Is Jughead Cancelled?

Those folks at ArchieFans.com have been carefully examining Archie Comics’ subscription offerings. The Jughead title is no longer offered by the publisher. Another reader claims that the subscription department told him, “I’m sorry at this time the title has been canceled.”

Certainly, whether a company chooses to offer a subscription to a particular title isn’t necessary related to its continuing health. DC doesn’t allow subscriptions to all of their titles, for example. Last time this discussion came up in regards to Archie, it was about Betty, which did end up disappearing many months later.

Jughead #59 cover

As seen by the company’s sales figures, Jughead is far and away the poorest-selling of the (small) line of comics Archie puts out, so its departure wouldn’t be a surprise. But I was disappointed to hear it, especially after I saw a commenter at the ArchieFans site point out that the character’s solo title has been running since 1949!

Jughead is also one of the company’s most entertaining titles, focusing on humor in unexpected ways and often moving beyond the love triangle-style stories. Then there’s the hat, which has its own fascinating history as a time capsule artifact.

Another commenter, “Tuxedo Mark”, writes

I’ve crunched some numbers. In 2011, there were 6 floppies published for a total of 48 issues in the year. In 2012, Betty, Veronica, and Archie & Friends were axed. Kevin Keller was added. That brought the total number of issues published down to 30 for the year. With Jughead ending, 2013 will likely see a total of 24 issues published.

Meanwhile, the 6 digests offer a total of 60 issues per year (the last page says they’re published 10 times per year; the subscription site says 11; I went by 10).

It really does seem like the digests take up the majority of the Archieverse at this point, although I’m not sure how much of each digest consists of new stories (then again, you could take the “everything old is new again” approach, which means Cheryl effectively has a regular series again ). That’s just as well, since the digests are far more accessible than the floppies (although the trade-off is smaller artwork).

Conversely, all of the headline-making material is in the floppies: Archie, Betty and Veronica, and Kevin Keller.

I have the feeling that Archie Comics is using the remaining floppies as laboratories for headline-making material and publicity, knowing they will eventually be reprinted at little cost in the mainstream digests.

I agree with this analysis. Most of what Archie is putting out these days is either 1) bait for free publicity, such as the Kevin Keller series bringing an out gay character to the group or the “occupy” Riverdale storyline or 2) reprints, which don’t require paying anyone other than the editor who assembles them.

If this is true — and let me reiterate, it may just be jumping to conclusions — then Archie is down to only four periodicals: Archie, Betty and Veronica, Kevin Keller, and the Life With Archie magazine.

Update: At Robot6, Brigid Alverson got a confirmation from the publisher: “we’ve put the Jughead comic on hiatus until the relaunch happens. Fans of Jughead can rest assured that they’ll definitely be seeing more of him in the future.”


13 Responses to “Is Jughead Cancelled?”

  1. Anthony Says:

    One problem with the reprint theory is some of the “headline-grabbing” storylines are too timely/easily dated to reprint in the digests in, say, five years’ time. (See: Obama/Palin :-p ). While the reprints often edit such references out in older stories, seems like reprinting “Occupy” will be a tall order. Granted, it’s also a problem with some of the “headline-grabbing” stories in the first place, much as it’s done to lessen some people’s accusations of Archie being “dated”…

    Still, odd to think of Jughead being axed, given it (along with Betty & Veronica and Archie) is one of their longest-running “core” books.

    You might also count the non-Archie universe books for Archie as a company (the Sonic titles, Mega Man, and now a new Red Circle heroes book), which I suppose now equal the number of Archie-universe-set floppies…

  2. jdh417 Says:

    I’d be surprised if Archie didn’t attempt some sort of publicity stunt with Jughead first before they’d cancel him. The mind reels with possibilities, but anything too radical would ultimately destroy the uniqueness of the character, a fate far worse than cancellation. Really, is there any other character in literature like Jughead?

    Cancelling Jughead for low sales would seem to be right in line with Archie Comics bleakly cynical and unsentimental attitude towards it’s properties. It’d be a nice clean break with the past and the characters and setting that made them popular in the first place.

  3. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    why is this surprising people? Maybe you live in very different places than I do, but when was the last time you saw an Archie regular comic for sale (other than the magazine size Life with Archie?). The digests get better display and distribution, but even there, around here most stores have either stopped displaying the Archie digests or cut them down to only one or two cash register displays (instead of most of them). Archie held on to the traditional newsstand longer than any other publisher, but that distribution network has truly dried up. I hope their new digital distribution is working for them. I don’t want to live in a world without Archie comics.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I see Archie titles at Barnes & Noble next to the DC and Marvel. And many of the comic shops I visit have Archie comics in their kids section.

  5. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    I live in a community of 50,000 that used to have comic racks everywhere – today there are two locations in town to buy comics: The local used book store/gaming store/ comics as a sideline store and the Hastings Book Store. Hastings recently went hard into comics, but with Diamond Select publishers only. They used to have a spinner rack of comics for younger readers, but I haven’t noticed it the last few times I went in the store. Given that the comics are in the middle of the music section of the store, they wouldn’t get much foot traffic from parents/young children anyway.

  6. Chris Sobieniak Says:

    “Given that the comics are in the middle of the music section of the store, they wouldn’t get much foot traffic from parents/young children anyway.”

    You’re lucky if you see anything at all, it’s hard for me to accept there was once a time a spinner rack of comics was sold at a supermarket less than a mile from my house 20 years ago (another 10 years before that, the drug store a couple blocks). I’m lucky if I have anywhere to get comics at all these days though it would’ve nice if the distribution wasn’t as dried up as it became.

  7. jdh417 Says:

    http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2010/08/lesson-learned-from-archie-comics.html

    This is an odd source for an article about Archie, but is still heartfelt. It may have inadvertently been an early eulogy for the traditional Archie Comics.

  8. RB Dash Says:

    [quote]Cancelling Jughead for low sales would seem to be right in line with Archie Comics bleakly cynical and unsentimental attitude towards it’s properties. It’d be a nice clean break with the past and the characters and setting that made them popular in the first place.[/quote]

    I think most comic book companies have canceled things for low sales. In fact, that was probably the case for almost every title canceled ever. Believe me, I think Archie would rather have Jughead stay in print. It’s called being a business I think. Nostalgia can only get you SO far.

  9. jdh417 Says:

    Actually I was referring to their editorial/promotional policies rather than their financial decisions.

    I do think they will try some “interesting” stunt to try and save Jughead’s title, though the character may be damaged in the process.

  10. Jughead to take a short nap, awaken refreshed | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson noted the subscription for the Jughead comic seems to have disappeared from the Archie Comics website, [...]

  11. James Schee Says:

    Interesting to see he’ll be “refreshed.” I’ll be curious to see what they think a more updated take would be like.

  12. Archie Issues Reprinting Stories — Another Business Choice to Cut Costs? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] the lack of outside advertising, declining sales figures, and fewer titles published this year, I can’t help seeing this as another sign that Archie Comics is changing the way it [...]

  13. Archie Sales Figures for 2012 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] is down to three comic periodicals, with Jughead cancelled last year. Only Archie appears monthly; the other two publish six issues a year. Most Archie issues [...]




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