Archie Goodwin, the best editor in comics

I was thinking of Archie when I started an article on teaching Flash and programming. Perhaps because of the recent anniversary of his death. I only worked with him once on a three issue mini-series, so it wasn’t a long working relationship or deep in any way. He was relatively quiet and seemed shy, but then in a room filled with British artists drinking and a sprinkling of Americans, a rooster’s crow call ripped through the room. Everyone turned and looked, there was Archie, beer in hand with a couple of artists, blushing, and shrugging his shoulders.

He could discuss the illness that killed him with a factuality that was frightening. I didn’t know him well and processing something like that is obviously hard and went on over long periods of time, but he did it. To come to terms with mortality and illness and come out the other side is really heroic. I had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he stopped me in the hallway to talk about it. His small joke about not wanting what I have, he’d deal with what he knew, was a reassurance to me that has stuck profoundly, for almost fifteen years now.

In many of the comics he edited over the years he put in one page strips, mostly gags about himself.¬† So when he talked you always felt¬† he understood the whole craft of comics. Some people think comics are writing, some people think comics are drawing, but it’s the integration of the whole ting that makes them work. In teaching I want to produce students who understand their whole craft, and hopefully end up as good a person as Archie was.

I’m sorry I couldn’t sneak his name into the article somehow.

3 thoughts on “Archie Goodwin, the best editor in comics

  1. Epic made a huge impression on me under Archie Goodwin, and those one-page comics you mention really added some humanity to the comics he edited (I saw them mainly in “Marvel Fanfare,” several issues of which featuring his self-caricature in Marvel’s traditional character box in the top left corner of the cover).

    I’ll confess to my comic trivia geek impulse getting alerted when you said you worked with him on a three-issue miniseries. My guess is “Batman: Jazz,” though I don’t know if he ever worked at DC.

  2. Yup it was Archie’s last gig working at DC, at that time DC had yellow zip-a-tone dots on the walls and when we discussed disease there, you could see the kid editor, Scott Petersen blanch, youth = wimpdom whenit comes to reality.

  3. Oy! I just remembered that Goodwin wrote “Manhunter” for DC, so of course he worked there. Mindfreeze.

    Yeah, reality is pretty bleak compared to what the average suburban American kid is raised to expect.

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