Recently Dread Central was approached by the powers that be behind the scenes of Archie Comics to cover their new line of Archie Horror comics in a series of exclusives. I don’t know about the other writers here, but my reaction to that email was “They make Archie Horror comics?!!”
Because this is what I do for a living, I immediately set to researching this new line of horror-centric Archie comics. And guess what I found? Yes, Archie Comics now has a full range of horror-centric spinoff stories and they seem to be badass. All titles under this imprint exist in alternate realities from the core Archie Comics series, and each is independent of the others.
Evidently the whole revamp started in 2013 when Archie Comics announced they had a new spin-off series heading to shelves called Afterlife with Archie. It was the first series to be rated “TEEN+” under Archie Comics and depicts a zombie apocalypse hitting Riverdale.
The comic includes extensive realistic violence, some gore, necrotic themes, disturbing scenes, and moderate language. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote it, and Francesco Francavilla provided the artwork. The series launched in October 2013 and the first eight issues sold out.
Archie Comic then followed up this new hit spin-off with a reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch called Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The series is a darker take on the characters and setting of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Aguirre-Sacasa wrote this comic as well.
The rebooted Sabrina series did gangbuster business as well, so Archie Comic decided it was time to create an all-new label for the two and other potential horror-centric spin-offs.
And thus Archie Horror was created.
Along with the above-mentioned Afterlife with Archie and Sabrina the Teenage Witch spin-offs, the new comic label has published two other variants. First, there’s Jughead: The Hunger which was written by Frank Tieri with artwork provided by Michael Walsh, and focuses on Jughead Jones and his family’s dark legacy of lycanthropy to explain Jughead’s excessive hunger.
And then there’s the most recent series Vampironica, which as you can imagine, follows the famous Archie comics character as she turns into a vampire and adapts to her new nightlife. This spin-off series is created & written by Meg & Greg Smallwood and features art via Greg Smallwood.
And that’s now all the world of Archie has been doing to push themselves int a new era of horror-thriller based content. First, there is the surprisingly well-received Twin Peaks-style CW reboot of the Archie storyline Riverdale. I’ve seen the first two episodes (I think it was the first 2, maybe it was just the pilot episode) and I was impressed enough with the strange and sinister tone of the CW’s reboot that I’d be down for watching more episodes.
And then we have Netflix’s gritty Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot called Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. As you can imagine, the new Netflix series starring Kiernan Shipka (The Blackcoat’s Daughter) is based on the rebooted comic book line mentioned above. The show hit Netflix globally this past Friday, and three episodes in, I’m enjoying it quite a bit.
I’m sure this is all just the beginning for Archie Comics and their (relatively) new imprint label Archie Horror. I’m sure there will be new horror-centric Archie spin-offs in the pipeline for Betty Cooper, Moose Mason, and a host of other classic Archie Comics characters. Hell, even Hot Dog might get his very own Cujo-style spin-off. That would be pretty cool actually.
And it won’t stop there I’m sure either. With the CW’s reboot of Riverdale getting all kinds of love, and Netflix’s adaptation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sure to be a massive hit, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing some of these Archie Horror titles getting their very own TV spin-offs as well. I guess we’ll see in the near future!
And in the end, all of this has me wondering, what other kids comic brands would we like to see take the spin-off horror route? Check back tomorrow for our list!