Archie Comics has taken the market by storm with many of its titles, but none lauded so significantly as Afterlife with Archie, a horror take on the classic Riverdale gang. In part two of a two part interview with the Afterlife team, Comicosity speaks with artist Francesco Francavilla about what drew him to Afterlife, how it blends with the main Archie brand, and a little of the process behind his distinctive look.
Matt Santori: Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us, Francesco! What drew you to the concept behind Afterlife with Archie?
Francesco Francavilla: My love for all things horror! When Archie asked me to do that Life With Archie variant and gave me carte blanche, I had to go the horror route, and the Life/Afterlife pun put me in the zombie direction.
MSG: The world of Archie is traditionally depicted in a much brighter, less dramatic tone. How do you balance the demands of the genre story Afterlife with Archie is presenting with that recognizable tradition?
FF: I simply don’t. (laughs)
Seriously, the most important part for us is that the characters look (and act) like the traditional ones. The look and feel of the book is something so different from what readers have seen in all other Archie titles and I think it’s one of the reasons this book is so unique.
MSG: The color palettes you use in every one of your projects are very distinct and set a mood all by themselves. Can you share a bit about your process in deciding on the feel and color of each project and Afterlife with Archie specifically?
FF: I use colors as a storytelling device so their purpose is to set mood and tone for each project or story. With Afterlife being a horror, dark colors — especially dark reds — were my top picks. Throw in some blues (because the first arc is set all in one night) and greens (the zombie color) et voila, done!
MSG: One of the great things about all good horror, Afterlife with Archie included, is the build-up to something terrifying, not just the thing in itself. What techniques or planning go into layouts on a project like this where suspense is even more crucial?
FF: The best horror is the one you don’t see, so years of reading comics (I’m a huge fan of the EC and Creepy runs) and watching horror movies, I think I know what will work and won’t when it comes to build suspense and tension.
MSG: Any special teases for Afterlife with Archie #5 fans should be watching out for?
FF: Nah, just go in and enjoy/experience the new chapter page after page (which is the best way to enjoy a horror book).
Afterlife with Archie #5 arrives in comic shops tomorrow, Wednesday, May 14. Check out our interview with the other half of the Afterlife team, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, as well!