Archie Comics veer into horror

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

More in Local News

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

He drank nearly a gallon of vodka, then grabbed a cop’s gun

He got pummeled for that. Police had been trying to keep him on a gurney for an ambulance ride.

Police seek witnesses to hit-and-run

An 88-year-old woman was hurt when a Prius turned right at an intersection and struck her walker.

Most Read