- Posted by Johanna on October 11, 2010 at 9:04 am
- Category: Archie Comics
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.
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.”
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.
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.