Monday, February 24, 2014


ARCHIE COMICS – @archiecomics and @AfterlifeArchie

STORY: Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa
ART: Francesco Francavilla
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (February 2014)

Rated Teen+ for Violence and Mature Content

Escape from Riverdale:  Chapter Three – “Sleepover”

Writer Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla have taken Archie Comics to the dark side – the classic horror comics dark side – with Afterlife with Archie.  It’s the hot “zombie apocalypse” genre come to Archie Comics.

The end of Archie Andrews’ beloved hometown of Riverdale begins when Forsythe P. “Jughead” Jones shows up at the door of Sabrina (the Teenaged Witch).  Jughead is holding the mangled body of his beloved pooch, Hot Dog.  Sabrina helps her friend, but her use of forbidden magic has dire consequences for her, Jughead, and the rest of Riverdale.  Hot Dog returns from the dead and bites Jughead, and the flesh-eating fever spreads like wildfire.

Afterlife with Archie #3 finds Archie and friends finding refuge in Lodge Manor, the stately mansion home of Hiram Lodge, the father of Archie’s sometimes girlfriend, Veronica.  Mr. Lodge believes that the high-tech security his money bought him will protect everyone inside, but they cannot protect him from his memories… or bad dreams.

However, Archie is not content with staying within the safety of Lodge Manor.  He is determined to check on everyone’s parents.  Meanwhile, the surviving members of the Archie gang are enjoying the amenities of Hiram’s Lodge’s estate, without realizing that one among them is already infected.

After three issues, I can safely say that Afterlife with Archie is no fluke.  This is a genuinely good comic book.  It is also a sincerely terrifying horror comic book.  It’s like a classic scary movie, recalling George Romero, The Walking Dead, EC Comics, and other zombie horror fiction in general.

Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla come together to present a different take on the world of Archie Comics.  Yes, it is dark and thrilling, but besides the horror elements, Afterlife with Archie bears more than a passing resemblance to a television teen soap opera.  The typical “young love” of comic book romance is replaced by young love just a little more complicated.  There is desire, jealousy, want, and even (gasp) the threat of sex.  Take Afterlife with Archie for what it is – something different and exciting.

As an extra, Afterlife with Archie #3 reprints the comic book short story, “Horripilate Host” written and drawn by Dick Giordano, the late artist, editor, and DC Comics executive.  This story was originally published in the comic book series, Chilling Adventures in Sorcery (which was part of Archie Comics’ Red Circle Comics imprint), in the mid-1970s.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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