Saturday, December 28, 2013


ARCHIE COMICS – @archiecomics and @AfterlifeArchie

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

Rated Teen+ for Violence and Mature Content

Escape from Riverdale:  Chapter Two – “Dance of the Dead”

I am captivated by the surprising new Archie comics series (that I assume it is going to be a miniseries or limited series of some kind).  Entitled Afterlife with Archie, this Archie comics horror series is written by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and drawn by Francesco Francavilla.  Afterlife with Archie pits Archie Andrews and the other beloved Archie comics characters against a zombie horde – led by their pal, Jughead.

What may be the end of the world 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.

Afterlife with Archie #2 is mostly told in flashback from Lodge Mansion.  There, Veronica Lodge tells her father, Mr. Lodge, about the terror that occurred at the annual Halloween dance and about the unfolding horror that is heading their way.  The familiar has now turned very hungry, and Mr. Lodge may have to accept Archie as he never believed he would ever have to do.

Recalling George Romero, The Walking Dead, EC Comics, and other like zombie horror fiction in general, Afterlife with Archie is the real deal.  It is really an excellent and hugely entertaining horror comic book.  Writer Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa has simply turned Archie dark, and he retains what is familiar about the characters.  I think Aquirre-Sacasa is depicting their characteristics and quirks as if they were characters in a nighttime teen soap opera, rather than as in the usual Archie stories.

Certainly, what Afterlife with Archie artist, Francesco Francavilla, is doing is creating a true horror comic book.  It may not look like Dan DeCarlo’s classic Archie, but the spirit of the classic is there, somewhere behind the mood and the dark.

As an extra, Afterlife with Archie #2 reprints the comic book short story, “…Cat!” written and drawn by the late Gray Morrow, a story originally published in Chilling Adventures in Sorcery in the mid-1970s.  Morrow also edited Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, which was part of Archie Comics’ Red Circle Comics imprint.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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