Archie Goodwin was an American comic book writer, editor, and artist. He 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 true hometown.
He moved to New York City to attend classes at what became the School of Visual Arts, worked at Redbook both before and after his Army service as a draftee and free-lanced as Leonard Starr's assistant and as the main script writer for Warren's Creepy magazine before becoming editor of the entire Warren line: Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat. (Additional details about his time at Warren may be found in Jon B. Cooke's book The Warren Companion.) Archie Goodwin's first prose story was published by Ellery Queen 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.")
Goodwin started his career as an artist, working as an assistant in comic strips and drawing cartoons for magazines. His first editorial work was for Redbook magazine. In the early 1960s, he worked for Warren Publishing where he was the main writer and editor-in-chief. As a writer and editor he is credited with providing a mythology for Warren's classic Vampirella character, as well as penning her most compelling stories from the Warren era. Goodwin also wrote scripts for King Features Syndicate, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics (where he briefly replaced Julius Schwartz as editor of Detective Comics).
From 1967 to 1980, Goodwin wrote the daily strip Secret Agent X-9, drawn by Al Williamson. Other strips he worked on include Captain Kate.
In 1976, Goodwin replaced Gerry Conway named as the eighth chief editor for Marvel Comics, with the understanding it would only be temporary until a permanent replacement could be found. He resigned in 1978 and was replaced by Jim Shooter. While Goodwin worked on numerous series throughout his career, his best remembered work was probably his adaptations of the Star Wars movie franchise to the comics. Goodwin wrote a comic book series and a daily comic strip based on the characters from the movies. He also wrote comic book adaptions of the films Alien, Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. As Editor in Chief he secured the rights for Marvel to publish the 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 and many executives at Marvel were contemplating winding things up and leaving comics altogether. Some, including Jim Shooter, have attributed the very survival of Marvel to Goodwin's securing the rights.
Goodwin set up the Marvel Graphic Novel series, Epic Illustrated magazine, and the Epic Comics imprint at Marvel. These gave a number of artists and writers their first break as well as allowing established Marvel staff to work with material too difficult for the monthly titles. He also introduced the first English translation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and published early English translations of the work of Jean Giraud a/k/a 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. Among Goodwin's 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 has said that Goodwin inspired their portrayal of Gotham police chief Jim Gordon in The Long Halloween and its sequel Batman: Dark Victory.
Goodwin died unexpectedly in 1998; few people knew he had been battling cancer. He was honored in a special tribute issue of the magazine Comic Book Profiles; more information is available at Comicfun.com Further personal information is also available in Blake Bell's book I Have to Live with this Guy.
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 through 443. In addition, he won the Shazam Award for Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) in 1973 for "The Himalayan Incident" in Detective Comics #437 (with Walt Simonson). In 1974, he won the Shazam Award for Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) for "Cathedral Perilous" in Detective Comics 441 (with Walt Simonson) as well as the Shazam Award for Best Individual Story (Dramatic) for "Gotterdammerung" in Detective Comics #443 (with Walt Simonson).