A post from my vintage Marvel blog talking about the scant notoriety of the editor. Since dashing off this piece years ago, I can point to at least two more editors who would qualify: Karen Berger and Diana Schutz.
Nobody’s going to confuse editing with a glamor job. By definition, it’s the editor’s lot to operate in obscurity, pulling levers and throwing switches behind the scenes in order to make the trains run on time, and keep them shiny and new. And this is really the way it’s supposed to be, after all–“Creators get the credit, Editors get the blame.” And certainly, most people have no idea what it is that a comic book editor really does.
In fact, when you think back over the great comic book editors of years gone by, you quickly start to realize that most of them are better known for the work they did writing or drawing comic books. Stan Lee? Writer. Archie Goodwin? Writer. Mark Gruenwald? Writer. Harvey Kurtzman? Writer and Artist. Al Feldstein? Writer and Artist. Shelly Mayer? Artist (technically, cartoonist.)
But it’s a rarified few who are primarily renowned for their skills as a comic book editor. And when you get to the truly great guys, I can’t really think of many outside of Julie Schwartz.
Are there likely to be additions to that list going forward? Possibly–the advent of the Internet makes it easier for people outside the business to become aware of the different editors and their roles. Right now, I think maybe Axel Alonso has a shot, depending on the next few years.