Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the chief creative officer of Archie Comics and the writer on both the critically acclaimed oddball horror comic Afterlife With Archie and the forthcoming Sabrina the Teenage Witch series -- and he's helping oversee a huge creative renaissance at Archie.
Chris Sims caught up with Aguirre-Sacasa at San Diego Comic-Con to talk about the Dark Circle relaunch and the Shield redesign, the 1960s setting of his Sabrina horror comic, the chances of a Josie and the Pussycats appearance in Afterlife With Archie, and whether there's such a thing as "too far" in an Archie zombie horror comic! Plus... any chance of an appearance by Jingles the Christmas Elf in the forthcoming Afterlife With Archie Christmas Special? (Yes, that's a real thing.)
This week, Chris and Matt talk about how Robin Rises Omega #1 by Peter Tomasi and Andy Kubert should be great, but falls short, possibly because it's a victim of its own marketing. Then, we talk about how Life With Archie #36 by Paul Kupperberg and Pat & Tim Kennedy is really enjoyable despite some weird tics. Then, we discuss the cool new sci-fi anthology, 2299, edited by Dylan Todd.
If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for any length of time at all, you've probably already twigged to the fact that I tend to like really weird comics. Whether it's obscure Golden Age oddities, the Ninja training manuals that were sent to comic book stores in the '80s, or the pouch-filled excesses of the '90s, that's what I love to read. And in three solid decades of reading comic books, I've rarely seen one as weird as The Fox.
Even though it had some of the biggest names in comics involved -- drawn and plotted by Dean Haspiel with scripts by Mark Waid and J.M. DeMatteis -- the miniseries seemed to slip under the radar for a lot of people, and to be honest, I can see why. It's a strange story about a strange character that most people aren't too familiar with. Now that it's out in paperback, though, it's easy to pick up and read -- and you should, if only because it's even stranger when you read it all together.
It's been very interesting to watch Archie Comics transform from a company built on eternally unchanging teenage shenanigans in a peaceful, small town to the culturally progressive company that grabs headlines at every turn with how it's rebuilding Riverdale for the modern comics reader. But besides the stories that strike chords within contemporary political conversations, it's been fun seeing just how Archie tackles these "Big Event" elements that we've seen in other American comics. I mean, in the world of superheroes, a character's death (or "death") has been a rite of passage since the '70s, but for Archie, it's entirely new territory. In waiting so long to use these elements, the events not only feel fresh, they're also built in a much more interesting way than their cape-and-tights counterparts.
Or at least, that's the case with Archie's death at the hands of a gunman in the pages of this week's Life With Archie #36, which isn't just an evocative and moving story, it's also one of the most fascinatingly structured comics I've ever read.
The first three ongoing titles in Archie Comics' new Dark Circle line of superhero comics have been announced, and they offer an immediate glimpse of the diversity of the range, with one offbeat comedy book, one violent noir book, and what looks like a fairly classic legacy superhero story.
Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos tackle noir in The Black Hood; Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel return for more of The Fox; and novelists Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig join artist Wilfredo Torres on The Shield. All three titles have promise, but they paint a slightly different picture of the line than the forbidding 'Dark Circle' umbrella might have lead readers to expect!
Due to a "breach [of] content guidelines for imported publications," the trade paperback collection Archie: The Married Life volume 3, which depicts the same-sex marriage of Riverdale's Kevin Keller, has apparently been banned in Singapore by the country's Media Development Authority -- or censors, basically.
Sonny Liew, the artist of the new graphic novel The Shadow Hero, editor of the acclaimed Liquid City anthology series, and a resident of Singapore, noticed the book wasn't available through distributor Kinokuniya's catalog and did some following up to find out why. They told him it has been "removed from sale" by order of the MDA.
A nomination for a Harvey Award, named for legendary MAD Magazine cartoonist and editor Harvey Kurtzman, is unquestionably the most prestigious honor that has ever been bestowed on a comic book about NASCAR. Seriously. It happened in 2009 with NASCAR Heroes.
The Harvey Awards have released the list of this year's nominees. As you might expect, the usual suspects like Hawkeye and Daredevil were honored, along with other nomination leaders Saga and Quantum and Woody. Archie, Valiant and Image all received a good amount of nominations, but it's BOOM! Studios, along with its Archaia imprint, that earned the most recognition with 26 nominations; well more than any other publisher.
We've known for a few months now that Archie Comics' Life With Archie series, about the possible adult lives of the Riverdale teens, will end with lead character Archie Andrews' death. Life With Archie #36 hits stands this week, and thanks to an interview with Archie publisher Jon Goldwater for the AP, we now know that this is where Archie meets his end -- and we know how it will happen.
Readers who don't want to know too many specifics before the issue goes on sale should avoid reading any further, and perhaps also avoid the comics sections of the internet entirely for a couple of days.
Archie Comics has developed a reputation for doing the unexpected and somehow pulling it off. The wholesome publisher pipped Marvel and DC to the lead in launching an ongoing book with a gay teen protagonist in Kevin Keller; it broke with the conventions of comic book continuity with its attention-grabbing Archie Marries... books; and it successfully brought zombies to Riverdale with its critically and commercially successful Afterlife With Archie books, potentially kicking off a new line of horror books.
So it feels in keeping with that spirit that Archie Comics announced yesterday that it plans to relaunch its cheery (and under-exposed) Red Circle superhero line as 'Dark Circle,' a line of adult-oriented series with the sophisticated narrative ambitions of HBO or Showtime. It's certainly unexpected. Can Archie Comics pull it off?
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into talking about DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio as a businessman and as a comics creator in their discussion of his new series with Keith Giffen, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Then they pivot to talk about two great starting-point issues in the middle of series runs: Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City #13, and Ian Flynn and Jamal Peppers' Mega Man #37.
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