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Archie Comics Brings the Occupy Movement to Riverdale This March

All-American teenager Archie Andrews is used to having finesse his way through heated conflicts and make peace between passionate opponents, being unable to choose between the dueling affections of frenemies Betty and Veronica for about 70 years now, but he’s going to find himself in the middle of an all-new conflict this July, when the Occupy movement comes to the town of Riverdale.Archie Comics released a painted variant cover by Jill Thompson, the comics and storybook artist best known for her Scary Godmother, Sandman and Beasts of Burden work. In the image, Archie crouches behind a tree that divides the image, with girl-next-door Betty and pal Jughead among the sign-holding crowd on one side, and one-percenters Veronica Lodge and her dad on the other.

The storyline will be written by Alex Segura, who is currently wrapping up his “Archie meets KISS” story, and will take place after the “Archie Marries Valerie” story, which presents an alternate future in which comic book’s most eligible ginger bachelor marries the bassist from Josie and the Pussycats.

Archie Comics has a long history of publishing stories based on pop culture trends, which in the past few years has yielded a string of PR successes. like the well-publicized alternate future marriages of Archie to Betty, Veronica and Valerie, controversy-courting moves like the introduction of Riverdale’s first openly-gay character Kevin Keller and Kevin’s marriage to his fiance, and attention-grabbing “What the heck?” tales like a storyline in which President Barack Obama and ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin get involved with a Riverdale High school election.

While the economic disparity and social justice issues raised by the Occupy protests — and the police responses to those protests — have proved to be some of the most hot-button topics in the American public conversation over the last six months or so, don’t expect Archie Comics to throw its full support to either side. As the Obama/Palin storyline demonstrated, Archie Comics are still more about Archie Andrews than politics, no matter how provocative the covers or pitches might seem. The Occupy movement has divided online comics fans and creators rather sharply, as readers will recall from Frank Miller and Alan Moore’s responses, but hopefully we can all agree on one thing: Jill Thompson does great renditions of the Riverdale teens.

[Via Archie Comics]

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