Afterlife with Archie Book One
story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artwork by Francesco Francavilla
Reviewed by Meygan
I can’t remember the first Archie comic I read because I was a young child but all I know is that I couldn’t stop reading about Archie and the gang. (My parent’s wallets can vouch for that.) I have a picture of me as a child surrounded by my comics. Judging by the look on my face, a person would have thought I was surrounded a millions dollars. That is the first testament to Archie’s staying power, because Archie first appeared in 1941 and that was decades before I appeared. The secret is that Archie always changed with the times. Not radical changes, because the characters are still the ones we know and love (or love to hate!): Jughead, Reggie, Betty, Veronica, etc.
Oh yes, I loved my comics but one day the time had approached where it was time for me to box them up for storage because I had moved on to being a teenage girl. My dad buys me an Archie comic every year for Christmas just so he can savor my childhood.
But Archie hasn’t hung around for so many years by being stagnant. In the past few years, the writers have shaken things up a little in special issues. For example, there was The Death of Archie, in which our favorite redhead dies and people look back at his life. There’s also a series about Archie’s married life, which imagines what would happen if he married Betty or Veronica. These are more serious than the lighthearted escapades I used to read. There is also a gay character, Kevin Keller, who caused quite the media sensation when he was introduced. Kevin even got married in an issue. So while there are still Archie comics for younger fans, there are issues which deal with more mature concerns for readers who have aged out of the other comics.
Which brings me to the new Afterlife with Archie series. This is one of the more adult oriented stories with language and violence as well as hints of an incestuous affair. So if you are expecting the old Archie Andrews from Pep Comics, then don’t. Just don’t. But if you are looking for some time with old friends in a fresh setting and like zombie apocalypses, by all means give this a try. To sum it up, this is Archie meets The Walking Dead and while that may sound strange, it’s actually very good!
In Afterlife with Archie, Sabrina the Teenage Age Witch opens her front door to see her pal Jughead Jones with his beloved dog, Hotdog, in his arms. But from the look on Jughead’s face, Sabrina knows something is wrong and that’s when Jughead tells her that Hotdog has just been hit by a car and is dead. Sabrina conjures up a spell, despite her aunt’s warnings, and brings Hotdog back to “life”. But something is odd about Hotdog. Even though Jughead sees that Hotdog is breathing, he still looks dead and is no longer the happy mutt he was. Then Jughead is bitten by Hotdog, thus resulting in the spreading of the zombie disease. After Jughead makes his way to the Riverdale dance and bites Ethel, the chaos in Riverdale spreads like wildfire.
Within the first few pages, I knew it wouldn’t take me long to finish reading. I couldn’t put it down! Book one covers comics 1-6 of the series, but new issues are available. I do not know when the second book will be released with the remaining issues, but I hope it is soon! This series has received great reviews, even from people who don’t read Archie comics. The writer and illustrator did such an amazing job with the story and pictures. The illustrations are dark and gruesome and do a great job of really depicting emotions. Also, there is more than one cover for the comic books meaning don’t be surprised to buy comic #1 with a picture of Betty in a suggestive nightie and then turn around to see a different cover for comic #1. One of my favorite parts about the book was all of the different illustrations were listed in the back of the book. The series is rated teen so as I stated before, be cautious if you are looking for the original story of Archie Andrews and the love triangle that has followed him for 73 years. Of course, no Archie comic would be complete without sweet Betty and naughty Veronica. In Afterlife with Archie, Betty and Veronica still compete for Archie’s attention but they are not the best friends that they once were. I guess fighting over a man for 73 years will really take a toll on a gal!
It had been awhile since I had actually sat down and revisited Riverdale. Afterlife with Archie was a fantastic way for the adult in me to enjoy Archie. I may read some of my older Archie comics just for nostalgic reasons. All in all, I give this horror series two thumbs up!