The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus The Daily Herald on Linked In HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions
John McCartney and Herald staff | jmccartney@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

Archie Comics veer into horror

  • "Afterlife With Archie" debuted Wednesday.

    AP

    "Afterlife With Archie" debuted Wednesday.

The vibrant, cheerful and safe town of Riverdale is getting a ghoulish makeover.

In "Afterlife With Archie," a series debuting Wednesday, publisher Archie Comics is launching not just its first horror title, but also its first book carrying a rating for teens and older sold only in comic shops.

The series written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla sees Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica and others, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, enveloped in a panoply of incantations, elder gods, zombies and the undead.

"It's a hardcore horror book," said Aguirre-Sacasa, a Harvey Award-winning writer who melded his personal interests and horror obsessions into influences for the book. "This is why I was meant to do comics."

Those are evidenced in descriptions and images. In one panel, for example, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is clutching the fabled but dreaded "Necronomicon." In another, showing the gang at a party, Archie is dressed as Freddy Krueger from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films.

Francavilla included his own nods to horror classics, too, like the "'Rocky Horror Picture Show' and 'Nosferatu' posters on Jughead's bedroom wall."

But the book, despite its subject matter, he said, reflects the core characteristics of Archie and the other characters.

"Sabrina? She's always messing up," Aguirre-Sacasa said, though in this case, the mistake has grave consequences for Jughead.

"He's always hungry," Aguirre-Sacasa said, a normal trait that portends doom by the end of the first issue, setting the stage for the second issue and beyond.

Publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater says the title is not your "traditional Archie Comic" given the subject matter.

Instead, Goldwater called the series a fresh opportunity to place Archie's characters in a setting where there is no easy, happy ending with everyone feeling just fine.

"I really view this as Archie's 'Walking Dead,'" he said, referring to the Robert Kirkman-created series that has blossomed into a television show with a massive fan base.

The monthly series is drawn by Francavilla with dark, ominous illustrations boasting artistic nooks and crannies.

"We are taking a series of characters known to be light-hearted and young adult-oriented and doing a horror comic with them, so the mood, atmosphere, and setting are very important to make this a believable horror and not a comedy horror," the Eisner awarding-winning artist said in an email.

"Fortunately, I am really good at making things dark and ominous."

Online: http://bit.ly/GJbyBL

Story tags » BooksZombies

Subscribe to Daily headlines
See sample | Privacy policy

Most recent Off the Wire posts

digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...
» More local news
HeraldNet Classifieds

HeraldNet highlights

Goodbye to the greats
Goodbye to the greats: Robert Horton: Stars who shaped the world of cinema
Baby and board
Baby and board: Mom waits tables with son on her back
Imagine the view
Imagine the view: An Everett firm is developing an all-glass canopy for high-end jets
Back to farmland
Back to farmland: Land near Arlington will be developed ... into a working farm