Saturday, December 7, 2013
I Reads You Review: AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #1
ARCHIE COMICS – @archiecomics
STORY: Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa
ART: Francesco Francavilla
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
VARIANT COVERS: Francesco Francavilla, Tim Seeley, Andrew Pepoy
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.
Rated Teen+ for Violence and Mature Content
There is a rather surprising new Archie comics series, so surprising that I assume it is going to be a miniseries or limited series of some kind. Written by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and drawn by Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie pits the beloved Archie comics characters against a zombie horde – led by their pal, Jughead.
Afterlife with Archie #l begins with how the world will end. When Jughead shows up at her door, holding the mangled body of his beloved pooch, Hot Dog, Sabrina (the Teenaged Witch) wants to help him. But her forbidden magic will have dire consequences for her, Jughead, and the rest of Riverdale. Meanwhile, Betty and Veronica squabble over which of them Archie will escort to the big Halloween dance. At the same time, Archie is trying to figure out why Reggie is down-in-the-dumps.
When I think of an Archie comic book, I think of a kind of pop culture firmly rooted in the first two decades of post-World War II America. An Archie comic book is also something rooted in sameness – same characters, familiar themes, constancy in plots, etc. I also see it as Americana, possessing a timeless quality; no matter where and when you are, this is still Archie. For me, these are the impressions, ideas, structures, and especially that delightful timeless quality that also permeate Afterlife with Archie #l.
Although the influences are obvious, Afterlife with Archie isn’t necessarily George Romero, The Walking Dead, EC Comics, or like zombie horror fiction in general. It is like a ghost story told around a campfire – scary, but age appropriate even for grade school age children. It’s scary, ominous, and creepy, but fun and exciting to read.
Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla form an excellent creative team. Aquirre-Sacasa writes an Archie comic book that is true to the characters, but puts them in the horror genre that reads as genuine. Francavilla has the ability to match pulp art with high-end graphic design to create visually striking comics, which is what makes him one of the best comic book artists working today. In Afterlife with Archie, Francavilla eschews the splashy graphics of his Black Beetle comics for straight-forward, moody storytelling that recalls early Mike Mignola Hellboy.
This is good stuff. It is an Archie comic book that is as good as any dark fantasy and horror comics being published by Vertigo or Dark Horse Comics. I want to live a long Afterlife with Archie, so more please.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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