Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
In Archie Vs. Predator, the unstoppable killing machine of the sci-fi horror franchise that’s previously taken on such comic book tough guys as Batman, Tarzan and Judge Dredd sets his triangular laser sighting mechanism on all-American teen Archie Andrews.
The title, and the premise it suggests, is this comic’s very best gag. Really, the only thing funnier than the thought of an Archie vs. Predator miniseries is knowing that it actually exists.
But is there anything to it, beyond the central joke that’ so wonderfully told on artist Fernando Ruiz’s cover to the first issue?
If you’re observant and know your vintage comics characters, you may already be familiar with this guy: Cosmo the Merry Martian, who had his own Archie Comics title for six issues in the 1950s, back when the Space Race was a thing, and has appeared sporadically in the publisher’s digests ever since.
A couple of years ago, Cosmo began popping up for little cameos in Archie comics, and now he’s making a guest appearance in Archie #655 after his flying saucer crash-lands in Riverdale. The story is scripted by Archie veteran Tom DeFalco — he started his career as an editorial assistant at Archie — and drawn by Fernando Ruiz, who tells 13th Dimension he’s a longtime Cosmo fan:
Cosmo’s been a favorite of mine since his stories turned up in the Archie digests I read as a kid. Ever since I first started drawing for Archie, I hoped for the opportunity to draw him. Impatiently, I would sneak Cosmo into a lot of the Archie stories I drew in the form of a Cosmo cup, a Cosmo popsicle, or even a stuffed Cosmo doll. Now I get to draw him in a story where he really appears! It’s a dream come true!
Archie even had a “Where’s Cosmo” contest in March, inviting readers to look for the blobby extraterrestrial in Ruiz’s recent pages. If you want to get a look at the original Cosmo, check out these pages on Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine. Archie #655 will be out in April.
In the wake of Steve Niles, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Justin Gray’s Creator-Owned Heroes, it’s nice to see other creators establishing informal studios to take a stab at the ongoing-anthology format. Anthony Marques, Fernando Ruiz, Bob Hardin and Fabio Redivo are graduates and current staff instructors of the Kubert School who have teamed to produce Epics, a quarterly comic that serializes four pulp-inspired stories. Marques is creating Katyusha, Ruiz has The Iron Ghost, Hardin’s making A Racy Story and Redivo presents Drake.
The first issue was paid for by fans via Kickstarter and released Sept. 15 during a special signing at Dewy’s Comic City in Madison, New Jersey, but subsequent issues will be published by A Wave Blue World. The publisher has the first issue for sale right now (it’s also available digitally through comiXology) and promises that Issue 2 will be released in March. There are also plans for Katyusha and Iron Ghost spin-off series next year.
Check out previews of all four stories after the break.
My friendship and association with Alex Segura dates back to late 2004 when he invited me to join Robot 6‘s ancestor blog (or however you want to call its relation) The Great Curve. I wear my bias on my sleeve for this interview–I’ve always been a supporter of Segura’s work–be it years at DC Comics, or more recently, his current role as Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing at Archie Comics. In addition to discussing what he’s accomplished to date at Archie (and hopes to achieve in the near to long term), we delve into his own writing and musical pursuits (in the band, The Faulkner Detectives).
Tim O’Shea: Before your first stint with Archie a few years back, you worked at Wizard. So I gotta ask, what’s your reaction to the end of the print magazine?
Alex Segura: On a gut level, it’s sad. Wizard was a big part of my getting into comics – or at least, sticking with them – in middle school and into college. There were times when I wasn’t actively buying any regular comic books but would still pick up Wizard to keep tabs on the industry. Working there was also huge. It was my first full-time job in the industry and gave me a crash course in comics and how they work. I also met some of my best friends there – many of whom I still talk to on a regular basis. Hell, I live with Ryan Penagos, who I first met at Wizard. So, yeah. I have a lot of fond memories of both my time at the company and my relationship with the magazine leading up to that.
Professionally, I’m not all that surprised. There was a time when Wizard was a major tastemaker – they had a big part in the rise of Image and for a long while broke major news from the Big Two. But with the rise of comic news on the web, it just seemed like they got left behind. Hopefully this new incarnation can revive the company. We’ll see.