Tuesday, April 22, 2008
"One of the nice things about what I do and probably one of the reasons I'm attracted to it is that, in real life, I'm a relatively quiet, sometimes introspective person. And I like losing myself in the fantasy of comics." - Archie Goodwin
Without question, millions of readers have lost themselves in the fantasy of Archie Goodwin's comics. As an editor and writer, he is unsurpassed in the history of the art from, and remains one of the nicest, most respected professionals in the industry.
Although most famous as an editor on Warren publishing's Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella titles ('65-'70) and Marvel's Epic Illustrated magazine, Goodwin's writing is held in great esteem.
His first work appeared in Alarming Tales, a supernatural title from Harvey publishing.
In 1957, he landed a job as assistant to newspaper cartoonist Leonard Starr who drew On Stage.
"Leonard was just great to work with, although almost nothing I wrote ever made it into the strip," said Goodwin. "Leonard used me to make all the mistakes for him."
Modesty is more representative of Goodwin than mistakes, as is his love of comics.
"I guess it's the interaction between the words and pictures. I think it's a way that people are still exploring and playing with (it)."
At different times, Archie wrote comic strips including On Stage, Secret Agent Corrigan, Capt. Kate and Star Wars, but he is best known for his comic book work. This includes Hermit (Harvey,'62), Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9 (King, '66-'67), Iron Man, Sgt. Fury, Rawhide Kid, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Capt. Marvel (Marvel), Batman, Manhunter, Haunted Tank (DC-to present) and several movie adaptations for various publishers.
Archie Goodwin's work as an editor, writer or artist is highly recommended. Archie Goodwin as a man deserves the highest recommendation possible.
Published over many years, some titles may be difficult to locate. A price guide or comics dealer will help. Comic book shops, mail order companies, trade journals and comics conventions are best sources. Prices vary widely; shop around.
Review by Michael Vance
He is best known for something he never created. He is best remembered for wildly original single-panel cartoons in New Yorker magazine.
He would have thought that odd because he thought in very odd ways. Ergo: "He's in the garden." said the plain Jane blonde into the telephone. Through the open doorway behind her was a new grave and a shovel stuck in upturned earth.
As musicians enter a stage prepared for their orchestra, a violinist gawks at a row of squeeze horns, a stool and a bucket of fish.
Three angry bears in auditorium seats try to pick a perpetrator from a lineup of little golden-haired girls.
The genius behind these dark and thought-provoking scenes actually had four names. One was Subtle. One was Macabre. Two were well known and much beloved: Chas Addams.
The something that Chas never created was The Addams Family. The tongue-in-cheek television series and movies were based on the style of Chas' dark humor, and several characters extrapolated from individual cartoons. Sort of the same way Gary Larson extrapolated his famous The Far Side comic strip from Chas Addams' work as well. Not copied. Not plagiarized. Extrapolated. Larson was as original as Chas.
Regrettably, Chas is not well represented in comic books. The Addams Family ('74-'76; Gold Key) is not a collection of his cartoons, but a continuation of the Hanna-Barbera animated TV series that was, in turn, a spin-off of the television show.
Among the collections of his work, Random House published hardback editions including Creature Comforts, Chas Addams' Favorite Haunts, My Crowd, The Groaning Board, Drawn and Quartered, Chas Addams' Black Maria, Night Crawlers, Homebodies, Monster Rally, Addams and Evil and The Dear Dead Days.
Some older comics are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comic shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources. Prices vary; shop around.
The work of Chas Addams is highly recommended.
Review by Michael Vance