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 Archie Goodwin  (1937 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: New York/Oklahoma/Kansas/Missouri      Known for: comic book artist, penciller, editor

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Russ (R.S.) Helm is primarily known as Archie Goodwin

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Archie Goodwin (September 8, 1937 – March 1, 1998) 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."

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 home as it was where he spent his teen years at Will Rogers High School.

Goodwin moved to New York City to attend classes at what became the School of Visual Arts.

He 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.  His first editorial work was for Redbook magazine, on which he worked both before and after his Army service as a draftee.

In 1962, he joined Harvey Comics, and two years later became the main script writer for Warren's Creepy magazine, much of his work (according to Batman editor Mark Chiarello) there an "homage to the favorite comics of his youth, the E.C. line." 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.  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.

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.  They were so delighted to learn that it was his birth name that they used the coincidence as the theme of their introduction. (Goodwin was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 1993 Black Orchid Banquet sponsored by the Wolfe Pack. His topic was "What's It Like to be Archie Goodwin.")

From 1967 to 1980, Goodwin also wrote scripts for King Features Syndicate, including the daily strip Secret Agent X-9, 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 also 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.  Not constrained to newspaper strips alone, 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, Our Fighting Forces, and Star Spangled War Stories, and replaced Julius Schwartz as editor of Detective Comics for one year. Goodwin's collaboration with Walt Simonson on the Manhunter back-up feature in Detective Comics was highly acclaimed

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. Initially edited by Rick Marschall, Shooter ultimately recalls approaching Stan Lee to tell him: "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.     ”

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.[12] In the autumn of 1979, Marschall was fired and Goodwin hired as Epic's editor.[13]

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. 

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

Goodwin returned to DC Comics as an editor and writer in 1989.  He wrote the graphic novel Batman: Night Cries 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.

His 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."

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

Jim Shooter:
“     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.


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