I used to read a lot of Archie series when I was younger, and there seemed to be a million or so, including the digests, each with their own different names. Archie Comics, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, has spent the last five years or so taking the Riverdale gang to places they’ve never been before, and giving the entire brand a modern facelift. The latest and greatest evolution came late last year with the quasi-horror comic Afterlife With Archie, in which zombies enter the storyline, something usually reserved for dating and high school life. And there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to see this series’ shambling characters come to life as a TV series or a feature film. It might be the handful of random pills I swallowed an hour ago, but this sounds like the greatest thing that could ever happen to TV or cinema.
Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa — who is a lifelong Archie fan as well as being a Marvel writer, a playwright and a screenwriter — was appointed the comic company’s first ever chief creative officer, as co-CEO Jon Goldwater wants to take the franchise into places it’s never gone before. There was talk last summer of an Archie movie in the works, and both Goldwater and Aguirre-Sacasa shined a little more light on that in a recenter interview with Comic Book Resources, which is well worth a full read.
Pointing out cinema’s “wheels turn very, very, very slowly,” Aguirre-Sacasa said it took as long to develop a movie pitch as it did to pitch, write and publish the first four issues of Afterlife. (The fourth issue came out March 5.) So they reflected on it, as he explains below.
Afterlife is a big game-changer for Archie. It has made us think, “Wow, should the Archie movie be an ‘Afterlife’ movie?” “Should Afterlife be a TV series?” We took a little bit of a beat to figure out, because whatever our first big thing is going to be, obviously that’s going to define the company in a major way. So we want to get it right.
While he didn’t have anything to do with Archie marrying both Betty and Veronica in alternate series, or that time he met KISS, Aguirre-Sacasa brought Archie Meets Glee to reality last year. He also wrote all of the comic versions of The Stand, as well the screenplay to the so-so Carrie remake and the upcoming remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which I can’t wait for. There’s a good reason to have a lot of faith in this project if it goes forward.
Goldwater sounds more blindly enthusiastic, saying they are “very excited” about turning this into potential visual media, and that “it could be tons and tons of fun — and extraordinarily successful.” With the right kind of marketing, I have no doubt this could be a huge hit with both teens and adults. I’ve unfortunately only read the first of the four issues, but it was pretty awesome, and just the kind of comic adaptation to balance off all the superhero flicks coming out over the next few centuries.
Don’t be such a Reggie Mantle and check out a trailer for the series below.