American comic creator and editor (1937-1998). He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, lived in a number of small towns in Missouri and Kansas, and spent his teenage years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which he considered his true home. He shared his name with one of the characters in Rex Stout's "Nero Wolfe" mystery novels -- a coincidence that once caused the editors of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, not realizing that "Archie Goodwin" was his real name, to ask him to pick a different pseudonym after he'd sold them a story.
He attended classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and got work drawing cartoons for magazines and serving as a writer and art assistant on a newspaper strip called "Mary Perkins, On Stage" by Leonard Starr. He worked as an editor for Redbook magazine, was drafted into the Army, and later returned to Redbook. He got a job with Harvey Comics in 1962 and became the primary scripter for Warren Publishing's horror magazine "Creepy" in 1964. He was promoted to co-editor by the second issue of the series and was soon the editor of everything Warren published -- "Creepy," "Eerie," and "Blazing Combat." He also wrote up most of Vampirella's backstory and mythology and wrote many of the comic stories about her.
Goodwin began writing scripts for comic strips for King Features Syndicate in 1967. He wrote "Secret Agent X-9" and "Captain Kate" for newspapers and "Fantastic Four" and "Iron Man" for Marvel Comics. He also served as editor of "Detective Comics," "G.I. Combat," and "Star-Spangled War Stories" at DC Comics from 1973-74.
Goodwin was named the eighth Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics in 1976. This was designed from the beginning as a temporary position while the company looked for a permanent E-i-C. During this period, the comics industry was in a severe slump, with many fears that Marvel and most other comics companies would have to close down completely. Goodwin and writer Roy Thomas managed to make a very important acquisition -- they got the comic publishing rights for "Star Wars." Goodwin wrote the comic adaptation of the movie under the pen name Russ Helm, and the comic sold like hotcakes -- when it hit the shelves, there wasn't a lot of "Star Wars" merchandise out there, so anyone interested in "Star Wars" was buying the comic. Goodwin also wrote an ongoing "Star Wars" series and a "Star Wars" strip for newspapers, creating all-new stories, mostly free of meddling from Lucasfilm. Goodwin resigned as Editor-in-Chief in 1978 and was replaced by Jim Shooter, who later attributed Marvel's survival as a company to Goodwin getting the "Star Wars" rights.
Goodwin returned to writing comics for Marvel but was soon put in charge of a new Marvel project -- Epic Illustrated, an adult sci-fi anthology series created in the wake of the success of "Heavy Metal" magazine (which Marvel had passed on publishing a few years earlier). He also set up the Marvel Graphic Novel series, publishing Walt Simonson's "Star Slammers," Jim Starlin's "Dreadstar," early English translations of Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), and the very first English translation of Katsuhiro Otomo's "Akira."
He went to work for DC Comics as a writer and editor in 1989. He wrote the "Batman: Night Cries" graphic novel and edited projects like "Batman: Thrillkiller," "Batman: Mitefall" (a parody of the much-more serious "Knightfall" saga that ultimately lead to Batman getting his back broken by Bane), "Batman: The Long Halloween," "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight," "Azrael," and James Robinson's "Starman."
Goodwin died suddenly of cancer in 1998 -- his death took many by surprise because he had kept his illness secret from most.
Goodwin is still thought of as one of the best -- and best-loved -- editors in the history of comics. Shooter, Simonson, Alex Toth, and fellow editor Mark Chiarello have lavishly praised him, and Robinson considered him his most important mentor in the comics biz, crediting him as "Guiding Light" in every issue of "Starman" after Goodwin's death.
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