Ask the average fan to name the greatest creators in the history of comics and the name Archie Goodwin will not leap to the minds of many, because so much of Archie’s brilliant work was behind the scenes or flew under the mainstream radar. But ask the creators with whom he worked! Ask other all-time great writers, artists, editors and creators! Gather the elders, the best of the best and ask them! His name will be among the first mentioned. Archie Goodwin was an amazing writer with outstanding story sense, penetrating insight, a gift for dialogue, an effortless knack for character, a flair for drama and utter mastery of the art of delivering the payoff. His sheer creativity ranks with the best ever. He was an all-time great editor and teacher. He made everyone he worked with better. On top of that, Archie Goodwin was a fine, wonderful, noble and honorable soul, loved and respected by everyone because he deserved it. This industry may never see his like again. How sad. He is desperately missed.
Chris Claremont has written many wonderful things. He’s passionate about everything he writes. Especially notable, of course, is his work on the X-Men. Chris gets a good deal of credit for the success of the X-Men, but not nearly as much as he deserves. Not only did he do an outstanding job as writer, he built the team that built the team. He recruited artists when needed. He made sure the lettering and coloring were consistent and top drawer. He spent time, effort and money out of his own pocket to insure the quality of the book. He sweated the details. He fought like a Wolverine to defend the integrity of his vision, his work, his words. If there’s a Hall of Fame for Caring, Trying and Outworking Everyone, he should be there, too. Babe Ruth didn’t create the Yankees and Chris Claremont didn’t create the X-Men, but each of them built the house.
Neal Adams is one of the greatest artists our medium has ever known. He is also the single most influential artist in the history of comic book publishing. An amazing number of artists, including many whose styles are nothing like Neal’s, many you’d never guess, started out trying to emulate Neal. He has personally trained a small army of artists. Not only a master of the visual, Neal writes as well, and also does, it seems, whatever else he wishes to with ease and grace. His brilliance extends beyond the printed page. He works with light, motion and sound. He creates three-dimensionally. Any medium is his medium. And, everything he does, he does with rare excellence. He brings insight to any endeavor. Most importantly, he truly creates. New ideas. Original thoughts. Genesis! Beyond that, he has always been a force in the industry — a righter of wrongs, a bringer of change, a leader. Neal is a genius and a giant who has lifted up us all.
And here’s a tribute to Murphy Anderson I was asked to write a long time ago. I know that few people have seen this.
Murphy Anderson is one of those artists like Russ Heath, Alex Toth and Al Willliamson that fans don’t talk about as much as they should, but about whom professionals speak with reverence.
Hall of fame. All-time great. Grandmaster.
I run into Murphy at conventions often. He’s invariably the best-dressed person there. It’s a sign of respect for the audience. The gesture is lost on most of the attendees, I suspect, but I don’t think it matters to Murphy whether they get it or not. He’s not doing it for attention. It’s just the way he is.
Always impeccable. Uncannily wrinkle free. Also, have you noticed that he doesn’t age? A deal with the devil? Nah. The devil wouldn’t get near him for fear of being infected with civility. Maybe it’s his super power—no wrinkles anywhere.
The only person as nice as Murphy is his lovely wife Helen.
He’s also a gentleman. In the wonderful, old-fashioned sense. How rare in this business. How rare in this world.
Gracious. Considerate. Sincere.
Murphy Anderson. What an outstanding artist. What an outstanding man. I am honored and privileged to know him.