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Archie Goodwin / Al Williamson Letter Al Williamson interview
by John Hitchcock

In 1984, famed comic book writer / editor Archie Goodwin mailed me a pile of pages that had been torn from comic books of the Fifties. They contained some of the best western and science-fiction comic book stories from artists Sid Check, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Frank Frazetta, Angelo Torres and others.

This was a collection he kept with him always over the years, the material that inspired him most as a youngster.

I've selected some pages from Archie's collection to highlight the early work of Al Williamson. I'm also presenting audio clips from an interview I did with Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin in 1988.

I hope you enjoy this look back on the careers of these two comic book greats.

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Al Williamson & Archie Goodwin


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Al Williamson art
Ringo Kid number 13
August 1956

The Williamson Westerns
Atlas Comics / 1955 - 1956

Many long-time comic book fans recognize Al Williamson as one of the industry's premiere illustrators.

Williamson first found fame at EC (Entertaining Comics) from 1952-1955, working on the classic science-fiction titles "Weird Science", "Weird Fantasy", "Weird Science Fantasy" and "Incredible Science Fiction". Along with Wally Wood, Al Williamson set the sci-fi standard for art and storytelling that few have approached since.

George Lucas admitted Williamson inspired his Star Wars' production designs; he even asked Al to draw the Star Wars newspaper strip.

Less well-known are his spectacular western tales of the mid-fifties.

Censorship cries in the Fifties led to the Comics Code Authority stifling comic publishers and creators. Artists found work where they could - it was a tough market with the implosion of the comic book industry from 1954 - 1961.

Westerns were popular on television in the Fifties so comic books followed suit. Al Williamson found work at Atlas (later Marvel) Comics drawing westerns and few comic fans have seen these brilliant stories.

Here are a few select Williamson gems; he truly begins to mature as an artist on these white hat / black hat, horse operas and I'm sure you'll agree these stories deserve a new audience.

All scripts were by Stan Lee.

Two-Gun Kid number 25
September 1955

I believe this is one of Williamson's favorites, his first story for Atlas. You can tell this is a very talented artist trying his best - making sure he gets another script to illustrate.

Al Williamson exploded on the bland Atlas/Marvel scene with breathtaking layouts.

Al Williamson comic book art

Al Williamson / Two Gun Kid

Wally Wood T-Shirt
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Western Outlaw
Western Outlaw number 11
October 1955

Note on page 5 panel 5 of this issue:
the wanted poster is of old friend, artist
and mentor Roy Krenkel
- alias "Two-Gun Krenkel".

Al Williamson/ marvel / Gunsmoke Western
Gunsmoke Western number 33
Feb 1956

1990 WFMY news segment by Brad Jones covering attendees at a comic book
convention put on by Parts Unknown The Comic Book Store in Greensboro, NC located near the
corner of Spring Garden & Mendenhall. Interviewed are legendary artists Al Williamson,
George Evans and the late Dave Stevens.


Archie Goodwin
in his own words:

These clips are from a 1988 interview conducted by John Hitchcock:

Archie talks about his
unique approach to storytelling.

Archie and Al have worked together many times over several decades. Here they talk about their collaborations.

Al Williamson tells Archie Goodwin how he got his start at EC Comics.

Archie Goodwin
Archie Goodwin passed away
March 1, 1998 - just 60 years old.

Archie Goodwin

I can't take credit for saving this material from the '50s. These pages were from the Archie Goodwin files and are displayed here in his honor.

Thanks, Archie.
- John Hitchcock



Ringo Kid # 10 / Marvel comics
Ringo Kid number 10
Feb 1956

Archie Goodwin
Al, Archie and John Hitchcock


Al Williamson
in his own words

In this REAL PLAYER audio clip
from a 1988 interview, Al Williamson explains
how he ended up at Marvel Comics in the Fifties.

Williamson explains
why he enjoys doing westerns.

The story of how Al and Angelo Torres finished a twenty-five page story overnight!

Al Williamson photo
Al Williamson

Al Williamson comic book
Great book!

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