The town of Riverdale and the entire Archie Comics family suffered a great loss this past weekend as longtime Editor-in-Chief and comic book legend Victor Gorelick passed away at the age of 78.
“No person embodied the Archie spirit more than Victor, who was a leader, friend, and mentor to everyone that walked through the doors of Archie,” said Archie Comics CEO and Publisher Jon Goldwater. “Victor was a lifelong friend and mentor to me and an inspiration to the entire Archie Comics family and will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Kathie, his family, his friends, and his many fans.”
Victor Gorelick first began working at Archie Comics at the age of 16 in October 1958 after majoring in Cartooning at The School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, NY, now known as The School of Art and Design. Victor worked at Archie Comics for over 60 years, starting out as an Art Assistant before moving on to work as a Production Manager and later Art Director.
Victor was a major contributor to the company’s many highlights – including the introduction of iconic characters like Josie McCoy/Josie and the Pussycats, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and many more. In 1984, Victor was promoted to Managing Editor, working closely with the artists and writers to create stories for publication, before eventually earning the title of Editor-in-Chief and Co-President. He was the last remaining employee to have worked with the company’s founders – John L. Goldwater, Maurice Coyne, and Louis Silberkleit.
During his long tenure at Archie, Victor also worked as a freelance artist involved in all aspects of comics creation including lettering, inking, writing and penciling. Victor’s editorial work also extended to designing custom comics for brands such as Kraft General Foods, Radio Shack, and the FBI.
In 2008, Victor won an Inkpot Award and has been recognized for his innumerable contributions to Archie Comics and the comic book industry at large. Victor also served on the Comic Magazine Association of America’s Code Authority Guidelines Committee and as a member of the Board of Advisors at the Joe Kubert School, and taught cartooning in the “College for Kids” program at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York.
Victor’s impact on the comic book industry, his coworkers and friends, and the lives of the many millions of readers who enjoyed the stories he helped shepherd into existence was evident in the outpouring of support and condolences shared on social media after the news of his passing.
“It’s impossible to properly sum up what Victor meant to Archie Comics,” said Archie Comics Co-President Alex Segura in a statement posted to Facebook. “Not only was he a legend, a stellar editor and leader, and an expert of all things Archie Comics, he was also a kind, funny, thoughtful man who was always supportive and helpful. He was amazing and it’s hard to imagine Archie without him.”
Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina showrunner and Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa spoke highly of Victor in a statement posted to Twitter: “I didn’t know Victor well, but he always embraced me like I was a long-lost relative. A lot of people initially weren’t supportive of “Afterlife with Archie” and Riverdale but Victor wasn’t one of them. He loved them. He treasured the characters so many of us love. He was a gentleman and Archie Comics’ great historian.”
Archie Comics Co-President Mike Pellerito, who worked with Victor for over 20 years, reflected on their time together. “Victor was the best. I can’t thank him enough for all he did to give me a career at Archie, first as a boss and later as a colleague, but what I’ll miss the most is his friendship.”
“He was just so funny, always great with a quick response and so supportive,” Pellerito added. “I’ll miss our long conversations on what made the Archie characters work so well, but also talking with him about family, friends, movies, the Yankees and so much more. He often said the Archie characters were like family to him and that he’d known them nearly his entire life. I can’t imagine anyone in comics who has or will have edited more pages or more stories than him. His record breaking tenure at Archie was amazing, not just for its longevity but also the incredible amount of quality comics he helped oversee for decades.”
Writers and artists who worked with Victor over his 60+ year career shared their thoughts, including longtime Archie Comics mainstay Dan Parent, who credits Victor with getting him his start at the company. “To say this is the end of an era is an understatement. Victor WAS Archie Comics. He was there over 60 years! And his love for Archie never waned. He was so proud of the Archie legacy, which he was a big part of. Thank you, Victor for everything you’ve done for me. And for everything you’ve given to the Archie family and fans out there. Your life lives on in every page!”
Archie Comics staff members who worked closely with Victor also took to social media in remembrance of their time working with him. Editor and Betty & Veronica writer Jamie L. Rotante said, “It’s rare you get the chance to work with a legend. Victor was not only smart, professional and a master editor, but he was also kind. I’m beyond fortunate to have had the experience of learning from him.”
Victor’s enormous impact on the Archie Comics characters, the comic book industry, his coworkers, and the readers that he inspired can never truly be measured or duplicated. As sure as Jughead Jones loves his hamburgers and Archie Andrews is the clumsy everyman, there will always be a special place in Riverdale with Victor Gorelick’s name on it.