Archie NY Con Panel News

Archie logo

Archie made several announcements at the New York Comic Con, and they were kind enough to send out an email update to those of us who couldn’t be there.

Penguin Betty book

First, Penguin Young Readers Group will be putting out middle grade novels featuring Betty and Veronica through its Grosset & Dunlap imprint. The stories will be new for the books. Archie and Jughead, meanwhile, will star in humor books aimed at kids age 7-10.

Francesco Sedita, Vice President and Publisher of Grosset & Dunlap, said “These classic Archie comics have developed a new life and relevance in the 21st century. Never did we think that Archie would get married or that a gay character would enter his world. To be a publisher of Archie is to be a publisher of smart, relevant, and exciting material. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create books that appeal to tweens and teens, as well as die-hards and collectors.”

Penguin Veronica book

So the company getting press for its modern, shock storylines bears definite rewards, as it brings new consideration from licensors. Look for these prose books starting next summer.

(This isn’t the first time Archie’s been in text, by the way. From 1991-1992, there was a series of short novels under the Riverdale High label. All were written by Michael J. Pellowski, with occasional illustrations by Stan Goldberg. These were intended to focus on romance and soap opera. Since we have them, I took a look at them for this article, and I was astonished to notice that all of the stories for the “new look” digests were taken from these older books.)

Archie’s very proud of its licensing, with books from IDW, Dark Horse, Random House, Abrams, and now Penguin, plus merchandise including t-shirts and Halloween costumes. It works both ways, too, as they announced new comics coming for Capcom’s Mega Man video game character.

Mega Man

With the aid of his mighty Mega Buster blaster arm and a killer creative team including renowned artist Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante and infamous Archie action/adventure writer Ian Flynn, Mega Man is equipped to blast his way back into the comic book world in his own monthly action. Arriving Spring 2011, the new Mega Man comic from Archie Comics promises to build a faithful legacy while exploring a vast universe of heroes, villains, and robots.

This should be a nice companion to Archie’s successful Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, which Archie says has “broken world records with sales and longevity for a licensed comic”. Both books will have the same writer, Ian Flynn, and the same editor, Paul Kaminski. He said, “Readers can expect non-stop action, as well as an exploration of the themes of family, choice, and loyalty that make the Mega Man franchise a property that connects on a very personal level. From there, we hope to fully explore not only that classic world, but the other spin-offs including Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man Legends, and more!”

Other comic launches announced include

  • Betty or Veronica, based on the “commercial and critical” success (which critics are they reading?) of Life With Archie and written by the original writer of that story, Michael Uslan
  • a Kevin Keller miniseries — he’s the new gay character, and I look forward to seeing him get more focus
  • new Sabrina and Josie comics — to which I say, it’s about time. These are two of their best-known characters, and if they can’t figure out what to do with a teenage witch and a girl rock star, they shouldn’t be publishing comics
  • a new Jinx series appearing in Life With Archie #7
  • the return of Cosmo the Merry Martian in some fashion

To go along with the not-yet-seen Stan Lee and the 7 (used to be Stan Lee’s Super Seven), they’ve announced Airwalker, a second series. (Is using the “Stan Lee” name even significant any more? He’s doing the same thing at Boom!, but I’m not sure anyone finds it a useful brand these days.)

Plus there will be a new imprint for Sam Hill comics. I don’t know any details, but research shows that Sam Hill was a hard-boiled detective comic Archie released seven issues of in the early 1950s. If they’re bringing back that kind of character, a separate logo would be important to avoid customer confusion for those who think Archie means kid-friendly.

11 Responses to “Archie NY Con Panel News”

  1. Thad Says:

    A Mega Man comic by the Sonic fanfic writer who got a pro job.

    And here I stopped writing Sonic and Mega Man fanfic when I was 14. Shows how much I know.

    Spaz already did a Mega Man comic — the last issue of the Dreamwave series (which was pleasantly offbeat and more true to the character’s Astroboy roots than series canon). He’s a good fit, but I don’t see him sticking around as regular artist; I haven’t picked up a Sonic comic in over a decade but at least back in those days he was the artist on covers and special issues (and I understand he did a lot of the stylesheet work), not a monthly guy.

  2. Mark Says:

    What do you mean “which critics are they reading?” when commenting on the “commercial and critical success” of the Life with Archie magazine? Every review I have read, and I have read many, praise it.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Every review I’ve read talks about how depressing and out of character it is, especially for the intended audience. Interesting how perspectives can differ, isn’t it? Is there a particular positive review you can share the link for?

  4. ShadZ Says:

    Here’s two reviews that talk about how depressing the series it (or, at least how depressing it seems on the surface) and yet are both very positive reviews. So I guess you are both right:

  5. Johanna Says:

    That first one seems to go for the “look at the weird comic” approach a lot — I’m not sure that’s entirely positive. :) But that second is a great review, one of my favorites I’ve read. It’s why I didn’t talk about the magazine myself. What more was left to say?

  6. Mark Says:

    I had one to hand but its the second one of the two posted. There are many more, but that was the only one I had bookmarked. A quick google search for either issue with “review” will find them.

    But I was just questioning how you seemed to implie the critical reaction wasnt good, because going off the reviews I have read, this seems to be one the better recieved Archie books in a long time.

  7. Johanna Says:

    I admit, I was thinking of some of the reaction to the previous storyline, before the marriage spun off into its own magazine.

  8. Jim Perreault Says:

    I got a very positive review of “Life with Archie” at the comic shop last week. But he did admit, that while he liked the book, he can’t see it appealing to the typical Archie audience (which he is not) and does not expect it to last.

  9. Hsifeng Says:

    Johanna Says:

    “That first one seems to go for the ‘look at the weird comic’ approach a lot — I’m not sure that’s entirely positive. :) But that second is a great review, one of my favorites I’ve read….”

    I third the nomination, and I don’t even read Archie. The article itself is just plain enjoyable to read. :) That first one seems to go for the “look at the weird comic” approach, but that second one seems to go for the “loOoOk @ teh w3!Rd c0mic!” approach. ;)

    Meanwhile, did you see the cover of issue #2, on which both A&B and A&V appear happy? :)

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