Gold Key Comics began in 1962, although the history extends back further. Western Publishing and Lithography had published some comics under the Whitman imprint in the 1930s, then in 1935 Dell Publishing contracted and distributed comics from Western as Dell Comics. This ended in 1962, an event known as "the divorce", when Dell and Western went their separate ways.
Ownership of most of the original titles, as well as most of the licensing agreements, were with Western and not Dell, so Western created the Gold Key imprint and continued publishing its own comics.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Whitman imprint began appearing on Gold Key titles, and the company stopped publishing in the 1980s.
Several of Gold Key's original properties (Dr. Solar, Magnus and Turok) were sold to Valiant Comics in the 1990s, and have more recently reappeared in Dark Horse Comics.
Gold Key comics with their own trope pages include:
Other Gold Key comics provide examples of:
- Canon Welding: Despite Executive Meddling, Don Glut managed to tie together Doctor Spektor, Dagar, Doctor Solar, Tragg, The Owl and probably others
- Comic Book Adaptation: Gold Key published a lot of these, to the point that they could be considered the Dark Horse Comics of their era. Star Trek, Looney Tunes, Mickey Mouse, The Twilight Zone, Battle of the Planets, Buck Rogers, Gorgo, Reptilicus, most of the Hanna-Barbera properties, and on and on. The Star Trek ones were recently anthologized in a trade paperback, and the Looney Tunes ones occasionally appear anthologized together with DC's Looney Tunes comics.
- Looney Tunes: Gold Key's Looney Tunes comics ran for decades and built up an Expanded Universe, complete with original characters like Bugs Bunny's girlfriend Honey Bunny, Porky's nephew Cicero, the Road Runner's wife and three sons, and Sniffles' human friend Mary Jane. The comics are also the only reason anyone is familiar with Petunia Pig, who was a regular cast member in print, but who only appeared in a small handful of early cartoons. The Bugs Bunny newspaper strip and all Looney Tunes books and merchandise of those years featured these characters prominently, and any fan of that period would be likely to recognize them. The stories' style arguably bore more resemblance to the Scrooge McDuck Universe than to the faster-paced Warner animated shorts (and Whitman did publish Duck comics for Disney). Since Gold Key/Whitman went under, though, this version of the characters and their world seems to have been completely forgotten by Warner Bros
- Recycled in Space: Space Family Robinson (aka Lost In Space: Space Family Robinson) was The Swiss Family Robinson in space!
- Status Quo Is God: Most of their comics, although a few comics in the 1970s managed to avert it.