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?
This week, Chris and Matt talk about how much they love Big Trouble in Little China, and how much they enjoyed the first issue of the new comic sequel by Eric Powell and Brian Churilla in spite of some art hiccups; then it's on to Nailbiter #2 by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson; and finally they discuss the first volume of Afterlife With Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla.
Although Archie's core line of kid-friendly titles has been grabbing its share of headlines lately, the company's biggest critical and commercial success over the past year has undoubtedly been Afterlife With Archie, the moody, adult-oriented story of how the zombie apocalypse hits Riverdale. Created by Francesco Francavilla and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the book has been hailed by fans and critics, and with that kind of praise, it was pretty much inevitable that they'd expand the line with another similar title.
Now, they have. This week, Archie announced Chilling Adventures ofSabrina, an ongoing series about everyone's favorite teen witch, from Afterlife writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack.
Comics fans know Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa from his work writing a handful of Marvel properties, such as Marvel Knights 4 and The Sensational Spider-Man and from the recent breakout hit Afterlife With Archie. But he's also a TV writer (for shows including Glee and Big Love) and playwright (the only reason Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ended up making any kind of sense), which is a big reason Archie Comics has named him its first-ever chief creative officer.
Aguirre-Sacasa's first move on behalf of the company is a big one, too: He's tapped Girls creator Lena Dunham to write a four-issue miniseries for the company, starting next year.
It's been pretty well established over the last few decades that when supernatural troubles erupt in Riverdale, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is usually at the center of it. In Afterlife With Archie, however, things have gotten a little more out of hand than they usually do -- it turns out that meddling in the incomprehensible forces required to resurrect the dead has far more dire consequences than dosing Harvey with a love potion in an effort to have a nice prom date. Like, say, a full-on zombie apocalypse that's already claimed a pretty sizable chunk of the Archie cast.
That's the situation that's been going on ever since Sabrina used the Necronomicon to bring Hot Dog back to life and got banished to a nightmare hellworld for her troubles. She's been missing ever since, but in the upcoming Afterlife With Archie #6, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla finally catch up with her. Check out the exclusive reveal of both covers, including a downright Tarot-esque variant from Andrew Pepoy, and a few answers from Sacasa below!
If you had asked me six months ago whether we, as a culture, ever needed another story that took a familiar story and added zombies to create wacky supernatural hijinx, my answer would've been a quick and definite no. It's a premise that's been done to death, shambling resurrection and death again, and when October rolls around, you can't swing a dead cat that feasts for the flesh of the living without hitting some bold new reworking of the zombie formula.
If, however, you then asked me if I wanted to see a zombie story about Archie and the gang written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, I would've probably done some pretty quick backpedaling. That is exactly what I want to see, and now that Afterlife With Archie is finally on its way for a spoooooky Halloween debut, I can confirm that it's every bit as fun as you want it to be.
Because juggling two relationships wasn't enough a challenge, this fall Archie is taking on the undead. Launching in October is Afterlife With Archie, a new monthly series from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla about Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang fighting off a zombie invasion in Riverdale.
Archie Comics will be showing a promotional trailer for the new series at a panel on Saturday, but The Hollywood Reporter debuted it today, and you can check it out below.
Even with as strange as Archie Comics have gotten over the past few years, I don't think any of us ever expected to see an all-new ongoing series where Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the gang had to contend with the apocalyptic rise of the undead. I know I didn't, and I'm pretty comfortable in saying that I think about Archie comics way more than the average person.
And yet, here we are: In October, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla are launching Afterlife With Archie, and I could not be more excited to see how young Mr. Andrews deals with trying to juggle two girlfriends and a ravenous horde of Zombies. I spoke with Aguirre-Sacasa to find out just what the tone would be, and why the whole thing is all Reggie's fault.
Over the past few years, Archie Comics has released some pretty unexpected comics, not the least of which was the recent crossover with KISS. Now, they've unveiled their latest surprise: A crossover with Glee, FOX TV's musical drama about a high school glee club, set to run in upcoming issues of Archie...
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