Victor Gorelick joined the Riverdale teens when he was just a teen himself. He has stayed with Archie and the gang through thick and thin his entire career. Victor is the Managing Editor at Archie Comics and took some time to talk to us about his life with Archie.
First Comics News: What did you study at the School of Art and Design?
Victor Gorelick: When I attended Art and Design, the name of the school was The School of Industrial Art. I majored in Cartooning.
1st: You were underage when you started at Archie Comics, how did you originally get hired?
Victor: Dexter Taylor, who worked in the production department at Archie Comics, was going free-lance. Bob Bolling needed an artist to assist him on the Little Archie book. Dexter jumped at the opportunity. But, he had to be replaced. Industrial Art had a job placement service. The person in charge of production at Archie Comics, Sheldon Brodsky, a former graduate of the school, contacted the service. The cartooning class was notified and a few of us set up appointments. I was interviewed by the Managing Editor, Richard Goldwater. A few days later, I received a phone call from Sheldon Brodsky that the job was mine if I wanted it. So here I am.
1st: You worked for Archie during the John Goldwater and Louis Silberkleit era, the time the company was a publicly held corporation as well as the Michael Silberkleit and Richard Goldwater era. How has the company changed?
Victor: I think the company is more aggressive. Archie comics has expanded our publishing by introducing high quality trade paperbacks. Also, looking for new ways to present our product. B&V Spectacular is one example. We’ve established our affiliate company, Archie Comics Entertainment and have expanded our licensing. ACE is working towards developing movies, TV, live and animated, licensing, music, etc.
1st: In the 60’s you had credits as colorist and letterer, how did you move into an editorial position?
Victor: Eventually, I was in charge of the production department, with the title of art director. I did coloring and lettering on a free-lance basis.
1st: You colored some of the Spire Archie comics, that was a licensing program, how much involvement did Archie Comics have in the production of the Spire Comics?
Victor: All the artwork for Spire Comics came into the production department at Archie comics. The material was proofread, corrections made, and trafficked to the color separator and printer. We handled all the approvals and printing.
1st: You did some work for Tower Comics while you were working at Archie Comics, wasn’t this a conflict of interest?
Victor: I only worked on a couple of books. I lettered the firstTHUNDER AGENTS story for Wally Wood and colored a few issues ofUNDERSEA AGENT. It was some extra free-lance work and I needed the money. It might have been a conflict if we were publishing super hero comics. We weren’t at the time.
Never the less, now that the secret is out, I’ll probably get fired.
1st: When did you become Managing Editor?
Victor: When Richard Goldwater took over as president and co-publisher of Archie Comics in the mid-eighties.
1st: You took over that job from Richard Goldwater, what was that like?
Victor: Simple. Richard said “I taught you all I know, here are the files, now you’re the managing editor.”
1st: According to an article in Money Magazine, you said “Most of our readers are pre-teen girls. We wanted to make Jughead more appealing to girls because his being a women-hater just doesn’t fit in anymore.” What other type of changes have been made over the years?
Victor: I try to have Jughead acting a bit more civil to girls. He’ll occasionally date a girl, if she shares the same interests as him. He just doesn’t want to be put in awkward “Archie-type” situations when it comes to the opposite sex.
1st: Your audience is mostly pre-adolescent, how do you keep in touch with what is hip and trendy for them?
Victor: We learn a lot from our readers through e-mail and snail mail. What they like and don’t like. I subscribe to quite a few teen magazines and make sure the writers and artists keep in touch with what the current teenage trends, fashions, movies, TV shows are. It’s a constant learning process.
1st: 30% of all Archie comics are sold in Canada, why is Archie so popular in Canada?
Victor: We produce a great product and Canadians love to read. Especially, Archie Comics.
1st: Archie pus out an All Canadian Digest, when Archie sells 70% of their comics worldwide, why target such a specific Market?
Victor: Because Archie is so popular in Canada, why not publish comic that highlights our neighbors to the north.
1st: Does Archie do other regionally specific titles?
Victor: We’ve had special issues of Veronica where she’s traveled to France, Mexico, England to name a few.
1st: Archie hires a lot of Graduates from the Joe Kubert School, is there any formal relationship with the school?
Victor: Joe Kubert has produced some very talented Archie artists. I usually review all the 3rd year students portfolios every year looking for artists who are interested in humor comics. Also, being on the board of advisors of he Kubert School is a big help.
1st: Archie hired both Neal Adams and Tom DeFalco and gave them their first jobs, how does Archie look for and evaluate talent?
Victor: If an artist or writer’s work meets our current needs, we’ll give them an opportunity.
1st: Was it this past relationship with Tom DeFalco that lead to the Archie/Punisher team up?
Victor: I presented the idea to Tom. Tom spoke to his boss, Mike Hobson. I spoke to my boss, Michael Silberkleit. Mike and Mike agreed to go ahead with the project at the 1993 San Diego Comic Convention. I guess you could say that our past relationship helped.
1st: Are there plans for any new Little Archie comics?
Victor: We’ve been discussing it at management meetings.
1st: At the Mamaroneck Historic Harbor Street Fair last year, you put on presentations that show the process involved in creating a comic book. Can you share with us what that process is?
Victor: At the presentation I explain the creative process. Choosing a script and assigning it to an artist for penciling. How the inking, lettering and coloring is done. I briefly explain the color separating and printing process.
1st: For free comic book day most publishers put out a reprint, how did Archie decide to put out original material?
Victor: We feel that by preparing new artwork, the free comic will become more collectible.
1st: The manga art style has taken over Sabrina and nowJosie and the Pussycats. Do you see a time in which manga may become the house style at Archie?
Victor: Absolutely not.
1st: Recently Archie brought back Trade Paperbacks with theMighty Crusaders and Little Archie, as well as comics featuring Katy Keene and Bingo Wilkin. How does Archie decide it’s time for a revival?
Victor: We discuss new projects and ideas at our weekly staff meetings. Input from the editors, sales and circulation, the art dept., not to mention suggestions from our readers, all help the publishers in the decision making process.
1st: Thank you to taking the time to answer some questions and thank for keeping the Riverdale Gang fresh and exciting.