You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Features

  • Continuing a life of craftsmanship
    After arriving at Joe Sommer’s house in Fort Wayne, it’s easy to tell that his hobby is building model wooden ships. After all, he has one of them displayed in the largest window that faces the road.
  • Share with us - Summer Events Guide
    We are seeking submissions for our Summer Events Guide, listing activities from May 25 to Aug. 31.
  • A cup of coffee with blind bus rider
      Editor’s note: Morning Observations is a new column appearing in The Journal Gazette. Features writer Steve Warden will be sharing slice-of-life stories from various locations.
Advertisement
Associated Press
This image released by Archie Comics shows "Afterlife With Archie," a series debuting Wednesday.

In ’Afterlife,’ Archie Comics veers 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,” says 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 Kreuger 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.”

Advertisement