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Archie Goodwin (comics)

Archie Goodwin
Archie Goodwin (left)
Born (1937-09-08)September 8, 1937
Kansas City, Missouri
Died March 1, 1998(1998-03-01) (aged 60)
New York City
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Editor
Notable works
Vampirella, "Manhunter"

Shazam Award

  • Best Writer (Dramatic Division) (1973, 1974)
  • Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) (1973, 1974, with Walt Simonson)
  • Best Individual Story (Dramatic) (1974, with Walt Simonson)

Archie Goodwin (September 8, 1937 – March 1, 1998)[1] was an American comic book writer, editor, and artist. He worked on a number of comic strips in addition to comic books, and is best known for his Warren and Marvel Comics work. For Warren he was chief writer and editor of landmark horror anthology titles Creepy and Eerie, and for Marvel he set up the creator-owned Epic Comics as well as adapting Star Wars into both comics and newspaper strips. He is regularly cited as the "best-loved comic book editor, ever."[2][3][4]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life and career 1.1
    • Warren 1.2
    • Famous name 1.3
    • Comic strips and DC Comics 1.4
    • Marvel Comics 1.5
      • Star Wars 1.5.1
      • Epic 1.5.2
    • Return to DC 1.6
    • Death 1.7
  • Awards 2
  • Appearances within comics 3
  • Bibliography 4
    • DC Comics 4.1
    • Marvel Comics 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Early life and career

Archie Goodwin was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and lived in many small towns along the Kansas-Missouri border including Coffeyville. But he considered Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he spent his teen years at Will Rogers High School and in used magazine stores searching for EC Comics as his home town.[5] Goodwin moved to New York City to attend classes at what became the School of Visual Arts.[6]

Goodwin began as an artist drawing cartoons for magazines and as a freelance "writer and occasional art assistant" to Leonard Starr's newspaper comic strip Mary Perkins, On Stage.[2] His first editorial work was for Redbook magazine, on which he worked both before and after his Army service as a draftee.[7]


His first story written before he went into the Army was drawn by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel and published in 1962 just after his discharge from the Army. He was never on staff at Harvey Comics. By 1964 he was the main script writer for Warren's Creepy magazine. Much of his work there, according to Batman editor Mark Chiarello, was a "homage to the favorite comics of his youth, the E.C. line."[4] By the second issue he was co-credited (alongside Russ Jones) as editor, and soon became editor of the entire Warren line: Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat.[2][8] He worked for Warren between 1964 and 1967, as head writer and Editor-in-Chief, in which roles he is credited with providing a mythology for Warren's classic Vampirella character, as well as penning her most compelling stories.

After his departure from Warren in 1967, Goodwin would occasionally contribute stories over the next 15 years and even returned for a short stint as editor in 1974.[9]

Famous name

Archie Goodwin's first prose story was published by Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine which warned him he could not use Archie Goodwin as a pen name because it was a Rex Stout character in the Nero Wolfe books. According to Goodwin's wife Anne T. Murphy, the magazine "then were so delighted when he wrote back to say that it was his real name that they used the ancedote as the introduction to the story, which ran in the July 1962 issue."[10]

Comic strips and DC Comics

From 1967 to 1980, Goodwin wrote scripts for King Features Syndicate, including the daily strip Secret Agent X-9,[2] drawn by Al Williamson, as well as working on other strips including Captain Kate. His experience ghost writing Dan Flagg inspired "The Success Story" (drawn by Williamson, who had ghosted on Flagg) for Creepy #1 (1964), famed among comic strip fans for its EC style dark humor in depicting a creator whose only contribution to the strip that made him rich was his signature.[11] Not limited to newspaper strips, he found work at the major comics companies as both writer and editor, working for Marvel Comics on titles including Fantastic Four and Iron Man. Goodwin worked briefly for DC Comics during the 1970s, where he edited the war comics G.I. Combat,[12] Our Fighting Forces,[12] and Star Spangled War Stories,[12] and replaced Julius Schwartz as editor of Detective Comics[12] for one year. Goodwin's collaboration with Walt Simonson on the "Manhunter" back-up feature in Detective Comics won several awards.[13][14] Goodwin wrote the Batman lead feature in Detective Comics as well and collaborated with such artists as Jim Aparo,[15] Sal Amendola, Howard Chaykin,[16] and Alex Toth.[17]

Marvel Comics

Goodwin first worked for Marvel Comics in 1968 and was the original writer on the Controller in Iron Man #12 (April 1969).[19]

Luke Cage, the first African American superhero to star in an eponymous Marvel comic book series, was created by Goodwin and artist John Romita Sr. in June 1972.[20] While briefly writing The Tomb of Dracula series, Goodwin and artist Gene Colan introduced the supporting character Rachel van Helsing.[21] Goodwin co-created (with Marie Severin) the first Spider-Woman,[22] as well as writing her first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #32 (February 1977).[23]

Goodwin also co-designed Marvel's New Universe line and created four of the eight series in the line. He explained, "[Marvel editor-in-chief] Jim Shooter keeps saying of me: 'Well, here's this guy, in one meeting, he suddenly spews out half the ideas for the New Universe.' What that doesn't take into account is that for about five or six years I've had these half-formed notions and finally here is a situation where they would all fit in. wasn't like I just went into the meeting and suddenly four concepts sprang full-blown from my brow."[18]

Star Wars

In 1976, Goodwin replaced Gerry Conway to become the eighth Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, with the understanding that it would only be temporary until a permanent replacement could be found. He ultimately resigned at the end of 1977 and was replaced by Jim Shooter. While Editor-in-Chief, Marvel secured the rights to publish the Star Wars adaptation and tie-in series, which then sold phenomenally well (helped by a dearth of other Star Wars merchandise at the time) at a point when the comics industry was in severe decline. Goodwin recalled about the Star Wars comic book, "That really worked ... but I can't take any credit for it. Roy Thomas is the one who brought it to Marvel, and he had to push a little bit to get them to do it."[24] He followed Thomas in adapting the Star Wars characters into an ongoing comic book with artist Carmine Infantino,[25] as well as continuing the story (pre-Return of the Jedi) in a daily comic strip. Goodwin wrote the strips under his own name, although many websites and other sources erroneously claim he used the pseudonyms R.S. Helm and Russ Helm. Writer Mark Evanier corrected the matter by stating "Archie did write the Star Wars comic strip (as well as other Star Wars material) but only under his own name. Russ Helm was a completely different person writing under his own name."[26] During Goodwin and Infantino's tenure on Marvel's Star Wars series, it was one of the industry's top selling titles.[27] He wrote comic book adaptations for Marvel of the two Star Wars sequels as well as other science-fiction films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner. In 1979, Goodwin wrote an adaptation of the first Alien movie which was drawn by Walt Simonson and published by Heavy Metal.


After Marvel Comics passed on publishing the American incarnation of Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), Editor-in-chief Jim Shooter was charged with producing an alternate title, which became Epic Illustrated.[28] It was initially edited by Rick Marschall, but Shooter in 2000 recalled approaching publisher Stan Lee to urge a replacement. "I told Stan, 'There's one guy who could do this. I don't know if we can get him.' He said, 'Who's that?' 'Archie Goodwin.' The reason I didn't think we could get him is because he used to be my boss and I didn't know how he'd feel about coming back and me being his boss."[3]

Goodwin was at the time still working for Marvel as a writer, and Shooter recalls concocting a plan whereby the company "pretended that Archie reported to Stan. In fact, I was doing all the paperwork and all the employee reviews and the budgets" so that Goodwin could have the illusion of not working for his successor.[3] In the autumn of 1979, Marschall was fired and Goodwin hired as Epic's editor.[29]

In addition to Marvel's first creator-owned imprint Epic Illustrated, Goodwin set up the Marvel Graphic Novel series, giving a number of artists and writers their first break as well as allowing established Marvel staff to work with material too difficult or 'adult' for the monthly titles.

Shooter approached Goodwin after the moderate success of the Epic magazine and creator-owned graphic novels to produce a full-fledged line of creator-owned comics, Epic Comics. Goodwin initially balked at the additional workload, and Shooter turned the line over to Al Milgrom before Goodwin ultimately accepted editorship.[3][18]

Goodwin introduced the first English translation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and published English translations of the work of Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius.

Return to DC

Goodwin returned to DC Comics as an editor and writer in 1989.[30] He wrote the graphic novel Batman: Night Cries[31] painted by Scott Hampton and published in 1992. Throughout the 1990s, Goodwin edited a number of Batman projects, including the Elseworlds miniseries Batman: Thrillkiller, and the Alan Grant-written/Kevin O'Neill-illustrated parody one-shot Batman: Mitefall, a take-off of the "Knightfall" saga, filtered through the character of Bat-Mite.[12] Armageddon 2001 was a 1991 crossover event storyline. It ran through a self-titled, two issue limited series and most of the annuals DC published that year from May through October. Each participating annual explored potential possible futures for its main characters. The series was written by Goodwin and Dennis O'Neil and drawn by Dan Jurgens.[32]

Among Goodwin's most notable last editorial projects were Starman, written by James Robinson and first published by DC in 1994 and DC's Batman: The Long Halloween by Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb. Loeb and Sale's first work on Batman appeared in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1 (Dec. 1993) edited by Goodwin.[33] It is a testament to Goodwin that Loeb has said that Goodwin inspired their portrayal of Gotham police chief Jim Gordon in The Long Halloween and its sequel Batman: Dark Victory, while Robinson (who considered Goodwin both a mentor and close personal friend), continued to list Goodwin as a "Guiding Light" on later issues of Starman. Goodwin edited Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight,[12] and Azrael.[12] Goodwin's Creepy work is cited by editor Mark Chiarello as informing the creation of the Batman: Black & White series.[4]


Goodwin died of cancer on 1 March 1998 after battling the disease for 10 years.[6]


Goodwin's work won him a good deal of recognition in the industry, including both the 1973 Shazam Award for Best Writer (Dramatic Division), and the 1974 Shazam Award for Best Writer (Dramatic Division) for the Manhunter series running in Detective Comics #437 - 443, in addition to winning Shazam Awards for Best Individual Short Story for "The Himalayan Incident" in Detective Comics #437, "Cathedral Perilous" in Detective Comics #441 and "Götterdämmerung" in Detective Comics #443 (all with Walt Simonson; all for Manhunter episodes). Goodwin's work on Manhunter, in which he both updated an obscure Golden Age hero, and, in the series' last episode, took the daring approach of killing him off (one of the few comic book deaths that has actually "taken" and not been reversed or retconned away in the decades since it occurred) is very well regarded by both fans and other comics professionals.

Goodwin stated in his final interview, "I think that Manhunter is one of just several projects that I've worked on that I consider a highlight in my career. It is something that I may never be able to top in a lot of ways. To have done that and for DC to have given me the opportunity to do that was great."[34]

He won the 1992 "Bob Clampett Humanitarian" Eisner Award,[35] and was named Best Editor by the Eisners in 1993.[36] In 1998 he was entered into the Eisner Hall of Fame.[36]

In 2007, Goodwin was inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, located in the Toy and Action Figure Museum.[37]

Appearances within comics

In The Batman Adventures — the first DC Comics spinoff of Batman: The Animated Series — Goodwin appears as Mr. Nice, a super-strong but childishly-innocent super-villain. He is one of a screwball trio of incompetent super-villains that includes The Mastermind (a caricature of Mike Carlin) and The Perfessor (a caricature of Dennis O'Neil). Batman: Gotham Adventures #13 (June 1999) features the last appearance of the characters with Mr. Nice leaving the group to fulfill a prophecy, with the issue being dedicated to Archie Goodwin.[38]

He is name-checked in issues of Marvel's Star Wars comics including in the alien-language words "Niwdoog Eihcra," his name in reverse.

A character based on him appears in issue #82 of Cerebus. He stands at the foot of the giant, living stone statue Thrunk and repeats everything Thrunk says - as if he is passing Thrunk's commands to the masses. Thrunk kills him when he steps on him.[39] The scene has often been interpreted as an allegory for Goodwin's relationship with Jim Shooter, but Cerebus writer/artist Dave Sim denies this and said "I have nothing but the greatest respect for Archie and in no way intended anything but a little 'hello' to one of my favorite New Yorkers."[40]

The airport in fictional Gotham City, home of the Batman, is named Goodwin, after Archie.[41]

In Marvel Comics' What The--?! #5, Goodwin appears as King Archibald the First in the short story The Alien-Ated Legion, which parodies the mature approach of Epic Comics. In the last panels, King Archibald says that he had never been interested in superhero comics.[42]


DC Comics

Marvel Comics


  1. ^ Stump, Greg. "News Watch: Archie Goodwin Dies at 60," The Comics Journal #202 (March 1998), p. 27-28.
  2. ^ a b c d Pilcher, Tim and Brooks, Brad, The Essential Guide to World Comics (Collins & Brown, 2005) ISBN 1-84340-300-5, p. 42
  3. ^ a b c d Thomas, Michael. "CBR News: Jim Shooter Interview: Part 1" Comic Book Resources, October 6, 2000. Accessed August 2, 2008. Shooter on Goodwin: "First and foremost, everyone loved Archie. Archie had a manner about him that you just couldn't not like him. While he was tough as nails, and he was probably the best that passed through this business, he managed to do it without offending anyone. He managed to be respected and remain friends with everyone and do his job."
  4. ^ a b c Chiarello, Mark. "Introduction" in Chiarello, Mark and Peterson, Scott (ed.s) Batman: Black and White (DC Comics, 1998) ISBN 1-56389-439-4. Chiarello on Goodwin: "...probably the very best editor ever to work in comics, probably the very best writer ever to work in comics."
  5. ^ Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel Comics cover-dated November 1983.
  6. ^ a b DC Comics press release March 2, 1998 "Archie Goodwin dies at 60" Online version available at Google Books
  7. ^ Cooke, Jon B. interview with Goodwin's wife Anne T. Murphy "Anne & Archie: Warren Days" The Warren Companion 2001 ISBN 1-893905-08-X p. 50 "He may have had something before but Redbook was the first long-standing job. That, of course, was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army." Online version available at Google Books
  8. ^ Archie Goodwin's editorial credits at Warren Publishing at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ Cooke, Jon B. (Winter 1999). "The James Warren Interview". Comic Book Artist ( 
  10. ^ Cooke, Jon B. interview with Goodwin's wife Anne T. Murphy p. 51
  11. ^ Brock, Edward (2011). "The Warren Chronicles – (Pt.1)". Comic Monsters. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Archie Goodwin's editorial credits at DC Comics 1973-1974 and 1989-1998 at the Grand Comics Database
  13. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle.  
  14. ^ Boney, Alex (May 2013). "Hunting the Hunters: Manhunter and the Most Dangerous Game".  
  15. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1970s". Batman: A Visual History.  
  16. ^ Manning "1970s" in Dougall, p. 117
  17. ^ Manning "1970s" in Dougall, p. 117: "Two masters of sequential storytelling, writer Archie Goodwin and artist Alex Toth, joined forces for an unforgettable Batman lead story."
  18. ^ a b c Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (July 1986). "Archie Goodwin".  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Sanderson, Peter "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 155: "In the early 1970s there was a wave of movies about African-American adventure heroes. Marvel responded to this with Luke Cage, Hero for Hire by writer Archie Goodwin and artist John Romita, Sr."
  21. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 156: "Created by writer Archie Goodwin and artist Gene Colan, the blonde vampire slayer Rachel van Helsing debuted in The Tomb of Dracula #3."
  22. ^ Johnson, Dan (August 2006). "Marvel's Dark Angel: Back Issue Gets Caught in Spider-Woman's Web". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (17): 57–63. 
  23. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging.  
  24. ^ Daniels, Les. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics (Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1991) ISBN 0-8109-3821-9, p. 177
  25. ^ Edwards, Ted (1999). "Adventures in the Comics". The Unauthorized Star Wars Compendium.  
  26. ^  
  27. ^  
  28. ^ DeFalco, Tom "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 197: "This title was Marvel's attempt to compete with the popular Heavy Metal Magazine, which printed more mature material for the adult market and work by European artists...Former Editor-in-Chief Archie Goowdin oversaw all thirty-four issues."
  29. ^ "Marvel Fires Rick Marschall, Archie Goodwin Named to Edit Epic", The Comics Journal #51, November 1979, pp. 5-6.
  30. ^ "Archie Goodwin Quits Marvel Epic for DC," The Comics Journal #130 (July 1989), p. 26.
  31. ^ Goodwin, Archie;  
  32. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Dolan, p. 250: "Armageddon 2001 was the DC Comics event of the summer...Written by Archie Goodwin and Denny O'Neil, and drawn by penciler Dan Jurgens."
  33. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 261: "Editor Archie Goodwin was on to something when he paired Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale on the first holiday special of the popular Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series."
  34. ^ Cooke, Jon B. "Archie's Comics - Archie Goodwin talks about DC in his last interview", Comic Book Artist #1, Spring 1998, TwoMorrows Publishing, p. 71 Online version
  35. ^ "The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award".  
  36. ^ a b "1990s Eisner Award Recipients". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Archie Goodwin (1937-1998) Artist/Writer/Editor, Tulsa" Retrieved April 7, 2011
  38. ^ #13Batman: Gotham Adventures at the Grand Comics Database
  39. ^ Sim, Dave (w), Sim, Dave (p), Gerhard (i). "Talking Heads" Cerebus the Aardvark 82 (January 1986)
  40. ^ "Last Word (letters)".  
  41. ^ "Gotham City" Batman: Gotham City Secret Files 1 (April 2000)
  42. ^ Dixon, Chuck (w), Stroman, Larry (p), Williamson, Al (i). "The Alien-ated Legion" What The--?! 5 (July 1989)

External links

  • Archie Goodwin at Mike's Amazing World of Comics
  • Archie Goodwin at the Unofficial handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
  • Stiles, Steve "Archie Goodwin and his Golden Age at Warren",, n.d. WebCitation archive.
Preceded by
Gerry Conway
Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief
Succeeded by
Jim Shooter
Preceded by
Stan Lee
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
Allyn Brodsky
Preceded by
Julius Schwartz
Detective Comics editor
Succeeded by
Julius Schwartz
Preceded by
Bill Mantlo
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
Gerry Conway
Preceded by
Stan Lee
Fantastic Four writer
Succeeded by
Stan Lee
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
The Incredible Hulk writer
Succeeded by
Steve Englehart
Preceded by
Peter David
Wolverine writer
Succeeded by
Jo Duffy
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