There are many things an editor must be good at; spelling, grammar, art direction, but by far the most important is diplomacy.
Every good editor is also a good diplomat. If every good editor moved into politics I’m sure most of the world’s problems would just disappear.
Recently a well-known comic creator resigned from a series of titles he was working on, but instead of walking away gracefully he dropped every bomb he could and then dropped a nuke. The biggest target of his ire was his editor. He thanked the publisher for the opportunity to work together and hoped they could again in the future but he public blasted the company and his editor, then followed up by saying many others felt like he did.
The Editor did not reply to any of his accusations. Why? Because it is against corporate policy and the disgruntled creator knew it. What he didn’t realize was that so many would come to his defense.
See, as an editor for a corporation you have to please several people. First and foremost your direct boss, but that usually entails pleasing however many bosses he or she has above them. This is mostly done by producing a book they like, while in turn keeps on its schedule and one that hopefully the fans love.
After that it’s making the creators on the book as comfortable as possible. Sometimes a creator feels like they’re in first class while others feel they’re in the cargo hold. Success does bring rewards, mainly money and freedom. You get to push back against editorial a little if you disagree, as long as your book is selling enough and you are popular enough, you get that satisfaction of getting your way more often than not.
A good editor will also fight for what he believes in and his creative team. Many editors have put their jobs at risk by making a stand with the creators. Creators remember which editors do that and which don’t.
Creators that get into a position where they can call some of the shots often request certain editors to work with, which in turn increases the profile and success of the editor. The more success an editor has, the more likely the projects he’d like the company to do, will be accepted.
Throughout all this the editor is in the middle making sure the book comes out on time and everyone is as happy as they can be.
Editors are usually invisible.
The creators and publisher take the credit when things go well (I've had publishers take full credit for my work), but they usually get the blame when it doesn’t (publicly they may take the blame but you'll most likely get it in the office). Then there is the creator who doesn’t want to accept that his books aren’t selling.
Your job is to make everyone look good.
Fans will also blame editors are while some deserve it many don’t. We’re in an age when at least 80% of the comics you read are produced by corporations to keep their copyrights and trademarks active while promoting their various Film/TV/video game tie-ins they have.
Creators must keep the stories going for each character on an endless loop. There’s no end to these stories just the illusion of change and the presence of the grim specter of death, that never arrives and if it does seems too often to change his mind allowing them to come back to life.
Editors are a vital part of the publishing a machine, a part just as important as the writers and artists of what is printed on the page. Unfortunately the role of editor has been diluted over the years. Many have been relegated to the position of glorified traffic managers. The creative decisions made by publishers and creators.
Is it any wonder that editors too often move into the role of creator themselves?
One last thing... The only time I've seen Reagan economics work in action (trickle down theory) was not with money (that's a proven fact that doesn't work) but with sh!t. Sh!t always travels down and if you're an editor you know what I'm talking about.