Before Archie Comics announced their intentions to relaunch a handful of their old superhero properties in a new line called "Dark Circle" — but not too long before — Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid and company revived one of those characters in their five-part Fox miniseries that ran from 2013-2014. An all-around excellent series from one of the most reliable writers in the field and an amazing artist who just doesn't get enough opportunities to prove how good he is at drawing superheroes, that first Fox series proved that Archie superhero comics could be just as good — or even far better — than many of those produced by the genre's two leading publishers.
There's every reason to believe that the overall quality of The Fox, and its rather warm reception by readers and critics, had more than a little to do with the creation of Dark Circle. For further, more concrete proof, look no further than the fact that a new Haspiel and Waid ongoing Fox series is part of the new line.
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.
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.
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!
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?
Despite various incarnations over the years (including two separate versions published by DC Comics) and the involvement of creators like Carmine Infantino and Alex Toth, Archie's superhero characters have always been the weirder branch of the Riverdale family tree. Over
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