The initial title for this article was going to be “So I Bought an Archie Comic”, because when I first thought about it, I didn’t think I’ve bought any Archie comics since I was a kid, if even then. After doing a minute or two of thinking, I realized 2 years ago I bought the first issue of Afterlife with Archie. I actually thought it was pretty good, but for some reason I didn’t get into it and didn’t purchase or read anymore of it. I’m not an Archie fan, never felt any draw to the story or the characters. I vaguely remember watching “The New Archies” when I was 6 or 7, but I’m so unfamiliar with Archie that I didn’t realize that Sabrina the Teenage Witch was from that universe until I read Afterlife with Archie. Color me clueless.
I read an article on Bleeding Cool a couple months ago that Archie Comics briefly had a Kickstarter campaign trying to raise $350,000.00 to fund a few comics in their new Archie universe after the launch of a new Archie #1, which would bring Archie and Riverdale more into the 21st century. The Kickstarter lasted only a few days before they cancelled it due to internet outrage that a company was using a crowd funding site to raise capital. I didn’t give the book another thought until Monday when I was looking over the list of books coming out this week, I figured I would flip through the book at my local comic shop and if it looked decent I’d give it a shot.
When I go to the comic book store yesterday to pick up my normal stack of books, I found out that Mark Waid (Daredevil) was writing the book and Fiona Staples (Saga) was doing the art. Since I have been really enjoying Mark Waid’s Daredevil run and Fiona Staples art has helped make Saga one of my favorite books, I didn’t even flip through the book, I committed to it site unseen. The only thing I had to figure out was which one of the 22 cover options I was going to get (I decided on the J Scott Campbell Cover).
Other than knowing I was a fan of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ other work, I went into this book with very little expectations except for it to maybe be a little hokie. That’s always been Archie’s MO right?
As soon as I opened the book, I was happy to see that the art style is Saga-like. Unlike some artists ::cough:: John Romita Jr ::cough::, the similar art style isn’t distracting. Every panel is vibrant & rich, making the story absolutely fun to look at. Mark Waid’s writing is very very good. The book is a different style than Daredevil, with 75%+ of Archie’s dialog is with the reader instead of with other characters. I’ll try not to spoil too much (because this book is worth picking up) but this issue focuses on the recent break of Archie and Betty and how that turns Riverdale High on it’s ear. I definitely enjoyed it, and the hinting of Veronica’s arrival have made me want to pick up issue 2 to see where everything heads. One issue is a little early to commit, but it was enjoyable and if the coming issues continue that trend, they may just have convinced me to become a regular Archie reader.