Will the Real Archie Goodwin Please Stand Up

“What’s the real Archie Goodwin really like?” is the title of a fascinating behind-the-scenes essay by Anne T. Murphy, Archie’s widow, in the second volume of X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson that will be on sale soon.

Anne writes, “Every comics family hears questions like these from fans and interviewers alike, yet new fallacies constantly spring up and get spread online. We know the facts, but are rarely asked; and when asked, if our facts don’t fit the preconception, we’re tuned out and the fan defaults to his own mental image.”

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Anne sets the record straight about Archie’s early career: “Following his studies at the School of Visual Arts, Archie worked at Redbook as a junior graphic artist in a large art department, spent two years as an Army draftee, and returned to paste-ups and layouts at Redbook. Contrary towikipedia and other self-appointed experts, he was never chief editor of Redbook [Lembiek], and didn’t start his cartooning career there, never joined the Harvey Comics staff in 1962—he was stuck in Virginia on an Army post—and never edited in the sense of selecting or editing content atRedbook…. Fans unable to fit Redbook into his later career created this grandiose resume.

Redbook, however, is very important and does matter: it was a learning ground for everything about how professional magazines are put together, and this—not anything learned in comics—equipped him to be editor-in-chief of the Warren magazines. Archie and I met at Redbook, where we both had day jobs. He wrote at night—often two full free-lance stories on the nights I attended NYU graduate school classes—and had just sold a prose story written as a New School assignment to Ellery Queen Magazine…”

There’s more, of course. Lots more. But you don’t think we’re going to print it all here, do you? We’ve got to leave some surprises for the book.

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