Thursday, July 12, 2012

“GOLD-en Anniversary”!

July 2012 will mark the 50th Anniversary of GOLD KEY COMICS!

And, we will be marking the occasion with one long and profusely illustrated post.  UPDATE:  It's now HERE!

It will not be a “History of Western Publishing” and the persons behind it.  At this point in time, I believe only Mark Evanier could attempt that.  …Perhaps Mike Barrier, but very few others. 

It’s just MY lengthy view of the “good and the bad”, the “wonders” and the “wonder-whys”, of what will always be (for better or for worse) my favorite comic book publisher – 50 years after its birth! 

I’m working on it now.  No estimate as to when it will appear, but likely some time in mid-July. 

Please look for it, and be sure to add comments… ‘cause I’m sure I’ll leave out SOMETHING!  

...Though I doubt I'll leave out THIS one!


Anonymous said...

The first comic I ever read (or, more accurately, had read to me) was probably a Gold Key. It may have been a Disney comic, or a Hanna-Barbera comic with cartoon characters I would have known from TV. Later, when I was reading on my own and "graduated" to super-hero and adventure comics, I still liked GK. In fact, Tarzan and Korak were the only comics I bought often enough to actually build something like a collection (more than 10-12 consecutive issues) in the late Silver Age.

Joe Torcivia said...

That parallels my own experiences, Anon – only mine were in the very last years of Dell.

To this day, I distinctly recall the first Gold Key I saw… and wondered what had happened. Why wasn’t it a Dell? The other issues of this title that I had were Dells, what’s with this?

But more on that – and what that first Gold Key Comic was, why it was different, etc. – in the upcoming post. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I expect it’ll be a week off… but I have two others (one directly related, the other less so, but referencing Dell) queued-up while I continue working on it.

Funny, one series of titles I never had any experience with would be the Tarzan /Korak titles. I made a purposeful effort to branch out beyond Disney in the post – because Gold Key WAS far more than Disney, but you’ve just caused me to realize that I make no mention of Tarzan or Korak. So, in advance, I’m sorry for that. Looking forward to your comments.

Anonymous said...

Those titles switching from Dell to Gold Key were before my time (just barely), so, to me, Yogi Bear and WDC&S were "always" Gold Key titles. It seems like Dell mainly did adaptations in anthology titles (Four Color, Movie Classics), rather than series that you would follow and collect regularly. So I would buy a Dell comic if that issue was a TV show I liked. I was a huge fan of Alvin and the Chipmunks, though, and I had several issues of that title. So the first Dell comic I had was probably Alvin, and the last was probably a late 1960's Movie Classics (Valley of Gwangi).

Joe Torcivia said...

Those Dell Comics were of the “Post-Western Publishing” (1962-on) incarnation of Dell, which Mark Evanier briefly touches on in the post of his that I link to in this one. I can’t say I cared for those, as I did the ones previously produced and packaged by Western.

Chris Barat said...


Can't wait for this one!


Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, Chris!

It’s really a shame that there’s never been a definitive piece written on the subject. Plenty has been written about the Disney material… but Gold Key (and Western Publishing in general) was much more than just that – and it should all be covered. You’d think SOMEONE, over the years, would have attempted it.

Don’t look here for that sort of thing… but it will be as extensive as I can make it in a Blog post. Though, as you can see from my exchange with “Anon” (above), I’m probably not going to cover all the bases. …And Gold Key had a LOT of “bases”. Some of that will be by unintentional omission, and some due to a lack of knowledge of, or experience with, certain titles.

It really needs to be not a Blog post, but a BOOK – and by someone with firsthand knowledge of the subject. Not that there are many folks like that left around, alas.

Then again, thanks to Mark Arnold and the people at Shout! Factory, we now know more about Total Television than I ever thought possible – so anything can happen.

No matter, I’m really enjoying the preparation of the Gold Key post.

Joe Torcivia said...

UPDATE: By now, I’ve pretty much “closed-out” the writing – and it’s turned out to be more extensive than originally planned. Though it’s still not the “all-encompassing publisher’s history” that we OUGHT to have, I’m quite pleased with the outcome!

It should post in about a week. Looking forward to your reactions!

In the meantime, we’ll have at least two other posts along the way.

Ryan Wynns said...


Sounds like this is gonna be QUITE good! I was surprised when you told me of how after Western began using the Gold Key imprint, Dell continued to exist on its own, without the Disney, Warner, Hanna-Barbera, etc. properties ... and you relayed that tidbit of history to me only a couple years ago, so I'm sure I'll learn a few new things from your post, and it that it will widen my perspective of the Gold Key years.

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...


What I hope it will do is offer some additional or broader perspective on one of the most underrated publishers in comic book history. By “underrated” I mean that, even when these comics ARE discussed, it is usually their DELL incarnations that receive the attention – with the Gold Key versions often mentioned as mere also-rans, if at all.

And, it will be from the vantage point of one who was there for the whole thing. What I saw and how I saw it – with everything you’d expect from me. STILL… it won’t be nearly enough to do the subject proper justice!

Be sure to stop back with your thoughts, because it is *I* who will find the POV of someone who WASN’T there to be all the more interesting!


Dana Gabbard said...

This should be interesting.

Western Pub. was a huge company. And its comics were in the industry sort of our of the way. Sort of fell between the cracks of comic book history.