NYCC 2019: Smooth Transitions Abound In The Archie Forever Panel

by James Ferguson

After some technical difficulties, Ron Cacace kicked things off with a trailer for the new season of Riverdale, beginning on October 9th on The CW. Jon Goldwater said that the premiere honors Luke Perry, describing it as “the best episode of television you’ll see this year.” Cacace backed him up, saying he cried five times while watching this episode. Goldwater continued to tease the upcoming season, pointing out it’s the senior year and said it’s the best season yet.

Staying with the TV side, the conversation turned to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. In speaking about where the series might go next, he said they’re finishing filming soon and they hope to have it on Netflix soon. The first two parts are currently available.
More on the TV side came up with Katy Keene with another teaser trailer. Goldwater said that Katy is a very important character in Archie Comics and described the show as fun and energetic. Josie McCoy is moving from Riverdale to Katy Keene and some threads from one show will make their way over to the other.

This transitioned nicely into the Riverdale young adult novels, published by Scholastic. Alex Segura spoke about how this is a great connection to the audience. Writer Micol Ostow is described as “the official literary voice of Riverdale” as she’s exploring other aspects of this world not seen in the show. Her favorite thing about it is that anything goes. The first novel, The Day Before, was closely tied to the show, taking place…the day before the first episode, while the other two are completely unique. There are also Sabrina novels and a Jughead: The Hunger one on the way. Segura teased more on the way.

Riverdale also has its own comic, taking place in between episodes of the TV show, with a season 3 graphic novel coming in November. Ostow chooses the comic storylines based on what we didn’t get to see in the show or didn’t get explored as much. There’s a new original graphic novel, Riverdale: The Ties That Bind under the Archie Blue Ribbon imprint. Written by Ostow, illustrated by Thomas Pitilli, Andre Szymanowicz, and John Workman, the book allows you to get an entire story all at once.

Archie has an Art book collecting work of Francesco Francavilla. Goldwater calls him the best artist working today and praised his work on Afterlife with Archie. “Without Francesco, I don’t know if there would be a Riverdale.”
There’s a new hardcover edition of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, collecting all of the stories to date. Goldwater spoke about the history of the comic, that started with a call from writer Roberto Aguire-Sacasa that took Sabrina and put it through the lens of Rosemary’s Baby. That led to the TV show on Netflix.

The transitions continued in a smooth fashion, moving to the latest Sabrina comic. Segura said that the benefit of these characters is how versatile they are. Archie can fight zombies and meet Kiss. Sabrina is the same way. There’s another five-issue mini-series, Sabrina: Something Wicked, starting in 2020.
We moved to Archie since he’s dating Sabrina right now. When asked why they put them together, Goldwater said “Why not?” They were amazed it hadn’t happened yet. Goldwater said Archie gets around which led nicely to the upcoming Archie and Katy Keene series. Segura said that we don’t know that they’re dating in the comic, so come into it with an open mind.
Editor Mike Pellerito spoke about the Archie Varsity Editions, new omnibus collections that bring three graphic novels worth of content together. They’re having trouble keeping them in stock with how popular they are. They allow fans to go to the beginning of the current iteration of Archie.
Cacace continues to segue nicely, leading to Archie 1941, the mini-series that shows us how the Riverdale gang would have lived in that year. It’s a pretty solid book that’s currently available now in a trade paperback. Pellerito spoke highly about the book and there’s some bias in there because he wants Archie and Betty together. That’s right, folks. He’s a Barchie shipper.

This led into the follow-up series, Archie 1955, playing with the birth of rock & roll. There’s a love story in the middle of this story of music and discovery. Spoiler alert: Veronica wins this time. Artist Derek Charm will take over the art duties with the third issue.
Next up were the horror titles, beginning with Blossoms 666. Segura said the response to this series has been great. Writer Cullen Bunn specializes in horror so they were pretty excited to hear his pitch for this series, making one of the Blossoms the Antichrist.

Archie vs. Predator II, a real comic that exists, was next up. “It’s even more off-the-wall, bananas, coo-coo than before.” Segura said they were happy with the first one and Goldwater would only let them do another if they can make it even crazier.

Speaking of crossovers, there’s also Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica and Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica. There are crossovers abound. Writer Frank Tieri was asked why the latter is happening. He’s always been a fan of the Universal monsters, so this is like Dracula vs the Wolfman. This establishes an Archie Multiverse. The Black Hood and Hangman are in there with Lil Archie.

Vampironica is getting a sequel series beginning in December, called New Blood. Tieri is co-writing this with Michael Moreci. This spins out of the events of the crossover. Vampironica gets hit with some big reveals that she’ll have to deal with in this new comic.
Writer / editor Jamie Rotante, described as “the heart of Archie” took the reins of Betty & Veronica, currently available in trade paperback. This series deals with the stress in the lives of these two teenagers in a way that you can feel a kinship with. It’s a story about friendship.

There’s an original graphic novel on the way called Betty and Veronica: The Bond of Friendship. Rotante is writing it with art by Brittney Williams, colors by Matt Herms, and letters by Jack Morelli. Each chapter explores the options of the characters in the future and what they might do with their lives. It’s geared towards a younger audience. This is part of a partnership with Little B Books to publish graphic novels for younger readers. The Riverdale Diaries: Hello, Betty! Is one of the first ones coming out next year.

The panel spoke about the music crossovers that have popped up over the years including Kiss, the Ramones, and Blondie. The next one is Archie Meets the B-52s, illustrated by Dan Parent. Goldwater shared some high praise for Parent, who is a legend in the Archie Comics art team. He said that there definitely wouldn’t be a Riverdale without him as he created Kevin Keller.
Parent said that he gets to come up with fun ideas and then implement them. He spoke with one of The B-52s about this idea, emailed Goldwater, and was set. He’s a huge fan of the band so he has a vested interest. Parent is also illustrating Archie: The Married Life 10th Anniversary where Archie marries Betty and Veronica in two different storylines.
The wacky adventure series Jughead’s Time Police is sadly coming to a close. Rotante describes it as pure fun dealing with a multiverse and time travel and more. “If they can do a big movie with a bunch of Spider-Men, we can do a big comic with a bunch of Jugheads.”

Cacace shared a video about the now infamous “i’m baby” tweet heard round the world after Prince Harry’s son was born. This inspired a story in the upcoming Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #302. It’s refreshing to see how they can work quickly to adapt to pop culture both in real time on social media and in comics.
A fan asked if there were ever ideas that were too crazy to fit into the Riverdale or Sabrina TV series. Goldwater emphatically said “NEVER!” Nothing is too crazy for Riverdale.
A fan dressed as Sabrina asked if they want to revisit animation to which Goldwater replied there are definitely plans.
Another fan asked how they plan to honor Luke Perry in Riverdale. Goldwater said that Perry was someone that you’d have an immediate connection with. It was a tragic and epic loss, not just for his family, but everyone that loved him. He didn’t provide any details, but encouraged us to watch the series premiere on October 9th.
When asked if there are plans for an Archie movie, Goldwater said they’re always talking about it, but right now they’re in the Riverdale world so they’re going to explore that for a few years.
With the establishment of the Archie multiverse, is there a potential to have a Crisis on Infinite Archies. Segura slyly said that that’s a very good idea. You can practically hear the ellipses in there.

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