As you may have heard, this week Archie will take two bullets to the gut intended for his best friend, Kevin Keller. So, why, precisely, is Archie Publications killing off their ginger mascot? They’re not! Well, they kind of are! Here’s what’s happening.
Archie isn’t dying in the digest-sized book or even the main Archie books, which are still going strong. Instead he’s dying in Life With Archie, to wrap that book up.
Despite the name, Life With Archie isn’t your typical Archie book. The basic idea is that the Riverdale crew graduates high school and transitions to adulthood… only to discover that, uh, adulthood can really suck. It builds off the alternate series book where Archie finally picks Betty or Veronica, and follows the fallout of both decisions, which gets ugly fast.
It’s actually a smart book, not least because it gets serious with surprising frequency. The last time the book made national headlines, it was because (Far Less Than) One Million Moms was freaking out over a same-sex marriage in the book. Did we mention the openly-gay Kevin Keller is a wounded veteran in this book? Or that Archie gets shot stepping in front of a bullet aimed for Keller, a newly minted senator pushing for stricter gun control legislation? We’re amazed Fox News hasn’t already freaked out about it.
Essentially, Archie is dying to finish out the book; after three years, the creative team feels they’ve made all the points they intended to, and want to move on to other books. So, rather than just let the book dwindle, Archie’s going out with a bang. It’s an appropriately dramatic end to an appropriately dramatic book, and it’s worth picking up: Life With Archie #36 will be out on Wednesday.