Archie’s horror heroines unite in ‘The Cursed Library Alpha’

‘All of this matters. There is a fabric.’

If you picked up Archie’s Free Comic Book Day title this year, The Cursed Library, then you know it served as a prelude to a bigger event that will unite the Archie Horror-verse. All the various threads laid out in the Archie Horror line’s one-shots over the last few years will come together in The Cursed Library Alpha, the first of three issues that’ll be released later this year.

Magdalene Visaggio and Eliot Rahal will co-write the event, which will feature artwork by Craig Cermak. They’re joined by colorist Matt Herms and letterer Jack Morelli.

The Cursed Library event that Mags and I have been asked to helm is unlike any other moment in Archie Comics history,” Rahal said. “It’s both a throughline and nexus point that weaves together everything in the Archie Horror universe that’s happened so far. Its goal is to provide shape to the world that has been created. The Cursed Library is essentially saying: ‘All of this matters. There is a fabric.’”

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Can’t Wait for Saturday | Free Comic Book Day brings Absolute Power, Jonny Quest + more

Check out a few of the cool + free comics you’ll find at your local retailer this Saturday.

The comic industry’s biggest holiday returns tomorrow as shops around the world bring you Free Comic Book Day, the annual event that yes, indeed, does offer you free comics.

The annual event started in 2002 based on an idea from retailer Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California. Since then, it’s become a cultural phenomenon, typically coming on the first Saturday in May, though sometimes in the past that wavered based on a new comic book movie’s release date. You can find a participating shop on the FCBD website, and see if any of your local shops are holding special events, sales or creator signings in conjunction with the event.

But of course, the focus is on the free comics. Many publishers use it as an opportunity to reshare a recent favorite or offer a prelude to an upcoming storyline or crossover. Still other will produce something wholly original or introduce a brand new title.

I’ve pulled out a few that look interesting to me below, and you can find the complete list of what could be available at your local shop on the FCBD site. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Not every retailer may have every title. Depending on their shop, they may elect to only have titles they think will excite their clientele.
  • Some retailers may limit the number of free comics you can take, while others may require a purchase.
  • Speaking of which, while titles are free to consumers, they are not free to retailers. So you may want to think about buying some other comics while you’re there regardless.
  • Some of the titles will also be available digitally, in case you can’t make it out on Saturday. So be sure to check your favorite digital comics site on Saturday as well.
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Ron Robbins + Laura Braga play a game of ‘Truth or Dare’ with Archie Horror

The one-shot will bring Trula Twyst into the Archie Horror-verse for some fun and games.

I would think one of the fun things about working on the Archie Horror line would be that you could grab your copy of the Archie Encyclopedia, open it to a random page, point at a character and ask, “Ok, what evil thing can we do with them?”

Archie has a vast library of characters just waiting for their turn to do something terrible, or at least have something terrible done to them. Which brings me to Chilling Adventures Presents … Truth or Dare, a new one-shot announced by Archie this week. It brings a character named Trula Twyst into the Archie Horror universe, and based on her encyclopedia entry, I suspect she was destined to be there all along:

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Archie Andrews battles demons in ‘Archie Comics: Judgment Day’

The first Archie Premium Event debuts in May.

Archie Comics has announced what they’re calling their first “Archie Premium Event,” titled Archie Comics: Judgment Day. The Archie Horror title will feature a powered-up Archie Andrews battling in a Riverdale overrun by demons.

The story is written by Aubrey Sitterson, who penned Archie vs. The World and  No One Left to Fight. He’s joined by Rockstars artist Megan Hutchison, colorist Matt Herms and letterer Jack Morelli.

Judgment Day places Archie Andrews squarely at the center, acting as our hero—but with the power to choose who lives and who dies, can he truly remain a hero through and through?” said Archie Comics’ Jesse Goldwater. “This miniseries raises the stakes more than any title we’ve ever done before. The fate of the entire world is in Archie’s hands.”

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Bunn + Schoening continue the story of cult leader Bingo Wilkin this spring

‘The Cult of That Wilkin Boy: Initiation’ will arrive in stores in April.

The classic Archie character Bingo Wilkin received a makeover as a rock star-turned-cult leader last year courtesy of Archie Horror, and this spring he’ll return for another round of fame, fortune and satanic worship in The Cult of That Wilkin Boy: Initiation.

The one-shot will reunite writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dan Schoening, who worked on the previous story of Bingo and his quest for fame. They’re joined by inker Ben Galvan, colorist Matt Herms and letterer Jack Morelli. 

“I’m so excited to have the chance to write a new Bingo story,” Bunn said. “Initiation stands completely on its own as a fun, dark little horror tale. But, for those who have read The Cult of That Wilkin Boy, it continues the tale of deviltry and supernatural shenanigans in an exciting way. Returning to this world, I wanted to tell a tale that was a natural progression for Bingo but was also an amplification of the nightmarish horror that surrounds him.”

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Archie Horror’s ‘Month of Mayhem’ returns for a second year

Madam Satan, the Toybox of Terror and more will return in new one-shots from the publisher.

After slowing down during the pandemic, the Archie Horror line found new life last year when the publisher unleashed a wave of one-shots for the Halloween horror season. This year the publisher has planned another “Month of Mayhem” for the fall, with new chills and returning characters.

“We’re so excited to return to our Month of Mayhem event this year, celebrating all things horror and Halloween throughout October,” said Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante. “From a psychological thriller in Welcome to Riverdale and a collection of middle-grade horror tales in Toybox of Terror, not to mention all the Halloween fun in our classic-style comics and digests, there’s truly something for every Halloween lover from Archie!”

Here’s a look at what to prepare for.

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Archie will reveal its first trans character in ‘Strange Science’ one-shot

Danni Malloy, who first appeared in the Archie Horror line on Free Comic Book Day, will star in the one-shot that arrives in August.

Archie Comics has announced the next one-shot in the Archie Horror line, Chilling Adventures Presents… Strange Science, which will arrive in August by writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Butch Mapa.

They’re joined by colorist Ellie Wright and letterer by Jack Morelli on the title, which will once again feature the character Danni Malloy, who will be revealed to be a trans woman in the story.

“I’ve been wanting to make this happen for a long time, and it’s really cool to see it finally come to fruition,” Visaggio said. “I never wanted Danni’s trans identity to be gimmicky, or for her to feel like she was only created to be trans. So, I’d like to apologize for sneaking her over the line like this! I wanted you to have a chance to fall in love with her for who she is, not what she is. I’m honored I got to make it happen, and I’m grateful to Archie for never, not even once, pushing back on my insistence on making their books a little bit more queer. I hope Danni finds a good home at Archie with supportive writers and artists helping to keep her alive for years to come.”

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Archie Horror slashes its way through summer camp in ‘Camp Pickens’

The one-shot will feature stories by Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Jordan Morris, Diana Camero and more.

Summer camps always bring out the best in the horror genre, and Archie Horror will visit Camp Pickens in June, a “ridiculously haunted” camp named for Colonel Pickens, an ancestor of Jughead Jones.

The one-shot will feature multiple stories set at the camp, with a framing sequence by Jordan Morris and Diana Camero, as well as a ghost story by Blake Howard and artist Carola Borelli and a slasher tale by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. Matt Herms and Jack Morelli provides colors and letters, respectively.

“Stories set at summer camp are synonymous with Archie,” said Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante. “Many fans will agree that some of their fondest memories were reading Archie digests while at camp. So, naturally, we had to do a camp-based horror one-shot.” 

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Li’l Jinx returns to Archie Horror for ‘A Cursed Life’

Magdalene Visaggio and Craig Cermak reunite for a new story featuring the mischievous Jinx.

Jinx Holliday, aka Li’l Jinx, the classic Archie Comics character who was born on Halloween, will return to the world of Archie Horror in Chilling Adventures Presents … Jinx: A Cursed Life.

Jinx made the jump to Archie’s more frightening imprint last year in an anthology that featured a framing story by Magdalene Visaggio and Craig Cermak. They’ll reunite for this new story featuring the character in a comic-length adventure, joined by colorist Ellie Wright and letterer Jack Morelli.

“It is a blast to not only continue Jinx’s exploits but to now venture into the occult and otherworldly!” Cermak said. “Throughout this tale’s hellish predicament, getting to develop the charmingly hilarious interplay between Jinx and Danni is a particular stand-out as an artist—so much room for very fun expressions and mannerisms. Modernizing both characters has been a true honor. The scripts by Magdalene continue to be sharp, fast-paced delights, providing a great mix of humor and horror for me to go wild. Rock ’n’ roll, flying burgers, possession, and friends who’ve got your back—what more could you ask for?”

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Final girl next door: Archie announces new horror one-shot featuring Betty

Micol Ostow, Laura Braga and more visit the ‘final girl’ horror trope in a new one-shot.

Archie Horror continues to find new, fun ways to mash up the Riverdale gang with the horror genre and tropes. Their latest project will cast everyone’s favorite “girl next door” as a “final girl” in Betty: The Final Girl.

Archie’s press release defines a “final girl” as “the clever survivor who carries a relentless plot across the finish line, taking it to the bad guy in the last scene.” For reference, see Halloween, Friday the 13th, Scream and any number of slasher movies out there.

Betty won’t be the only Archie character spotlighted in this issue, as the one-shot will include multiple stories, with a framing sequence written by Micol Ostow.

“I’m a diehard horror fan, and I’ve been obsessed with how seamlessly Archie’s been able to integrate different styles, levels, and aesthetics of spookiness into their Archie Horror library,” Ostow said. “And while I don’t have one favorite scary movie or book, I’ve always been a sucker for the ‘final girl’ trope. It hit me that Betty would make a fantastic final girl: blonde, kick-ass, capable!”

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2023 Free Comic Book Day gold titles include Spider-Man, Fishflies, Dog Man and more

The first 13 titles include selections from Marvel, BOOM!, IDW, Image, Dark Horse and more.

Diamond has announced the first round of Free Comic Book Day titles for 2023. The “gold sponsor” titles for next year will include comics from Marvel, Dark Horse, AfterShock, Image, VIZ, Kodansha, Archie, BOOM!, Graphix, IDW, Titan and Dynamite, for a total of 13 titles, as Marvel will have two gold level books.

“This year’s lineup of titles has something for every kind of comic fan,” said Ashton Greenwood, Free Comic Book Day spokesperson. “We’re looking forward to another great year celebrating comic books and comic book shops, and we think this year’s lineup gives fans a lot to be excited about!”

The rest of the batch — otherwise known as the silver sponsor titles — will be announced later this week. Free Comic Book Day is scheduled for May 6, 2023.

Here’s a look at each gold-level title:

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Put some horror into your holidays with Archie’s ‘Happy Horror Days’ one-shot

Frank Tieri, Joe Eisma, Joanne Starer and more put the ‘ho, ho, ho’ into horror this December.

The Archie Horror line returns with a vengeance this fall, starting this week with Chilling Adventures Presents . . . Weirder Mysteries and continuing on into October with several new titles. But if you think you’ll be safe after Oct. 31, think again — Archie has announced Happy Horror Days, a one-shot holiday special that will add a bit of fright to your holiday festivities.

The one-shot will feature three stories, including a new Jughead: The Hunger tale by Frank Tieri and Joe Eisma, a Sheila Wu story by Joanne Starer and Butch Mapa, and a Sugar Plum story by Joe Corallo and Patrick Piazzalunga.

“In ”Twas the Night Before the Hunger,’ X-Mas turns into an X-Massacre when Jughead finds himself up against none other than a pissed off Krampus one fine Christmas morn. It’s a nice little tale of ho-ho-horror where we may see more than just Christmas cookies and hamburgers getting eaten,” Tieri said about his and Eisma’s story, which returns to the world where Jughead is a werewolf.

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