Karen: Even though I am a huge Trek fan, I've only encountered a handful of the Gold Key Star Trek comics. My uncle, who had a number of comics dating mainly from the 50s and 60s, had a couple of issues, and I recall being fairly puzzled by them. They didn't look much like the shows I saw on TV. The uniforms weren't the same and some of the characters looked completely different. I learned many years later that the artists who worked on the title were mainly based in Italy, and had never seen the show!
Karen: What I never realized until now was how long the title ran: there were 61 issues produced by Gold Key, from 1967 through 1979. I had thought they stopped turning out the title in the early 70s. The cover art was often quite fanciful -and sometimes if the words "Star Trek" hadn't been there, you wouldn't have known it had anything to do with the show. The earliest issues, by the way, had photo covers, not uncommon with Gold Key and Dell comics that were spin-offs of TV shows or movies.
Karen: I can't tell you much about the stories in these comics. From what I gather though, they were similar to the art, in that they didn't follow all that closely to the source material. A brief perusal of some plot summaries reveals mummies, space pirates, and the crew becoming giants, among other unique ideas. I found two websites that provided a wealth of information on these comics: Curt Danhauser's Guide to Gold Key Star Trek Comics, and Star Trek Comics Checklist. You can find plot synopses and cover art as well as much deeper dives on these books on these two great sites. Based on what I read here, it appears that the series improved around the mid -1970s, with both art and story becoming much more faithful to the show.
Karen: Although I don't have any real connection to these books, I find them oddly fascinating. They're like a strange translation of Trek. But I could see if you grew up reading them, they would hold a special place in your heart. Has anybody collected these comics, or do you have any fond memories of them?
(note how these two later issues -49 and 56 - connect to the episodes "City on the Edge of Forever" and "Metamorphosis")