Monday, April 25, 2011

The Star Wars Daily Strips - Archie Goodwin Interview #1

The following is a vintage interview conducted by James Van Hise with Archie Goodwin circa 1983.
VH: How long have you known Al?
Goodwin: From about the fall of 1956. I first actually worked with him about two or three years after that. It was while I was still in art school. Al was working for Harvey Comics. He had read some of the stuff that I wrote for school projects—comic-type stuff. He then said, "Why don't you try writing some scripts for the stuff I'm doing?" So I wrote a script for him, and he took it to the editor at Harvey, and they gave him the go-ahead to do it. Actually, Al pencilled it and Reed Crandall inked it ("Hermit," in Alarming Tales #1, 1962) . Then they didn't print it for about four years.
VH: Did you do any other writing for Al prior to the work at Warren?
Goodwin: I don't think I did any other writing for Al before Creepy, but he was going to try to sell King Features on the idea of doing a daily Jungle Jim strip drawn by Reed Crandall, and he asked me to write some continuity on that.
VH: Then the next writing you did for Al after Warren was for the King Flash Gordon comics?
Goodwin: Yes, that would be right, because Secret Agent Corrigan came after that, and Al got that more or less on the strength of the Secret Agent X-9 he did in the Flash Gordon comic. Then I wrote Corrigan for the whole time we did it.
VH: Then, when Al began doing Star Wars, you transferred over to that strip with him?
Goodwin: Well, actually they had me doing some stuff before, for Alfredo Alcala, in order to give Al a running start, but basically when Al decided to do the strip is when I came on it as writer. Some other early comic-strip writing I did through Al was when he got me a job with Leonard Starr writing On Stage based on the work I'd done in "Hermit" and the Jungle Jim presentation continuity.
VH: When I spoke with Ray Bradbury, he expressed the opinion that Star Wars wasn't really suited for a newspaper strip under the size limitations the strips suffer from now.
Goodwin: Yeah, the fact of the reduced size certainly hurts, and unless you get some of the pictorial sweep that Star Wars has, you're not really getting Star Wars. But that's definitely a problem. I know that Al's had a lot of problems with fighting back and forth with the syndicate about reproduction. The syndicate's solution is always, "Simplify the art and make the lines heavier," rather than try to find a way to produce a beautiful product beautifully.
VH: Why is it that newspapers don't use the full-page comic strip any more?
Goodwin: I don't think they feel that strips sell tomorrow's newspaper the way they used to.
VH: When did you first encounter Al's work?
Goodwin: Oh, I guess when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was an EC fan. A budding comics fan. I suppose I discovered his work even before it appeared at EC, like the stuff at Toby Press and ACG, such as Adventures into the Unknown and Forbidden Worlds. It's always a pleasure to get a story of mine that he's done and see that he's realized it in a really terrific fashion. As long as I've worked with Al, even though I think I know what he's going to do, I'm still pleasantly surprised and delighted by what he does. Al really loves his work, and believes in it, and I think it shows.