Staples’ Archie …Starchie?

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My attempt at getting as many of the new Archie #1 variants in the shot as possible. Couldn’t get them all.

Archie was an obsession of mine. My dad bought me a new Archie digest every week at the grocery store, and many more at used bookstores. From the time I could read to about 18 years of age, I read Archies with every snack I ate, I read Archies in the car, I read Archies in the bathroom, I read Archies before bed. I read a lot of Archies. When I was hospitalized in November, my partner’s mom asked me if she could pick anything up for me to read at the library, and the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Archie.”

I seriously have no idea what it is about Riverdale and its band of vanilla characters that has me so enthralled.  Is it the fact that dating high schoolers sometimes call each other “lover’? Was it Jughead’s big nose (I have a thing for big noses)? I try not to analyze it too much.

And now, for the first time in 75 years, they are revamping Archie. This is huge news, the characters and world have a new look and a new feel for the first time in over seven decades. And, what’s an even bigger deal? The person giving them this new look with her amazing artistic skills is Calgary’s very own Fiona Staples! If you read comic books, Staples is a household name to you (or should be) and has been called one of  the most talented artists working in comic books today. So what has she done with Archie? Take a look at the cover and find out:

Starchie

Starchie

I personally love what she’s done with the characters. This look feels updated, but not completely out of sync with the classic art style the old fans came to love – it has an edge to it, but it’s not too sharp. Because of my love of these comics, there is a ridiculous amount of pride in Starchie and the fact that he is now a Canadian creation. And, Mark Waid (not CDN, but I guess he’s still okay) has written a great YA story with just the right amount of emotional depth for this nouveau Archie. The premise is that Archie and Betty have been a Riverdale couple for years, and they have mysteriously broken up and everyone is in a tizzy about it. Veronica has yet to move to Riverdale, but she’s definitely on her way there. And, there is a side story about Archie’s guitar playing, he hasn’t found stardom, but there are hints of a budding musical career. Also a nifty addition to the first issue is the fact that it includes the very first Archie story ever published in 1941. Fun to see the current and the first in the same issue. I really think this wonder team has turned the world of Archie into a really great read and I’m super excited for my obsession to begin again. Issue #2 comes out soon!

PS: Chip Zdarsky will be doing the Jughead series, and if you love Jughead the way I love him, you will be very pleased to know he is in very good hands with Zdarsky.

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4 Responses to Staples’ Archie …Starchie?

  1. I’ve actually never been an Archie reader (aside from the scant few times I’ve landed in the hospital … at that point Archie is almost a prerequisite for getting better). However, I’m super excited to see this new direction. The decision to revamp is such a bold one that it’s hard not to be curious, at least.

    And I’m glad to see Staples on something other than Saga (unlike most people, I don’t think Saga’s all that great). Go Starchie!

  2. Read Issue #1 this morning. I loved i! It’s definitely going on my pull list. Staples is fantastic, as you said, but I really enjoyed Mark Waid’s script. He gave Archie kind of a Zack Morris vibe. Such a smart take on that character. Thanks for covering this, Tania!

  3. lauratfrey says:

    I was an avid Archie reader too. I was SO PISSED when my mom threw out my whole collection when we moved to Edmonton. I used to cut out pictures from the books… don’t ask me why… I pretty much only got digests, but I had the “real” comic of the one where they come to Canada.

    I recall seeing these pics quite a while ago so I thought they’d be a few issues in now? Though I have no idea how often comics come out or anything.

    Also had no idea Staples is local. I’m reading Saga slowly and just started to get into it now with Volume 4. I just get them as they’re available at the library so I wait a while.

  4. I think I’ll be reading this issues avidly!! What a wonderful…rewrite? reimagining? I don’t know. It’s nice to see it on this blog!!

    And I had NO IDEA that Fiona Staples is from Calgary?!?!?! That’s so exciting.

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