Since 2013’s Afterlife With Archie we’ve seen new life given to the Archie universe, with the launch of new Archie, Betty & Veronica and Jughead titles brought to us by a great selection of artists and writers it’s easy to see the potential these time tested characters truly retain.
The success of these initial titles has paved the way for greater things to come with the promise of more titles in the not so distant future, first and foremost the upcoming Josie & The Pussycats.
It’s easy to see that there’s no lack of confidence in the Archie camp, with the success of their recently rebooted titles and CW’s Riverdale set to debut in 2017. A new generation of comic book readers have been introduced to the American mainstays, and there’s no doubt great potential for the same to occur with the viewing public next year.
Now I have to mention that I’m from England, and until recently a great deal of American culture has been unavailable to us, and I know how ridiculous that sounds, it just shouldn’t feel so distant. But in reality it’s only within the last ten years that we’ve been able to go into shops in the UK and get Hersey’s chocolate, Oreo’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are still new here! But it doesn’t end with chocolate. the only mentions of Archie that I’d heard until a couple of years ago came from U.S. TV shows, and I understand why, I’m sure the good ol’ U.S. of A heard little about the Beano or Dandy. With that said, my generation have covertly all been introduced to a distant branch of the Archie franchise, which came in the late 90’s through Sabrina The Teenage Witch, another title that has just last week seen a new volume released, and with it a great surprise to a number of readers, everyone I’ve spoken to was pretty unaware of Sabrina’s comic book origins, and isn’t that another great play by the growing Archie reboot?
Although Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina is a major departure from the much loved TV series, it remains a fantastic read taking great influence from 1960’s horror films and giving the characters a darker make-over that works perfectly. The sixties also serve as the setting for the series, which lends itself brilliantly to the style.
So maybe you’re not interested in the somewhat mundane description of the Archie gang’s adventures, but there’s definitely a chance a Sabrina reboot will play on the nostalgia of twenty-somethings across the globe.
Now I say the Archie gang sounds mundane, and by no means is that the reality, but in recent conversations about Riverdale as a TV show – something that I am excited about – I find myself talking to non-Archie fans and having to describe it as Teen Wolf…without the werewolves, Buffy…without the vampires, Saved By The Bell without…alright it’s fair to say it might actually be pretty similar to Saved By The Bell…but that is certainly not a bad thing. However perhaps unlike the classic SBTB, we are seeing some gloomier imagery associated with the promotion of Riverdale which may make the show more appealing to an audience who were expecting something a bit too clean cut.
Archie was always going to be difficult to sell to a large audience that’s never had it in their lives before, but the comedy and strangeness that lies behind these characters is what makes them interesting, not to mention there’s plenty of occasions on which completely normal characters can make for excellent stories. And as I’ve stated with the introduction of Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Tales Of Sabrina there’s a lot of different angles to approach the Archie-verse from, there’s horror, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s something for everyone and if that’s not enough to peak your interest just consider that all of these titles, are set in pure American suburbia, with a cast of primarily high school students and are being worked on by some of the best writers and artists in the comic book industry today. Mark Waid and Chip Zdarsky are doing a fantastic job of making every issue fun and intriguing to read. Between constant day-dream sequences in Jughead, to the development of mystery and even levels of suspense in Archie’s adventures there’s a solid foundation being built here. With amazingly suited artwork from Fiona Staples, Erica Henderson, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish. This is before I even mention the wonderful horror story telling of Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa beautifully illustrated by Robert Hack and Francesco Francavilla.
Now admittedly we’re only one issue into Adam Hughes’ Betty & Veronica which is hard to judge so soon, but needless to say Hughes’ artwork as always is superb, and although this is the first story penned by Adam Hughes that I’ve come across, it’s hard to find fault, it’s quirky and portrays the characters brilliantly, I think the only real question that needs to be answered is if Hot Dog as a narrator will ever be anything but genius.
There’s also the take over of the Jughead on-going series by Ryan North and Derek Charm which although night change the style and appearance of the series keeps the book in good hands and could well draw in more readers with the addition of the Squirrel Girl writer – not to mention the introduction of Sabrina to canon coming in issue #9.
So once again this isn’t really a review, so much as me on my soapbox telling every passerby to read more comics…All I’m saying, is give Archie a chance.
By Zachary Whittaker.