Remembering Sid Jacobson, 1929-2022
Earlier this summer, writer and editor Sid Jacobson passed away at the age of 92. As a former executive editor for Marvel, he promoted comics created for children, before redefining the concept of comic book journalism in graphic novel form.
Jacobson was born in Brooklyn on October 20, 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression. When Jacobson was 21, he began studying journalism at New York University, a choice that would reverberate across his comic book career several decades later. During the ’50s, Jacobson found success as a songwriter for Johnny Mathis, Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Avalon, and Earl Grant. Some of his hit songs included Avalon’s “A Boy Without a Girl” and Grant’s "(At) The End (of a Rainbow)".
In 1952, Jacobson broke into the comic book industry with Harvey Comics and began a three-decade stint with the company, which elevated him to the position of editor-in-chief. Jacobson worked on many of Harvey’s most famous characters, including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Wendy the Good Little Witch, and Hot Stuff. It was at Harvey where Jacobson met Ernie Colón, an influential artist who became his frequent collaborator.
Jacobson’s path to Marvel began in 1982, when the company began negotiations to publish Harvey’s comic books as an imprint at Marvel itself. Despite the fact that talks between the publishers broke down, Marvel was impressed by Jacobson’s pitches and hired him to be the executive editor of a new line of kids’ comics: Star Comics.
Star Comics launched in 1984 as Marvel’s imprint for titles geared towards younger readers and included series like FRAGGLE ROCK, HEATHCLIFF, and the line’s most enduring contribution to the company: PETER PORKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-HAM. Jacobson created several original characters for series like PLANET TERRY, TOP DOG, and WALLY THE WIZARD. The latter two titles included scripts written by Jacobson himself. Jacobson also hired Colón to illustrate a few issues of Star Comics’ STAR WARS: DROIDS.
Jacobson and Colón continued their Marvel collaboration on an adaptation of the 1988 horror comedy ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK, featuring Cassandra Peterson’s signature character. Jacobson also wrote Marvel’s cinematic adaptations for THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE, and LABYRINTH. Outside of Marvel and comics, Jacobson wrote a novel called Streets of Gold, which fictionalized the story of his family’s immigration from Russia to America.
In 2006, Jacobson and Colón began working together on their own series of projects that Jacobson described as “graphic journalism.” Their work included 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, After 9/11: America’s War on Terror, and graphic novel biographies based on the lives of Che Guevara and Anne Frank. Jacobson and Colón’s final project together was The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation, which was released in 2017. Within that graphic novel, Jacobson and Colón examined the CIA torture scandal based on information from the report created by the U.S. Senate’s investigation.
Marvel respectfully sends our thoughts and condolences to Jacobson’s family, friends, and fans all over the world.