Life With Archie Combines Marriage Stories

A couple of weeks ago, Archie Comics announced that they were launching two new titles to follow the alternate universe Archie marriage stories, one each for Betty and Veronica. Now, they’ve changed their mind — the two storylines, “Archie Loves Betty” and “Archie Loves Veronica”, will be part of one comic magazine titled Life With Archie. Their reasoning? I quote the press release:

Due to the vast amount of positive responses to the two new titles, “Archie Loves Betty” and “Archie Loves Veronica” — previously announced for release in standard comic book format — are being brought together into a more widely available format. The more mainstream platform of a magazine will enable greater accessibility of the already hugely popular ongoing series to a growing number of fans all over the world. The larger format of the magazine will allow room for more vivid artwork and a more accurate reproduction of that art with higher quality paper and printing.

Well, that’s a move I didn’t expect. If they want to build audience, they’ve got to do a format that gets out of the comic ghetto, now that there aren’t spinner racks everywhere. And this means no choice for fans — which means no embarrassing moments if one title outsells the other — but since most wanted to read both anyway, that makes sense, too. However, will this be recognizable as truly a magazine, or is it just a thicker comic? And will comic shops buy a different format?

The publisher is aiming more for magazine-like content, promising extras in each issue like an “exclusive interview revealing select secrets from Archie headquarters!” The publication will debut in August 2010 at a cover price of $3.99. There are no specifics provided on page count … so this might just be a way to sneak a higher price point into the publisher’s lineup. (The title also maintains a trademark, as the original Life With Archie ran from 1958-1991.)

It’s rare to see a publisher go back on a news story so quickly. I could be jaded and say this indicates a lack of follow-through or knowing what they’re doing, but I’m instead hoping that this demonstrates a company that’s interested in being more reactive to the market and ready to make needed changes for better outreach and flexibility. Now, if only they would tell us who’s writing and drawing these stories!

17 Responses to “Life With Archie Combines Marriage Stories”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Sounds like they might be going for a similar tactic to the Simpsons Comics magazine, which I see at bookstores and offers reprints of stories from the regular Simpsons Comics comic. Don’t know how well the Simpsons comics/magazine sells though…

  2. Thad Says:

    Seems like a good idea — anything that gets comics back into mainstream outlets. And Archies are the only comics I still see at the supermarket.

    I thought Wednesday Comics had real potential for mainstream sales, but $4 for 22 pages on newsprint doesn’t really make for an impulse buy, especially if it’s right next to an Archie Digest with a much lower cost-per-page. (The lack of recap boxes also made it unfriendly to new readers, but that’s much more easily fixed.)

    Anyhow, I’m sure the other publishers are watching Archie to see if this works. I’m not much of an Archie reader, but I hope it succeeds, because that would be good for the whole industry.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I’m not sure other publishers pay much attention at all to Archie, although maybe they should start. I miss the DC digests. :)

  4. Mark Says:

    Cant claim to be happy with this idea really. I’m only interested in the Betty story, and now I have to pay more to get that than I would have with seperate titles (as I am certain they wouldnt have been $4 each), be lumbered with stuff I have no interest in reading (the Veronica stuff) for that extra money, and get it in a format I am not overally fond of.

    I cant help but think, due to the rapid changing of minds, that the line in the press release where Goldwater says “The feedback from the press release announcing ‘Archie Loves Betty’ and ‘Archie Loves Veronica’ was so spectacular we were immediately charged with the task of finding a way to make sure everyone would be able to get to it,” can be translated to mean “we didnt expect it to be so popular, and were immediately charged with thinking of ways of how we could squeeze more money from it.

    All that bitching aside, I’ll still buy it, but I dont have to like it! :)

  5. Johanna Says:

    My paranoid guess was that too many people said “I don’t want to read the Veronica one, looks depressing”. :) But that’s baseless speculation. And if you’ll still buy it, well… mark another in the customer column!

  6. Mark Says:

    Oh of course, while I’m complaining, they’re laughing all the way to the bank with my $4. What can I say, my love of Betty and her marriage to Archie outweighs my dislike of such a blatant money gouging exercise!!

  7. Dave Says:

    It might be interesting to see how this new format works (and sells).

    I’m not sure I will buy it as I was part of the group who planned on buying just the betty series. Also, it’s a size which doesn’t fit comfortably with my storage method.

    Still, it’s not like I don’t have other magazines. I’m on the fence here, but when I see it, I might just jump on board.

  8. Johanna Says:

    I’m not sure exactly what the trim size will be. It’s possible that by “magazine” they mean only content (type, like the interview, and size, more pages), not a different sized layout. There weren’t any specifics given in that area that I could find.

  9. Mark Says:

    Oh, and “Now, if only they would tell us who’s writing and drawing these stories!”? – according to this link:
    Paul Kupperberg is writing them and Norm Breyfogle is drawing them.

  10. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for passing along that link to answer my question. I understand why they’d want to have the same writer for both, but it might be more interesting if there were two different ones. And if one guy is drawing both stories every month… that makes me wonder just how long they’re going to be. Breyfogle says “A lot of pages per month”, but if they’re aiming for more than 30, that’s a heavy heavy workload (since the general expectation is a page a day at best, with some days off per month).

    Also, the guy who wrote that post works for Archie in their marketing department, which is probably how that site got the access. :)

  11. Maribeth Says:

    When I saw the original of the two Life with Archie comics, I thought, ok, I just won’t buy the Veronica version, depressing or not, I don’t want it. With the two comics put together as one, I swear, I’ll rip that story out and send it back to them. I agree with previous posting, that they didn’t want the Betty version to leave Veronica in the dust. It makes me ill how they keep patting themselves on the back.

  12. Dave Says:

    Maribeth echoes my own thoughts. I don’t want the Veronica stories either.

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