Archie Flagship to Relaunch With Mark Waid as Writer

Archie art by Fiona Staples

The New York Times has the scoop: Archie Comics is relaunching their flagship Archie title with a new #1 issue next year. (The most recent issue was #262.) They’re aiming for a “new look and an edgier tone”.

The effort is timed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Archie, who was introduced in 1941, and coincides with plans for a television series on Fox and an apparel line from the fashion designer Marc Ecko.

Good luck with the TV show — I think the problem with branding Archie is that the CW has already shown that you can do the “normal guy tempted by a nice girl and a rich girl” triangle perfectly well without having to license a character with baggage and fees. However, Greg Berlanti (the show runner behind comic book adaptations Arrow and The Flash) is working on Riverdale for Fox.

Archie art by Fiona Staples

Company head Jon Goldwater said, in light of the revamp, “I found Archie to be dusty, irrelevant and watered-down. It has taken me a while to really wrap my hands around where we are as a brand.” He wants to keep Archie relevant while still “lighthearted and family-friendly”.

However, reportedly, sales are up. “Since 2008, bookstore sales have increased 736 percent, and direct-market sales, which include those in specialty stores like comic book shops, rose 226 percent, according to the publisher.” I’d like to have more detail about that — they may be referring to non-periodical formats, since the comic book numbers don’t match that statement. And so few of the core Riverdale comic book titles are left — just Archie monthly and Betty and Veronica less frequently. They publish more reprint books now, which would do better in the bookstores.

Creators of the new version of the series will be Mark Waid and Fiona Staples (her art above). Waid plans to have the kids act like kids, instead of goody-goody brands (my words, not his), which should be refreshing.

Update: Fiona Staples has stated on Twitter that she’s only penciling the first three issues.

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