1980’s furry fandom was on Star Trek: The Next Generation and spun off Netflix’s Usagi Yojimbo
by Patch O'Furr
There have been many fan-made furry/Star Trek crossovers. Some early editions of Dana Simpson’s Ozy and Millie comic were republished in Klingon language. Ever hear about Furries Vs. Klingons, a bowling tournament between Atlanta fursuiters and a Klingon cosplay group?
Astonishingly, there was OFFICIAL show crossover that’s not yet included on Wikifur’s Star Trek list, and it came before most of them. It was a complete surprise to me, so here’s a headline story for you, even if it’s a few dilithium crystals short of warp speed.
Sprinkles being a Star Trek pupcake for #FursuitFriday 🙂 Maybe Data likes cupcakes too? pic.twitter.com/7NlwAdEfiX
— Derp Dawwg 🐶 (@WoleverWuff) October 23, 2015
Star Trek: The Next Generation made sneaky references to early furry fandom! A tip came in from Alex:
“Hello! As I was looking at various Star Trek trivia, some of the names suddenly seemed very familiar. Apparently in one episode of Season One of ST:TNG, all the way back in 1988, someone working on the show decided to sneak in references to the Albedo Anthropomorphics furry comics! Here are some links to the furry references on the show:
- Erma Felna (name of a Starfleet Tactical Command admiral)
- Steve Gallaci (name of a Starfleet officer of the USS Robert Louis Stevenson.)
- Captain Itzak Arrat (name of a Starfleet officer of the USS Ticonderoga)
- Commodore Toki (name of a Starfleet officer of the Advanced Technologies Division)
It might be a stretch, but perhaps the USS Omaha Nebraska that “Admiral Erma Felna” ordered miiight be a reference to Omaha the Cat Dancer?
I thought that maybe you could try to do some investigation and perhaps figure out who this possible early furry working on Star Trek might be, and maybe shed some light on these interesting references.”
I see these character names appeared in the ST:TNG episode “Conspiracy”, which aired May 9, 1988 and later won an Emmy award. The episode link’s script and story notes credit writer Tracy Tormé — (son of Mel Tormé and later creator of TV show Sliders) — adapting a story by Robert Sabaroff, with input from Robert Justman, Rick Berman, Rob Lewin, and Maurice Hurley. Their storied careers don’t tell me obvious furry clues.
The names were in background screens on a computer that showed text memos, and weren’t played by actors — those are obscure easter eggs!
Military theme a natural crossover.
The names are referencing characters in the Albedo Anthropomorphics comics universe, except for Steve Gallacci, the comic founder and a technical illustrator for the U.S. Air Force. He calls himself a “milfur” (military-theme furry fan.)
Gallacci’s comic is “often credited with starting the furry comic book subgenre that featured sophisticated stories with funny animals primarily intended for an adult audience. It was first published in 1983.” – Wikipedia
Does anyone have more info about how furry references appeared in Star Trek? I wrote to Steve and hope to hear back.
Gallacci and early furry comic characters are alive and kicking in 2022!
Steve Gallacci is active in the fandom; a month ago, he posted to Furaffinity to ask for fan feedback about “diving deep into the sketchbooks and such for ‘unpublished’ work.” He only recently got Paypal and will do commissions, and has a Patreon too.
I found Albedo Anthropomorphics #1 original printings for sale between $1-2000 depending on condition; one Ebay seller has a less-than-mint copy for $2200. Some other early issues are going for hundreds. There’s high value for the first Albedo appearances of Usagi Yojimbo, artist Stan Sakai’s samurai rabbit who went on to his own fame and pop crossover:
“a highly successful comic book series drawing influence from the movies of Akira Kurosawa as well as the exploits of the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. It is perhaps best known in the West for its close connection to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.” (- Polygon)
Usagi Yojimbo will get major mainstream notice TODAY, April 28, 2022 with the new release of Netflix’s animated series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles.
Comic market watchers are wondering if prices for the original furry comics might see a crazy jump to “remarkable records”.
Will Usagi Yojimbo's 1st Appearance in Albedo #2 Take the TMNT Leap? https://t.co/hfASDRfmCY via @bleedingcool
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 28, 2022
UPDATE for Star Trek furry references:
On the Facebook Graymuzzles group (for furry fans from the early days), Earl Bacon claimed that the cover photo of one issue of Albedo Anthropomorphics was taken on the set of ST:TNG, and it showed a copy of Albedo on Captain Picard’s desk in his ready room.
Earl’s source: “Steve Gallacci himself said that the photo was taken there after filming was done for the day on one of the first episodes of Season 1 of TNG.”
I looked up the issue he named, and Albedo #14 was published in Spring 1989, around the same time. So that means the show references a furry comic… and the comic returns the reference. What’s the deeper story to how this happened?
Here’s a PDF of the Albedo comic where it talks about it being photographed on the Star Trek set. It says that a person named Rick Sternbach was responsible for taking the cover photo. Sternbach is a super accomplished pro illustrator with a long history of working on Star Trek. His tie to an early furry comic is several decades old, so what would he say about it now? A private message to his Facebook account went unanswered.
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This is amazing <3 <3 <3
I learned about who was working on the show in 1988 — and found another furry fan who did too! Maybe it will make another story. 🙂
Vonda M. McIntyres Star Trek books has a lot of cat people in the Enterprise crew. Don’t know if that’s relevant.
I met tons of ‘ big names’ connected to Trek and other properties in the early 1980’s when Steve and I were roommates.
Rumors were rife of ‘cross-pollinating’ in-jokes and Easter eggs that (as far as I can tell) haven’t been found yet.
Not saying that I know all of them, but I know one or two y’all keep missing!
BTW, I was the irritating younger bother sent out of the room so the adults could talk in peace…