Monday, December 15, 2014

What Excites Me About the Archie Relaunch!

There is a lot out there today about the new ARCHIE relaunch.

For example, there is this great interview with Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater over at Comic Book Resources. He shared that we will see an updated reimagining of how the famous love triangle between Archie, Veronica, and Betty came into existence. More importantly, the character designs are being updated and redesigned. The books will retain their humor, but the humor will become a little edgier. It promises to be less safe.

Frankly, I think that's a very good thing. I enjoy reading the really classic Archie Comics stories in the digests and online. I know that people think of Archie Comics humor as sanitized and safe, but that is something that has evolved over the years. Take some time and review some of those old stories from 40, 50, 70 years ago. That was edgy humor. Not always, but often.

I don't get the impression -- as others elsewhere have suggested -- that Archie Comics is going to jump into controversial subjects for the purpose of appearing relevant. Like making Midge into a battered teen romancer or exploring Jughead's newly diagnosed bulimia. I mean, I suppose it's always possible. But I really get the impression that they are planning on physically updating the characters and their town and ramping up the humor and attitudes to make them appear more cutting edge and contemporary.

It was also interesting to note that we will continue to receive classic tales in the various digests and that the digests will continue featuring new lead content. I am all about that. So if you are hesitant to check out the new stuff, you can still get your fill of more traditional designs and storytelling.

Then there is this article over at Bleeding Cool, which briefly addresses the relaunch. Over in the CBR article, Goldwater noted that all of the traditional 32-page titles will eventually be relaunched. We kind of already knew that, given that Archie and Kevin Keller were receiving make-overs. Why not Betty & Veronica?

But then I read this paragraph over at Bleeding Cool:
It’s a  whole line of relaunched 32 page comics… Betty, Veronica. Betty & Veronica, Jughead, Jughead & Archie, the Kevin Keller relaunch we already heard about… and we also know that Lena Dunham is writing a story. But it’s not classic Archie.
The underlined portions are what I'm mostly concerned about here. Regular Archie Comics readers know that Archie Comics does not currently publish BETTY or VERONICA or JUGHEAD or JUGHEAD & ARCHIE.

So I got curious. Was Bleeding Cool just yanking our chains about these hypothetical titles or did they know something we average readers don't? After all, they often know lots of gossip that's initially dismissed, but later confirmed.

So I reached out to Bleeding Cool on Twitter and asked to clarify about those titles. "Most of the titles you listed here (except B&V and Kevin Keller are not current or recent titles. Are you hearing that those titles (Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Jughead & Archie) are being launched in 2015?"

Rich Johnston answered my first question directly without acknowledging the second question: "Not yet."

That's extremely exciting news if we really get to look forward to new titles featuring these characters -- particularly Jughead. But this would also be the time to make it happen -- especially if the ARCHIE relaunch is successful.

Once again, I'm all about this new relaunch. Smart, cutting edge humor. More mature approach to Riverdale's teens. Crisp, beautiful new designs. And (*fingers crossed*) two new series featuring Jughead(!!).


Anonymous said...

I have to say I don't like the artwork, or at least what they're teasing so far. If the writing is good, I'll pick these up. Hopefully it will be. I'll at least pick up Archie number 1. I'll give it a chance. I know they really had no choice but to do something different. The other option was cancelling their flagship title completely, which would look terrible. Not sure this is going to work. We'll see. I know the first issue will sell. After that, it will be interesting to see the staying power.

Jon said...

It sounds like the more traditional artwork and stories will continue in the digests, so at least you'll still have that.

Donny Jacobs said...

Back in the 1940s, some of our favorite characters would get naked during the course of a story . . . I recall in particular a sequence where Reggie and some other Riverdale High bullies stripped Archie down and tossed him into a creek! Will young Mr. Andrews' bone-skinny butt cheeks be seen again, after decades of editorially-enforced modesty?