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George Gladir, Co-Creator Of ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch,’ 1925 – 2013

George Gladir, the award winning writer best known for his incredibly prolific work at Archie Comics, died Wednesday night at the age of 88.

In a career that spanned seven decades, Gladir contributed countless stories of Archie and his pals as well as writing for Cracked magazine for over thirty years. His most lasting creation, though, is Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which he co-created with Dan DeCarlo in 1962, and which went on to become one of Archie’s most popular and enduring characters.Beyond his creations in the past, Gladir’s name is easy to spot even in current Archie comics. Despite being in his 80s, Gladir stayed active as a writer, continuing to turn in new scripts even as reprints from his decades of work for the company continued to appear in the pages of their Digest reprints. He even worked on new projects, and continued attending Comic-Con to promote them.

Archie released a statement in which members of the staff there remembered their colleague:

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.”

Batton Lash, long-time friend of Gladir’s, also released a touching statement on Facebook:

George began writing comics almost as an afterthought. He got an early start in the Eisner-Iger studio as a teen and his goal was to be a gag cartoonist. But even by the mid-50′s, George can sense that the market for one-panel cartoons was drying up. An opportunity came to him from Archie comics to write cover gags. He eventually moved on to write full scripts featuring the Riverdale gang. In time, George was the go-to movie/TV parody guy for Cracked magazine where he wrote over 2000 pages, many drawn by his frequent Cracked collaborator John Severin. George was a huge rock ‘n roll fan and beginning in the early 60′s, would incorporate his love of rock music into his humor pieces, some being quite prescient. George predicted a rock ‘n roll museum, and, in a sadly accurate piece written in 1965, John Lennon’s assassination by the hand of a fan on the streets of New York.

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.

I write this and I can’t wrap my head around the idea that such a vibrant person is gone. George was a true stand-up guy. He was a gentleman, but would speak out when necessary. Most of all, George was a devoted family man. My condolences to his wonderful wife Mary, his beloved daughter Nina and her husband John. I was very privileged to have known George Gladir. Goodbye, my friend.

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