The son of a renowned professor of Italian literature, Arcudi grew up in Buffalo, New York during the 1970s. He attended Columbia University, where he majored in English and devoured the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and William Faulkner with equal enthusiasm.
After serving various apprenticeships on the fringes of the comic industry, including a stint at the New York branch of Forbidden Planet and the United Features comic syndicate, Arcudi joined Malibu Comics upon its founding in 1986, working on its Eternity line. At the same time he started writing for comics, making his first sales to Savage Tales and Savage Sword of Conan in 1986, and becoming a regular contributor to the humor magazine Cracked.
Arcudi’s work on The Mask was preceded by a number of effective graphic novels based on films, including RoboCop, Terminator, Predator, Alien, and The Thing. Two of these graphic works were subsequently adapted as full-length novels published by Bantam Books. His most recent work in this line, Aliens: Alchemy, was illustrated by Richard Corben. Arcudi’s series Barb Wire, featuring bounty hunter and bartendress Barbara Kopetski, was adapted into a film starring Pamela Anderson.
A lifelong aficionado of hardboiled crime novels, Arcudi also scripted several highly effective stories published in Dark Horse Presents, a series called “The Creep,” and a police procedural called “Homicide”. The protagonist of the latter, Detective Will Ford, was named in homage to one of Arcudi’s literary heroes, Charles Willeford. He has returned to the form recently with several scripts for The Dark Knight and Black and White.
Arcudi joined the stable of writers at Dark Horse Comics. He worked on developing the character The Mask first in Mayhem #1-4, and then in a highly successful series of books illustrated by Doug Mahnke. Arcudi’s work formed the basis of the feature film starring Jim Carrey.
Arcudi and Mahnke teamed up for several projects besides the Mask. Most notable among these was the series Major Bummer published by DC Comics. The series focuses on a defective band of superheros, including a slightly senile time traveler, an incompetent super vocalist, a man who can stick to things and the main character, a slacker who doesn't care about his super-genius and strength. The title was canceled after only 15 issues.
Arcudi also did a stint on Gen13, illustrated by Gary Frank and Cam Smith, and wrote a run on Doom Patrol, illustrated by Tan Eng Huat.
Arcudi invented the character Captain Daimio for the series B.P.R.D., which he writes with Mike Mignola. Arcudi had contributed a B.P.R.D. story to the Hellboy comic issued in conjunction with the film as a premium from Wizard Entertainment. As B.P.R.D. developed into a separate series, Mignola tapped Arcudi to write the scripts. Three complexly plotted tales have been published to date, with a fourth (Killing Ground) currently in production.
Arcudi contributed the Superman story to Wednesday Comics with art by Lee Bermejo. He also created a graphic novel called A God Somewhere with Peter Snejbjerg providing the art.