Comic Book Heroes!
Meet five artists extraordinaire who have been crafting your favorite characters for years
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Victor Gorelick has been creating stories about America’s favorite teens since he was just a teen himself. He joined Archie Comics Group at age 17 as an art assistant; in the 50 years since then, he has done everything at the company (headquartered in Mamaroneck) from coloring to writing to lettering, and just about anything else you can imagine. Now the copresident and editor in chief of America’s oldest humor comics company, Gorelick oversees a full-time staff of 20 and a freelance stable of up to 60 writers and artists.
Hudson Valley home: Scarsdale
Starting out: I came to work right out of high school. It was the School of Art & Design. The company came and did interviews at the school and I had been majoring in cartooning and got the job. I started doing art corrections, mostly removing cleavages and belly buttons out of Katy Keene comics.
Early influences? Little Archie creator Bob Bolling, Sam Schwartz, Bob White, and, later, Dan DeCarlo. These guys were all great artists. I also always loved The Spirit.
Character you still love to draw? Archie or Jughead. Jughead has always been my favorite character. He walks to the beat of a different drummer. Not that he’s rebellious; he’s clever.
Most challenging: Custom comics for General Foods, and for the FBI, with Archie characters. It was actually very challenging to do, because it was about peer helping (teens mentoring younger children), but it was really contributing something. Also “Archie Meets the Punisher” (1994) was challenging. How are we going to have the Punisher in an Archie comic and not have him kill somebody?
Girl crazy: Gorelick’s Archie comics follow the typical teenage lives of freckle-faced Archie and his three best friends
Fanatical fans: I met a girl from Mexico at the San Diego Comic Convention who told me she learned how to speak English by reading Archie comics. Also, we get letters from Wall Street guys who tell us they can’t wait to get home and relax by reading Archie comics.
Changing the classics: We did a major overhaul in 2006. We geared the stories to an older audience and gave the characters a more realistic look. There was a mixed reaction to it, but overall it went over pretty well.
What’s the gang been up to lately? Well, Archie and everyone have been in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs. They’re finally getting around and out of Riverdale a bit.
Current/upcoming projects: A 40th Woodstock anniversary story: Archie and friends revisit “Riverstock.”
Daughter help you come up with story ideas? No, she was more into Elfquest.
As-yet unfulfilled ambition: We’re trying to get Archie into the movies.
On dating Betty or Veronica: That’s a hard one, but I’d probably go for Betty. Although most people I ask say Veronica. I guess money talks, especially in this economy.
Next big trend in comics? Maybe Archie getting married. What do you think of that?
On the Web: www.archiecomics.com
(For our exclusive list of Valley shops where you can find all your favorite artists' works, visit our Spidey's Web feature.)
Calling All Comics Geeks
At New York Comic Con, the East Coast’s biggest pop-culture convention, you can browse through thousands of comics books, check out movie and TV screenings, play with action figures — and meet your favorite comics creators. Herb Trimpe, Joe Sinnott, and Jim Starlin will be there; why not come down and say hello? Purchase your ticket on-line to ensure a spot. New York Comic Con. Feb. 6-8 at the Javits Center, New York City; www.nycomiccon.com.