Tag Archives: jughead

Review: The Archies #7

Unfortunately, The Archies’ U.S. tour and status as an actual band comes to an end in The Archies #7 where writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms have them participate in a difficult battle of the bands against the world famous Josie and the Pussycats at the Hollywood Bowl. Rosenberg and Segura’s writing crackles with self-awareness beginning with starting the comic with Reggie doing a fourth wall breaking monologue/recap instead of Archie. Reggie is more of a straight shooter than the optimistic, messiah complex sporting Mr. Andrews and realizes how many chances the band has squandered throughout the series. (i.e. all the band cameos from Blondie, CHVRCHES, Tegan and Sara, and even the Monkees.) However, The Archies do rock individually, but not as a unit, which is their fatal flaw and plays a big role in the conclusion of the series plot.

Even if The Archies get dunked on by Josie and the Pussycats, Eisma and Herms show that they have an enthusiasm and energy to match their power pop sound beginning with the title page. Betty’s hair is flipping everywhere, Archie is being super earnest, Veronica is being cool as hell on keyboards and backup vocals, and even Reggie looks like he cares about hitting his bass notes. When The Archies are actually playing music, they’re pretty fantastic, but the whole interacting after the gig part is not a strong suit for them as is made evident throughout the series and even how they “break up” and react to each other after the battle of the band results. And I like how Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma play with the slice of life fantasy nature of most Archie comics during the judging stages with long pauses and nice comments to build a little suspense that the band will pull an alternate ending of Rocky and Rocky Balboa. But they don’t, and the story is better for it.

In context of the story of The Archies #7, it makes sense that Eisma draws Josie and the Pussycats like icons with big panels and stage patter plus a little of that salt of the Earth Riverdale humor to keep them relatable. Herms floods their panels with light to show that this is a band that plays stadiums and big arenas while The Archies can barely keep the local dive bar entertained. It reminded me a little bit of the way that David Mazzucchelli drew the Avengers in Daredevil: Born Again, all larger than life while Daredevil is barely able to protect his one neighborhood. And, of course, this unwinnable duel leads to the final bit of band drama, which has been the recurring theme of the series with Jughead and Veronica butting heads. Veronica even does a little bit of upward mobility and joins the Pussycats as a keyboard player in a nice nod to her appearances wearing the cat ears in Riverdale.

Even though their continued success (The fact that they got Blondie to produce their debut EP for one.) is something straight out of a cheesy feel good TV movie, Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, and Joe Eisma spend The Archies #7 deconstructing underdog narratives while still have plenty of rock out splash pages. There are not nice results to The Archies’ in-fighting, and that’s solo careers even though Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma do leave the door open for future creative teams to explore The Archies’ career as they mature a little bit. (Who am I kidding? The Archie gang will be in high school forever.)

With stunning visuals, actual consequences, and a bittersweet, yet earned ending, The Archies #7 is one heck of a curtain call for this sadly short lived series.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms Letters: Jack Morelli
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Archies #5

TheArchies5.jpgIn The Archies #5, writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms don’t shy away from showing that The Archies aren’t very good and continue to only find success by having opportunities fall in their lap. Like they somehow get to play a gig with Tegan and Sara in Vancouver and get some critical feedback. However, even though The Archies continue to fail upwards, they experience some real consequences in this issue.

The band is named after Archie, but Rosenberg and Segura spend a little time on Jughead’s character this issue as he becomes filled with anger and ennui. Eisma is great at drawing anger clouds and anger lines. As the story progresses, Jughead is having much less fun, which is his only reason for being in the band. He doesn’t want a record label or to schmooze around with CHVRCHES or a hallucination of the Monkees. Jughead just wants to hang out with his friends and have a good time. But, hey, he happens to be one hell of a drummer and demonstrates it at an open mic in Vancouver where he’s completely unfazed by Tegan and Sara being impressed with his talent and jokes about their last album accidentally coming on his phone all the time. I really liked how Herms used blasts of primary colors in the background while he plays his drum solo, which acts as shorthand for his virtuosic skill along with whirling white speed lines from Eisma.

If there’s something that The Archies does great as a comic book, it’s capturing the energy (Or lack thereof.) of a live show in an intimate venue. Except for the occasional well-timed caption or quip (Like Archie’s disgust at Reggie’s spotlight hogging bass playing.), Rosenberg and Segura get out of Eisma and Herms’ way and let facial expressions, line type, panel shape, and color choice do the work. The yawns from the crowd in Vancouver who are watching The Archies open for Tegan and Sara is everyone who has rolled their eyes at an opening act trying to hard and gone back to the bar/merch tent. (Shout out to poor acoustic guitar playing rando who I saw open for Metric once.)

Then, after a beat panel, Tegan and Sara go on stage, and the crowd goes wild. Eisma also draws Tegan and Sara with a cleaner, almost Jamie McKelvie-esque line compared to the harder edges for The Archies’ performance. Also, Herms’ “lighting” for the Tegan and Sara gig is a glorious use of color and fits in with the glossier, more danceable sound of their two most recent records, Heartthrob and Love You to Death. (Give “U-Turn” a listen if you haven’t yet.) But after the initial Archie and Betty fangirling all over them reveal, Rosenberg and Segura use Tegan and Sara as givers of helpful feedback. They don’t sugarcoat the fact that The Archies are less than headliner status, but encourage them, and it’s all wholesome and happy. Bingo, the frontman of The Bingoes aka The Archies co-touring act, is probably a little frustrated about how many chances an average teen band is getting. But, in this universe, The Archies are a fine second choice if Josie and the Pussycats are already booked.

Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, Joe Eisma, and Matt Herms put the titular band through the wringer in The Archies #5 and hold off on the big rock star climax for yet another issue. Eisma’s rawer line put the band’s flaws front and center, including Archie’s neverending quest for fame (His cheeks are so pinchable though.) and overflowing of negative emotions from the usually chill Jughead. There’s some real talk and feelings in this comic that could definitely fit in with some tracks on The Con.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms
Story: 8.8 Art:9.2 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Archies #2

If The Archies #1 was the band’s origin story, The Archies #2 is all about life on the road, and writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms nail the intrinsic drama filled dynamic of The Archies in the issue’s title page. Archie is driving the van and narrating at the audience, Betty is actually doing the work and looking under the hood, Jughead and Reggie are arguing, and Veronica is on her phone. One image, and we get the band’s dynamic that Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma play off for the rest of the issue as the journey to The Archies’ first gig isn’t a smooth one.

However, like classic Archie comics, The Archies #2 is pure wish fulfillment albeit with stylish art and classy colors from Eisma and Herms and some references to cool bands and artists like Father John Misty. And honestly, it was kind of be boring if Veronica’s dad bailed them out all the time and gave a band that should be sleeping in their van or scrimping to get a fleabag hotel, five star accommodations. Rosenberg and Segura spend the whole first half of the comic milking the dramatic potential of five teenage frenemies sharing close quarters after kicking it MTV Cribs style in a double page spread of them enjoying the fruits of Mr. Lodge’s AmEx. But Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma are wise to not have them experience too much fame too quickly even though they coincidentally keep getting breaks because this is truly a fantasy comic. It’s the pop rock daydreams of you and your friends and maybe that guy you hate on bass starting a band, playing dive bars, and getting famous somehow.

In The Archies #2, Joe Eisma goes for more silly physical comedy with his artwork than the immaculate style and melodrama of his work on Archie with Mark Waid. However, Veronica still has a fantastic wardrobe, and there’s an entire panel dedicated to her picking out an outfit for the gig. But Eisma gets smiles and giggles from the Archies just reacting to the brave new world around them like a super tired Betty rubbing her eyes after practically willing their fan to get to New Jersey, or Veronica practically exploding Then, there’s Reggie strutting and preening in the mirror and wearing a Blur shirt that I seriously need. (Although I pegged Reggie as more of a Liam Gallagher fan.)

The plot of The Archies #2 is a fairly standard young band’s rise to glory story, but Joe Eisma’s gesture cartooning and Herms’ flashes of colors give each band member a fun, quirky personality. Also, it definitely feels like that this comic was made with love for indie music and bands out there living the struggle so The Archies #2 is a book you can give to your grandma, who grew up chuckling at the Archie comics back in the day or to your hipster friends, who might smirk at it and then longingly remember when they though they could be the next post-synth-indie-dream pop sensation. (That’s my not so professional approximation of The Archies’ sound.)

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms
Story: 8.2 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: The Archies #2

If The Archies #1 was the band’s origin story, The Archies #2 is all about life on the road, and writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms nail the intrinsic drama filled dynamic of The Archies in the issue’s title page. Archie is driving the van and narrating at the audience, Betty is actually doing the work and looking under the hood, Jughead and Reggie are arguing, and Veronica is on her phone. One image, and we get the band’s dynamic that Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma play off for the rest of the issue as the journey to The Archies’ first gig isn’t a smooth one.

However, like classic Archie comics, The Archies #2 is pure wish fulfillment albeit with stylish art and classy colors from Eisma and Herms and some references to cool bands and artists like Father John Misty. And honestly, it was kind of be boring if Veronica’s dad bailed them out all the time and gave a band that should be sleeping in their van or scrimping to get a fleabag hotel, five star accommodations. Rosenberg and Segura spend the whole first half of the comic milking the dramatic potential of five teenage frenemies sharing close quarters after kicking it MTV Cribs style in a double page spread of them enjoying the fruits of Mr. Lodge’s AmEx. But Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma are wise to not have them experience too much fame too quickly even though they coincidentally keep getting breaks because this is truly a fantasy comic. It’s the pop rock daydreams of you and your friends and maybe that guy you hate on bass starting a band, playing dive bars, and getting famous somehow.

In The Archies #2, Joe Eisma goes for more silly physical comedy with his artwork than the immaculate style and melodrama of his work on Archie with Mark Waid. However, Veronica still has a fantastic wardrobe, and there’s an entire panel dedicated to her picking out an outfit for the gig. But Eisma gets smiles and giggles from the Archies just reacting to the brave new world around them like a super tired Betty rubbing her eyes after practically willing their fan to get to New Jersey, or Veronica practically exploding Then, there’s Reggie strutting and preening in the mirror and wearing a Blur shirt that I seriously need. (Although I pegged Reggie as more of a Liam Gallagher fan.)

The plot of The Archies #2 is a fairly standard young band’s rise to glory story, but Joe Eisma’s gesture cartooning and Herms’ flashes of colors give each band member a fun, quirky personality. Also, it definitely feels like that this comic was made with love for indie music and bands out there living the struggle so The Archies #2 is a book you can give to your grandma, who grew up chuckling at the Archie comics back in the day or to your hipster friends, who might smirk at it and then longingly remember when they though they could be the next post-synth-indie-dream pop sensation. (That’s my not so professional approximation of The Archies’ sound.)

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms
Story: 8.2 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Your Pal Archie #1

YourPalArch1Your Pal Archie #1 is a cute, funny twist on classic Archie stories from writer/inker Ty Templeton, artist Dan Parent, and colorist Andre Szymanowicz. There are two stories plus a classic Betty and Veronica yarn in this fantastic comic. The first is a one-off where Jughead finally decides to learn how to drive, and video game inspired hijinks ensue. The second story is the beginning of a multi-part saga featuring Archie trying to up his cultural literacy to impress Veronica, who has blown him off for a night at the opera with some rich fop.

The new/old art style that Parent and Templeton have created for Your Pal Archie #1 is something to clink your milkshake glass too. They have successfully given Jughead a goatee without making it tacky and made Archie a little muscular and “hot” while bringing back the freckles and crosshatchings on the side of his red hair. But their real accomplishment is reviving slapstick car based humor in the lead story about Jughead learning how to drive with panels that tilt and move with each pratfall that Jughead and Archie get into. The pink colors from Syzmanowicz create a soothing feel for the rural setting, then Jughead gets behind the wheel, and the rest is history. The car is also kind of a symbol for the all give, no get friendship between Jughead and Archie that extends to the second story where he spends their bus fare on soda and scratch offs.

Parent and Templeton’s art in Your Pal Archie #1 is simple, but can instantly establish a character through a change in expression like Veronica lifting her eyelashes when she talks about her opera tickets, or Reggie sneering at Archie’s grovel-y attempts to get back in her good graces. I look forward to more installments of Your Pal Archie that will give her more opportunities to throw shade on Archie’s oblivious behavior.  Then, there’s Jughead in general, who looks like the god of all trolls, the Loki of the Riverdale set and takes over every scene he’s in. He goes from comic relief to comedy central, the idyllic town of Riverdale and its surrounding rural areas are his stage, and Pop’s is the “bar” he goes to cool down between sets.

Your Pal Archie #1 has all the melodrama and slapstick of an old school, supermarket Archie digest with relevant 21st century jokes and a hint of suspense from Ty Templeton and wacky layouts and visual comedy from Dan Parent. It’s a (crazy) summer vacation in comic book form.

Story: Ty Templeton Art: Dan Parent
Inks: Ty Templeton Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Jughead #16

JUGHEAD #16

Script: Mark Waid and Ian Flynn
Art: Derek Charm, Matt Herms and Jack Morelli
Cover: Derek Charm
Variant Covers: Stephen Byrne, Elliot Fernandez
On Sale Date: 6/28
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

“Music, Magic & Mayhem” Part Two: Everyone is after Jughead!  What sort of witchcraft has befallen our crowned hero, making him Riverdale’s #1 target? Jughead finds himself in a mosh pit of doom in this special issue featuring Sabrina, Josie & the Pussycats, ZOMBIES and so much more!

Preview: Jughead #15

JUGHEAD #15

Script: Mark Waid and Ian Flynn
Art: Derek Charm, Matt Herms and Jack Morelli
Cover: Derek Charm
Variant Covers: Sandy Jarrell, Marguerite Sauvage
On Sale Date: 5/17
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch tries to do something nice for Jughead, but it ends up creating a comedy of errors in which Jughead becomes the most sought-after person in town! From new writing team Mark Waid (Archie) and Ian Flynn (Sonic the Hedgehog)!

C2E2 2017: Dan Parent Talks Sharknado, Kevin Keller, and Your Pal Archie

After graduating from the Joe Kubert School, writer/artist Dan Parent got his first Archie Comics creator credits in 1988 and has been one of the company’s shining stars ever since. He has continued the tradition of the Archie “house” style” into the 21st century and worked a variety of classic storylines, including 1994’s “Love Showdown” that posited an end to the Betty/Veronica/Archie love triangle. and co-writing and drawing the crazy 2015 Archie vs. Sharknado crossover.

Possibly, best of all, Dan Parent created the first gay Archie character, Kevin Keller, who may or may not be my boyfriend. Kevin first appeared in 2010’s Veronica before getting his own solo title in 2012. He has played an important role in other Archie related material, like Afterlife with Archie and the Riverdale TV show. The adult Kevin Keller currently stars in the digital-exclusive Life with Kevin miniseries that Parent writes and pencils and will be wrapped up soon.

At C2E2, I had the opportunity to chat with Dan about the timelessness of the Archie characters in pop culture, the creation of Kevin Keller and his relationships as well as his upcoming comic Your Pal Archie that is coming out later in 2017 and will be written by Ty Templeton.

Graphic Policy: I’m proud to be a third-generation Archie fan. I was wondering why you think the Archie characters have endured in pop culture when its imitators, like Millie the Model, have gone into obscurity.

Dan Parent: Well, Archie was first so it was engrained in people’s heads early on. Archie is a part of Americana at this point, like Superman and Batman. He’s been around 75 years and is part of the culture. And the characters stand on their own. They’re unique characters.

GP: I like your Life with Kevin series. Why did you decide to have Kevin move to New York, and have it be the setting of the series?

DP: We wanted to do something different with Kevin, and since they were doing the other reboots with the other characters, we decided to do a soft reboot. We didn’t reinvent the style. We just tweaked it a little bit. You can do so much with Kevin as a character when he’s 20-22 years old because he’s in the real world, he’s dating, and jaunting up his career path. There’s so much more you can do storywise.

We took him out of the Riverdale background and also pushed the Veronica/Kevin friendship because they were a great pair in the original series.

GP: This actually leads into my next question. Why did you continue to make Kevin and Veronica BFFs in Life with Kevin?

DP: Who knows why it works, it just does. When Kevin first came to Riverdale, Veronica had a crush on him, and she wasn’t smart enough to realize he was gay when everyone else knew. And they have this unique friendship, which started out with her crushing on him, and then evolved into a really strong friendship.

They have this yin and yang kind of thing going back and forth that works.

GP: They definitely have chemistry. You’ve been working at Archie for 30 years, do you have any classic Archie artists you might want to recommend to fans who have only watched Riverdale or read the more recent Mark Waid Archie run.

DP: Absolutely. Dan DeCarlo to start with. I worked with Dan in his last decade and learned a lot from him myself. He’s the master of Archie as far as setting the modern style.

You can go back to other great artists, like Bob Montana, who was [Archie’s] creator and set the style. Dan DeCarlo kind of tweaked it and made it the house style. Harry Lucey was another inspirational artist and did a lot of great slapstick. Samm Schwartz was *the* Jughead artist for decades. His style is different than the other Archie artists. You can always tell his art right away. He’s good at Jughead because Jughead is different, and it suited his style.

Bob Montana, Dan DeCarlo, and Harry Lucey are the main go-to’s in my head. Especially Dan DeCarlo. As a kid, I was very inspired by him

GP: What was it like working with DeCarlo in his last decade?

DP: It was great. I probably learned more from him than from art school. Even though I learned a lot in art school. I’m not dissing my art school. Just the hand-on experience. He would lay out stories, and I would finish his stories for a while. So, I got to see how he would draw. And he was just a really sweet guy. I was very lucky to work with a master like him.

GP: What do you personally love about the Archie “house style”?

DP: I like it because I love simple art. It’s deceiving because it’s more difficult to pull off a simple style than a rendered style. People don’t see that. Growing up, I always loved the art that was simple. I grew up loving Harvey and Archie comics because there was a simple line to them.

Even with superhero stuff, I loved Bruce Timm and Darwyn Cooke’s art. I’m even wearing a Darwyn Cooke shirt right now. These guys had a clean, slick style that looked a little cartoon-y.

GP: You have great taste. So, there have been a lot of crazy Archie crossovers. I know you did Archie vs. Sharknado so what about Archie lends itself to being thrown into the world of Predator or the Punisher in these crossovers?

DP: Archie is such a part of pop culture any way. You’ll read old Archie stories and see him with whatever the latest fad or rock star is. I worked on Archie Meets KISS [in 2011], which gets the most fan response still. Something just works. Archie vs. Sharknado is the weirdest one.

But the personalities in Archie adapt to any situation. Jughead is always Jughead, Betty and Veronica are always the same, but they can adapt to these crazy situations. Even the Predator. They’re still the Archie gang, but they’re getting ripped apart.

GP: That’s probably my favorite one of the crossovers. You have Your Pal Archie coming up in July with writer Ty Templeton. Why should fans the of the all-new Archie and Riverdale check that out?

DP: Your Pal Archie is great because it fills the need for people who want classic Archie because the stories are very fun, simple, and old style. The style is still my style (Which is classic), but I just tweaked it a little bit. I was inspired by the fashions on the [Riverdale] show. I changed Archie’s hair and added a little detail to their faces. The changes are minimal when you look at the book, but it’s sort of a makeover.

I did Betty and Veronica Spectacular 10-15 years ago and changed the style of the book a little bit. It’s just keeping it fresh, but not straying too far from the classics.

GP: What can we expect from the first story arc?

DP: The first issue is about Jughead learning how to drive and Archie trying to teach him. I was thinking, “Of all the stories that were ever drawn, you rarely see Jughead driving.” You don’t see him driving that much. So, Ty Templeton latched onto a good story about Jughead driving. The story’s really funny. It’s like an old style slapstick story.

GP: What was has collaborating with Ty been like? I know you’re a big fan of Batman: The Animated Series, and he worked on the Batman Adventures comic back in 1990s.

DP: I’ve known him for a while and have always admired his art and writing. I was trying to come up with people to write [Your Pal Archie]. It’s good I didn’t write them because he brings a fresh outlook to the stories. Ty fills the bill because he’s flat out funny. He’s inking it too and has that nice line style that I like that adds to my artwork.

GP: This is kind of a weird fan fiction-y question. If every male character in the Archie universe was gay, bi, pan, or queer, who would Kevin Keller date?

DP: Maybe, he’d like Jughead. They have a similar taste in food. Kevin likes to eat, but not as much as Jughead. That was kind of their bonding experience in the first issue where Kevin appeared. So that might work.

GP: For my last question, I’m a big fan of the Shade the Changing Girl series from DC Comics and saw you got to draw the “Life with Honey” backup in issue 7. How did that happen?

DP: I know Jamie Rich, had done some DC covers in the fall, and reached out for work. And he had that in mind because I have a retro style like the Life with Honey show. It was fun, and I hope to do another one.


Dan Parent is currently writing and penciling Life with Kevin, writing and drawing numerous stories in the Archie Double Digests, and is the penciler on the upcoming Your Pal Archie series. He is also the co-writer and one of the artists on Chapterhouse Comics’ Die Kitty Die.

You can find him on Twitter or on his website.

The Sights, Sounds (and Selfies) of C2E2 2017

Four years after I first visited it as a 19 year old journalist, I returned to C2E2 in 2017 to a much more crowded show floor and a world where a monosyllabic tree and a talking raccoon, not Iron Man were the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe. Most of my C2E2 was spent wandering around Artist’s Alley, chatting with creators/fellow fans/Twitter friends, and trying to not get lost.

One reason I love C2E2 is that they bring in excellent comics guests to balance the celebrities and their overpriced autographs. ($100 for Stan Lee. Come on!) There’s everyone from the very friendly and passionate webcomic creator Ngozi Ukazu from Check Please! to veteran writers, like Greg Rucka and Kieron Gillen, and I found myself flipping from Archie to Black Mask and occasionally a side of the Big Two while walking around. The Artist’s Alley is the beating heart of the con even though C2E2 also has two quite large gaming areas for console gamers and tabletop fans, and the Weta Workshop truly spoke to the Lord of the Rings nerd in me.

Here is a gallery of pictures of my C2E2 2017 experience starting with the Captain Marvel cosplayer I met while waiting for the shuttle bus and ending with a moment where I felt like a comic book character. (Dionysus from The Wicked + the Divine #8 aka the rave issue to be specific.)

 

 

 

Review: Jughead The Hunger #1

JugheadHunger1Archie Comics’ horror imprint shifts from zombies, witches, and vampires in the gut wrenching and emotionally destructive Jughead: The Hunger #1 from writer Frank Tieri, artist Michael Walsh, and co-colorist Dee Cunniffe.  Opening with the adorable old lady version of Miss Grundy getting brutally killed by the Riverdale Ripper, the comic, like the other Archie horror books, transposes the character qualities of these iconic characters into another genre. What if Jughead’s great appetite for burgers and various and sundry junk food extended to human flesh? What if Betty has great determination because she comes from a long line of fierce warriors? Tieri makes a smart choice by not really changing who Archie is as a character. He is loyal to Jughead to a fault even when he witnesses him murder Dilton Doily as a werewolf. Poor, silly Archie.

The opening pages of Jughead: The Hunger #1 are a master class in how to build suspense in a horror story similar to the cold opens of Halloween, Screem, and recently, Get Out. Walsh and Cunniffe use a strong blue and red palette to contrast a frightened Miss Grundy and her disembodied head. There is a rhythm to her fear and the Riverdale Ripper’s attack that shows up later in his blood red heartbeats as Jughead can sense everything in Riverdale. It’s not as striking as a gory image of furry paw carrying a still bleeding school teacher head, but a double page spread showing that Jughead can smell Midge’s perfume and his dog Hot Dog scratching himself from anywhere in town.

One reason that horror works in the Archie universe is because Riverdale is such an idyllic place. This is a town where deciding to get a second milkshake or choose between two attractive teenage girls are life and death choices so adding any kind of death or gore is a Jugheadinteriormore heightened experience. Tieri and Walsh create even more tension by quickly juxtaposing townfolks looking at Miss Grundy’s body to Jughead going to town on a plate of food, including a whole fish on a burger, at an all you can eat buffet. Walsh and Cunniffe’s color palette does its job again switching out the usual brightness of Jughead’s solo book or appearances in Archie for something washed out and sickly. The ketchup on his face could easily be blood, and Tieri and Walsh revisit this image for horrific effect later on when Jughead realizes that his great appetite has been sated because he’s been supplementing burgers and fries with the people he cares about the most.

Partially because it’s an “Elseworlds” type story and doesn’t affect the continuity of the main Archie or even the Afterlife and Sabrina universes, Frank Tieri says no to happy endings and easy solutions and embraces the tragedy of the werewolf story. Jughead isn’t fluffy Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but like Lon Chaney in The Wolf Man even if Tieri adds an extra layer of mythology by making Betty Cooper, the latest in a line of werewolf hunters, which is the only reason she’s in Riverdale. His appetites can’t be controlled, he definitely doesn’t belong in and someone has to put him down the like the rabid, mutated dog he is before he hurts another innocent citizen.

In Jughead: The Hunger #1, Frank Tieri, Michael Walsh, and Dee Cunniffe exaggerate Jughead Jones’ defining characteristic and turns it into something horrifying. Without his humanity and sense of humor, he’s just a creature of pure appetite and id and makes for a great villain in a horror story. And Walsh takes Jughead’s eating habits, which usually a cute, running gag and turns it to something disgusting as Reggie remarks early on.

Story: Frank Tieri Art: Michael Walsh  Colors: Michael Walsh and Dee Cunniffe
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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