To say that William Shatner has a following is an understatement. He’s got millions of fans across the globe - young and old - who know him as Capt. James T. Kirk. On Twitter, he’s got 2.21 million followers, and on Facebook, another 1 million. And as the face of Priceline.com, he’s hardly been absent from pop culture since his “Star Trek” days.
This week, the longtime Los Angeles resident will be in San Diego for the 45th annual Comic-Con International, where he will conduct a reading from “The Autobiography of James T. Kirk” (10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Thursday, Ballroom 20) and talk about his new cinematic graphic novel, “Man O’ War (4 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Room 6BCF).
We spoke to the 84-year-old Shatner on Monday:
There are a couple of reasons you’re coming to Comic-Con, right? A reading from “The Autobiography of James T. Kirk” and the launch of your cinematic graphic novel. How excited are you about that?
Saturday is our big day. We’ve been working for two years on an idea I had. I wrote a novel called “Man O’ War.” We formed a company (LNL Partners), led by Mariano Nicieza, formerly of Marvel. I wanted to bring forth this idea where the camera travels over the panels. So it is, in effect, a form of motion picture, complete with sound effects and music behind it. That all adds to the illusion that it’s a movie. It is unique in that respect, but what makes it even more unique is that the cinematic graphic novel will have a direct correlation with the printed product. It’s been two years in the making mainly because we lacked the extraordinary funding that a corporation like Marvel has.
You’ve done TV, movies, books and now a cinematic graphic novel. What’s the next frontier you’d like to conquer?
Well, I’ll be back on TV. I’m on NBC primetime this winter with “Better Late Than Never” (a celebrity-based reality show starring Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw, Jeff Dye and George Foreman). I’ll be going to Asia, and I’ll be gone for a month. It’s a “bucket list” type of show where we get to experience new cultures in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
What was your last project?
I’ve just finished a cross-country motorcycle ride from Chicago to Los Angeles. I rode a Rivet Motorcycle and raised money for the American Legion Scholarship Fund. I shot a documentary chronicling the trip, and it’s the richest source material of anything I’ve worked on. I directed it, and I’ve just begun today sorting through all that.
2015 is supposed to be the year of “Star Wars.” You going to see it?
Yes, it’s great stuff, but what’s even better: Next year will be the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek”!
What is something about your time on “Star Trek” that people would be surprised to hear?
That I actually got older during the run of that show! Shocker.
What are you most proud of?
That I’m still here!
When you’re not writing or acting, what do you do to relax?
I ride horses a lot and go to many horse shows, many of which are in San Diego.
If you could go back in time, what time period would you like to travel back to?
I get asked this question a lot, but honestly, I am so blessed with all the loves in my life - my family, my friends - that to think of being anywhere else would be crass.
What’s your favorite thing to do in San Diego?
Lying down anywhere that’s flat. Well, at my age, just a little bit propped up.
“Man O’ War” will be launched at Comic-Con and will be available for download on Comixology, iTunes and Vimeo.