Archie comics and I have had a long relationship, in fact it was the very first comic I ever read. I have walked the streets of Riverdale, shared malt milkshakes, loved, laughed and cried with this comic more than any other. I was often mocked for my love of this classic series with it's never ending love triangle and innocent tales. Not many modern comic book readers saw the joy and fun in an Archie comic the way I do, that was until Archie comics announced it's reboot and now for the first time in my life, I can have a conversation about Archie with anyone at my comic book store.
Archie tells the story of Archie Andrews, a high school student with a passion for music. Up until yesterday Archie had a long term relationship with his dream girl Betty Cooper, the two had been together since kindergarten. What exactly was the 'Lipstick incident' that caused these two sweet hearts to end things? While the students of Riverdale attempt to bribe Archie's best friend Jughead for more information on the couple, Betty and Archie try to keep things civil. Will this couple reunite or will a new girl steal Archie's attention?
After decades of producing a similar format and art styling for each comic, Archie comics decided to throw a curved ball with a team up of some of the best in the comic book industry to bring a new generation of fans to the halls of Riverdale high.Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, kingdom come) has taken the basic plot of all my favourite Archie comics and weaved his magic. It's heartfelt, honest and relatable; often reminding me of a John Hughes movie.
The thing that I was most nervous about was change of art style with award winning artist Fiona Staples (Saga, DV8) on board. No longer in digest format with bold outlines, flat colours and very stylised facial features. Archie and the gang have had a makeover.
As I nervously opened the front cover I was greeted by my old pal Archie with his iconic ginger hair, freckles and smile. Fiona Staples had taken all the things I love about this character and given him so much more personality and dimension. I felt tears well in my eyes, after over 20 years of friendship with Archie it was like I was seeing things clearly for the first time. But it was one page in particular that I simply can not get out of my mind.
After being informed about the breakup Archie breaks the fourth wall telling us how he's feeling and how he is trying to get on with his day. The entire time in the background we see Betty attempting to come over to speak to Archie but after rethinking the decision she heads back to her locker. The pain in her eyes and body language is overwhelming, and in that final panel; their backs turned to one another I knew that was one of the best comic book pages I would ever read.
The wait for the Archie reboot has been a long one but I am happy to say it's been worth it. Within 24hrs my comic book store has sold out of the first issue and the reviews have all been amazing. After being by myself so long in team Archie it feels so wonderful to know that the comic book world is starting to see what I see. I can not wait for issue #2 to hit the stands next month and with the announcement of a series based solely on my favourite character Jughead- By Chip Zdarksy and Erica Henderson it's only a matter of time until we are all sharing milkshakes in the Chocklit Shoppe.