signing through Friday afternoon.

Or perhaps you’ll just get a glance of him off to the side, watching you enjoy his art.

  • bytes

    Shut up and take my money!

  • The Science Fiction Oracle

    Looking at those female Klingons, with their large obviously human bosoms, thank goodness that Discovery is going back to create much more alien looking Klingons which Roddenberry first attempted to do in TMP, but then unfortunately got “relaxed” to looking more human again in the Berman era. They are suppose to be a alien race, not a pin up!

    • Quonk

      Are you implying that Lursa and B’Etor were meant to be… “sexy”? – Oh come on. The Klingon cleavage was obviously just the result of a costume designer having a bit too much fun.
      Besides, it wasn’t a staple of female Klingon costumes either but rather just a distinguishing feature of the Duras Sisters’ outfits (plus Terry Farrell’s Klingon wedding dress-costume in “You Are Cordially Invited”; but its only on-screen appearance doesn’t last for more than two minutes or so)

      • Some people find them sexy.
        https://youtu.be/u7C1_po15hw

        • The Science Fiction Oracle

          LOL — exactly!!!

      • The Science Fiction Oracle

        Next thing you are going tell me is that 7 of 9 is really hard sf convincing cyborg, not designed for sex appeal. LOL

        Get serious, dude. No real alien warrior race who wears armor is going to leave a big hole in the top of their chest for which a quick sword strike kills them…but Hollywood TV producers…they don’t want armor there!

        • DC Forever

          Obviously!

        • Quonk

          Well, you see, my feeling about the Duras Sisters’ costumes has always been that they were meant to convey a certain obscenity – the vile kind of obscenity, that is. And Seven of Nine…. yeah, you got me there. See, Seven was introduced when I was a teen-aged boy… I think that says everything about the initial reception of that character on my side. But then, as the years passed, I came to see Seven as the character she was meant to be and she wasn’t necessarily a badly written character! “She-Data meets She-Spock” maybe, but there were a couple of great episodes and great moments centered around that character. Putting Jeri Ryan into that costume was the cheapest trick in the book though – I’ll agree on that. How “soft” of a sci-fi character she was, is another question though. Trek isn’t necessarily the go-to franchise if you’re looking for “hard sci-fi” anyway, and VOY as a whole was on the “softer” side within a franchise which had already “softened” quite a bit throughout the years (case in point: The submarine-battle-like space combat of some TOS episodes – most importantly “Balance of Terror” – was definitely more of what one would imagine space battles might be like, than the up-close and personal phaser-fests of TNG – and that’s still my favorite Trek series!) Anyway, by the time ENT came around I was also quite fed up with the oversexualization of the franchise though. There was hardly one episode in which didn’t feel like Jolene Blalock was pushing her silicone cushions into my face and I resented it. And those endless decon chamber-scenes – Ugh! “Hey folks, looks like you brought home some inconsequential space-microbe. Time to oil up!” Well, I digress. My point was: I think the Klingon cleavage fit its context but I agree that Trek also has a history of “sexing stuff up”.

          • The Science Fiction Oracle

            Well, thanks for the explanation.

          • Quonk

            You’re welcome. I don’t mean to ramble on and on but since you brought up the point about consistency in your other reply, I feel obliged to put my two cents in here as well (and not because I’m a huge fan of certain design decisions, mind you! Especially regarding VOY and ENT, the contrary is the case.)
            Firstly: There weren’t a whole lot of female Klingons on Trek before Lursa and B’Etor but Klingon boobage is not without precedent! Now, the first female Klingon we saw was obviously Mara in “Day of the Dove” and while she was dressed in a rather demure fashion, she still didn’t wear a standard Klingon uniform. BUT! Fast forward to ST III and look what we got there: Valkris (who may or may not have been FULLY Klingon, but that’s beside the point) – and what was she wearing? A mile-deep plunging neckline, accentuating an impressive set of very human breasts! Then there was the muscular Klingon
            lady from ST V who also wore a plunging neckline, albeit not as extreme. Okay, TUC had Azetbur, which doesn’t rhyme well with ‘demure’ but who certainly dressed that way. She wasn’t a warrior though, but a distinguished diplomat!

            So what about female Borg? – Before “Scorpion”, the Borg had made a grand total of six appearances throughout the franchise and most female drones were indeed only distinguishable from male ones upon closer inspection.But let’s not forget that the Borg look had already undergone a rather radical overhaul by the time Seven came around and who would’ve been the go-to female Borg after the redesign? – The Borg Queen! And she was basically dressed in skin-tight latex…
            While that doesn’t excuse Seven’s post-transformation catsuits, it nevertheless set a precedent for “sexy” Borg, albeit in a somewhat more disturbing way (“cleavage-claws” … good grief!)

            In short: Instances of blunt oversexualization? – Yes. Inconsistency? – Not really, if you think about it.

        • Pedro Ferreira

          I don’t understand your point. You don’t want any sexiness in Star Trek at all. Since The Cage there’s been women wearing revealing outfits so what’s with the complaining?

          • The Science Fiction Oracle

            I am talking about Klingons and Borg. I don’t need to sexy Klingon breasts and Borg in tight fitting spandex that clearly shows Borg T&A, but maybe that is just me?

          • Pedro Ferreira

            Star Trek has always tried to bring an element of sexuality to everything. The Borg sexuality thing is just weird though, that I get. The Borg Queen was a terrible idea anyway.

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    • Pedro Ferreira

      The Klingons in Discovery are purple bald reptiles, how is that going back to the original look?!

      • The Science Fiction Oracle

        I covered this in a previous post, at least in terms of their reptilian origin:

        “In TMP, Gene Rodenberry and Robert Fletcher completely revamped the Klingons to make them more alien, which was always Gene Rodenberry’s intention. Rodenberry said, “They always looked like that, the budget just didn’t allow it. — don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain.” And it was Gene Roddenberry’s idea that the newly added center-line head ridges were actually an outgrowth of the Klingon spinal cord, proceeding up the back of the neck and over the head. While considering the Klingons as “a race of reptiles,” Fletcher also thought their distinctive spines were from a type of crustaceans: “In my mind, all the bumps on the forehead and so forth are vestigial remains of a people that evolved like crustaceans, like lobsters, who have their skeleton on the outside of their bodies; And over the millions of years, they’ve lost that complete outside skeleton, but now retain only vestiges of it.”

        • Pedro Ferreira

          It still makes little sense considering what we’ve seen in later Star Trek shows. It’s nice they went back to the as you say original idea but it’s very jarring.

  • DC Forever

    Love this artwork!

  • Alex LaForge

    Wow wow wow, these are amazing.

  • I admit, I’m rather jealous of Dusty’s talent. I’ve love to know how long it took him to complete those posters.

    • Dusty

      About 6 months Rocketdave, and thanks for the kind compliment!

      • MiKE42

        Yes I agree, Dusty your talent is a joy to behold! I love how you capture each actor/ character’s face so well. It helps in the identification too – if the clothing doesn`t make me “twig” then a close look at the mouth, eyes etc usually jogs my memory! Can`t wait to order these, from Australia! 😀

  • Quonk

    I’m feeling so immensely proud right now for immediately recognising even more “obscure” characters upon first glance – like the bald villain from “The Big Goodbye” (second poster, right behind Ardra from “Devil’s Due”) or the kids from “Disaster” (first poster, front row). No, I know I’m hardly the only one who recognised those! – I just like to pretend I am…
    Oh and I also love how the revolving door from “The Royale” is featured on the “villains”-poster! that’s a funny little touch!

    • Pedro Ferreira

      I think only one of the kids from Disaster is featured.

      • Quonk

        Had to look it up but it’s in fact two of them. The girl and the dark-haired boy.

        http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/season-5/5×05/disaster-hd-078.jpg

        • Pedro Ferreira

          Oh yeah, my mistake. They left the blonde, science genius out though. A bit weird considering they could of replaced young Ensign Ro with him.

        • dusty

          The girl in pink is Marissa Flores……..The boy I think you’re taking to be from Disaster is actually Jeremy Aster from the 3rd season 5th ep. Bonding

          • Quonk

            Ohhhh, alright. Thanks for the info. Well, they were basically wearing the same costume, it would seem.
            But of course, on second thought, I was wondering as to why there would be two minor characters from a single episode (oh, well – they’re kids, they’re small, they sometimes come in bundles…)

  • Wow, Dusty, you’re so very good at this! Thanks for making something so clever and memorable.

    • dusty

      Glad you’re enjoying them, thanks for the kind words!

  • GIBBS v2

    I love these! I’m impressed at how well character likenesses are captured at such small scales.

    • dusty

      Thanks, I loved trying to capture all these great character actors faces to the best of my ability!

  • Pedro Ferreira

    Y’know I was looking at these posters a couple of weeks ago when they were posted here and I couldn’t help but notice that as couple of villains were in the heroes section and vice versa. Can’t remember which exactly but I did notice some people weren’t in the correct poster.

    EDIT: The guy from The Last Outpost wasn’t evil and to be fair Kevin from The Survivors wasn’t either. I’m sure there was a couple more. Maddox I’m still trying to decide.

    • Quonk

      Well, it’s just inherent to the show’s concept that you rarely have a villain that’s just outright villainous. I can see the rationale behind the choices you listed, though. For example the Edo lady was pretty sure that executing Wesley was without alternative until her own “God” told her otherwise (so, in a way, the Edo “God” could be held responsible here, but it actually turned out to be a reasonable being as well). Same with Cmdr. Maddox: He was very adamant about his position and Picard had to go to great lengths to prove that treating Data as Maddox intended to, would violate Federation principles.
      Of course there are also some other “baddies” on that poster that eventually turned out to be less than villainous. Take the lady from “Code of Honor”: In the end she was the one who helped the crew resolve the situation!
      And what about Q? The only time he actually behaved anywhere near villainous was in “Encounter at Farpoint”.
      Admiral Jameson from “Too Short a Season”? – Somewhat misguided but by no means “evil” (as matter of fact outright heroic by the end of the episode).
      The revolving door from “The Royale” – Oh no, wait. That one was indeed just pure evil!

      • Pedro Ferreira

        Maddox I’m still trying to decide from a character point of view whether he was set up as the villain. But as you say Edo lady was pretty much a good character just going by what her god told her. What do you think about Kevin? The man was just trying to protect himself yet he committed a terrible crime in the past.

      • dusty

        Theres a lot of grey area in Next Gen…….the way I saw it, a “bad guy” could simply be an individual with “a strong difference of opinion”…………. I needed a way to break up at least 178 characters into some form of easily understandable grouping…….antagonist/protagonist is pretty straightforward, so thats what I went with….. I totally get peoples pointing out that a lot of the individuals in the “”bad” poster are not sinister or evil….they just provided a story with conflict to the main cast in the telling of an episode.