Gold Key characters in the Valiant Universe

The original Valiant Universe of the 1990s included three characters with previous publication history under Gold Key in the 1960s. Magnus, Solar, and Turok, were re-introduced as Valiant title characters in the 1990s, though they were licensed from Western Publishing at the time. The earliest of these “Gold Key 3” was Turok, Son of Stone, first appearing in 1954 from Dell Comics. Dell and Gold Key were both owned by Western Publishing, and the majority of comics for the “Gold Key 3” were published by Gold Key beginning in the early 1960s.

Turok was published as Four Color #596 (Turok #1), shown above, then as Four Color #656 (Turok #2) and Turok, Son of Stone #3 – #130 for Dell Comics, followed by Gold Key and Whitman, ending in 1982.

Solar, Man of the Atom in the Valiant Universe was first published by Gold Key as Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 dated October 1962. It may surprise collectors to discover that Dr. Solar was introduced in the same year as both Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, and Dr. Solar was earlier than other popular Marvel characters of the 1960s such as Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and Daredevil.

Doctor Solar continued from issue #1, shown above, until issue #31 in 1982 from Whitman.

Magnus, Robot Fighter was the first licensed character to appear in the Valiant Universe in 1991, but it was the third of the “Gold Key 3” to be introduced as Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD #1, dated February 1963.

Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD continued from issue #1, shown above, until issue #46 in 1977.

Although collectors may consider the “Gold Key 3” to have been integral to the original Valiant Universe of the 1990s, the three characters were always licensed properties which were not original Valiant creations. Each of the three characters was re-imagined again for comics published by Acclaim Comics after Valiant ended in 1996, and the Acclaim Comics lines ended in 1998 with only Turok continuing sporadic publication until 2002 to coincide with video game releases from Acclaim.

Following the Valiant and Acclaim licensing of the “Gold Key 3”, the three characters have been brought back by at least two other publishers since the year 2010, which have been unrelated to any Valiant stories past or present.

The Valiant Universe re-started in 2012 and published monthly has established a new Valiant Universe without the “Gold Key 3” which has lasted longer than either the original Valiant Universe of the 1990s or the Acclaim lines of Valiant Heroes comics.