How do you reinvent the Archie comic? By adding zombies, of course! In the premiere issue of the new authorized series Afterlife With Archie, the traditionally undead-free town of Riverdale is transformed into a burg of blood after Sabrina the Teenage Witch foolishly casts a spell to revive Jughead’s deceased canine pal Hot Dog. And according to Afterlife With Archie writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, things are only going to get worse for Archie and his chums. ”The body count rises significantly in the second issue [out Nov. 20],” says the red-hot scribe, whose other credits include Glee, the Carrie remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz (in theaters Oct. 18), and the in-the-works Magic Mike musical.
Aguirre-Sacasa’s dealings with Archie Comic Publications haven’t always been so friendly. The company hit him with a cease-and-desist letter in 2003 after he wrote a play called Archie’s Weird Fantasy, in which the titular character shared an apartment with real-life killers Leopold and Loeb and also came out as gay. So how did he wind up writing both Afterlife With Archie and a previous comic, Archie Meets Glee, which debuted in March? Aguirre-Sacasa explains that he was approached by Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater, whose envelope-pushing over the past few years has included introducing the comic’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, in 2010. ”Jon said, ‘Bring us an idea,”’ Aguirre-Sacasa says. ”I thought it would be fun to do a mash-up between Archie and Glee, and that’s where the working relationship started.” The writer reveals he has an idea for at least one more Archie mash-up: ”I think it would be hilarious if Archie and his friends spent a summer at Barbie’s Malibu dream house. I’d love to see the rivalry between Veronica and Barbie.”