A Modest And Belated Birthday Tribute To Late, Great Writer And Editor Archie Goodwin
It seems that an inordinate number of cartoonists and comic creators were born in late summer and early fall. I have a calendar on the wall that's there specifically to be filled with important pop culture notation, and from the beginning of September through the end of November, many of the days disappear completely underneath scribbles denoting the dates of birth of important people.
And while his name isn't hugely well-known outside fan circles, the late Archie Goodwin is one person I especially wanted to take note of, as someone who played a huge role in the world of comics for over four decades.
Born on September 8th, 1937, Archie Goodwin started out writing stories for Warren Publishing in the early '60s before moving up to the position of head editor, guiding such titles as Creepy, Eerie, and Blazing Combat. After resigning from an editorial role, he continued to write for Warren, but also began working for DC and Marvel, co-creating a number of popular characters -- including Spider-Woman and Luke Cage -- and penning many classic stories, such as his justly lauded Manhunter run with Walt Simonson.
Goodwin worked for Marvel in various capacities throughout the '70s, serving as editor in chief in 1976 and 1977, working with Roy Thomas to secure the rights to publish Star Wars comics, editing black and white magazines such as Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu, Doc Savage, and Marvel Preview, and writing a number of the company's top titles.
In 1980, Goodwin oversaw the launch of Marvel's Epic Illustrated, a full-color mature-readers comic magazine. In 1982, he became the founding editor of the spin-off Epic Comics imprint, a full line of creator-owned titles geared toward the comic shop direct market. Goodwin was instrumental in getting the Marvel Graphic Novel series off the ground, co-created the New Universe, created the cult-favorite Shadowline Saga series, wrote a well-received run on Wolverine, masterminded Epic's series of Moebius reprints, and oversaw the first English-language presentation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira.
In 1989, Goodwin moved over to DC, where he worked for the remainder of his career. Goodwin focused largely on Batman projects. He launched the Legends Of The Dark Knight ongoing, brought together Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale for the Long Halloween limited series, and wrote and edited a number of memorable stories. He co-created the Armageddon 2001 crossover event, and shepherded the creation of James Robinson's Starman, serving as editor and "guiding light" for the series.
On March 1, 1998, Archie Goodwin passed away after a long battle with cancer. He left behind countless friends and admirers, and an unparalleled body of work as an editor and author. His good humor and kindness provided an inspiration to generations of fans and creators, and his influence is felt to this day – and in that spirit, a trio of our favorite creators reached out to offer the following tributes to the man and his legacy:
Archie Goodwin was one of the first editors I noticed as a young comic reader. Over time, his name in the credit box became a seal of approval - a sign that the comic I was about to read was going to be at the very least good and quite possibly excellent. On top of that, he was a great writer - one I came to appreciate more as I got older. Not flashy or ostentatious, but precise and polished in terms of story mechanics. The early part of James Robinson's Starman, one of my favorite comic runs ever, is a fine example of Archie's editing style - and if you haven't read the Goodwin-penned Manhunter backups (featuring art by Walt Simonson) or Batman: Night Cries, I hope you remedy that very quickly.
-- Alex Segura, novelist and comic book writer / Vice President of Publicity and Marketing at Archie Comics
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