Exclusive: AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE author always knew [REDACTED] was a sociopath

06.03.16 1 year ago

As much as Archie Comics are an indelible part of the comic book landscape, Riverdale can be a little saccharine for some readers. Archie and the gang have problems, but they”re normal ones. No supervillains are heat-lasering the town to ash, no aliens are blowing up the high school. But in one corner of the Archie Universe, things are a little…okay, a lot…darker.

Both AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA blend some of the most prolific Archie characters with Grade-A horror. Whether the kids are on the run from the zombie hordes (which may or may not have been summoned by Cthulhu) or just showing us that Satanists put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us (before raising the dead and meeting up for occult studies), this isn”t your childhood comic book.

With the remnants of Riverdale still on the run from Jughead”s zombie horde, and dark secrets bubbling to the surface left and right, HitFix Harpy spoke with writer Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa via email about inverting Archie Comics into an entertaining supernatural hell. We also got an exclusive sneak peek at the second printing cover for AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9, which will be back on store shelves 7/6/16!

Image Credit: Archie Comics/Francesco Francavilla

HITFIX HARPY: In case we”ve got some new fans reading, can you catch everyone up to speed with a quick elevator pitch??

ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA: When last we saw the gang, they were hunkered down in a haunted hotel for the winter. Now, it”s spring-early spring-and they”re on the move again. West, this time. But like Jack Torrance in “The Shining,” someone went a little bit crazy in that hotel: Reggie. Who was already on the edge. This issue focuses on Reggie. And his mask of sanity slipping.

It”s been a while since issue #8 of AWA if the foliage is any indication. Has everyone just been constantly on the move? Is the rift still there that formed after Blaze came out of the woods??

ROBERTO: The gang has been moving-and the rift about Cheryl/Blaze is still there, but more under the surface. The core of the group-Archie, Betty, and Veronica-have a debate about Reggie similar to the one they had about Cheryl in the previous issue. It”s a deliberate echo, though the “vote” has a very different outcome. Which is to say: The last few months have hardened our formerly bright-eyed kids. Even Betty. They”re not as forgiving.

Will we ever circle back to find out what happened in the woods with Cheryl/Blaze?

ROBERTO: Very good question. I think it”s pretty clear what *I* think happened in the woods between Cheryl and Jason. And though we may not be flashing back to it anytime soon, I will say that Cheryl/Blaze”s days of wielding a machete aren”t quite done just yet.

How long have you known Reggie was a sociopath?

ROBERTO: Since the beginning of the series. If you go back to Issue One, there”s a moment where Reggie almost tells Archie about Jughead…but then doesn”t. That moment foreshadows this issue. As does the scene in Issue Three, when he almost frees Zombie Midge from the swimming pool. Reggie”s crazy has always been there…

Did you know from the very beginning what Reggie”s relationship to the apocalypse was?

ROBERTO: Again, there”s hints of it in Issue One, but did I know the full extent of the role Reggie was going to play? To be honest, no. In fact, in my first draft of this issue, Reggie died, ripped apart by the zombie hordes. In my second draft, Reggie escaped the hordes, just barely, so he could come back at a crucial moment in Issue 12 to save Betty and redeem himself. Obviously, I”ve moved off that idea…

Were those tentacles Sabrina”s?

ROBERTO: Oh, yes. A gift from her husband Cthulhu. A different interpretation: They belong to Cthulhu and he”s the one pulling the strings. But I like to think Sabrina wears the tentacles in that relationship.

AWA has been a way to Archie to deal with some of the darker implications of certain personalities and relationships in the Riverdale universe. Has that been fun? Cathartic?

ROBERTO: Fun, yes. The most fun I”ve ever had working on a comic book project maybe ever. Cathartic…? Not really. If anything, it”s upsetting to see these characters I love in such terrible predicaments. Of my own creation, so maybe it”s more perverse than anything else…

Have you ever read “American Gods” because Riverdale is starting to remind me of the town guarded by the Hinzelmann…Why would you leave us hanging with that story of the Greendale witches?

ROBERTO: LOL, that wasn”t meant as a cliffhanger! That was some backstory to put the current apocalypse in context and history. But it”s interesting, now that you mention it, I wonder if the Greendale witches will play a role in “Betty: RIP.” And, if so, what would that role be? As friend or foe? Intriguing…

BETTY: RIP Pt. 4, “The Trouble with Reggie.” The Horror began in Riverdale when Reggie Mantle struck and killed Jughead”s beloved pooch Hot Dog. Since then, Reggie has been living with this secret knowledge-and terrible guilt. With no one to talk to about it, Reggie has started to crack under the strain. He is seeing visions of his dead friends-or are they literal ghosts? When an act of kindness prompts a confession from him, Reggie must decide for himself, once and for all-is there any good within him? Or is Reggie, as we”ve always suspected, beyond redemption?
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa 
Art: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli 
Cover: Francesco Francavilla
2nd Printing Variant Cover: Francesco Francavilla
2nd Printing On Sale: 7/6
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


BETTY: RIP Pt. 5, “Interlude with the Pussycats” Before the end of the world began, a female pop trio was setting charts on fire. But in a world of TMZ and paparazzi-driven media, somehow these women kept their private lives a secret from everyone-until now. A full-access interview promises to show the tragic and terrifying origin story of Josie and the Pussycats.
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli 
Afterlife with Archie #10 CVR A Reg: Francesco Francavilla 
Afterlife with Archie #10 CVR B Variant: Jim Balent
On Sale Date: 8/17
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


Sabrina has to face the Witches Council for an accusation of conspiring with a mortal against the Church of Night. It will take a series of unnatural tests to prove her innocence, but none of it will bring her beloved Harvey back. She”ll have to take matters into her own hands to find Harvey”s missing soul. Recruiting two other young witches (from a neighboring coven), Sabrina holds a séance, but as ever, Madame Satan is pulling the strings behind the scenes, and what Sabrina taps into is much more dangerous-and diabolical. And will send our beloved teen witch on an epic quest. 
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Robert Hack, Jack Morelli
Cover: Robert Hack
Variant Cover: Robert Hack
On Sale: Now
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


THE ONGOING SERIES CONTINUES  – “Familiars” is the perfect jumping-on point for the critically acclaimed horror hit SABRINA! Every witch needs a familiar, and through the ages, Salem has faithfully fulfilled his duties to Sabrina. This chapter lifts back the cloak of time to reveal the dark history of how Salem came to be and serve his master.
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Robert Hack, Jack Morelli 
Sabrina #6 CVR A Reg: Robert Hack 
Sabrina #6 CVR B Variant: Andrew Pepoy
On Sale Date: 7/27
40-page, full color comic
$4.99 U.S.

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