“Stan touched many lives through his artwork but was also a dear friend, beloved husband, loving father and doting grandfather,” reads a statement posted this morning on Goldberg’s Facebook page. “Through the years, countless fans shared how much his work meant to them and what a thrill it was to meet him or have a piece of his work. Stan felt just as strongly about all the people he met and would fondly recall the stories that fans would share with him. His friends and family were what he treasured most. May his memory be for a blessing.”
Best known for his long association with Archie, where he was the primary artist on the publisher’s flagship title for the better part of a decade, Goldberg was also involved with the birth of the Marvel Universe, helping to create the color schemes for the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk and other foundational characters.
Born in 1932 in New York City, Goldberg began his career in 1949 at age 16 as a staff colorist for Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel, and within two years became color department manager. For the next decade, he colored interiors and every cover produced by Timely’s successor Atlas.
Although Goldberg went freelance in 1958, he continued to work for Marvel, drawing the Millie the Model titles, “Kathy,” “My Friend Irma” and the Patsy Walker books, coloring the company’s early superhero comics, and collaborating with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to devise character color designs.
“I started doing teenage books, and the first book was called ‘Kathy the Teenage Tornado,'” Goldberg recalled in an interview from the mid-2000s. “I took over the Millie the Model books, the Patsy books, but at the same time Stan [Lee] was writing ‘Fantastic Four,’ ‘Spider-Man’ and all those books. I was doing the initial coloring on all those books; I was creating the color schemes on all those characters. Jack Kirby was turning so much out, along with Steve Ditko and there were so many good guys. They were doing it just to get a paycheck, and little did we know what was happening out there. Slowly and slowly Stan was getting some information, fan mail was coming in and then it just took off. So all through the ’60s I did the teenage books, all the key books of all the first group of superheroes and villains that came out. That was my stint up there and it was all done on a freelance basis. Stan had no staff at that time. I would come in every day and I was practically his staff, I’d do a lot of production with him.”
Leaving Marvel in 1969, Goldberg drew DC Comics teen titles — “Debbie,” “Scooter” and “Binky” — for three years before beginning his decades-long relationship with Archie, where his work appeared across the entire line, from “Archie” and “Jughead” to “Josie and the Pussycats” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” From 1975 to 1980, he also drew the Archie newspaper strip.
Goldberg famously drew Archie’s portion of the 1994 crossover “Archie Meets the Punisher.” His final work for the publisher was released in 2010. However, he continued to freelance for other companies, notably producing an Archie parody for Bongo’s “Simpsons Comics” and Nancy Drew and Three Stooges graphic novels for Papercutz. Goldberg also collaborated with Tom DeFalco on a Spider-Man short story that will appear in October’s “Marvel 75th Anniversary Special.”
He was honored with an Inkpot Award in 1994, and presented with the National Cartoonists Society’s Gold Key Awards, and inducted into its Hall of Fame, in 2012.
“You weren’t just a great cartoonist, you were the greatest guy to work with,” Stan Lee said in a 2012 video recorded for Goldberg’s Gold Key presentation. “No matter how tough the script, no matter how quick the deadline, you always did a great job on time, and you never complained. […] Finally, I gotta say, you were not only a great cartoonist, but a great friend.”