Audience reaction to the trailer for the new ongoing comic book series Afterlife with Archie was strong and positive, as were the responses to clips from the brand new CGI animation series Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch (which had debuted earlier that day) and the upcoming cartoon It’s Archie, but even Archie’s zombie apocalypse got trumped by the revelation that Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge are leaving Riverdale. The storyline’s title alone elicited gasps throughout the audience gathered to hear all the Archie Comics updates at this past weekend’s New York Comic Con: Farewell, Betty and Veronica.
Betty and Veronica are leaving Riverdale and leaving the town’s young men down in the dumps. Two other characters soon arrive to join the cast, and Farewell artist Dan Parent (creator of Kevin Keller) confirmed that these characters will be female. Farewell author Michael Uslan, who put Archie “back on the map” with Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty, said the graphic novel will explore exactly what it means to be “a Betty” or “a Veronica.”
Afterwards, I learned the plot (which I wouldn’t even admit to knowing if Michael hadn’t told people that I know the story) and I can guarantee you that it is a doozy. The setup makes sense, the story takes the characters in fascinating directions, and then some brilliant and logical twists lead to a true exploration of the chacters’ natures. Seven decades as best friends and worst enemies have led up to what will be one heck of a story for Betty and Veronica.
Archie Comics’ innovations and fearlessness in recent years have made it an exciting company filled with creators who love what they’re doing in a time when not everyone is having fun creating comic books and graphic novels. It was a bit amazing to see how lively the Archie booth was at NYCC this year. Archie and company are alive and well in the 21st century.