Archie Characters Redesigned

The news of the day is the planned new look for Archie’s classic characters, starting with Betty and Veronica. They’re aiming for a “new dynamic art style… with a more realistic look”. (And Betty’s really cute.)

Betty & Veronica Double Digest #151 cover

Artist Steven Butler (penciler of Sonic the Hedgehog and former artist of Web of Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and The Badger) is responsible for the redesign.

Stories will also be longer. The first tale sounds familiar — Veronica falls in love with a new bad boy in town, a handsome rebel who alienates her friends. I’m glad to see that the story will be written by a woman, Melanie J. Morgan (although I couldn’t find any mention of her online that didn’t refer back to this story, and she has no credits listed at comics.org).

Requisite snarky comment: so Archie’s moving to issue-length stories and a more realistic art style… which brings them current with what happened to other American comics in the 70s. It’s about time for some freshening up. Even though I’m a fan of the Dan DeCarlo-inspired clean line work, their line has survived other style changes. Overall, I don’t think the look is as important in seeming modern as the stories and their subject matter. Want to become more current? Address those factors.

Update: Publishers Weekly confirms that the update will be limited:

If the story meets fan approval, look for the mini-series to be collected into a single volume graphic novel. Archie Comics public relations manager Rick Offenberger said the makeover is strictly an experiment to try an attract older readers and the art style will not be used on any other Archie series.

Dorian sums up Newsarama reaction (so we don’t have to look, although this is probably the most attention that those kinds of comic readers have paid to Archie in decades). The idea gets some interest from non-fan Kalinara.

Mike Sterling doesn’t care much. He hits on an important phrase, though: “contemporary teen romance/comedy”. That’s what they need to be aiming for in terms of story content.

Betty & Veronica Double Digest #151 is scheduled to be released May 14, 2007.

Similar Posts: Archie Launches Second Magazine Format Title: Veronica & Betty § What’s Going on at Archie? § Another Archie Future “What If” Story: He Marries Valerie, Has Daughter § Archie Characters Redesigned in 1996 § Archie Should Not Have an Earring


39 Responses to “Archie Characters Redesigned”

  1. Justin Says:

    Is this going to be line wide? I am wondering how Jughead would look, really.

  2. Johanna Says:

    From the information I’ve seen, yes, I think it will be. And yeah, Jughead’s nose, especially, should be something to see.

  3. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    For Archie’s sake, I sure how Butler’s style has progressed since his days on SILVER SABLE. I just read those a few years ago — ouch.

    To his credit, though – Betty’s chest does appear to be about three cup sizes smaller than Symkaria’s favorite daughter. Veronica, about two. . .

    This is officially the geekiest comment I’ve made all year.

  4. David Oakes Says:

    “(And Betty’s really cute.)”

    And you are not just saying that because Butler used an image of Shriking Violet he got of the web for Veronica, right?

    (In an attempt to come close to Augie – nothing beats comparing cup sizes of Archie girls, hands down – my geek comment is “And a blonde in a hot pink sundress. Hmm…”)

  5. Johanna Says:

    What’s your source on that, David? Cause my husband is really curious which image that might be.

    As for the rest… you’re all pervs!

  6. Jer Says:

    When you say that “Betty’s really cute”, do you mean the Betty on the cover, or the Betty from the sample pencils at Newsarama?

    http://www.newsarama.com/Archie/Archiepage.jpg

    I like the redesign of Archie in the pencils, and I mostly like the design of the girls, but I think they’re both too thin and too small. If they are Betty and Veronica, they seem too young to be the same age as the new Archie. The designs are cute, but they need to eat a sandwich or something.

    I think this is probably a good idea for the Archie line – the current crop of cartoonists seem to have problems making the current designs work the way that DeCarlo (and others) were able to. I wonder how the licensing will work out, but other companies have been able to update the look of their characters over time (like Disney with Mickey Mouse, or DC with Superman) without losing the licensing, so I imagine that Archie will be able to navigate it as well.

  7. Mikester Says:

    Well, I care a little. :)

  8. Johanna Says:

    Jer, ick, you’re right. I was only looking at the cover. In the pencils, she looks about 11. And is that supposed to be Veronica? Without long hair?

  9. Archie Phan Says:

    Johanna –

    That might be Midge.

  10. Johanna Says:

    True, that’s what distinguishes her from the others. I just didn’t expect Midge to look mean or react so much to Archie.

  11. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    David – I don’t think it’s a sun dress. It’s probably just a, whatever the girls call them these days: tunic, tank top, something-or-other.

    Johanna – It’s fitting that the Archie gang would look like rejects from the 1970s. That’s what so many teenagers go for these days. I want to take half the teenaged boys I see these days straight to the barber shop. That long hair is getting really annoying. But, hey, in another five years they’ll all be sporting mullets. The circles of fashion never end. . .

    I’m too old.

    My one serious comment on this whole thing: Hasn’t the old gag always been that Veronica and Betty are exact twins, minus the hair color and clothing? This whole debate was always a gag, since they looked exactly alike — Archie couldn’t decide which was cuter, even though they were the same. Now, they’re looking completely different. There goes another gag into the dust bin of history.

    For what it’s worth, this is a move that could work out for them. Good luck to them and I hope it works. More successful comics for all ages is never a bad thing.

  12. lea Says:

    I like the sample page better than I like the cover, which is not at all.

  13. James Schee Says:

    Huh, Archie looks likes slightly buffed Jimmy Olsen now. I’ll be curious enough to check it out at least.

  14. Joshua Macy Says:

    On the one hand: Ugh. On the other hand: I’m not part of their target audience, so there’s no reason they should care what I think.

  15. one diverse comic book nation » THE SHORT STACK: Diversity On The ‘Net - December 18, 2006 Says:

    [...] Archie Characters Redesigned – Johanna from Comics Worth Reading reports on the reaction to the Archies redesign (from Comics Worth Reading) [...]

  16. Kiki Says:

    Just read these comments from a guy who ought to know:
    Successful makeovers for Sabrina by Tania, an updating of Katy Keene (in every issue of Archie & Friends) by Andrew Pepoy show that the “after” Archie readership is much bigger than we thought. For years kids started reading comics with Archie Comics. Eventually those kids grew to teens and moved on to more mature comics. Today the mature comics are a little more mature than most teens want. Quietly Archie has been expanding its audience with Sonic, Sonic X, Sabrina, Katy Keene, and now some older Betty and Veronica stories.

    People are afraid this is a wholesale change. It is not. The classic look of Archie and the group will be around forever. You can’t mess with a classic. This is something for the longtime fans that always wondered what Betty and Veronica looked like if they were “real”. It’s 25 pages out of the thousands of Archie material we produce a month. Think of this as a cherry on your chocolate shake (or Eggnog given the season) courtesy of Archie.
    Mike Pellerito – Entertainment for All Ages 12/19.

  17. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] People are still discussing the upcoming Archie character redesign… and remarkably accepting they are about this, too. I somehow don’t think we’d get a lot of people saying “I loved those books when I was younger… I guess I’ll wait and see how it looks” if they decided to radically revamp one of the supers. [...]

  18. Bitcloud Says:

    This is how I think other artists might handle the Archie redesign job
    http://digg.com/design/Celebrity_Archie_Redesign_Archie_set_in_Sin_City_others_images

    I’ve got Frank Miller, Penny Arcade, Frank Cho & XKCD so far…

  19. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] However, this post, about the upcoming makeover, is a bit odd: Betty hates the idea. I mean, have you SEEN these new drawings? THEY’RE HORRIBLE!!! Veronica looks ORDINARY — and you know THAT will never fly with Veronica. And the new “me” doesn’t even look like she knows what a socket wrench IS… let alone how to use one to change a flat tire! In my opinion, I have been doomed to the fate of Air-headed Fashion Plate. Eeewww!! [...]

  20. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Comics Should Be Good can’t figure out why all the fuss over the Betty & Veronica redesign, saying “this change isn’t even in a regular comic title – it’s only in a digest!” [...]

  21. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Boy, Archie’s really keeping this story going! The latest: a set of preview pages from Betty & Veronica Double Digest #151, due out May 9. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size editions. [...]

  22. Peggy Muraco Says:

    Absolutely Not! The characters should be left alone! Archie is a classic and should not be touched. I am a long time fan (age 51) and find this insulting to the original artist.

  23. Comics Worth Reading » Upcoming Archie Covers Says:

    [...] Next up, here’s the cover of the second issue featuring the redesigned Archie characters. [...]

  24. Willow Says:

    I’m only mildly confused as to if they’re trying to appeal to a Manga crowd by saying “Look, see ooooh color

    To me the classic art of Archie Comics was part of the appeal. I remembering seeing them in current clothing when they had the cartoon in the 90′s, and there was something just a little off about it. But even then, they’d only changed the clothes (and ages) not the faces and it grew on me.

    This seems very different. But I guess they have to seek our new readership somehow.

  25. Nicholas Says:

    I hate this new look! jughead (my favorite charitor) must look terible!! Steven Butler Sucks!
    The old look is the best!

  26. Ask Steven Butler About Archie Redesign » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] It’s a month and a half before the Archie characters as redesigned by Steven Butler debut, and the publisher is inviting the public to ask the artist about it. From [...]

  27. Nikki Says:

    I can’t wait to read the next new comic! I can’t wait to see what they characters look like!

  28. Sally Forth on Archie Redesign » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I’m a bit astounded that the Archie character redesign story has had four-month-long legs. Check out today’s Sally Forth comic [...]

  29. Stupid Publisher Tricks: “Now” Available in Two Months » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] applaud Archie for trying to keep this story visible, since it’s the most newsworthy thing they’ve done in years, but I do have to quibble with their phrasing. It’s very common [...]

  30. rachel Says:

    I never even seen the new comic wear is it sold? I like betty’s new look but they should fix veronicas mouth. fan

  31. Alexis Says:

    I’ve been a devoted fan of Archie comics for over 20 years, and I DESPISE the new look. It ain’t broke! Don’t fix it! I’ll never buy another new Archie for the kids in my family if this new look sticks. It’s so ugly; it’s just awful.

  32. Archie Comics for February 2008 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] of high school. Then the new stories in Jughead’s Double Digest are again going to try the redesign approach (Archie calls it a Dynamic New Look, with all caps) that got the Betty & Veronica Double [...]

  33. Crystal Ball: March 2007 Solicitations, Part II | Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Says:

    [...] end of an era as this is the final issue before the complete visual revamp of the kids from Riverdale. A surprising move, I think, considering the weight Archie puts on their [...]

  34. Another Archie “Realistic” Tale in October » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] the press release: First came Betty and Veronica’s “Bad Boy Trouble,” followed by Jughead dealing with a bunch of “Match Makers.” Now, the latest story to [...]

  35. Good Comics for Kids » Linkfest: New Disney line, Archie gets real Says:

    [...] series in their new, “realistic” style in October. Reactions to the first one were mixed, even before it came out, but it spawned one of the oddest incidents in comics blog history, in [...]

  36. Bad Boy Trouble: The Prequel » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Look promotion (which has been running through various titles for the past two years) with a Betty & Veronica story called “Bad Boy Trouble“. In it, Veronica takes up with a new boy in town, a biker who [...]

  37. Hostess Comic Book Ads | Les Jones Says:

    [...] Archie comics has been re-designed for a modern, realistic look. I agree with whoever said this sounds like a New Coke experiment to [...]

  38. Maddow Gets More Mileage From Archie Marriage » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] use both classic and “new look/realistic”-style art [...]

  39. Archie Comics for May 2009 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] the fourth “New Look” story, returning to the series that launched the more “realistic” approach. This installment is part two of four, in which Veronica works to save a nearby forest her dad has [...]

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