ARCHIE is getting relaunched this week. There's a new #1 issue with a new creative team and a new look. When the news was first announced, our immediate reaction was something possibly involving some rolling of the eyes. As comic readers, we're getting used to relaunch after relaunch. Archie Andrews has been around since 1941. Did he really need a relaunch?
Some might say he's been long overdue. Others, like my daughter who religiously reads every book ARCHIE COMICS puts out, didn't feel it was necessary. Now that the issue is out, we can fully dive in to see what it's all about.
What caught the attention of many in the announcement was the fact the series would have the creative team of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. The images showed us they were planning on updating the timeless characters. Archie Comics has been making several moves to broaden the appeal of their characters. While continuing to publish the characters in digest form, we've also seen more mature series like AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and even ARCHIE VS PREDATOR (published with Dark Horse).
Most readers today are familiar with the Archie characters. Many have read an Archie comic at some point in their lives. There is likely many that have never looked at a single copy. This new ARCHIE series is one anyone can pick up. You're immediately introduced to the main characters. At the same time, it's not simply hitting you over the head with introduction after introduction. We do come in the middle of a situation in the lives of the students at Riverdale. There's been a pretty shocking event that has recently happened. Like them, we don't know all the details but it's enough to get you hooked to want to find out more.
The book is what you might expect. It's a teen drama at its core. Waid and Staples do make it feel more mature but not in a pushing-the-envelope kind of way (as seen in AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE). You can still feel the original essence and charm of the characters but there is also a more realistic take on them. The original Archie comics have their share of humor and wackiness embedded but this has a slightly more serious tone. What would that mean for the previous Archie readers?
What does my daughter think?
A 12-Year-Old Perspective
At first I was a bit skeptical that anyone could restart ARCHIE Comics; but after reading the first issue, all feelings of doubt vanished. The story was full of secrecy and it thoroughly intrigued me.
I felt the plot worked very nicely and made a lot of sense. I think I might recognize what will happen next in the story. I can't wait to read more.
I was surprised by the art, but I enjoyed how modern it looked. I thought that the characters resembled teenagers I might see today. I really approved of the way Fiona Staples drew the people's facial expressions. In my opinion, she did an amazing job with the art.
I think this comic is something that people of almost any age can enjoy. I am very excited for this and can't wait to read the next issues.
I wasn't sure how an ARCHIE relaunch would be. Waid and Staples have modernized the characters and made them more relatable. They simply feel more real. I sometimes wondered how Archie was so popular since his character was sometimes a dweeb. Here, he does feel a little cooler. It's not a huge departure from who the character originally was. Waid and Staples just make it feel right.
The only thing I thought was a little odd was Archie was breaking the Fourth Wall in doing the introductions and describing where we're at in their lives. It wasn't done in an obnoxious fashion we sometimes see in a certain other comic. I am curious if this is something we'll see in each issue or if it's just for this first one. It does help readers connect more to Archie. If anything, it further separates the feel of the story from the previous incarnation.
My daughter and I often share similar tastes in comics but the fact that she's excited about this series now after having enjoyed the regular comics for so long is a good sign. This really is a comic that many can enjoy. Check it out when you visit your local comic shop. This looks to be the beginning of something really cool.