IDW Includes Archie in Classic Library of American Comics Line

IDW Publishing has established the Library of American Comics to reprint classic comic strips, including Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, and Terry and the Pirates. Their latest announcement, though, I found very surprising.

IDW Archie collection

They’re teaming up with Archie Comics to create “deluxe hardcover and trade paperback editions”. Although Archie has published their own collections of both old and newer material, this project is taking a definite historical approach.

Under the agreement, IDW will reprint sequential newspaper strips for the first time, offer multiple collections of the very best Archie comics material from the past seven decades, and add to the brand’s digital presence. The newspaper strip collections will be incorporated into the much-lauded Library of American Comics, helmed by Eisner award-winner Dean Mullaney.

The Bob Montana-drawn newspaper strips are reportedly some excellent material, rarely seen. But wait, there’s more!

In addition to reprinting original strips by series creator John Goldwater and original artist Bob Montana, IDW will also present Best Of volumes that showcase the work of Archie artists, such as Montana, Dan DeCarlo, and Stan Goldberg. “Archie has had so many talented artists throughout its history, each with their own take on the characters,” said Goldstein. “We want to offer fans the best from each of those eras, especially since much of this material has not been in print since its original publication.”

The idea of a “Best of DeCarlo” volume is troubling to me — I know there’s a market for it, but will that audience, many of whom are aware of how badly the publisher treated the creator in his later years, be willing to buy a book of his work co-published by Archie? Probably, they will, especially if from another publisher.

IDW also plans “special collections of Archie’s Madhouse and Archie as Pureheart the Powerful”, two of the wackier Archie concepts over the years.

3 Responses to “IDW Includes Archie in Classic Library of American Comics Line”

  1. thekamisama Says:

    I really suspect there is a quid pro quo that will come from this deal. I suspect IDW is taking on the overhead of publishing these niche hardcovers which Archie does not want to deal with. Now will IDW eventually get something in return, like the chance to piggyback on the Archie brands supermarket distribution deals? That could be very lucrative for a company with mass market friendly licenses but only Direct Market purchase points.

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