AFTER MORE THAN 25 YEARS OF NAVIGATING the starship Enterprise where no man had gone before, Walter Koenig doesn’t have much trouble steering around L.A. freeways. So while Koenig, who played Chekhov on the original Star Trek TV series and in six films, sits behind the wheel of his 1989 Jaguar, he lets his mind wander into some strange new worlds of its own.
The result is Raver, a comic book series Koenig conceived about a meek everyman who suddenly gets the power to create and populate alternate worlds. Released on April 28, the premiere issue of Raver warped out of comic book stores, pre-selling an impressive 92,000 copies and prompting talk of extending the series beyond its initial three-issue contract. “Raver is a very human superhero,” boasts Koenig, 56. “He has a sense of humor, and he experiences the full gamut of emotions and altitude.”
Koenig knows a thing or two about that gamut. After his high-flying days on Star Trek in the 1960s, his acting career spent the 1970s lost in space. At one point, the New York City-bred Koenig (who patterned his character’s Russian accent after that of his Lithuanian parents) even considered driving a cab. These days, however, thanks to the Star Trek movies and work in local theater, Koenig lives comfortably in North Hollywood with his actress wife, Judy Levitt, in her late 40s. (Son Andrew, 24, and daughter Danielle, 20, are also actors.)
Despite his latest venture, Koenig still hopes to beam back to TV for a guest shot on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Maybe there, he figures, his character might grow beyond its usual Chekhovian responses (“Yes, Kyeptin”). Not that he has any real regrets about his longtime role, of course. Says Koenig: “Would I do it all over again? Yes.”