"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Passings | Archie Comics artist Tom Moore died yesterday at the age of 86. Moore got his start as an artist in the Navy, where he served during the Korean War: His captain found a caricature that Moore had drawn, and instead of calling him on the carpet, he assigned him to be staff cartoonist. Moore’s comic strip, Chick Call, ran in military publications, and after the war he studied cartooning in New York, with help from the GI Bill. Moore signed on with Archie Comics, drawing one comic book a month, from 1953 until 1961, when he left cartooning for public relations. “It’s important to create characters that can adapt to anything, but whose personalities are consistent,” Moore said in a 2008 interview. “Establish that, and don’t deviate. Betty doesn’t act like Veronica, and Charlie Brown doesn’t act like Lucy.” He returned to cartooning in 1970, drawing Snuffy Smith, Underdog, and Mighty Mouse, and then went back to Archie to help reboot Jughead, staying on until his retirement in the late 1980s. After retiring, Moore taught at El Paso Community College and was a regular customer at All Star Comics. [El Paso Times]
Publishing | DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio talk about the comics market as a whole, variant covers, and their move to Burbank, among many other topics, in a three-part interview. [ICv2]
Commentary | Christopher Butcher discusses the way the comics audience has diversified, and the way that parts of the industry (the parts that aren’t involved, basically) have refused to acknowledge the enormous popularity of newer categories of comics by “othering” them: “‘Manga aren’t comics,’ went the discussion. They were, and are in many ways, treated as something else. The success that they had, the massive success that they continue to have, doesn’t ‘count’. All those sales and new readers were just ‘a fad’, and not worthy of interest, respect, or comparison to real comics. It was the one thing that superhero-buying-snobs and art-comics-touting-snobs could agree on (with the exception of Dirk Deppey at TCJ, bless him): This shit just isn’t comics, real comics, therefore we don’t have to engage it.” Butcher sees these attitudes changing at last, though, thanks to the massive commercial and critical success of books like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (three years on the New York Times graphic novel best-seller list!) and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer. [Comics212]
Archie Comics has launched what it calls its new app — it’s really an update of the publisher’s existing iOS and Android apps — with an offer of 100 free comics for those who download it. And there may be more: I asked Archie’s Alex Segura how long the promotion would be in effect and he said, “We’re looking to have this up for about a month, and if downloads reach a certain threshold, we’ll be unlocking more free books on a tiered basis to celebrate the new app launches on Android and iOS.”
There’s quite a range of free comics available on the app, including classics, recent releases and comics that feature the side characters Jinx, Sabrina (original and manga versions) and Cosmo the Merry Martian. Not present: Afterlife With Archie, which carries a teen rating as opposed to Archie’s standard all-ages rating. There are also no Sonic, Mega Man or New Crusaders freebies, although they are available for in-app purchase. Say what? Yes, this app is built on iVerse’s Comics Plus platform, so you can buy new comics in-app. The app also includes Archie Unlimited, an all-you-can eat subscription service that allows subscribers to read a ton of comics, both new and back issues; because it’s integrated into the app, you can then buy the ones you want to keep.
Here are my picks for six free Archie comics that make entertaining reading, especially on a lazy summer weekend.
Yesterday, Johanna Draper Carlson noted the subscription for the Jughead comic seems to have disappeared from the Archie Comics website, and some folks at Archiefans.com say they’ve received e-mails stating the title has been canceled.
I decided to go straight to the source and asked Archie’s new director of publicity and marketing, Adam Tracey, what the deal is. Here’s his reply:
As you’re aware, Archie has been reinventing itself for the last three years. That reinvention process is most visible in books like Life With Archie, Kevin Keller, The Art of Betty & Veronica, the New Crusaders comic, the Sonic and Archie Super Specials, and much more. Because Jughead is a very important character to us, that reinvention process will also apply to him. So while we’re putting together exactly how to do that, we’ve put the Jughead comic on hiatus until the relaunch happens. Fans of Jughead can rest assured that they’ll definitely be seeing more of him in the future.
The Jughead comic has been running since 1949, making it one of Archie’s oldest titles. It’s a favorite of mine because it often features good writing and stories that break the Archie mold a bit, so I’ll be watching to see what Jughead’s new incarnation looks like.
In this week’s What Are You Reading?, I mentioned that Jughead Double Digest #182 includes a strange, surrealistic story from 1990, “Jughead’s Diner.” The Archie folks were kind enough to share a couple of pages with Robot 6 so you can see what I was talking about. The intro to the story is done in blue and gray tones, and when Jughead is transported, on the page above, the palette shifts into full color and the panels start getting crowded. It’s written by Dan Parent (who later would create Archie’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller) and illustrated by Bill Golliher.
Like Archie’s Mad House, this wanders off the Riverdale reservation but never gets too edgy. On the other hand, it’s fun to see Parent and Golliher playing with the basic ingredients and coming up with new characters, even if most of them only have a few lines.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Launching on iPad, iPhone, Android and Flash — presumably, the latter means Facebook and Google+ — the story-driven game will feature “all the classic and iconic elements of Archie’s world, from Riverdale High to his two love interests, Betty and Veronica — not to mention friends and foes like Reggie, Jughead and more.”
“We’re excited and honored to be partnering with Gogii Games,” Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in a statement. “They came up with a way to really bring the comics to life and to engage an entirely new and fervent fan base. We can’t wait for this game to go live across all platforms and countries.”
Although the announcement notes that development is already under way, no release date has been made public.
Based in New Brunswick, Canada, Gogii boasts a catalog of more than 30 games, including Princess Isabella, White Haven Mysteries and Escape the Museum.
Of all the Archie lines, the Jughead comics seem to be the most interesting. I know the main Archie comic has Kevin Keller and Kiss and all that, but the Jughead authors seem to mix things up a bit more and come up with more original story lines.
What struck me about this preview, though, was the art in the first story—it’s very much in the Archie tradition (look at Jughead’s sideways smile in the first panel, below) but somehow more dynamic as well. Penciler Ron Frenz seems to be a longtime Archie artist, so I don’t know why I’m noticing this for the first time, but it really pulled me in. That said, the first page is a bit disturbing; I think it’s the look on Archie’s face that does it. He’s simpering. Archie does not simper, dammit!
Anyway, here is a quick look at two stories from Jughead Double Digest #176; if you like ‘em, the comic goes on sale this week.
Hey kids, it’s time once again for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into the reading habits of your Robot 6 bloggers. This week our special guest is Rik Offenberger, comics journalist and public relations coordinator for Archie Comics.
To see what Rik and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
While the Life With Archie magazine is getting a lot of attention, something interesting is going on in the Jughead comic as well. In the current story, written by Craig Boldman, Jughead leaves home after a disagreement with his parents and crashes in the homes of various friends. As I mentioned earlier this year, this storyline shows Jughead being a bit more introspective than we are used to seeing him—just a bit, as every situation is still played for maximum laughs. It all seems to be coming to a head in Jughead #210, when he decides to move in with Trula Twyst, a fellow student with a penchant for pop psychology. The comic comes out next week, but we have an exclusive preview after the jump.
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.
Twitter is a wonderful thing — it allows people to speak and share their mind, and in the case of comics, show off cool artwork. After Eric Powell broke the news that Evan Dorkin was guest-writing an issue of The Goon, Dorkin’s Beasts of Burden partner Jill Thompson posted an interesting sketch of her own:
That’s right: Jill Thompson drawing Archie’s Jughead and Betty. On her Twitter feed, Thompson simply stated “so I’m doodling these guys… I think they work in my style.” Seconds later, she posts a painted version:
If there’s one thing that today’s mainstream media coverage of the death of a Fantastic Four member proves, it’s that slow news days are great for Marvel Comics. But if there’s another, then it’s that Death = Attention in the crazy, depressing world of comic book math. Bearing that in mind, here are some new candidates for the Grim Reaper, to goose some other publishers’ coffers. Continue Reading »