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Derek Charm Talks JUGHEAD, Archie Characters, and Fighting Bears

There's a new artist coming to Riverdale to work with Chip Zdarsky and Ryan North.

Archie Comics has been bringing new life to its classic characters. Having first appeared back in 1941, the gang from Riverdale has been updated with new looks and stories everyone can enjoy. Aside from the current Archie comic and upcoming Betty and Veronica series, we've been seeing a different side to Jughead Jones in his own book.

The series is written by Chip Zdarsky, and Ryan North coming on board (with issue #9). Beginning with issue #7, Derek Charm is taking over art duties from Erica Henderson. We spoke to Derek about Jughead and everyone in Riverdale.

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Comic Vine: What's your favorite thing about Jughead?

Derek Charm: He’s just one of those iconic, instantly recognizable comic book characters. To me, he’s right up there with Batman and Superman. His attitude and the nature of the stories he stars in immediately set him apart from the rest of the Riverdale kids, and I feel like people instantly identify with him.

You've drawn several iconic characters during your career. How does it feel diving into the revamped Riverdale?

It’s amazing and surreal. I’ve said before, New Jughead was one of my favorite books since it started. Chip and Erica are a total dream team and it was guaranteed to make me laugh out loud at least once per issue. It’s awesome to get to spend a couple issues with Chip before he moves on.

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How are you approaching drawing the characters? Are you focusing on their update appearances and characterization or pulling in some of their classic essence as well?

So far they’ve been really amazing about letting me find my own interpretation for these guys. I generally start by looking at the classic Archie-style designs and figuring out what makes them unique from one another and then seeing how Erica or Fiona interpreted those and finding what makes sense to me. It’s cool to have so much history to pull from.

Besides Jughead, who's been your favorite character to draw in this book?

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Normally I’d want to say Reggie, but Mr. Weatherbee has a large role in issue 8 and he’s a ton of fun to draw. THE BEE. He calls for this whole different kind of humor than everyone else; the exhausted, put-upon adult. It’s fun to contrast him against these wild teens. Definitely looking forward to more of him!

How far along are you in the series? Have you started working on Ryan North's issue 9 script or only Chip Zdarsky's scripts?

I’m working my way through issue 8 right now, which is so great. It takes a slightly more dramatic turn than I think has been done in this series so far. I mean, Mr. Weatherbee fights a bear, so it’s still funny and crazy, but we also get to see the ups and downs Archie and Jughead’s friendship in a realistic way. It’s a really nice epilogue to Chip’s run as writer.

What are you most looking forward to on this series?

Well, issue 9 introduces Sabrina the Teenage Witch to Jughead’s world, and that’s super exciting. My two issues with Chip take place out of town, so I’m also looking forward to spending some time in Riverdale and having the regular cast of characters running around. Plus 9 is my first issue with Ryan North, who I’ve been a fan of forever. Also, Salem!

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Can you tease any crazy moments you've drawn so far?

So many things make me say “YES!” out loud while reading these scripts. Whether it’s a super funny joke, or something crazy and weird that I can’t wait to draw. Without giving too much away, Mr. Weatherbee steals the show in issue 8 and displays what I’m sure are only a handful of his impressive survival skills.

Don't miss out on Derek's issues of Jughead. You're already reading the series, right? Here's a preview for issue #7.