When writer Michael Conrad was hastily handed a business card with a Gold Key Comics logo on it by a gentleman at a comic convention, his reaction was the same one many of us would have had if we were handed the same card: ‘That’s a dead publisher, sir.”
Yet, it did intrigue Conrad, and he responded to the email address on the card the very next day, and much to his surprise, Gold Key Comics was poised for a return…they just didn’t know how to get the long-time publisher off the launching pad.
“Once we opened a line of communication and they let me in, they asked for my help in getting the first comic, Boris Karloff Gold Key Mysteries, made and I contacted an editor named Zane Barrow who started getting talent together for the project,” Conrad said.
One of the names that immediately came up was artist Kelly Williams, who teams with Conrad on the framing story featuring Karloff as the horror host of the anthology (now available to back on Kickstarter).
Initially, Williams was also skeptical of the offer, “I thought it might be a weird scam as first,” but once he was contacted by Conrad, he knew the opportunity was legitimate.
Serving as the custodians of the “title character”, and one that brings so much gravity to a horror comic book, was a challenge for both Conrad and Williams.
“I spoke to Sara Karloff and got to hear the stories about her father. He is certainly known for all the classic Universal Horror, but he was also one of the people that created the Screen Actors Guild and was a very altruistic person,” Conrad said.
“However, the character in the comic isn’t hosting a BBQ; he is the host of a mystery horror thriller, so we work with those elements as well,” Conrad added.
For Williams, extra pressure came from getting his artwork approved by the Karloff estate and capturing the man known for so many roles on the silver screen.
“I avoided Frankenstein and focused on The Mummy and his various looks in that film. He is the Mummy, but you also see Karloff come through in the film, particularly his eyes, which worked well for our characterization of him in the comic,” Williams said.
After the special edition Kickstarter campaign wraps up on April 27, the premiere and subsequent issues will be available on the direct market, with the possibility of more to come.
“We hit the initial funding goal in the first few hours and have far surpassed it since, which is a good sign for the future,” Conrad said.
Stay tuned to Conskipper for more information about Gold Key Comics and Boris Karloff Gold Key Mysteries.
If you’d like to read more about one of Conrad’s previous forays into the world of horror comics, check out our previous interview with him and Noah Bailey about their original graphic novel, Double Walker.