Archie Comics has flipped the script as soon as once more, and final week introduced one other daring and stunning reinvention of its basic characters: Archie 1941, co-written by longtime collaborators Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, who labored collectively on DC’s The Flash, JLA: 12 months One and far more; and illustrated by Peter Krause, himself a frequent Waid collaborator on collection like BOOM! Studios’ Irredeemable.
Archie 1941 takes Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and the remainder of the gang again to the 12 months the place Archie Andrews first debuted: 1941 (as you’ve absolutely guessed by now). After all, 1941 additionally marks the real-life begin of the USA’ involvement in World Battle II, and this five-issue collection — which is able to take the place of the flagship Archie collection, additionally written by Waid, throughout its run — is about to discover the results of the battle on Riverdale, in what goals to be a extra critical but nonetheless authentically “Archie” story.
CBR talked with Waid, Augustyn and Krause about Archie 1941, how the collection developed, what World Battle II says about Riverdale and vice versa, and the way these basic (and infrequently comedic) comedian e book characters react to the tragedy of “the conflict to finish all wars.”
CBR: First, I’m curious: Even for present-day Archie Comics, the place it’s normal to count on the sudden, this challenge feels a bit out of left subject. What impressed Archie 1941? How did the challenge come collectively?
Mark Waid: It was generated in-house. Mike Pellerito known as me and requested me if it was one thing I’d be excited by taking a crack at.
Peter Krause: Mike Pellerito contacted me earlier this 12 months about doing the collection after I’d drawn some covers and completed some continuity pages for an additional proposed collection. When he informed me Mark and Brian had been writing it, I used to be bought.
There are definitely lots of World Battle II narratives in popular culture — what can the Archie characters say about WWII that’s distinctive? And what does implementing real-life occasions into storylines reveal concerning the Archie characters?
Brian Augustyn: Past the drama inherent in such a major historic period, now we have an excellent alternative to have a look at the collection characters and setting by the lens of that period. How are they basically the identical, how are they totally different? And in addition, it offers us an opportunity to inform the story of the house entrance. How does the shadow of world conflict have an effect on the residents of Riverdale?
Is Archie 1941 impressed at the very least partially by the truth that Archie Andrews first debuted in 1941?
Waid: I’m positive that’s the place the unique thought got here from, however as soon as all of us realized there was a possible story — an excellent one — behind the gag, we had been off to the races.
Mark and Brian, you’ve gotten a protracted historical past of working collectively, but it surely’s been some time since readers have seen your names credited collectively. What’s it been like working collectively once more?
Waid: Terrific. With out lacking a beat. I’m all the time higher after I run my concepts by Brian and we will speak out plots — he’s not solely a buddy, he’s an excellent author who retains me sincere!
Augustyn: In most methods it’s as if we by no means stopped, so pure and complimentary are our instincts. We’ve finished a lot of our greatest work over time as a workforce, and it’s nice to “get the band again collectively,” as Mark says. Mark is likely one of the greatest writers in comics, and it is a unbelievable challenge to tackle collectively!
Mark and Peter — you’ve collaborated extensively. How have you ever loved the distinctive expertise of Archie 1941?
Waid: We couldn’t have requested for a greater artist for this story. Pete’s good — his humanity and his consideration to element are key parts.
Krause: Mark is likely one of the individuals I owe for persevering with my comics profession. This would be the fourth collection we’ve collaborated on, and it’s all the time a pleasure and a problem. The enjoyment is discovering the unimaginable humanity that Mark places into every of the characters. Brian has amped that up much more so together with his contributions — these writers have even made me really feel for Reggie!
The problem is making an attempt to mirror that humanity within the drawing. Hopefully that’s a problem I’ve met.
Peter, what’s it been like illustrating this collection? It seems like there are at the very least two distinctive challenges — making the Archie characters distinct however recognizable, and in addition nailing the real-world interval factor of the story.
Krause: Doing the analysis for the real-world parts has been satisfying. That period has been extensively recorded. Some library techniques have on-line entry to highschool yearbooks of the time — invaluable should you’re in search of hairstyles and clothes. Different sources I’ve used have been reprints of Sears catalogs and images from the Farm Safety Administration (FSA) that doc small-town life.
As to the characters, some will likely be simply recognizable — Archie will all the time have pink hair. However there are some adjustments. For instance, I didn’t discover ponytails to be in vogue, so Betty won’t have one. I went with a newsboy cap for Jughead — I believe it matches the character and the occasions. And for Fred Andrews (Archie’s dad), I riffed a bit off of the Riverdale TV present and made him slimmer than he’s been portrayed within the comics. Drawing my very own variations of the entire Archie gang has been a private spotlight.
Mark, you’ve been writing the modern adventures of Archie and the gang for a number of years now. How are they totally different in Archie 1941? In what methods do they continue to be fixed?
Waid: At core, they’re the identical youngsters. Archie’s the big-hearted clumsy nitwit, Jughead’s the most effective buddy, Veronica’s the everlasting debutante, Betty’s the tomboy, and Reggie is Reggie is Reggie. What makes all of them totally different right here is the circumstance. World Battle II is coming at America and it’s coming quick.
Additionally, the present Archie run has handled some critical materials, but additionally retains the inherent Archie Comics playfulness — as you’ve mentioned, Mark, there’s all the time going to be a “second the place Archie finally ends up with a paint bucket over his head.” Clearly Archie 1941 offers with somber materials, however do you are feeling it’s of the same tone as the remainder of your run?
Waid: Not completely, no. It’s undoubtedly extra critical. That mentioned, there nonetheless should be laughs, and even within the thick of the drama, Brian and I’ve discovered them.
Augustyn: As a co-conspirator, I can take a shot at this: The tone of Archie 1941 is extra critical than the common collection, however not with out humor, or nice human moments. We’re making an attempt to maintain a stability even within the face of the plain tragedy of the conflict to finish all wars.
Archie 1941 #1 is schedule for launch on Sept. 12 from Archie Comics.