T-K Graphics

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Zine Publisher
Name: T-K Graphics
Contact: Ted Pauls, Karen Townley
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T-K Graphics was a distributor/retailer of pro books, but it is more well-known for publishing fan-created chapbooks and other amateur zines.

It was based in Baltimore, Maryland was founded in the early 1970s, perhaps earlier.

In 1976, it published a four-page catalog called "T-K Graphics, Inc. Star Trek Catalog." This catalog included: fan-created greeting cards, pro books such as I Am Not Spock, poster books, convention program books, "Enterprise Blue Prints" by McMaster, various LP recordings narrated by Trek celebrities, The Star Trek Concordance, Star Trek Technical Manual, calendars, the zines Enterprise Incidents and Vulcan Reflections, and more.

the cover and a page from a 1976 Star Trek catalog
two pages from a 1976 Star Trek catalog
first page of a long, long 1975 flyer
a 1984 catalog, 42 pages
a 1985 trivia calendar


"T-K Graphics" sponsored two separate Star Trek one-day mini-cons. See T-K Graphics Star Trek Con.

Financial Problems

The company became over-extended and over-committed, and this caused strife.

A fan recounts her dealings with the company in October 1977:

10/6/77 I'd be glad to tell you what I know about T-K Graphics.Like you I have heard rumours as well. Some of these probably could be pinned down if I tried. I'll do some for- ti»l fact-gathering and let you know if I come up with names, etc. In the meantime, I can relate my personal experiences. I've been dealing with T-K since some time in 1974. They have always had the not too good practice of taking orders for books not yet in stock or even published. That didn't bother me at first, because they got the books to me eventually. More recently, however, I noticed I wasn't getting anything from them. My oldest order to them had been sent in about a year ago. Around May or so, I decided I'd waited long enough and wrote asking for refunds on my oldest unfilled orders. I heard nothing in reply. A couple of months later, I wrote again demanding a full refund this time. I still heard nothing. I finally decided to turn to a local newspaper column that assists people with consumer problems. I had to send them photocopies of all my cheques, etc. I then received a refund cheque from T-K. The amount was ... something around $34. It seems that, like GALAXY, T-K has a new policy of paying upon threat of lawsuit or equivalent.

10/19/77 I'm sure you will be very interested to know that the refund cheque I received from T-K Graphics bounced. I shall no longer be polite about this situation. I hope you will warn your SPECTRUM readers away from this store. I will be doing the same via apazines. I will be glad to make copies of any documentation you may want. [1]

In January 1978, Marion Zimmer Bradley stuck up for T-K Graphics as she has been hearing that fans felt the outfit was too slow in filling orders and some fans felt it was a rip-off business:

THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE, a reference, 400 pages long, containing everything you ever wanted to know about Darkover and didn't know who to ask (and frankly, friends, it contains a lot of things I didn't know MYSELF about Darkover, and I wrote the books!) is being published by T-K Graphics, in Baltimore. After we announced this, we got a number of probably well-meant comments, rumors and complaints, accusing Ted, among other things, of being intolerably slow in filling orders...even to the point where people have asked us if T-K is a ripoff operation. Well, now I am going to stake my reputation on a flat statement --and this is Marion Zimmer Bradley talking, don't blame anyone else:


He is also intelligent, sensitive, overworked, constantly broke, doing a shoestring business on very small capital for the sheer love of it, and probably taking on a hell of a lot more than he can chew. He needs help and support, not character assassination. He fills orders slowly, and does it, as far as I know, with his own one pair of hands and those of his partner, Karen (I think she may also be married to him, but in any case she is his equal partner) [2] and if we at the small business of the Friends of Darkover sometimes get mixed up, botch orders, send the wrong book or misfile somebody's card or check, even with Walter, a fussy exact Virgo type, to help us, I can imagine the troubles Ted has.

So if you have a complaint about Ted, write him and ask him to straighten it out, don't bitch behind his back and tell people how unreliable he is. In the current state of the business, small publishers are the only hope of noncommercialfantasy. If you love fantasy, support people like Ted, and Bill Crawford, and Mirage, and Ken Kreuger, or watch it go down the drain in favor of the umpteenth Tolkien Calendar, Star Wars Toy, or other media mass-sales stuff! I can say CATEGORICALLY that the rumor circulated by two people who wrote me, saying that "T-K Graphics is out of Business," or "T-K Graphics has been enjoined by the Post Office from doing business" are NOT TRUE. I do not say the people who passed on these rumors were lying; I do say they were most grievously misinformed. Ted was alive at the World Fantasy Con—I talked to him — and his business intact and solvent; and Walter telephoned him in Baltimore in December and he had heard nothing from the P.O. about any complaints. If you have problems with T-K, be patient; given time, he will straighten them out. Maybe he will even make enough money to hire some help and send orders a little more quickly than you could get them from Tibet by yak-back. [3]

In May 1978, Gerry Downes wrote:

Ted and I have amiably worked out a payment schedule and so far he's sticking to it, so I'm not ready to lodge any official complaints. I would suggest that zine editors insist on payment in advance before sending books, however. T-K has been a good source in the past for hard to find and limited edition items. I'd like for Ted to be able to survive this current cash flow crisis and keep the business going -- I think it's just a case of expanding too fast to satisfy too may peripheral interests at once. I doubt he has ever intended to defraud anyone. [4]

By September 1978, Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote about the The Darkover Concordance, a zine that was originally to have been published by T-K Graphics but that the publisher had "bitten off more than he could chew," was in financial ruin, and had returned the manuscript to Walter Breen. [5]

A fan in 2009 wrote of troubles they'd had with T-K Graphics: "I knew Ted Pauls for many years, until he died, and his sister Karen, too. Why, Ted once threatened to so me, once when I and two other folks were doing a newszine, and reported on the business troubles of their little publishing business, T-K Graphics. They didn't sue, of course, both because we were accurate, and had mentioned they were in danger of going out of business because other people were suing them, and that's what happened." [6]

Some Published Items


  1. ^ from a fan in Spectrum #35 (January 1978)
  2. ^ Karen was Ted's sister.
  3. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #9/10 (January 1978)
  4. ^ Spectrum #37
  5. ^ Darkover Newsletter #13/14
  6. ^ comment by Gary Farmer Only Pain., August 1, 2009