The writer of ‘Action Philosophers,’ ‘MODOK’s 11’ and more discusses his work on Archie’s 80th anniversary one-shot, which arrives in stores next week.
Fred Van Lente is well known as the writer behind Action Philosophers, The Comic Book History of Comics, Archer and Armstrong, MODOK’S 11 and many more. He’s written novels like The Con Artist and Ten Dead Comedians, and he co-wrote the play King Kirby, which premiered earlier this year as a podcast.
Van Lente is also the writer of the new comic Everything’s Archie. The one-shot from Van Lente and artist Dan Parent is a collection of linked short comics that center around Archie trying to make enough money to buy a new guitar. To do that, Archie signs up for an app and what follows is a satire of the gig economy with multiple jokes about late stage capitalism, and yet, it still feels like an Archie comic we’ve seen before.
Van Lente and Parent’s comic is paired with an Archie story from 1997 by the late George Gladir and Stan Goldberg, Betty in High School 2021 A.D. The story went viral because of remote learning and other not entirely inaccurate predictions about this rather unusual year. I spoke with Van Lente recently about the comic, which is out next week.
‘Everything’s Archie’ will present a new story in the classic Archie art style.
Archie Andrews celebrates his 80th anniversary this year, and Archie Comics will acknowledge the milestone with a new one-shot, Everything’s Archie. Fred Van Lente and longtime Archie artist Dan Parent will craft all-new story told in the traditional Archie Comics art-style.
The comic is the first in a series of classic-styled one-shots celebrating the anniversary.
“You can always tell a great franchise because it quickly and easily updates to any era, and bringing Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead into our world of social media insanity and real life anxiety was…pretty effortless,” said Van Lente. “Turns out the Riverdale gang is your perfect guide to modern living, even if half the time they can’t figure it out for themselves!”
“I’m now a pretty big believer that the Riverdale gang can fit with practically any other characters and genres,” Parker said, “but it’s best when they get to really flex and go way outside their zone like say, the planet Mongo with Flash Gordon, King of the Impossible. This of course coincides with the sad passing of cinema great Max Von Sydow who was the most memorable Ming the Merciless, and wait until you see our take on the Emperor of Mongo.”
Alex Segura, Matthew Rosenberg and Dan Parents bring the new wave band to Riverdale.
Alex Segura, Matthew Rosenberg and Dan Parent are bringing together The Archies and new wave band the B-52s in a new one-shot next year.
Archie Meets the B-52s sees the creators of such songs as “Roam,” “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster” heading to Riverdale for some quirky fun.
“I’m so excited to not only revisit Archie’s legendary run of off-the-wall, awesome music crossovers, but to do it with my original partner in crime, Archie legend, Dan Parent,” said co-writer and Archie Comics Co-President Alex Segura. “The B-52s are a seminal, quirky, and groundbreaking group, and I feel so lucky to have the chance to make a little rock and roll history with them and Riverdale’s own, The Archies. Expect a lot of bonkers fun, eye-popping art, and a lot of new wave-y adventure.”
Plus Riverdale 10 years later, UK war comics reprinted, and a Scott Adams controversy… again.
Awards: Chelsea Saunders, whose work is often published at The Nib, is the winner of the 2019 Locher Award for emerging editorial cartoonists. Hit that link for some good reading, because the runners-up have a lot of talent as well.
Find out how Archie, Betty and Veronica are doing 10 years after getting married.
It was 10 years ago that Archie Comics took their flagship character in a new direction and launched the Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty miniseries, which showed two alternate futures where Archie married Veronica and married Betty. (Not at the same time, of course … although maybe that’ll be the main plot of season seven of Riverdale, when all the kids are older.)
To celebrate their aluminum anniversary, Archie Comics will publish Archie: The Married Life 10th Anniversary this August, uniting the original writer, Michael Uslan, with artist Dan Parent. The story picks up with the 10-year anniversary of each couple.
“Now is the right time for new stories taking a look at where the former newlyweds, Archie & Veronica, and Archie & Betty, have wound up ten years later,” Uslan said. “We’ll see how they’re struggling with, among many current and relevant things, a widening generation gap with their own children and much more.”
Check out a preview of the first issue, due out July 26.
This past spring Archie Comics announced that their “classic-style” Archie would return in a new series by Ty Templeton and Dan Parent … with a small twist. Parent and Templeton have tweaked the artwork a bit, noting it “will be influenced from the styles and fashion of The CW’s hit new Riverdale TV series, but will remain familiar for fans of the classic style.”
The company has now released a preview of the first issue, which looks and feels more like the traditional Archie, but with the twist they noted in their release. The first five issues will feature connecting variant cover by Les McClaine, and there’s also an Incredible Hulk #181 tribute cover featuring Archie vs. Jughead that’s exclusive to Stadium Comics.
Plus: classic Archie returns, Tom King, Black Panther and more.
Battle of the Cons: The court case between Comic-Con International (which runs the San Diego comic con) and Salt Lake Comic Con over CCI’s claim that it owns the term “comic con” moves into a crucial stage this week with two days of depositions today and tomorrow, followed by a settlement hearing before a judge on Thursday. That hearing will determine whether it all ends there or the case will go to trial in October. CCI owns the trademark to “comic-con” with a hyphen but the case is murkier for the unhyphenated version; Salt Lake Comic Con was allowed to trademark its name last year.
Plus news and updates on NBM, ‘Saga,” Dan Parent and more.
Robert Crumb’s original art for the cover of the 1969 Fritz the Cat collection has set a new record price for a piece of original American comics art: The drawing sold for $717,000 at an auction run by Heritage Auctions; the next highest price for a piece of American comics art is the $657,250 that someone paid for the last page of Incredible Hulk #180, which features the first appearance of Wolverine. Internationally, Tintin art is still top of the heap; one set of drawings brought in $3.5 million, and two other original Tintin drawings have sold for over $1 million apiece.
With reboot Archie, zombie Archie and CW Archie all going strong, longtime fans of the character might have been wondering if they’d ever see the classic Dan DeCarlo/Bob Montana version of the character in comic books again. Fear not; Archie Comics announced today a new series, My Pal Archie, by Dan Parent and Ty Templeton, that brings back the Archie you remember … mostly.
Dan Parent is currently in the midst of stage of his long career where his hard work is reaping substantial reward. In addition to his great gains in the Archie Universe, Dan has a Kickstarter (Die Kitty Die) along with Fernando Ruiz that asks: “What happens when a longtime comic book character has come to the end of her run? You kill her! But how? That’s where the fun begins…”
Tim O’Shea: After a couple of years is it good to no longer be pigeonholed as the resident expert writing GLBT characters?
Dan Parent: Well, I don’t really mind. I mean, I do a lot of other work, but my work with Kevin Keller is probably my most important, so I’m happy to be pigeonholed there!
What are you most proud of in terms of your storytelling dynamics for the Archie Universe?
In addition to Kevin, my Archie/Valerie storyline was something I was proud of. And I’m happy that I’ve been allowed to take the Archie characters into more progressive territory than was allowed in the past.
Who do you regard as rising stars among the current roster of Archie creative talent?
Well, Gisele Lagace is great, but she’s a rising star with her own webcomics. And Fernando Ruiz is doing the best work of his career!
In what ways have you honed your storytelling skills in recent years?
More realistic dialogue, less slapsticky.
Am I right in thinking you take a great amount of effort in fostering a rapport with fans at cons. How critical has that been for your long-term success?
I have a great relationship with the fans at cons. They give me a lot of insight about what they like and what they don’t like. And they’re the people you want to listen to, because they’re the real fans and they know what they’re talking about.
Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask you about?
Hmm.. you didn’t ask me…Betty or Veronica….and of course, it’s Veronica!