Archie Freshman Year #1 Comic on iTunes

Archie Comics has sent out the following press release:

As of September 1, Archie Comics’ “Freshman Year #1″ is the most downloaded comic in iTunes history! Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics, said, “As the digital medium expands to include more forms of entertainment, we want Archie Comics to be at the forefront of new media. We are delighted to find our fans are already there and waiting for us. We announced the Archie Digital Comic for iTunes in May, and in less than four months our first offering, Archie Freshman Year #1, has become the most downloaded comic on iTunes. It is incredible!”


“Freshman Year #1″ was published in print form as Archie #587. Its popularity online is likely due to it being a clearly marked starting point; that’s safe for all ages; and oh yeah, free. It’s a bit odd that it’s a flashback story (in which Archie and the gang first meet each other as they start high school) but maybe readers see that as a good starting point.

I don’t know how anyone could go about verifying this claim, though. Does iTunes show stats? I found the Most Popular Books list, in which this is the first comic listed, and it’s #20 on the “Top Free Apps” list in Books (at the time of this writing). However, Archie uses the iVerse app, which is #12 on Top Paid Apps list in Books, while Comixology’s Comics is #11. iVerse also publishes Star Trek (IDW), books from Boom! Studios, and The Surrogates, among other titles. Comixology publishers include AdHouse, SLG, Moonstone, and Image.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning it — Archie is the biggest comic name available on iTunes, if you ignore the motion comic animation approach DC and Marvel are taking. As a result, those apps aren’t on the same list — Watchmen and Spider-Woman are listed as TV shows.

I would be really curious to know just how many of those Archie readers were converted into becoming customers, paying 99 cents an issue for the following four installments. Are people just seeking free content to fill up their iPhones, or are they actually curious about Archie comics online? I started following the “customers also downloaded” links, and those were all also free offerings.

The press release continues:

According to Victor Gorelick, co-President and Editor-in-Chief of Archie Comics, “Archie Comics have always been about the High School experience. These days most High School students have iPhones or the iPod Touch, and that makes iTunes one of the fastest and easiest ways for our fans to get Archie Comics. We are excited by the rapid success with iTunes and will be producing new comics exclusively for iTunes in the near future.”

Leaving aside the logic jump in “we write about high school, so our readers are in high school” — many Archie readers are younger than the teens portrayed in the stories — I find this a good example of how mainstream popularity may different from the top of the Diamond or comic shop lists. I am disappointed, though, to hear about the online-only plans. I still prefer reading my Archie comics in print.

4 Responses to “Archie Freshman Year #1 Comic on iTunes”

  1. Justin Says:

    I didn’t continue w/ Freshman Year. I did like it though. I probably will get Jughead continually, it is my favorite. However part of me hopes the digest versions get put up, the Jughead issues always seem a bit too light to me.

    I could also see getting Archie’s TMNT comics if Iverse picks up the rights. I hear good things.

    I could never see replacing all my comics digitally. But having favorites readily available in my pocket is very appealing, and I think Archie’s read quite well on the Iverse app.

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