Since its debut in July, the revamp of Archie Comics’ Archie has garnered critical acclaim and attracted a number of superstar artists such as Fiona Staples (Saga) and Annie Wu (Black Canary, Hawkeye), both of whom have collaborated with writer Mark Waid to bring Riverdale to life. And the response to Archie’s modernized look has been telling, with issues 2-5 selling out at Diamond Distributors.
Today, Archie Comics is proud to welcome Veronica Fish (Howard The Duck, Riverdale CW promo) to the Riverdale family, as Fish will become the regular ongoing artist for the series, continuing the run she began with Waid in issue #5.
“Whether her parents knew it or not when they named her, Veronica was born to draw Archie,” says Waid. “Under her pen, the Riverdale kids are lively and hysterical.”
“It’s a dream job,” Fish tells EW. “And like all dream jobs, it comes with responsibilities. Even though I do feel quite a bit of pressure, I’m trying to focus on how much fun it is.”
Even though Fish isn’t exactly new to the Archie universe thanks to her guest artist stint, she still feels like she’s acclimating to the series. “I think it’ll take a few more issues to get more solid consistency,” she says. “As of today I’ve drawn 66 pages and three or four covers, so it’s settling into a good groove.” That grove also includes a comfortable collaboration with Waid, something that Fish calls “the highlight of my professional life.” “He’s an incredible writer and a great guy, so this experience means a lot to me,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with wonderful writers (JJ Kahrs, Chip Zdarsky, Robbie Thompson, Melissa Osbourne) and each time you learn something new in the creative process. This is my first time working on a character with this much history. Mark is more than capable of handling that, and I’m so inspired by his ideas it’s exciting to dive in. My husband knows when a new script is in because he can hear cackling laughter explode from my studio.”
One of the reasons that Archie’s new run has become such a runaway hit is due to the modernized style that doesn’t feel out of place — it keeps the aesthetics that made the original series special, while updating the characters and overall look of Riverdale. According to Fish, drawing the Archie world is as much fun to draw inspiration from as it is to illustrate.
“One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was working at an art museum teaching high school students,” she says. “At first I was looking at fashion blogs and clothing catalogs for reference material, but I dropped that because it was thinking about my real-life students that was much more inspiring. Those kids were so fun, so kind to each other and had so many wonderful quirks, it was way more interesting to think about them than ultra-curated images of models.”
So who might be Fish’s favorite character to draw? Might it actually be Veronica? “I actually really do like drawing Veronica because she has so much depth!” Fish admits. “For so much of my childhood I was under the impression that she was ‘the mean one’, which I did not like at all, but the way Mark is writing her, she’s really nice and just simply unaware that other people don’t live the way she does. I also really enjoy drawing Reggie because his presence shakes everybody up. He makes good characters like Betty and Archie do things they wouldn’t otherwise. He is also super layered, and not just a one-dimensional villain. Mark is also going through Archie’s large catalog of side characters, so I can’t wait to see who is going to pop up.”
View exclusive preview pages of from issue 6 of Archie below, on sale Feb. 17, with variant covers by Marguerite Sauvage and Derek Charm.