‘Life With Archie’ to kill off Riverdale’s favorite son in penultimate issue

(CBR) For three years, writer Paul Kupperberg has spent a “Life With Archie.” But come this July, he'll be ending that life.

Archie Comics announced today that the magazine format comic series that chronicled two potential futures for Archie will end this summer with the death of the series star. And while “Life With Archie's” parallel story lines where the famed redhead married either Betty or Veronica may make it seem like a tough trick to kill Archie in a definitive sense, Kupperberg told CBR that in the two-part finale running in issues #36 and 37 the end will include just that.

Below, the writer explains to CBR News how “Life With Archie” #36 will work to present an iconic end to the life of Riverdale's favorite son while #37 will focus on his remaining friends and family, and he tells what the loss means for the entire series, the Archie line and the stories he's been building for years.

CBR News: Paul, let's start with the obvious. This is a big move for both the series and Archie as a character. What was your initial feeling on the idea of our hero dying, and how did it jibe with where you felt the series was going/had gone?

Paul Kupperberg: I was in a story conference with [Archie CEO] Jon Goldwater, [Editor-in-Chief] Victor Gorelick, and [President] Mike Pellerito talking about where we wanted to go for the end of “Life With Archie” and Jon said, “Why don't we do something we've never done with Archie before?” We'd already taken Archie and the gang to a lot of new places over the course of the last three years, but when he said “Let's do the death of Archie,” I really thought he was kidding. Even after he'd convinced us he wasn't and we started discussing the why and how of his death, Jon didn't entirely commit to it. He wanted to think on it before giving me the go-ahead, and it took a couple of months and a revision or two of my six-month overview before he thought we'd nailed the direction and gave me the okay. But it really did fit in and make sense with the direction we'd been going in for a while, starting with Clay getting shot in “LWA” #22 and then the mall shooting in #30.

Comic book deaths are a funny thing. It's an instantaneous attention-getter for longtime readers and casual readers alike, but they also almost demand a very iconic moment that sums up the character in some way. How does this story meet those expectations in a unique fashion with ol' Archie Andrews?

Not to hurt myself patting myself on the back, but I think — I hope — Archie's death is one of those iconic moments. Archie is in character right up to that final moment, reacting exactly the way I think anybody who's ever written him would have had him react in the situation, and then I end on a twist on what I think is one of the truly indelible iconic images from the series history.

From a logistical standpoint, this is kind of tricky because “Life With Archie” has always told TWO potential future stories for the Riverdale gang. What do you say to readers who are worried that Archie will die in one timeline but live out a happy destiny in the other?