First, I must clarify: when I use the term "week" I don't mean an actual Earth week, I am using a lesser-known definition of "week." It's such a lesser-known definition that only I use it, actually. My "week" lasts from 8 to 12.5 days. I use the term "week" because Star Trek Nigh Fortnight just doesn't sound right to me.
OK, let's talk about Gold Key comics. I only read Gold Key comics on those long summer road trips from California to Saskatchewan, when my dad would buy my sister and me comic books from gas stations in order to keep us quiet. Usually I was rockin' the Batman or the Legion of Super Heroes in the back of the station wagon, but on occasion we'd be stuck in some wasteland far from civilization where the spinner racks were loaded with nothing but Gold Key comic books. As I mentioned previously, I would grudgingly accept the Gold Key comics because I feared the Mark V Backhand* - but I didn't like them.
Gold Key's Star Trek comics seemed like they were produced by bored hacks who had very little interest in the actual source material. They were sort of generic science fiction stories that just happened to be called Star Trek. Sometimes you wondered if the guys writing and drawing these things had actually seen the show, or if they were just working off a couple of dog-eared publicity photos for reference. Even Young Dave could tell these comics bore only a passing resemblance to the Star Trek TV show.
The Gold Key books often featured stories, aliens, and technology that was wildly inappropriate for Star Trek. Here's a taste; check out the giant space genie grabbing the Enterprise:
The artist mistakenly thinks the ship's nacelles are big rockets or something. Don't they know the Enterprise's nacelles house the warp coils??? Stupid Gold Key, ha ha!
OK, here's Baggy Pants Pistol Packin' Karate Spock busting a move:
Is that bearded guy slapping Spock's ass while he dances like a Russian? What the hell?And the covers! I swear, often the only thing recognizably Star Trekky about the covers was the little photo inserts of Kirk and Spock. It's as if the folks at Gold Key knew that they were producing generic sci-fi and they desperately had to insert some visual branding to distinguish the comics.
Looking back at those painted Gold Key covers, I have to admit - they are pretty awesome. Gold Key's covers were like the last gasp of the old pulp sci-fi magazines. At the time I hated the painted look, vastly preferring the vibrant, lurid covers of Marvel and DC comics, but now I can appreciate them for their hacktacular radness. They weren't Star Trek, but they were something special.
You know, the more I think about it the more I realize that I don't actually hate the Gold Key Star Trek books. They were old-fashioned throwbacks to a less sophisticated age of print science fiction, when pulp tales of alien worlds and swashbuckling spacemen were churned out en masse by tired old men in horn-rimmed glasses. I just loathed them as a child, but Adult Dave can appreciate them for the harmless schlock that they are.
Plus - green haired Kirk. You have to love green haired Kirk.
OK, I've pretty much done a complete 180 and now no longer hate Gold Key Star Trek comics. I'm glad I could work out my feelings from them here with you today. I think I've learned a lot.
My thanks to Kevin Church for the Gold Key panel scans. I paid a heavy price for those images, but I suppose it was worth it.
And now, Spock freaking out on acid: