Thursday, July 9, 2015

Archie #1

   In this era of rampant reboots, it might not seem so shocking to see Archie Comics revamping their line.

   But this is a company that, with some exceptions, has continued its "universe" in the same basic, cartoony style virtually since the beginning.

   It has survived because it (brilliantly) stayed in its format while updating the fashions and topics to keep up with the latest trends.

   But now they're doing a complete update / revamp on their title character - Archie.

   The company has wisely turned the task over to two talented creators - writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples.

   They have firmly landed the series in the real world, as Archie Andrews introduces us to life at Riverdale High School, to his friends (a few of whom you might have trouble recognizing), and to his new status - he's popular at school, but has recently split from his long-time girlfriend Betty (so yeah, he's still an idiot).

   The members of the cast act and look like real teenagers - the art by Staples is wonderful, with a much more realistic look to it, loaded with modern imagery and lots of energy.

   It's all a bit more soap-opera-ish, but still with lots of humor and likable characters.

   I was skeptical going in, but I have to admit I liked this issue a lot - there's enough of a connection to the original format to keep it familiar, but enough new about it to give a fresh sheen to the proceedings.

   Of course, if this experiment doesn't work, don't be surprised to see the traditional Dan DeCarlo style of art return - but for now, I think this just might succeed and bring the series (kicking and screaming) into the modern age of comics.


Grade: A



Peter Wallace said...

I talked with Jim Amash at Heroes Con. He was saying, sadly, the work for artists like him who did the old style is almost gone, except they are still publishing the digests with reprints and maybe one or two new original style stories. I liked the first issue too, but don't know why they didn't just do it as a parallel like the Archie horror books and even the Archie Marries series... Ah well.

Anonymous said...

This latest permutation of Archie is just another gimmick to sell comics to the speculators and the curious. It will make news, initially sell more copies and then settle back to low sales like all that has gone before.
A long running small publishing company is hanging on by its fingernails, making its best profit reprinting classic old stories in fat supermarket digests (for which no reprint fees are paid) and doing anything provocative that they can think of with their main characters in regular event issues to remain relevant for another year or two.
Archie grown up and married? A new gay character in Riverdale? Archie murdered? Archie and friends as zombies? Meeting Predator? How's that working out for them? What next?

Sam Kujava