This is just a stupid good, fun, and gorgeous book. Francesco Francavilla’s style and tone couldn’t help any more perfectly, to bring to life (ha) this completely 180 degree from the norm take on the classic Archie characters. Night of the Living Dead meets Archie?!! Too damned good. Part of what makes this work so well is that the Archie setting, in of itself, is PERFECT for a classic zombie horror tale. Such a nice, quaint little town with the perfect model of society and the true blue cast of kids … etc etc etc. Bringing in the zombie apocalypse was brilliant. The best part of it, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t pull any punches. They didn’t put out an “Archie’s Digest” take on it. No, this book goes all out. This is a full on horror comic with shit actually hitting the fan. It’s not cartoony and certainly isn’t feel goody at all. Juggy might still be hungry but it ain’t for Pop’s Burgers! Hopefully this book does come back because it is so right 100 different ways.
A witch, for real. Just as Francavilla was perfect for Afterlife, Robert Hack is perfect for this title. I cannot help but feel I’m holding a book that is decades old and seeing classic images that so many of us pine for in today’s market. It looks and feels like a classic horror book because that’s exactly what it is. You’re not picking up a comic adaptation of Clarissa playing Sabrina the Teenage Witch. No ABC feel good comedy here. There’s all sorts of murder, mayhem, and macabre happening in this and it is absolutely brilliant. There is play off of Afterlife title but this is its own self contained mad house. Even though Sabrina herself is initially cast as the innocent teenage witch, the story and events that unfold are the furthest thing from innocent. Even her two aunts which she lives with are agenda driven. There’s real life connection with the “choice”that Sabrina must make upon her 16th birthday as well. In a wonderfully done nod to the horror history of MLJ we get Madam Satan as a major player in the goings on and events surrounding Sabrina. Witches, warlocks, resurrections and all sorts of unholiness abound.
Jughead: The Hunger
I mean come on … Juggy, the ever hungry, as a werewolf? It writes itself! Betty is from a long line of hunters? Ok yeah. While still a horror book, we get more of the Archie does horror vibe from this one. It is very serious in terms of consequences, actions, and living/dying. There’s a campiness to it though that makes it feel more like an Archie pub than the first two books on here. That doesn’t take way from the horror aspect though. There’s a lot going on in this book “who is the Riverdale Ripper?” but it is all telling the story of Jughead and his hunger. A family of werewolves and a family of hunters plus an uneasy alliance among the werewolves themselves? There’s also the angle of Jughead having his werewolf identity forced on him by a pesky cousin rather than being able to come to grips on his own and figure things out.
Pretty sure she’s voted “looks most like Vampirella” as it is. Now we get a rounding out of the horror types. We got the zombies, the witch, the werewolf, and now we’ve got the vampire. A much, much older blood sucker turns the Richie Rich of Archieverse into a creature of the night. As if growing up and the changing world of adolescence wasn’t enough! Now Veronica has to go through things as a Vampire. I guess technically she’ll find some things easier but she’s got a whole new host of problems. Most importantly, who does she feed on? How does she handle her “friends” and her classmates? Who in the town is on the grocery list? Oh, and her parents fell victim to the same long tooth that got her. This one is only two issues in as of this writing but it debuted in grand fashion and is following up the other Archie Horror books very well.
Each of these books are self-contained in their own continuity. I think that’s the best take for these to work. We’ve got the different tropes of the classic horror genre on display here but keeping them separate allows them all to breathe and find their own way. Yes, the characters are shared but they are free to be used and develop relative to the story each book is telling. They well worn dynamics we know and love between all of them can be reconstituted and presented anew OR just out right re-fashioned. I think that’s one of the biggest drawing points to this line. It’s familiar but absolutely nothing about what’s going on is something from the past. The Archie Horror imprint has created stories and characters all its own. They’ve borrowed the setting and crafted a truly wonderful horror-verse. For that …
ARCHIE HORROR GETS THE JUNE 2018 ROAR OF THE MONTH!