The Holidays are upon as, and the year is basically gone. And as you know by now, that mean that here at ComicsAlliance, we're looking back at the best that comics had to offer in 2016. So here, to give you warm feeling as you head into your holiday weekend, are the best Archie Comics covers of the year.
Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of comics referring to their arcs with the television-friendly term "seasons," but for Black Hood, I'm willing to make an exception. With their story of a cop who turns vigilante after a devastating injury, Duane Swierczynski, Greg Scott, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Rachel Deering have captured the feeling of a brutal, gritty TV drama better than just about anything I've ever read.
I think we can all agree that if there's one big problem with superhero comics, it's that they are not a very good source for practical tips on vigilante crime-fighting. As fun as a character like Batman might be, for example, it's way more difficult than it seems to throw tiny metal versions of your personal brand with any kind of accuracy or stopping power --- and don't even get me started on how impractical it is to drive a rocket car in a major city when public transportation is far more reliable.
Fortunately, we have The Black Hood, and in the next issue of the series, Duane Swierczynski and Robert Hack are continuing their commitment to offering up more practical advice to would-be vigilantes. In the eighth issue, you'll find solid advice like "getting hit with a baseball bat really hurts" and "please, do not ever do this, it is a terrible, terrible idea." See what you can learn for yourself with a preview below!
Duane Swierczynski is the man who made Archie Comics cuss.
When the company relaunches its superhero line as Dark Circle, the flagship title will be The Black Hood, in which Swierczynski and artist Michael Gaydos, co-creator of Alias, reinvent the character in an incredibly violent mature readers crime story focused on Greg Hettinger, a cop who gets injured in the line of duty while taking down a vigilante, and takes on the identity of the Black Hood in order to deal with the pain, frustration and rage that wells up as a result of his accident.
It's a brutal story that fits right in with Swierczynski's other work on books like Judge Dredd and Punisher, and as a result, it's also a pretty big departure from Archie's usual offerings, even in a time when the company is reinventing itself with critically acclaimed horror comics and a push for a more realistic Riverdale. To find out more, I spoke to Swierczynski to talk about the origins of the Black Hood as a hero for the bad side of Philadelphia, how far Hettinger has to fall, and, maybe most importantly, Swierczynski's own place in history as the first writer to work the F-bomb into an Archie book.
In a time that's seeing Archie take huge steps forward in expanding its line into horror titles and more serious takes on everyone's favorite small-town teens, the publisher seems to be putting as much as it can into a new line: Dark Circle.
The line was announced last year, anchored by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos's mature-readers take on The Black Hood, Adam Christopher, Chuck Wendig and Wilfredo Torres's new redesign for The Shield, and Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid's return to the bizarre adventures of The Fox. Today, Archie revealed that it will support the titles through digital platforms that also feature older takes on the characters. To find out more, I spoke to editor Alex Segura about the new direction for the characters and how they're different from previous attempts, the fate of the New Crusaders that were relaunched only a few years ago, and whether Archie's continued move into other genres means that Riverdale's days are numbered.