Though I can’t remember every detail, it’s safe to say that I learned to read at least in part through Archie comics. Stories about the Riverdale gang of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, Dilton and others became like comfort food to my young mind. I devoured the digests of collected stories and laughed at Archie’s exploits, like getting a license plate that said “Superdude” only to discover that license plates can only hold eight letters so it actually read “Superdud.”
I can’t say I keep up with Archie comics like I used to (though I still buy the Christmas-themed digests every year), but I was surprised by this piece of news released today by CNN.
Though the main line of Archie comics with the gang as high schoolers in Riverdale will continue as is, one of its publications, called “Life with Archie,” which takes a look at the teen’s future life, will present a storyline in which Archie dies heroically. There will be one issue after that to show the repercussions of his death one year later, but the death will stand. I’m not sure how that will go over in the minds of fans who still follow the regular series, knowing that in some future timeline, the funny red-headed kid gets killed. But time will tell.
Here’s an excerpt of the news from the CNN interview with Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater:
CNN: What are you hoping to accomplish with this storyline?
Goldwater: First and foremost, like with anything we do at Archie, we want to tell a great, memorable story. That being said, this story in particular is of the utmost importance to us as a company and as a keeper of the Archie brand.
We want to not only show how Archie’s life ends, but also what he means to the world around him. We want to celebrate his life. After the events of “Life With Archie” #36, fans will leap forward a year to see the aftermath, and how his friends have moved on since his surprising death.
What’s Jughead doing? How are Betty and Veronica dealing with the loss? It’s not about the attention-grab of the death but about telling a great, evocative story that reminds people why this character is important to the fabric of pop culture — and showing how heroic a normal guy like Archie can be, and how important it is to realize that.
This isn’t a story we’re going to retcon a few weeks from now. This happened. This is the conclusion to the “Life With Archie” story and timeline, and it will allow us as a company and the world to take a moment to look at Archie’s life as a whole and recognize him as one of the most important characters — not in just comics — but in popular culture.
We want people to feel the same emotional roller coaster we felt putting this story together — to feel the range of emotions, from happiness, sadness, anger, joy and pride. We want people to react to this in a strong way because Archie is so important to them.
Read the whole story here.