Written by Mark Waid
Art by Fiona Staples, Andre Szymanowicz, and Jen Vaughn
Published by Archie Comics
Release date: July 8, 2015
I have a confession to make. I have never read an Archie Comic before.
To be honest, I’ve never even wanted to. That changed a few months ago when the new creative team was announced. A creative team who decided to make titular character, Archie Andrews, super-hot. Picking up issue #1, I really didn’t know what to expect but already being a fan of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples I was pretty hopeful that there would be something in there for me — and was there ever. Archie #1 is utterly charming, well written, and beautifully illustrated.
Writer Mark Waid tackles romance, heartbreak, homecoming, and meddling kids in issue #1 of Archie, creating what feels to be an effortlessly authentic depiction of teenage life. The dialogue is funny and sarcastic and is reflective of the way that people that age should be. Archie regularly breaks the fourth wall, addressing the reader directly and is almost instantly endearing as he laments his break up and talks about his relationship with his father. While noticeably less time in spent developing the personalities of the supporting cast, it is clear that they all have rather distinctive voices and attitudes that seem indicative of their characterization.
It’s no secret that Archie got hot, you just need to check Twitter for the hundreds of tweets hash-tagged ‘hotarchie’ to see the responses to the reveal of Staples’ initial redesign. Not one to limit herself, Staples has brought all of the characters up to date, making some great decisions with regard to costume design, and even better ones with the hair. Betty is especially pretty — fresh faced and relaxed. She looks every bit the girl next door. From the very first page it is clear that Fiona Staples has, to no one’s surprise, rendered a thoroughly beautiful book and although working with an already established cast she has presented them as diverse in body type, race and gender. The subtle changes in posture and facial expression give us a deeper insight into the characters allowing their personalities to develop visually rather than through dialogue or exposition.
With colours from Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn, Archie #1 manages to be bright and bold while still retailing an element of reality. The pinks and the blues used during the scenes at the School Dance are particularly eye catching and they bring a little bit of magic to the proceedings. There are also some nice touches by letterer Jack Morelli. Replacing text with stars to indicate the opinions of patrons leaving a cinema is such a fun idea and conveys so much with very information.
I didn’t expect to feel quite so enthused by Archie #1 but I really am. It has perfectly encapsulated that high school sitcom, slice of life, teen movie vibe that I, and so many other people love and maybe haven’t been getting too much of lately, or at least nothing that feels so genuine.
The Verdict: 10/10