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Does the new Gold Key Comics really ask for 200-page submissions?

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Earlier this year Gold Key Comics, the iconic publisher of TV and movie tie-in comics in the 1960s and ’70s, announced their return with the launch of a Kickstarter for a reboot of Boris Karloff’s Gold Key Mysteries, one of the publisher’s most popular legacy titles. The project, which features work from creators including Michael W. ConradSteve OrlandoArtyom Trakanov, Kelly Williams, Jok, Craig Hurd-Mckenny, Sergey Nazarov, and Kyle Arends, was successfully funded at the end of last month. Beyond that, Gold Key has been open for submissions since their return, but the guidelines for submitting work have raised some eyebrows on social media, and elicted a response from the publisher.

As noted by comics creator Zach Chapman on Twitter, on the publisher’s submissions page, among the criteria listed is an item stating that submitting creators should have at least six issues, or around 200 pages of comics, completed prior to submitting:

(The irony of having that bullet point directly below “Gold Key respects creators and their work.” has not been lost on us.)

Further down on the page, the submission form includes a question about how many issues of the project are completed already (highlighting ours):

The tweet drew the attention of figures from around the industry, including creators Fabian NiciezaChristopher Sebela, Neil Kleid, and more, all of whom noted how unreasonable an ask this is for creators just looking to submit work.

For their part, Gold Key was quick to respond to the criticism, replying to Chapman’s tweet within a few hours to clarify:

“You’re absolutely correct, we wrote that copy over a year ago,” the publisher tweeted. “We now have 3 legacy titles and 3 originals we’re working on and none were anywhere near 6 issues completed (we’re learning) – the form copy is being edited and we appreciate you brining [sic] it to our attention.”

Michael W. Conrad, who contributed to Boris Karloff’s Gold Key Mysteries, also rose to the publisher’s defense:

“I’ve worked with these folks, and they’ve been very kind/understanding at every step,” Conrad tweeted. “That submissions thing is news to me, but it sounds like it was old/unrealistic.”

Gold Key still appears to be working on updating their submissions page, which from another of their tweets sounds like is taking longer than expected due to the form portion of the page.

With so many predatory outfits in comics ready to take advantage of up-and-coming creators looking to get their work out into the world, it’s no surprise that the existing submission guidelines for Gold Key drew swift criticism. It’s heartening, though, to have seen a response and an openness to critique from the folks behind Gold Key, and hopefully they’ll resolve their web form issues soon. 

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