For centuries, the culture of Ancient Egypt has fascinated people around the world. From the massive pyramids to the hidden burial chambers to the hieroglyphics and society itself, Egypt seems so different that many feel it was spawned by someone other than humanity. Those theories and ideas are a lot of what goes into the “Stargate” series of television shows and projects.
So far, the “Star Trek” world has not overlapped too much with Ancient Egypt, although there have been a few glimpses here and there. Egypt was one of the many places where the Guardian of Forever could have deposited Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) in the classic episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
In the world of Marvel Comics, Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew encountered a planet much like Ancient Egypt. This adventure, published in June of 1981, featured all the trappings of what a science fiction fan might expect from an Egyptian planet, including a giant living Sphinx. These stories, which were meant to take place after “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” show the crew in their gray pajama uniforms rather than their Monster Maroon suits, which were introduced for “The Wrath of Khan.”
Marvel Comics’ ‘Star Trek’
The planet Zeta Reticuli II was a parallel civilization, like the gangster world on the TOS classic, “A Piece of the Action.” But, stories in Marvel Comics are not considered canon, so this adventure did not take place.
Some said the “new” Klingons from the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery” were Egyptian-like. This was because of the Klingons’ sarcophagus starship and King Tut-like burial casket.
Even though Trek and Egypt have not intersected too terribly much, one artist has made a point to merge these two worlds. Artist and designer Josh Ln has made a name for himself over the years by creating “Hero-glyphics,” which are illustrations of comic book heroes and other pop culture figures in that famous Egyptian style.
Among the many subjects of Ln’s artwork have been the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Avengers, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and even Kirk, Spock, and a Gorn. C|Net interviewed Ln on his “Star Trek: The Original Series” artwork back in 2014.
And recently, Ln released something new that excited Trek fans — a “Hero-glyphic” featuring “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Fans of the series have been reposting this art on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It’s fair to say that Ln’s combination of 24th Century heroes and Ancient Egyptian art has been a hit.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Ln in an interview with Heavy. “I create these things because I want to see what’s in my head and add to the rich tapestry that is ‘Star Trek.’ When other fans enjoy my work, it’s definitely a validation that I’m not wasting my time or really crazy. Maybe just a hint of crazy.”
Ln said that he’s a longtime fan of Trek and said that he is definitely a fan.
“I was an early subscriber to Paramount+,” said Ln. “I remember watching TOS reruns when I was young and really being fascinated by all the artistic choices, and of course Spock.”
“I also didn’t watch TNG during its original run, but definitely wanted to watch,” said Ln. “We only had one family TV at the time, and my parents had another show at the same time that they had to watch. I have no idea what it was, but probably not better. I rewatched all the series when I was college-aged and absolutely fell in love.”
The first TNG work put Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in a “throne,” with Riker (Jonathan Frakes) demonstrating one of his classic leg-stretching poses. Toward the top of the art, Mr. Data (Brent Spiner), Wesley (Wil Wheaton), and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) are hard at work on some sort of engineering problem. As with all ancient art of the era, the characters are not shown in three dimensions but rather as flattened figures. This scene was fun for Ln to work on, as it contains a bunch of Trek “Easter Eggs.”
“Placing each character in the appropriate position and throwing in little details like the Earl Grey Tea really made me happy,” said Ln. “I usually draw all the characters out on my iPad and then add finishing details in Adobe Illustrator.”
Q, Worf, and More ’Hero-glyphics’
Since this interview was completed, Ln released a new TNG-themed “Hero-glyphics” piece featuring different characters. In the new work, Q (John de Lancie) appears to be ordering Worf (Michael Dorn) and Troi (Marina Sirtis) in some way. Meanwhile, Chief O’Brien (Colm Meaney) works in the transporter room with Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden).
That TNG art appears to be even a bigger hit than his first work, as even Wil Wheaton “liked” it on Instagram.