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.
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.
It isn't yet clear just how Archie Andrews will exit this mortal coil in the "Death of Archie" story starting in next month's Life with Archie #36, but one thing that's pretty clear is that the cover art is going to be pretty spectacular.
Archie Comics unveiled most of the covers for issues #36 and #37, which feature illustrations from artists such as Fiona Staples, Francesco Francavilla, Walt Simonson and Jill Thompson back in April, but Adam Hughes' cover wasn't finished yet. Now it is, and it's a moody, evocative image centering on a glass of soda left with no one to drink it. Is it perhaps a clue that Archie died of kidney stones or type-2 diabetes? That we'll have to wait to find out, but we can all see the full cover right now.
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