Mark Waid (w), Fiona Staples (p), Andre Szymanowicz (c)
Released: July 2015
Archie Comics provided us with a press copy of the issue for an impartial review.
We’ve already discussed who is the hottest Riverdalian. Now to dig even deeper into Archie #1. While there are some confirmed Archie fans at WWAC, and some recent converts, thanks to Archie Horror, some WWAC staff have never read even a single Archie comic. That makes for a nice sample. So let’s talk.
What were your expectations going in?
Al Rosenberg: I used to buy the Archie and Betty and Veronica paperbacks in the checkout aisle of Publix growing up to read with my childhood best friend. It was one of the few reading materials we ever agreed on. So, I was hesitant to pick up Archie #1, but I hoped that they would keep the same dorky cheeriness of the original series. Also, was hoping they’d update the romance and characters a bit.
Amanda Vail: I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My memories of Archie from the early 90s are of the stacks and stacks of it that a friend of mine’s older brother had stashed in their bathroom. I paged through a few comics when I need to get away from SNL during weekend sleepovers, but it never hooked me. I didn’t identify with any of the characters, the setting, or the artwork, and the humor wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.
Claire Napier: No idea. None at all. I don’t get Archie.
Paige Sammartino: I was a huge fan of Archie Comics growing up and have an impressive collection of issues from the 90s and early 00s, but I petered out around junior high/high school. I had pretty high expectations that #1 would be my return to actively collecting Archie.
Did the book live up or down to your expectations? Did it surprise you?
Al: I was pleasantly surprised! The art was absolutely lovely. It’s, obviously, very different than the works I grew up looking at, and that is ok by me! I bought one of the variant covers. The entire experience felt very different from the way I used to ingest the comics. It didn’t fulfill the nostalgia, but it was great all on its own. I’m anxiously awaiting the introduction of Veronica, aka my childhood crush.
Amanda: I’d say that my expectations were surpassed, and to be honest, I was really surprised. I found it engaging, approachable, and beautiful to look at. I immediately identified with more of the characters–and whether that was because of the updated setting, the updated art, or the updated tone, I’m not sure. Probably all of the above. Suddenly, I understood that Archie’s dynamics could be timeless. And for me. So, awesome!
Claire: The colours were very pretty, Jughead had fantastic eyebrows and Billy Zane’s forelock wig from the Phantom, nothing horrible happened and I was reminded of Malcolm in the Middle, because: teen talks to audience. It was, you know, nice. I still don’t get Archie.
Paige: The issue impressed me for sure. Returning to Riverdale was nostalgic, but I didn’t feel like a little kid going back into a time capsule. It’s a book I would pick up now as an adult.
Based on Archie #1, are you interested in reading more New Riverdale books?
Al: I would absolutely love to see the new Betty & Veronica. It may also be interesting to hear more from some of the lesser-known characters. (Are there lesbians? Can they get their own book?)
Amanda: Yes. With one short issue, I’ve become a Fan. Whether or not it will hold my attention depends on where the story goes, of course. And I second Al’s call for a) lesbians and b) more focus on some of the lesser-known characters. Archie is pretty cool and all in the update, but what really, really hooked me were the personalities that jumped off the page even though they were only in a few panels–like “Purple Hair Girl” and “Red & Black Hair Girl who may be Ginger Lopez” and Trevor Smith. Who are these people? Why do I not know who they are? I want to get to know them, please-and-thank-you!
Claire: Naw. I don’t get Archie! It’s just normal teens? Those are real.
Paige: I am indeed! The “lipstick incident” has piqued my curiosity, and I at least have to see Veronica and Cheryl Blossom (somewhat-related note: I hope New Archie revisits that subplot where Dilton and Cheryl became online friends without realizing it and fell in love).
Are you interested in watching the upcoming live action Archie adaptation?
Al: No, not really. But I probably will anyway.
Amanda: Ahh… maybe? Probably not, but maybe? If I hear rave reviews, I’ll give it a shot. Otherwise, mmm, I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to watch what seems like it will be a new Saved By the Bell.
Claire: No. Definitely not.
Paige: I will watch the pilot under the excuse of “I just want to see what they do” and probably end up glued to it.