(written from a Production point of view)
Through a licensing process similar to those granted to create collectibles, novels, and games, Paramount Pictures has granted the rights to market Star Trek merchandise of various sorts through a number of different production and design companies, beginning in July 1967 with a series based on Star Trek: The Original Series.
With the success of the Star Trek films and Star Trek: The Next Generation, the licensing office associated with the productions took stricter control of the franchise's image. Designers of Star Trek publications were discouraged from creating depictions that varied from the style and details of the franchise, as seen in filmed productions. Previous comics of the 1960s, '70s and early '80s tend to vary from canon more than later series. Since the comics are produced by artists and writers not affiliated with franchise production staff, filmed productions disregard events and situations in them as completely apocryphal.
The Star Trek universe has been displayed in comic book form in many ways throughout its existence. A smaller company called Gold Key Comics first published Star Trek stories, starting in 1967 with a story entitled "K-G, Planet of Death." This company produced 61 Star Trek comic books from 1967 to 1979, which focused on all-original adventures of The Original Series crew of the starship USS Enterprise.
Since then, many other companies have published different series of Star Trek comic books, including Marvel and DC at multiple intervals. Many are simply adaptations of episodes and movies, while others are brand-new stories involving existing Trek characters, and still others have introduced completely new characters and settings. One of the best examples of the latter is Marvel Comics' series Star Trek: Early Voyages, which featured adventures of Captain Pike's crew on the original Enterprise before Captain Kirk took command.
Canonicity of Star Trek comicsEdit
While many comic book runs of the Star Trek universe have provided interesting story arcs and situations that would be difficult to show on television, all stories are considered to be non-canon.
In 2012, in an interview with Trekmovie.com, producer and writer Roberto Orci, pressed by the editor Anthony Pascale to declare that all of the recent Star Trek comics which he had overseen (such as Star Trek: Countdown) were canon until contradicted by onscreen sources, indicated that he agreed with that proposal. , although he would later step back from that view, saying "[I] have said a million times that we cant determine what is canon. [On] this day, [I] said something else. 'consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.'" 
Gold Key (1967-1979) Edit
Gold Key Comics published 61 issues from July 1967 to February 1979. The comics focused on the USS Enterprise during James T. Kirk's first five-year mission. A 62nd issue was written and partially illustrated, but never published. The script to that issue is available online.
Those were reprinted several times:
- Golden Press: "Star Trek: The Enterprise Logs" (4 volumes – 1976-1977); in addition to reprints, these volumes also contained four original tales that did not appear in the 61 issues.
- Checker Books: "Star Trek: The Key Collection" (6 volumes – 2004-2007)
- World Distributors Limited: Star Trek Annuals (UK 1969/1986)
- Gold Key: Dynabrite #11357 (reprinted issues 33 and 41)
- Gold Key: Dynabrite #11358 (reprinted issues 36 and 44)
- Gold Key: Dan Curtis Give-Aways #2 (reprinted excerpt of issue 14)
- Gold Key: Dan Curtis Give-Aways #6 (reprinted excerpt of issue 13)
- Star Trek View-Master (reprinted issue 1)
- Mighty TV Comic #1292-1352 (reprinted issue #1 [#1292-1303]; #4 [#1304-1316]; #5 [1317-1329]; #6 [#1330-1345]; and first half of #7 [#1346-1352])
- TV Comic #1353-1381 (reprinted second half of issue #7 [#1353-1358]; #8 [#1359-1371]; and #9 in abridged format [#1372-1381])
- Star Trek Hardcover Annuals (reprinted issues #1-3 ; #4-6 ; #7-9 ; #11-13 ; #14-16 ; #17, 21 & 24 ; #27 & 30 ; #10 & 34 ; #38-39 ; #36 & 40 ; #54-56 ; #59 & 61 ; #27 & 40 )
- Star Trek Special (reprinted issues #47-48)
- Star Trek Television Picture Story Book (reprinted issues #1 & 10)
- Star Trek Comic Album (reprinted issues #2-3)
- Star Trek Comic Album (reprinted issues #7-9)
- Star Trek Picture Book (reprinted issue #6, issued as premium gift at Total gas stations in 1975)
- Star Trek Mighty Midget (insert in Mighty TV Comic #1293, reprinted half of issue #26)
- Star Trek Winter Special (reprinted #2-3)
British strips (1969-1973) Edit
Concurrent with the Gold Key strips, a series of weekly comic strips based on Star Trek was released in the United Kingdom. Published in the pages of Joe 90: Top Secret, TV21, and Valiant, these strips appeared as two- and three-page spreads in magazines printing Star Trek and other adventure-based titles. 256 issues were published over the course of five years, with additional stories running in one Joe 90 annual, three TV21 annuals, a Valiant Super Special, two TV Comic annuals, and an issue of Radio Times magazine.
Peter Pan Records (1975-1979) Edit
From 1975 through 1979, Peter Pan Records (and Power Records, a division thereof) released eleven stories. Six of these stories were accompanied by comic books, and some of the stories reference the continuity of both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series. Peter Pan Records released the stories on a total of 23 record sets, some featuring one story, others featuring as many as six on one release.
Marvel Comics v1 (1979-1982) Edit
McDonald's (1979) Edit
To celebrate the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, McDonald's released its first-ever set of Happy Meal Boxes, featuring comic strips adapting scenes from the film, on six separate boxes. Additional strips were included in special Star Trek Communicator toys included with the Happy Meals.
Newspaper comic strip (1979-1983) Edit
Around the same time as Marvel Comics was publishing its comic books, a newspaper comic strip based on Star Trek appeared. Like the Marvel publications it, too, told of the adventures of the USS Enterprise after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It lasted four years and consisted of twenty story arcs.
DC Comics v1 (1984-1988) Edit
- Star Trek TOS (DC volume 1): 56 monthly issues, three annuals (1984/1988)
- Movie special – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Movie special – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- Who's Who in Star Trek: two issues (1987)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (DC volume 1): Six issue mini-series (1988)
DC Comics v2 (1989-1995) Edit
- Star Trek TOS (DC volume 2): 80 issues, six annuals, three specials (1989/1995)
- Movie special – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Movie special – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Movie special – Star Trek Generations
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (DC volume 2): 80 issues, six annuals, three specials (1989/1996)
- "The Star Lost" (issues #20-24)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Ill Wind (four issue mini-series)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Shadowheart (four issue mini-series)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Modala Imperative (four issues, 1991)
- The Landmark Crossover (mini-series, with Malibu Comics)
Malibu Comics (1993-1995) Edit
- 32 monthly issues, two annuals
- The Landmark Crossover (four issue mini-series, with DC Comics)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Hearts and Minds (four issue mini-series)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Maquis: Soldier of Peace (three issue mini-series)
- Several one-shots: "Terok Nor", "Worf Special", "Lightstorm", "Special", "Blood & Honor", "The Rules of Diplomacy", "Hostage Situation"
Malibu had also apparently obtained rights to produce Voyager comics, but stopped comic production (due to a buyout from Marvel) before any issues were released.
Marvel Comics v2 (1995-1998) Edit
Done under the imprint "Marvel Presents Paramount Comics", Marvel had rights to produce comics based on all the existing Star Trek properties at the time.
- Star Trek: Untold Voyages: five monthly issues (based on TOS in the 2270s)
- Star Trek Unlimited: ten monthly issues (based on TOS and TNG)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: fifteen monthly issues
- Star Trek: Voyager: fifteen monthly issues and "Splashdown" (four issue mini-series)
- Star Trek: Early Voyages: seventeen monthly issues based on Pike's era
- Star Trek: Starfleet Academy: nineteen monthly issues
- Several one-shots : "Star Trek: Operation Assimilation", Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror: "Fragile Glass", "Star Trek: First Contact", Star Trek - X-Men: "Star TreX", Star Trek - X-Men: "Second Contact", "The Enemy of My Enemy", and Star Trek: Telepathy War: "Reality's End".
WildStorm Comics (1999-2001) Edit
DC Comics, through their WildStorm Comics imprint, obtained rights to the Star Trek comics for the third (and to date, final) time. Again published as "Paramount Comics", WildStorm limited their releases to single issues and limited series.
- WildStorm releases:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Perchance to Dream (four issue mini-series)
- "Embrace the Wolf"
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Killing Shadows (four issue mini-series)
- "The Gorn Crisis"
- DS9: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - N-Vector (four issue mini-series)
- New Frontier: "Double Time"
- "Star Trek: Special"
- Star Trek: Divided We Fall (four issue TNG/DS9 crossover)
Tokyopop (2006-2009) Edit
Tokyopop published Star Trek: The Manga and Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Manga. The first volume of this series, titled "Shinsei Shinsei", was a collection of five Star Trek manga stories published in August and September. The stories are based in the TOS-era. A second TOS-based five-story volume, "Kakan ni Shinkou", was released in 2007 with a third following mid-2008. The TNG-era series was released in April 2009.
- Volume 1: "Boukenshin"
IDW Publishing (2007-current) Edit
Comic publishers IDW Publishing – current publishers of comics based on the CSI, Doctor Who, and 24 TV series – have reached a deal with CBS/Paramount to release new Star Trek comics. IDW initially limited their releases to mini-series until the ongoing series based on the 2009 film.
The first book, a six-issue mini-series based on The Next Generation, was released in January 2007. A second, a TOS-era Klingon-based five-issue mini followed in April 2007,  with a "Star Trek: Year Four" miniseries following in July 2007 and an "Alien Spotlight" miniseries starting in November 2007. 
- Star Trek: Klingons - Blood Will Tell
- Star Trek: Year Four
- Star Trek: Year Four - The Enterprise Experiment
- Star Trek: Assignment: Earth
- Star Trek: Romulans - The Hollow Crown
- Star Trek: Romulans - Schism
- Star Trek: Crew
- Star Trek: Mission's End
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor
- Star Trek: Burden of Knowledge
- Star Trek: Khan - Ruling in Hell
- Star Trek: Infestation (crossover with other IDW titles)
- Star Trek - Legion of Super-Heroes (crossover with DC Comics)
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (photonovel)
- Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever
- Star Trek - Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive (crossover with "Planet of the Apes")
- Star Trek: New Visions (photonovels)
- Star Trek vs. Transformers (crossover with "Transformers")
- Star Trek: Year Five
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Space Between
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Intelligence Gathering
- Star Trek: The Last Generation
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Ghosts
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Doctor Who: Assimilation² (crossover with Doctor Who)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Hive
- Star Trek: Deviations
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Mirror Broken
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Mirror Broken: Origin of Data
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Through the Mirror
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - Terra Incognita
- Star Trek: The Next Generation - IDW 20/20
- Various time periods:
- Star Trek (2009) tie-ins:
- Star Trek: Countdown
- Star Trek: Spock: Reflections
- Star Trek: Nero
- Star Trek: The Official Motion Picture Adaptation
- Star Trek: Ongoing
- Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness
- Star Trek: Khan
- Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
- Star Trek: Boldly Go
- Star Trek - Green Lantern: The Spectrum War (crossover with DC Comics)
- Star Trek: Manifest Destiny
- Star Trek - Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds (crossover with DC Comics)
- Collected editions:
Wired magazine (2009) Edit
The September 2009 issue of Wired magazine, issue 17.05, contained an online mini comic tied in with the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film. The comic is available online here.