Exclusive: ARCHIE #9 writer on making Veronica less of a stuck-up snot

After a slow burn opening that re-established their iconic characters in their new universe, Archie Comics has finally turned to the meat-and-potatoes of their flagship series. Archie”s relationship with both Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. But while their dynamic might seem familiar on the surface – Archie oscillating between first love Betty and new girlfriend Ronnie – writer Mark Waid is very aware of the pitfalls of a love triangle.

HitFix Harpy spoke with Waid via email about how he”s balancing teen relationship drama with 21st-century sensibilities, as well as got an exclusive peek inside ARCHIE #9, on comic book stands June 22, 2016.

Image Credit: Archie Comics

HITFIX HARPY: In the classic comics, Archie almost always went to Veronica”s world. And when Veronica came down from her ivory tower, she kind of hated it. When did you decide this time Ronnie needed to meet him more in the middle?
MARK WAID: Because she wanted her sweetie to live. Right now, the relationship between Archie and Mr. Lodge is…well, “acrimonious” is too kind a word. It's not Archie's fault (exactly), but Lodge has had enough of the Walking Redheaded Hurricane and has banned him from the estate grounds.

I”ll admit I”m a little surprised by how much Veronica is trying. Do you think fans will be weirded out by this less OBVIOUSLY snooty version of her?
MARK: I kinda hope so, obviously. This is the 21st century; girls aren't prizes to be won, they're characters with their own agencies and agendas, and while Ronnie can still be oblivious to the chaos her entitled attitude brings, she has a good heart. And she loves Archie, for real.

It took nearly a year to introduce an updated version of the classic dynamic between Archie, Betty, and Veronica. How difficult is it to walk that line between “teen drama” and “wait, is this a trashy soap opera?”
MARK: Honestly? Not hard at all. The question to always ask myself is “is this a genuine human emotion I'm writing here, or is it melodrama?” All good plot comes out of character, and I figure as long as I stay away from the catfights and prizes-to-be-won scenes, I'm ahead of the curve on “trashy soap opera.”

Betty is struggling hard to be a good friend to Archie but are things going to devolve between her and Archie/Veronica in the next issue?
MARK: The first page of the next issue begins with the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. That's a very good answer to your question.

When will we get to see where the sharks live at Lodge Manor?
MARK: One of the biggest ones lives in the main house. His name is Hiram Lodge.