Earlier in the year, I looked at some of the terrific one-shots Gold Key produced. I decided it was high time to revisit this topic and take a look at another handful of one-shots. I’ve tried to steer clear of movie adaptations and books basked on TV shows as the number of candidates would be mind boggling.
Flash Gordon (June, 1965)
Western had held the license for Flash Gordon at various points, and decided that the mid-60s was the perfect time to reintroduce Flash, Dale and the gang to the Four Color world. This was obviously some sort of quickie cash-in as it is a condensed reprint of story from Four Color #173 from 1947. It has some nice Paul Norris artwork, but it is really nothing spectacular. Within a matter of months, King Features would repatriate many of its characters and launch it own high quality, yet short-lived, line of comics. Flash Gordon would then be handed over to Charlton before returning to Gold Key in the late 70s.
Freedom Agent (April, 1963)
I’m not really sure if this counts as a true one-shot, as in some ways it is a continuation of the John Steele, Secret Agent book I talked about a while back – but let’s keep it as a standalone. It goes without saying that it features one of the greatest covers of the 60s, if not of all-time. There’s some good, clean cold war action to behold, all drawn by the meticulous and vastly underappreciated Alberto Giolitti. How can you go wrong?
Jet Dream – (June, 1968)
One would think that the late 60s was the perfect time to launch a series about a group of females superspies. For whatever reason, however, this series never took hold. This strip was introduced as a back-up in Gold Key’s Man from U.N.C.L.E series before getting its own book. It is a decent, but not great, book – a case of the concept being better than the execution. Still, it’s a worth picking up for the kitsch factor alone. Joe Certa provides pleasant but dull artwork.
Duke of the K-9 Patrol (April, 1963)
If you are going to purchase only one Silver Age comic book about police working with dogs in a mid-sized American city, make it this one. All kidding aside, this is actually a very entertaining book, focusing on the important role played by police dogs. The best tale is the finale in which a budget conscious city councilman threatens to shut down the K-9 unit. In a somewhat suspicious coincidence, that same councilor has his store robbed by masked bandits. Who do you think tracked down those thieves? Yup, Duke. This book has some nice Dan Spiegle artwork and a good piece on the history and economic efficiency of police dogs.
Blake Harper, City Surgeon (August, 1963)
The early 60s was really the peak of the medical/hospital genre in comic books. Many of these were tie-ins to TV shows, but some were original concept, such as City Surgeon. Jack Sparling provides the artwork, and while I understand that he is an acquired taste for some, this is some of his most subdued and accessible work from this period.
So, there you have it. Another ecletic group of book that could only come from Gold Key. For more comic book nonsense, stop by my blog at Seduction of the Indifferent
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