We’re reaching that unfortunate age in our still relatively young art form where our legends of the craft, those folks who were around for the formative moments of our history, are leaving us, one by one.
Cartoonist and colorist Stan Goldberg passed away on Sunday, due to complications from a stroke he’d suffered several weeks ago. He was 82.
Goldberg was probably best known for his nearly 40 years working for Archie Comics, where his renditions of Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge and the rest of the Riverdale gang became as closely identified with the publisher as any artist since Dan DeCarlo. Goldberg was the lead artist on the publisher’s flagship series Archie for over a decade, and worked on practically every other title in the roster, series like Archie and Me, Betty, Betty and Me, Everything’s Archie, Life with Archie, Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals, Archie at Riverdale High, Laugh, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Goldberg also drew Archie’s portion of the bizarre, unexpected and surprisingly good Archie Meets the Punisher crossover with Marvel.
If all of the above were the sum total of Goldberg’s career accomplishments, it would be more than enough for any artist to be proud of. However, even before any of that, Goldberg worked as a freelancer artist and colorist in the early 1960s for a little upstart publisher trying to compete with their far more established rivals at DC Comics. As a colorist at the then-new Marvel Comics (formerly Timely), Goldberg established the color guides for the new characters being designed month after month and turned loose on an unexpected world.
In other words, Stan Goldberg was the reason that The Hulk is green and the Thing is orange.
For all of us born in a post-Marvel Comics world, of course Spider-Man’s costume is red and blue. What else could it be? But what’s the real reason Spidey’s suit is red and blue? Because Stan Goldberg colored the pages.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Stan Goldberg, but those who have tell me that he was one of the friendliest, most pleasant people in our business, pleased of his place in the history of comic books and proud of his body of work. As well he should have been. Our condolences to the Goldberg family and all who knew him.