It’s funny. When comic book fans think about Archie Goodwin, what probably comes to mind is his impressive reign as editor in chief of Marvel Comics or his standout scripts for DC Comics.
But Goodwin’s roots–and arguably his greatest accomplishments in the comic book world–lie in the horror genre.
Goodwin–who passed away in 1998 at the far-too-young age of 60–began his love of comics as a teenager, scouring his local shops for copies of EC Comics. That led him to assignments as a freelance writer and occasional art assistant on Leonard Starr’s newspaper strip Mary Perkins, On Stage (raise your hand if you’re old enough to remember that classic comic strip).
OK, we can hear you saying, what does this have to do with horror comics? We’re coming to that.
By the time he reached his late 20s, Goodwin had already displayed his writing chops and was the main scripter for Warren Publishing’s Creepy. The bulk of those early scripts were homages to his favorite comics of years gone by–the EC line. Not a bad influence on a young writer.
By the time Creepy No. 2 hit the stands, Goodwin was the magazine’s co-editor–along with Russ Jones–a position he parlayed into the editorship of the entire Warren line, including Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat.
During his tenure at Warren (1964-1967), Goodwin served as editor in chief and head writer, and had perhaps his greatest influence on the horror genre–providing the backstory and mythology (and more than a few terrific scripts) for Vampirella, perhaps the most compelling female in horror comics history.
Goodwin’s commitment to Warren and its horror line was such that he continued contributing stories for 15 years after he left the group in 1967, and even returned for a short stint as editor in 1974.
Goodwin then wrote for Marvel Comics, starting in 1968 as the original scripter for the new Iron Man series. He also created the Luke Cage character (with artist John Romita Sr.) and even contributed scripts to Tomb of Dracula (working with artist Gene Colan). While on this award-winning title, Goodwin introduced the supporting character of Rachel Van Helsing.
Goodwin also wrote and edited several books for DC Comics (including Detective Comics) in the late 1970s, and his work on the famed Manhunter back-up series won several awards.
Goodwin became Marvel’s eighth editor in chief in the late 1970s and, during that time, Marvel secured the rights to publish the successful Star Wars franchise comic book adaptation and tie-in series.
In 1979, Goodwin returned to his horror roots, scripting an adaptation of the original Alien film–Alien: The Illustrated Story–that was drawn by Walt Simonson and published in Heavy Metal.
Goodwin returned to DC Comics as an editor/writer in 1989, helming several Batman projects–including the fan-favorite Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special No. 1.
Goodwin–a member of the Will Eisner Award Hall Of Fame and a two-time Shazam Award winner for Best Writer–is frequently cited as the best-loved comic book editor. Ever.
For all that–and his lasting impression on horror comic book creators and fans–Archie Goodwin is Horror News Network’s 2020 Horror Comic Honoree of the Year.