Board index Archie Comics Press Release! Michael Ivan Silberkleit, April 27, 1932 - August 5, 2008

Michael Ivan Silberkleit, April 27, 1932 - August 5, 2008

Archie Comics Press Releases

Moderator: Rik


Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Image

Michael I. Silberkleit, the chairman of Archie Comic Publications, died August 5th in New York City at the age of 76, after a short battle with cancer.

For much of the 60 years he worked at Archie Comics, Silberkleit shared the leadership of the company with Richard Goldwater, whose father, John Goldwater, and his partner, Louis Silberkleit, Michael's father, founded the company.

The sons, who began working at the company as boys, later steered Archie Comics into the modern era of publishing as electronic production techniques and brand licensing became important. They encouraged the development of new characters, such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Josie and the Pussycats, and successfully licensed these and other characters through Archie Comics Entertainment. Silberkleit was also Executive consultant to the TV program, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, a long running series starring Melissa Joan Hart. The company also published comic books as a licensee, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog. At various times Silberkleit was chairman of the Comics Association of America.

The centerpiece identity of the company, which is based in Mamaroneck, New York, remains the brightly innocent presence of Archie and his girlfriends, Betty and Veronica, who made their comic debut in 1941.

Over the decades Michael Silberkleit and Richard Goldwater steadfastly refused to introduce the worldlier and darker elements of teenage life, like . and drugs and violence, into the Archie storylines. In doing so they preserved an image of adolescence for the target audience of 7-to-14 year olds.

Silberkleit was determined to keep Archie an American institution, pure as childhood, yet up-to-date with the latest technology used by children today. For generations of readers, Archie and the Gang have represented the wonder and magic of childhood and Silberkleit fought successfully to keep this vision alive.

Unlike some competitors who use longer formats, Archie Comics continues its tradition of telling accessible, short stories. In one of the many interviews Silberkleit gave, he said, "The fact that our stories are funny, are non-violent, believable, clean and appropriate for youngsters makes us so appealing to the younger reader. This philosophy hasn’t changed for more than 60 years. Many parents grew up reading Archie Comics and feel that our comics are appropriate for their kids."

After an initial public offering in the early 1970s, when Silberkleit served as Treasurer, Archie Comics shares were traded publicly. But after ten years Silberkleit and his partner Goldwater bought the company back from shareholders and held it as a private, family-owned business thereafter. Currently, the company publishes over 10 million comics per year in a dozen languages worldwide.

Born in New York City in 1932, Silberkleit attended the Fieldston School before going to Albright College as an undergraduate. He studied law after his graduation.

Silberkleit was also active in the community, volunteering as an auxiliary policeman for the Scarsdale Police force.

A resident of Rye and East Hampton, N.Y., Silberkleit indulged his mechanical aptitude with vintage sports cars, spending several years restoring a 1966 Austin Healey 3000 MKIII.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Lind Silberkleit, and their daughter, Alexandria, and by three older children from a prior marriage to Karen Silberkleit: Susan Berkley, David Silberkleit and Amy Silberkleit, as well as grandchildren Isis and Elijah Shiffer.

A private funeral and memorial service is planned for Sunday, August 10th. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers or other memorials, donations should be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Research.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Michael's Grandfather Israel Silberkleit emigrated from Russia in 1865 to find a better life. He worked as a tailor in the Bronx. He met and married Julia Winik in New York. Michael's father Louis Silberkleit founded Archie Comics with friends Maurice Coyne and John Goldwater. He met Lillian Meisel and they had one son. As a teenager Michael started working for his father's company in the mail room, sending out subscriptions. Michael attended Albright College and majored in History. After getting his BA degree, he went to law school while starting to work at Archie Comics in a serious capacity. He married Karen Sternberg and they had three children Susan, Amy and David. In 1990 Michael married for the second time, he and his wife Nancy Lind had a daughter together, Alexandria.

Michael took great pride in his company and the relationship the company had with its readers and their parents. He took every letter and email to heart. I first meet Michael in 2003. He provided background information on the formation of MLJ Comics and the role of his father in the company for an article I was writing. Later that year I interviewed him about his life and his career at Archie Comics. He was friendly supportive and excited to be interviewed. I had kept in touch with him after the interview and in 2006 Michael hired me as the Public Relations Coordinator for Archie despite the fact that I lived on the opposite end of the country. We talked frequently, and he made me feel like an important member of the team. I will miss him more than I can say. With heartfelt condolences I offer my deepest sympathy to Nancy, Susan, Amy, David and Ally. I can’t even imagine the pain they are feeling today.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

At http://www.greatvoice.com/wp/?p=70

Michael's daughter Susan Berkly writes...
"Last night, a few hours before I was about to board the plane for Los Angeles and Voice 2008, my father passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was the Chairman of Archie Comics, a company co-founded by Grandfather Louis Silberkleit. Here’s a recent picture of my Dad and a picture of my family in 1967. That’s me in yellow next to my sister Amy in green. My father is on the left with my Mom and my Grandfather and Grandmother are on the right. My brother David is up front.

Image

Image

I’m proud that my father always stood firm against violence in children’s media and for the contribution he made to American popular culture through the comic book icons Archie and his friends. Many hearts are heavy today. He will be missed..."
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

From Starlog Magazine

http://www.starlog.com/news_article.php?id=2437

Michael Silberkleit, R.I.P.

Michael I. Silberkleit, the chairman of Archie Comic Publications, died August 5th in New York City at the age of 76, after a short battle with cancer.

He was at the comic book company for 60 years, and for many of them he shared the leadership of the company with Richard Goldwater, whose father, John Goldwater, and his partner Louis Silberkleit, Michael’s father, founded the company, along with Maurice Coyne.

(Originally the company was named MLJ Comics, taken from the initials of the founders first names. Their line included superheroes such as The Black Hood, who also appeared in a pulp magazine and a radio series.)

Archie Andrews and his friends from Rivedale High made their debut in 1941, created by cartoonist Bob Montana, working with the company founders to bring to life a character inspired in part by the Andy Hardy movies, which starred Mickey Rooney as an implusive but well-meaning and fairly innocent teenager. The character became a huge success, spawning a long-running radio series. and leading to the change of MLJ to Archie Comics.

Michael Silberkleit began at the company as a boy, and in later years worked to bring the company into the modern era. With Editor-in-Chief, Victor Gorelick, he helped develop new characters, such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Josie and the Pussycats, licensing them to telvision and various merchandising through Archie Comics Entertainment.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

EJM User avatar
Fine
Fine

Posts: 168
Location: New York

Sad to hear this.
He helped to forge a great legacy in Archy Comics that will live on as a staple of American Pop Culture.
Image
www.PressOblivion.com: (Comics at the Brink) . . . . of almost being created.

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Fri Aug 8, 2008 — by Mike Gold

Archie Comics chairman Michael Silberkleit, the last of the original breed of comic book company family-owners, died August 5th from cancer, Archie Comics announced last night.

Along with his life-long friend Archie publisher Richard Goldwater, who passed away last year, Michael spent virtually his entire life at the comic book company. MLJ, its original name, was started in 1939 as a pulp magazine publishing house when Michael was seven years old. It was founded by his father, Louis, along with Richard's father John and accountant Morris Coyne. During World War II and after the massive success of their feature Archie, the name of the company was changed to Archie Comics.

Living in Westchester County New York, Silberkleit had also volunteered as an auxiliary policeman in Scarsdale, NY.

Speaking personally, I was always impressed with Michael's adventurous spirit, always looking to new ways to further the Archie franchise and bring new energy to the company. Archie was one of the first comics companies to embrace the use of computers in their production, and one of the first to establish a fun, interactive website.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Monday, August 11, 2008

In honor of Michael Silberkleit, Archie Comics chairman

BRBTV was saddened by Friday's news of the passing of Michael Silberkleit of Archie Comics. BRB enjoyed speaking to him a few times over the years about Archie, and was very familiar with (and impressed by) his love for and fervent protection of his family's company. We consider his passing a serious loss for the longtime comics publisher.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

The Los Angeles Examiner August 9, 2:49 PM

Archie's Pal Is Gone
Brian Steinberg

Michael Silberkleit, who ran Archie Comic Publications in Mamaroneck, N.Y., has passed away. He was chairman of the company, which his father founded. (A pretty informative interview with the man is found here.)

I had interviewed Michael twice when I worked for The Wall Street Journal. One time came when Archie - a relatively small, privately held company - merged its ad sales with those of Time Warner's DC Comics. The other came about two years ago, when Archie unveiled some comics that featured its cartoon mainstays in more adult-looking illustrations, giving Betty and Veronica looks that made them more contemporary (The Olsen Twins and Paris Hilton might have felt more comfortable in those fashions than the ones regularly worn by the Archie characters).

Mr. Silberkleit was always polite and truly believed in the aw-shucks environment in which Archie, Jughead and pals frolicked. He envisioned the kids living in "Anywhere, USA," where . and drugs gave way to more wholesome pursuits, like dating and getting a malt at the local burger joint.

It will be interesting to see how the Archie company manages itself going forward.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

P.I.C. News
Al Nickerson

Archie Comics Publications Chairman, Michael Silberkleit, passed away on August 5th. Michael was a really nice guy. I spoke with him a few times. He was always very polite and cheerful when I had the opportunity to meet him. It’s so sad when one of the good guys leaves us. Please keep the Silberkleit family in your prayers.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Comics Worth Reading August 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

RIP Michael Silberkleit of Archie Comics
Johanna Draper Carlson

Archie Comics chairman Michael Silberkleit passed away on Tuesday, August 5, from cancer. I’m somewhat shocked — I had a brief conversation with him at the NY Con in April, and he seemed eternal in his position there.

He and Richard Goldwater (who passed away last October) were the sons of the two founders, continuing the family business. This is the end of an era for the company, and it will be interesting to see what they do now. Best wishes to his family and friends in their time of loss.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

David Scroggy Says:

08/8/08 at 12:50 pm
Mr. Silberkleit was always cordial to me over the years, and although Archie could definitely be considered “old school” in their approach to comics, Michael was always a close observer of the marketplace, and followed the development of the direct-sales market with great interest and keen observation.

We would always chat a bit at any convention we were at, most recently at the New York Comic-Con. He was very interested in the growth of bookstore sales, and what it might mean for Archie.

While they did eschew violence and other edgier themes, I had the luck to be present at a meeting with Batton Lash and Victor Gorelick years ago, where over drinks Batton suggested having Archie meet The Punisher. After we got done laughing our heads off, Victor decided to bring the notion to Mr. Silberkleit, and to his delight found it approved, resulting in Archie’s first crossover into the Marvel universe.

He was present behind-the-scenes during various industry controversies such as the changes in the Comics Code, comics rating debates, and other issues. He was always worth listening to in these discussions, although not always easy to agree with.

He was a tough businessman, but a very decent human being. Always personable, he brought a worthwhile point-of-view to any conversation.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

SaintStryfe Says:

08/9/08 at 12:36 pm
My brother works for the tech consulting group that handles Archie Comic’s electronics. Mr. Silverlkeit was a demanding customer, he tells me, but incredibly generous. When he found out our mother was a teacher of special education students, he sent a huge box of Archie books to her class. There was always a generous tip at Christmas time for him, and never nickle-and-dimed his staff’s tech. I’m not a big fan of Archie Comics (though my brother is a huge Sonic geek), but the comic industry lost someone very large with his death. I also note that Slone-Kettering, where he asked donations be sent, saved my mother from her cancer as well. So please donate in his name. I have all ready.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

All Hip Hop.com
posted Saturday, August 09, 2008 11:55 AM
By Odeisel

Been a rough week guys. First the club drama at Spotlight Live, and now the tremendous loss of Bernie Mac at the young age of 50. For those of you who are into comics we also lost Michael I. Silberkleit, the chairman of Archie Comic Publications to cancer.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

http://previewsworld.com/public/default.asp?t=1&m=1&c=23&s=216&ai=73330&ssd=

IN MEMORIAM: MICHAEL I. SILBERKLEIT

It is sad to report that Michael I. Silberkleit — the chairman of Archie Comic Publications — passed away August 5, 2008 in New York City after a short battle with cancer. He was 76.

His publishing house’s signature characters were Archie Andrews, Betty and Veronica, and their gang of friends, many of whom have been around since Archie’s debut in 1941.

“Michael I. Silberkleit, aside from being one of the biggest fans and promoters of comics, was a terrific individual and dear friend,” said Stephen A. Geppi, Chief Executive Officer of Geppi’s Entertainment Publishing & Auctions. “He loved life and lived it well. His dedication to making sure that there are comics for children, the next generation of readers, was as steadfast as his desire to create truly entertaining, all-ages material.

My sympathies go out to his wife Nancy, their family, and the entire Archie organization. His passing is a profound loss.”

Silberkleit helped steer Archie Comics as brand licensing became important, and he helped give birth to future characters such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Josie and the Pussycats.

Silberkleit was also Executive consultant to the TV program, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, a long running series starring Melissa Joan Hart. Under Silberkleit’s watch, Archie Comic Publications also published comic books as a licensee, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog. For a time, Mr. Silberkleit served as a chairman of the Comics Association of America.

In one of the many interviews Silberkleit gave, he said, "The fact that our stories are funny, are non-violent, believable, clean and appropriate for youngsters makes us so appealing to the younger reader. This philosophy hasn’t changed for more than 60 years. Many parents grew up reading Archie Comics and feel that our comics are appropriate for their kids."

Michael I. Silberkleit is survived by his wife, Nancy Lind Silberkleit, and their daughter, Alexandria, and by three older children from a prior marriage to Karen Silberkleit: Susan Berkley, David Silberkleit and Amy Silberkleit, as well as grandchildren Isis and Elijah Shiffer.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Rik User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 1771
Location: California

Michael Silberkleit, 76; worked to keep Archie Comics clean-cut but relevant
By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 15, 2008

Michael Silberkleit, chairman and publisher of Archie Comics who joined the family business as a teenager and strove to keep the comic rooted in an idealized, clean-cut past while allowing it to reflect contemporary pop culture, has died. He was 76.

Silberkleit died Aug. 5 in New York City after a short battle with cancer, the company announced.


His father, Louis Silberkleit, founded the company in 1941 with John Goldwater, who thought up the "every teen" character of Archie Andrews during an era when superheroes reigned. They hired illustrator Bob Montana to realize the carrot-topped Archie and his perennially 17-year-old high school friends in the mythical town of Riverdale.

"Archie is who you wish you were but aren't. . . . Kids really believe Archie lives because they call here and ask to speak to Archie," Silberkleit, speaking from company headquarters in 1990 in Mamaroneck, N.Y., told The Times.

Sometimes, he or his business partner -- Richard Goldwater, son of the company's other founder -- talked to the callers as Archie, who was reportedly inspired by the Andy Hardy movies that starred Mickey Rooney.


The character was an instant success when it debuted in December 1941. Archie soon had his own stand-alone comic book and a wholesome retinue that would include best friend Jughead, girl-next-door Betty and the fashionable Veronica. The first issue reportedly sold 1 million copies.

"Servicemen wrote us during World War II that they dove into a foxhole during battle and when the smoke cleared, they found an Archie comic at the bottom of the foxhole, and they sat there and read it because it reminded them of back home," Silberkleit said in the 1990 Times interview.

After more than 65 years, the Riverdale teenagers managed to stay current while adhering to "Archie's Code of Decency," which meant the comic "has no ., no drugs, no nudity," Silberkleit once said, and parents "who may be goofy at times" but are never stupid.

In the 1940s, the characters "would throw spitballs at each other to communicate," Silberkleit said on the company's website. "Now they text message . . . and BlackBerry each other."

As the characters embraced e-mail, the comic might reflect such darker issues as AIDS, drug abuse or terrorism. Yet the overall message would remain optimistic.

In a statement, the company said, "Silberkleit was determined to keep Archie an American institution, pure as childhood, yet up-to-date. . . . For generations . . . Archie and the Gang have represented the wonder and magic of childhood and Silberkleit fought successfully to keep this vision alive."

For most of the 60 years Silberkleit worked at the company, he helped lead it with Richard Goldwater, who died in October at age 71. They bought the business from their fathers in the early 1980s. With the deaths of the founders' sons, the day-to-day business is no longer run by a family member, but the company remains privately held by the Silberkleit and Goldwater families.

The second generation of family ownership encouraged the development of new characters and emphasized brand licensing, the company said.

In 1968, the cartoon band the Archies starred in the Hanna-Barbera animated "The Archie Show" and soon had a No. 1 pop music hit, "Sugar Sugar." A few years later, "Josie and the Pussycats," a comic about a teenage girl band, was turned into a Saturday morning cartoon and decades later, a feature film.

When Archie Comics' "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" became a long-running television series that starred Melissa Joan Hart, Silberkleit served as a consultant on the show.

The company, with annual revenue of about $20 million, publishes more than 10 million comics a year in a dozen languages, the company said. Many of the titles are Archie spinoffs.

Born in 1932 in New York City, Silberkleit graduated from Albright College in Pennsylvania.

At Archie Comics, he started out in the mail room. On his office wall, he kept a photo of an old sailboat with a giant image of Archie on its mainsail.

Asked which of Archie's romantic interests he would choose -- Betty or Veronica -- Silberkleit responded as Archie might have: "I love them both equally."

Silberkleit is survived by his wife, Nancy; their daughter, Alexandria; three children from a previous marriage, Susan Berkley, David Silberkleit and Amy Silberkleit; and two grandchildren.
Rik
http://www.mightycrusaders.net
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Mighty Crusaders, from the Golden Age to today.

Image

Next

Return to Press Release!

cron