The co-creator of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, George Gladir passed away Wednesday night at the age of 88. The winner of the 2007 Bill Finger Award, Gladir wrote countless classic Archie stories in a career that went back to the 50s. Even in the last decade, he was still creating comics and attending Comic-Con to promote them, as recounted in this touching memorial by friend Batton Lash:
There’s so much to the life and career of George Gladir, I’ve barely scratched the surface. He was a WWII vet (at one point a P.O.W.), and a military intelligence agent. Even though George was in his eighties,he was as lively and active and forward thinking as someone half his age. At an age when many comics industry workhorses would either retire or be content to bask in earlier glory, George’s creativity was on, 24/7. George was always interested in current events and the culture; just about anything that might spark a story idea or concept. He was constantly coming up with new characters and series with the intention of owning the copyright. One such feature was Cindy and Her Obasan, a delightful twist on the fairy godmother concept with a Japanese spin, illustrated by fellow Archie comics alumni, Stan Goldberg. I believe George was well aware and proud of his accomplishments, but he was also modest and unassuming, always more interested to learn about new markets and outlets for comics, and what was on the horizon.
Archie released a memorial as well:
Today Archie Comics honors the legendary George Gladir who passed away Wednesday evening. An integral part of the history of Archie Comics, Gladir crafted countless stories over the decades after beginning his career writing for Archie in 1959, with new stories still coming in to this day.
In 1962, Gladir teamed with legendary Archie artist, Dan DeCarlo, to create one of the most famous characters in pop culture, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Sabrina’s first appearance was in Archie’s MadHouse #22. She’s starred on television in her own animated series and a live-action sitcom. Archie Comics recently celebrated Sabrina’s 50th anniversary, cementing her status as one of the most important and longstanding characters in history. In addition, Gladir wrote extensively for Archie, Betty & Veronica, Jughead, Josie and the Pussycats, and all the rest of the Archie cast.
Gladir was presented with the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing in 2007, the highest honor a writer can receive in comics. His contributions to the comic book medium as well as his influence on future generations of storytellers is immeasurable and will continue to shape the spirit of Riverdale and beyond.
Gladir is well remembered by his peers who expressed deep sympathy over his passing:
Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater was quoted as saying, “George Gladir was one of the most important and influential writers at Archie Comics. George and Dan DeCarlo created the iconic character Sabrina the Teenage Witch who is beloved by millions of fans around the world. He was a sweet and lovable man and we will miss him.”
Archie Comics Editor-in-Chief/Co-President Victor Gorelick expressed, “I am deeply sorry to hear that George passed away. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family. I’ve had the pleasure and the honor of working and learning from George for 54 years. As an editor, George made my job easy. He was always current, understood the characters, was funny and always sent reference. The entire staff at ArchieComics was saddened by the loss of George Gladir. We’ll all miss him.”
Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito adds, “There are not enough kind words to describe how wonderful a person or how amazing of a writer George was. We just spoke within the last few weeks going over new scripts and gags he turned in, all of which are perfect and as funny and as good as he ever has done. It’s just devastating to learn the sad news. My condolences to his wonderful family and his millions of fans. Working and knowing George is one of the best experiences of my career and I will miss him.”
His legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of those he touched through his work and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.