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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #188

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that seemingly never ends. Heh. On this supposedly luckiest of all days, the topic is under lock and key. Well, maybe not lock. You’ll have to click through the fold to find out what my terrible hint refers to! I promise you lots of pretty pictures, as well as a chicken in every garage, a car in every pot, and an archive link in every post. Also, revisit the final DITKO WEEK entry for some newly-added content.


188. Gold Key covers

Gold Key 12.jpg

Gold Key was an interesting publisher. There wasn’t a single TV property they didn’t seem to have a book out for– from live-action shows like the Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, and Lancelot Link, to cartoons from Disney and Hanna Barbera, including Atom Ant and the Harlem Globetrotters.

My favorite stuff from Gold Key, however, is the cover design. Yes, they used traditional linework and photo covers quite often, but the painted covers are my favorite. I always stop to admire them when I come across them, whether it’s in an auction house or on a comic shop wall. They’re gorgeous works from great artists, many of whom go unnamed. But a few don’t, and those are men like George Wilson and Morris Gollub, who were experts at their craft. The covers had to sell the books by then, and by God, they must have.

Even if one knows nothing about the interiors, the covers alone stand as great pieces of art. I’d gladly buy a collection of painted Gold Key covers. The art, the little captions, the logo design, the typesetting– all of it is wonderfully done. I wish we still had covers like this.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, you’re getting the wordiest Reason to Love Comics of them all. Enjoy the gallery. Click on any picture to enlarge it. And let’s hope I haven’t crippled the server or your browser.

Gold Key 26.jpgGold Key 10.jpgGold Key 11.jpg

Gold Key 4.jpgGold Key 5.jpgGold Key 6.jpg

(Where’s my Doc Magnus/Magnus, Robot Fighter crossover?)

Gold Key 1.jpgGold Key 2.jpgGold Key 3.jpg

(Super-Apes, eh?)

Gold Key 7.jpgGold Key 13.jpgGold Key 19.jpg

(The Space Family Robinson comic actually pre-dates the Lost in Space TV Show and doesn’t feature the same characters, but it served as the only comic tie-in to the show.)

Gold Key 17.jpgGold Key 24.jpgGold Key 25.jpg

(That’ll teach you to wear a red shirt, Spock.)

Gold Key 18.jpgGold Key 22.jpg

Gold Key 23.jpgGold Key 21.jpg

(If only the Valiant revamps of some of these books were as crazy good.)

Gold Key 16.jpgGold Key 15.jpgGold Key 14.jpg

Gold Key 20.jpgGold Key 9.jpgGold Key 8.jpg

Wow, that was a lot of images. If your eyes are still functioning enough to read this, and your modem hasn’t tried to kill you, then congratulations on making it to the end. Heh. As I said, Gold Key had some absolutely beautiful covers. Does anyone here own any of these babies? How were the stories in the Gold Key books? Did they live up to the promises of the covers?

Even if the stories were awful, though, I think we can agree that the covers themselves are a Reason to Love Comics. Goodnight, Seattle dear readers.

(God Bless the Grand Comics Database for their dedication and their marvelous cover scans. Without them, this column would not exist. Thanks, fellas!)


Lancelot Link.

Ian Astheimer

July 7, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Those covers are glorious.

Whatever happened to Gold Key?

Wikipedia has some stuff on Gold Key’s downfall:

Those covers really are excellent, though.

Ah, Magnus Robot Fighter–great series–I have one of the issues with the cover above.
I also have one of thos Twilight Zone ones.

I used to have tons of GOld Key comics–I’d get them when we went on holidays–those 4 in a bag ones–to read in the car–in those days before DVD’s.

I also bought a lot of them singly.
Those were the days…

I have some of the early Twilight Zone covers. Issue #1 is still my favourite. It sets up the story perfectly but is actually rather subtle. Spooky.


That first Doctor Solar cover looks like it could be a 90s Vertigo cover. Nice.

The Kirbydotter

July 8, 2007 at 7:34 am

This is a GREAT selection of covers!
Seeing them is small size makes me realize that they look just like the covers of paperback pulp novels of the 50’s and 60’s.

I have a huge collection of comic bboks, lots of Bronze Age, some Silver Age. But I don’t think I own any Gold Key! I don own the 3 hardcover volumes of MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER reprints from Dark Horse. From childhood, I remember reading what must have been the Gold Key’s PHANTOM and MANDRAKE in french reprints (it was the same french editor that published Magnus which I also read and I think Turok.)

For a long time, I have been meaning to collect the GK TWILIGHT ZONE series because I had noticed in Overstreet’s Price Guide that they were many great artists worked on that title. Frank Miller published his first comic book art in issues 84 and 85. The first Gold Key issues had Crandall and Frazetta art! EC’s Orlando, Evans, Williamson and Crandall were in a few of the early issues, so was Toth. Other notable artists of this series were Alan Weiss, Walter Simonson, Mike Sekowsky, Al McWilliams.

As a sucker for nostalgia, I also want to hunt down a few TV series title like BANANA SPLIT (Don’t ask, I loved this crazy show as a kid! ), MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., and probably a few other I can’t remember at the moment.

Does any one know if SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON was any good?
I was always curious about this series.

Does any one know if SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON was any good?

It’s very well done, with great artwork by Dan Spiegle.

I’ll take your word on the LANCELOT LINK cover — looks like a photo to me.

Otherwise: superb post. You’ve helped us see something wonderful that was right there for us to see all along but that somehow always escaped our notice.

Derek B. Haas

July 9, 2007 at 7:43 am


I need to get me some of that.

I’ll take your word on the LANCELOT LINK cover — looks like a photo to me.

It was. I just couldn’t let this one go by without some Secret Chimp action.

Derek, Innovation also did some Dark Shadows comics in the 90s

I, too, got many of my Gold Key comics in those 3 for a buck bags. I had Magnus, Doctor Solar, and a couple of issues of Space Family Robinson. As a kid I remember being mesmerized by the covers, then sadly disappointed by the interior art. How could any interior art lve up to those covers???

I now own a few. My original comics from my childhood are sadly no longer with me. I have Solar #15 (the issue featured prominently in the Valiant series) some early Turok’s, and even a Star Trek or two. Unfortunately those Space Family Robinsons are just too spendy!

Ive always had an appreciation for the painted GK covers-just brilliant stuff! The interiors always were colored in colors unique to Gold Key, and their writing (pre-’68) was usually outstanding. My favorite had to be Mighty Samson as the most imaginative series they had going, but most of their SF & Horror titles were very cool as well. As far as Mighty Samson goes, if ever there was a concept that would translate into a killer movie, that’d be MY choice! Unlimited potential! Even a well-done TV series would do it; more episodes=more plotlines and characters. Plus, I always thought Frank Thorne’s work seemed effortlessly phenomenal! GK RULES in my book anyday.

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