I have a bone to pick with Archie Comics.
Sure, I love all the stuff that they’re putting out lately, especially the new “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series that’s coming out in March with Kelly Thompson (“Jem and the Holograms,” “Hawkeye” vol. 5) doing the writing alongside the artistic talents of Boston-based Veronica Fish (“Slam!,” “Spider-Woman” #10-17) and her husband, Andy Fish (“Blackwood”).
However, despite my excitement over this stellar creative team, this run will only be a limited series of five issues.
Why does every new Archie Comics reboot have to be a miniseries?
I know that “Archie,” which just celebrated its 700th issue this month, is the company’s bread and butter. It has to be – the titular protagonist of that series is the reason why the company changed their name from MLJ Comics to what it is today!
What doesn’t have to be, though, is the fact that “Archie” and the supplemental “Riverdale” comics that provide further exposition for the monstrously popular TV show of the same name are the only ongoing series that the company puts out.
Chip Zdarsky (“The Amazing Spider-Man” Vol. 5) and Erica Henderson (“The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl”) wrote and illustrated a run of “Jughead” from October 2015 to June 2017 with 16 issues, and that was the only series outside of “Archie” that ran in an ongoing manner.
Adam Hughes’ run of “Betty & Veronica” could have gone longer more than three issues. It should have gone longer than three issues.
But, no, Hughes suddenly forgot how busy he was with other comics from other companies and thought he could do almost everything – writing, art, lettering, all that stuff.
It was a good miniseries, but three issues? That’s honestly pathetic for a sub-franchise as influential to American pop culture as the “Betty and Veronica” mythos, and, worse yet, it took him almost a year – September 2016 to August 2017 – to accomplish that very small feat.
Speaking of Betty and Veronica, they’re also getting another series in 2019. … that’s five issues long.
Come on. Seriously?
Not even “Archie 1941,” the epic and rightfully gritty re-imagining of “Archie” that takes place during World War II, can escape this cursed fate told in three words – “five issue miniseries.”
Hell, we don’t even know the fate of the comic version of the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” If you recall from the Halloween edition of this column, it has been on hiatus ever since Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of that series, began his writing role on “Riverdale,” and that, to me, was the best thing Archie Comics’ horror line had going for it, in terms of ongoing comics.
“Robbie, come on, just get to the point.”
OK, I just want Archie Comics to get back to doing long, ongoing series again. “Archie” is not enough to account to everyone’s tastes.
What the company needs to realize is that not everyone wants to follow the mishaps and misadventures of a red-headed high-schooler who plays on the football team and hovers between two, sometimes three, women at once.
Readers crave more variety in this contemporary age and short miniseries give consumers a false hope that a series they end up liking won’t stay on the market.
The “Old Riverdale” run of “Archie” ran for 666 issues. “Betty and Veronica” ran for 625 issues, and that’s counting both Volume 1 and Volume 2 runs from March 1950 to October 2015, and “Jughead” pulled in 566 issues across two volumes from January 1949 to September 2012.
“New Riverdale” needs to have their own set of beefy numbers – we need a long-running “Betty and Veronica” series, a “Jughead” series, and I would love more “Josie and the Pussycats” myself. There is enough creative brain power at Archie Comics to make a long-running series.
Let’s make it happen.