Archie Comics has been working behind closed doors giving Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica and the rest of the Riverdale gang a makeover for months. And now, the moment has come for eager fans: Issue No. 1 of The All New Archie by Archie Comics has been released just minutes ago.
Or rather, the makeover is complete. The die has been cast. Today, we find out whether the new look Archie delights his audiences, or whether he fails to elicit the magic his predecessor almost always did in his 75-year-long career.
A completely revamped Archie Comics series has been debuted today, with Issue No. 1 finally on sale. Up until a few years ago, Archie Comics had become an afterthought in the comics-publishing world, having fallen behind big sharks like Marvel and DC. But after a change in management in 2009, the company began crafting new techniques to get the redhead from Riverdale back in business.
First, there was Afterlife With Archie, and then Archie vs. Predator, both of which sought to out-muscle Archie’s competitors with sheer gimmickry. And while the two series worked fairly well with the audiences, Archie Comics continues to maneuver in new ways to reach out to its readers.
Now, Archie Comics seems to have finally hit the nail on its head with the realization that a gimmick-free Archie series is the best way to reinvigorate its readers. To this end, the company engaged popular comic book superstars Mark Waid and Fiona Staples to recreate the Riverdale gang for a new Archie Comics release.
Archie’s contemporary look is re-imagined with an intention to reach out to today’s audiences, irrespective of age, race, or gender. Storywriter Mark Waid spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Archie’s new look.
“I’m not targeting any one specific audience other than ‘people who like to read things’. I’m casting a wide net. Though I’m very comfortable walking that fine line between ‘appropriate for kids and teenagers’ and ‘let’s bury some jokes for the hipper crowd.’ Like a good YA novel, it’s possible to write for young and old alike.”
But while a contemporary Archie Comics rendition appears likely to be well-received by young readers, there is always a certain nostalgia surrounding the well-known look of age-old characters, which may in turn inform loyal fans’ decisions. But Waid is not too worried about a backlash.
“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I think in part because we didn’t stray too far afield. Jughead still wears that absurd hat. Archie still looks like an all-American teen, and we’ve made a conscious effort to reflect that racial and cultural diversity of the 21st century without pandering.”
In another interview with Vulture, artist Fiona Staples talked about how she has tried to be hip, but not lose out on what makes Archie Comics tick.
“I tried to be true to the classic versions of the characters, but also give a nod to the more nuanced personalities and complex backstories that Mark has given them. So Archie’s hair is the same general shape, but a more modern cut, and I kept a subtle version of the hash marks in the sides. Their faces are less cartoony, but I still gave Jughead a pointy nose and his iconic beanie, and Betty relatively soft features and casually pulled-back hair.”
Soon, we will know how readers respond to Riverdale’s modern entourage, but by all accounts, Archie Comics is set for yet another resurrection.
[Image: Archie Comics / Twitter – @ArchieComics]