On July 8, the redheaded teen and his gang will get a modern makeover.
The company tapped popular comic book superstars Mark Waid and Fiona Staples to reimagine the Riverdale gang for the new release, with Waid writing the storylines and Staples doing the artwork. So does that mean Archie will be getting a little… hipper?
Maybe…though Waid says the idea behind the revamp wasn’t neccessarily to attract a new audience.
“I’m not targeting any one specific audience other than ‘people who like to read things,’ Waid tells EW. “I’m casting a wide net. Though I’m very comfortable walking that fine line beteween ‘appropriate for kids and teenager’ and ‘let’s bury some jokes for the hipper crowd.’ Like a good YA novel, it’s possible to write for young and old alike.”
But what about the die-hard fans who don’t like to see artistic changes to their beloved icon?
“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” Waid says of Archie’s new look. “I think in part because we didn’t stray too far afield. Jughead still wears that absurd hat. Archie still looks like an all-American teen, and we’ve made a conscious effort to reflect that acial and cultural diversity of the 21st century without pandering.”
Plus, Waid is no stranger to Riverdale. “I worked in the editorial department 25 years ago,” he says. “One of my assignments was to read and make notes on every Archie story published up to that time. I know my Archie history.”
And for those who miss the old Arch?
“For those who still wnat their ‘Archie Classic’ look, that’s still featured in the Archie digest comics—but in the monthly comics, Archie and his entourage look utterly contemporary,” Waid says.
Waid, who usually pens superhero comics, says he was excited to write comics made up of “equal measures comedy, teen angst, and heart.” As for the inspiration for writing for the Riverdale gang? Not a problem. “My girlfriend’s 15-year-old -daughter and her friends keep me honest when it comes to knowing what American high school kids wear today, what they do, and how they act,” he says.
Besides, most things about the familiar storyline are eternal. Though Waid says Veronica Lodge isn’t present in the first two scripts, she’ll be back with a bang. “You’d think Betty would be overjoyed,” Waid teases about Veronica’s inital absence. “Then why is she so broken-hearted in issue one? And when Ronnie finally does show up, how upside-down will she turn the town?”
Archie fans around the globe surely can’t wait to find out.
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