Archie Creates Alternate Universe Marriage Line
Archie Comics sent out a press release announcing that they would be creating two new titles in July: The Married Life: Archie Loves Betty and The Married Life: Archie Loves Veronica.
So the imaginary Archie marriage storylines must have sold well! The titles are each described as “an entirely new ongoing series with endless possibilities in its creative evolution, both in terms of its visual aesthetics and its more literary approach to storytelling.” I’m not sure what Archie thinks makes a comic literary; more words?
It’s clear that this is a strategy departure for Archie comics. They’ve run alternate universes in the past — Archie 3000 springs to mind, and Wikipedia has a whole list of them — but they’ve been gags, putting the same characters in the future or the prehistoric past.
Treating the characters as adults in ongoing stories sets up an alternative for readers from the high school hijinks. They can choose to read about the girl they want most to end up with Archie, or read both to see how different choices affect him. Again, from the press release, “the two new ongoing titles are a testament to Archie Comics’ ability to distinguish its relevance to our everyday lives time and time again.” I think “distinguish” wasn’t quite the right word there, but the point is good. There is a significant portion of Archie readership who are adults and read for the nostalgia value (much as is true of superhero comic readership). This kind of story might be more attractive to them, playing “what if” with the older characters on a continuing basis.