Archie Andrews has seen some stuff, man. In the nearly 75 years since his debut, Archie has taken an assassin’s bullet for his gay senator friend, watched most of Riverdale become flesh-hungry zombies and survived an infamous run-in with the Punisher. This week, Dark Horse pits the gang against a much more intelligent, relentless foe than Undead Jughead in Archie vs. Predator.
Yes, that Predator.
Writer Alex de Campi (who is simultaneously murdering another group of teens with Carla Speed McNeil over in Image’s No Mercy) and artist Fernando Ruiz have promised that this unusual mini-series will pull no punches. Freud’s favorite crab-faced alien hunter will use his entire arsenal to brutally flay and dismember Archie’s wholesome teen pals as they romp through Costa Rica on vacation. The insane violence (those aren’t red freckles on Archie’s chest, after all) is made all the more surreal by Ruiz’s classic Archie Comics style, a constant reminder that this is a real comic book. Welcome to the new Golden Age.
With Archie Comics’ willingness to have fun with its longest running and most beloved property, Paste considered a few other universes America’s Favorite Teenager should visit in the future…
The “Jughead” is probably a weird sex move, right? If not, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky can definitely come up with something equal parts disturbing and arousing. Archie Comics has done such a great job avoiding sexual content for decades, it seems entirely likely that time really would stop if Archie ever brimped someone.
It may be tempting to follow Archie vs. Predator with Archie vs. Aliens, but Dark Horse should go full bonkers and pit the Riverdale gang against Ridley Scott’s beautiful, unintelligible mess, Prometheus. Just imagine Ethel Muggs pregnant with Dilton Doiley’s alien hybrid baby, Principal Weatherbee beaten to death with Miss Grundy’s noggin, and Jughead crushed to death by a giant hamburger that he clearly could have avoided, all wrapped up in pseudo-philosophical musings on the nature of creation. It writes itself. Clear off some shelf space for the Eisners now.
If Riverdale is the quintessential American town, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s Craw Country is the amalgamation of everyone’s worst fears about the portion of our country that sits below the Mason-Dixon line: violent poverty, rampant racism and high school football placed on a pedestal above all else. Archie, Moose and Reggie have all tossed the pigskin for Riverdale High. Maybe it’s time they hit the gridiron against Coach Boss’ Runnin’ Rebs? Don’t piss that man off, though—it didn’t work out very well for the last guy who came to town.
Archie has made headlines over the last few years for introducing diverse residents to Riverdale’s once startlingly homogenous ranks, including multiracial wheelchair user Harper and openly gay Kevin Keller, which makes the Spire years all the more entrancingly bizarre. The short version is that a born again Christian Archie creator named Al Hartley decamped for Spire Christian Comics and convinced Archie’s then-publisher to let him license the characters for religious stories. Chris Sims at Comics Alliance has most studiously catalogued this tangent in Archie’s history, but we want to see Archie’s current crop of tolerant teens teach their pearl-clutching past selves a lesson in loving thy neighbor.
Girls creator Lena Dunham has a four-issue Archie arc coming out sometime this year, but she’s hardly the voice of a generation anymore. That honor falls to Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of Comedy Central’s Broad City. Veronica would definitely frequent Soulstice and treat Abbi like crap, and Ilana would end up hooking up with Ginger Lopez one night and Chuck Clayton the next. Someone buy these two talented young women a lot of pot and make this happen.
Betty and Veronica may be the two leading ladies in Archie’s love life, but they’re probably sick of getting typecast as love triangle fodder. Kurtis J. Wiebe and Stjepan Šeji?’s Rat Queens has plenty of flirtatiousness while keeping the focus on kickass ladies being kickass. Give Betty, Veronica, and their pals Nancy and Midge chainmail armor and pointy weapons and let ‘em release some of that pent-up aggression the right way: by smashing trolls. And maybe hooking up with a Smidgen if they’re feeling adventurous.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ excellent noir Criminal dedicated an arc to a thinly veiled Archie Andrews analogue, Riley Richards, murdering his wife to pay off a debt. Consider a meeting between Archie and Riley as a “Scared Straight” episode of Maury for the both of them. Or Riley might just kill Archie, too. Honestly, Archie dies a lot when these crossovers happen.
It sounds like a bizarre fit, but they’re both redheads who show up in unexpected comics. Take a look at where we stand in comics in 2015. An old Spawn character has a Marvel solo series and is an occasional member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the best-selling properties in comics. Archie Andrews is fighting zombies and the Predator. Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria! Also, Angela would probably break Archie in half.
Archie Comics keeps its finger to the pulse of current events pretty well these days, and Going Clear, the Scientology expose, just caused a big splash following its HBO debut. What better timing to have Veronica’s rich dad Hiram Lodge suddenly decide to get audited? Throw in a cameo by Robert Durst and you’ve got headlines, baby.
It Follows is one of the scariest, most original horror films of the decade, and while someone slowly walking toward the “camera” is a bit harder to show in a static medium than on film, the sex-will-kill-you teen paranoia of the movie is a perfect modern complement to Archie’s puritanical sex-will-make-God-hate-you Spire phase. Zombies are great, but they’re not nearly as scary as HOLY SHIT THAT TALL GUY JUST WALKED THROUGH THE DOOR BEHIND BETTY OH MY GO-