Archie Comics doubles up on ‘humor, heart and horror’ in 2022 and beyond
Archie Comics is celebrating 80 years in the business, and while Archie and the Riverdale are sometimes known as throwbacks, they still stick with the times both in the comics and on television – and according to its new best editor, they’re using the company’s classic fundamentals of “Humor, Heart and Horror” – but adapting them to today’s audience.
Jamie L. Rotante, Senior Managing Editor at Archie Comics, has seen a lot in her ten years with the company; after entering as a proofreader and rising through the ranks as a copywriter and writer, she came to understand the family-owned comic book publisher and the different audiences it attracts – whether on television, in comic book stores and bookstores, on digital devices, or in the queue at your local grocery store.
As Rotante tells us, Archie Comics will double the anthology format in the months and years to come, starting with November 3. Scary adventures in witchcraft. Archie is no stranger to anthologies, but she and her team are exploring new avenues to gain the attention of fans (and potential fans).
In this interview with Newsarama, Rotante talks about Archie Comics’ plans for the future, including the return of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the absence of longtime Archie title.
Newsarama: In the Chilling Adventures in Sorcery press release, it says that “Archie Comics’ future begins here.” For you, what does the future of Archie Comics look like?
Jamie L. Rotante: It might sound funny at first, but a lot of planning for the future is done by thinking about the past. Namely, the history of Archie’s edition. As we celebrated Archie’s 80th birthday, we had the opportunity to reflect on who we are as a company and what sets Archie apart from all other comic book publishers.
The model of making anthology-style books with a variety of short stories is nothing new to Archie Comics. It’s a big part of the company’s editorial DNA.
I think a big draw to Archie (and I know it always was for me growing up), was the ease of access to our comics and our characters. So many people started reading comics (or just started reading in general!) Because of Archie, and that’s because there’s a big accessibility factor. There are very few barriers to entry when it comes to choosing an Archie comic – stories are fun (whether it’s humor, romance, or horror), and the character archetypes are easy to understand and, most importantly, likable.
Longtime comic book fans and brand new comic book readers can pick an Archie comic and jump right in, which is a tradition that is so important to uphold. We always say Archie Comics is for everyone, and we really mean it!
Newsarama: What can longtime fans expect?
Jamie L. Rotante: The return of many favorite characters and franchises. Short stories allow us to incorporate alternate characters and universes that might have been difficult to fit into a miniseries or one-shot. We now have the opportunity to play in many more worlds and we have so many characters to draw from that should appeal to fans old and new!
Newsarama: What are you waiting for the most, as the person who is inside of it all?
Jamie L. Rotante: All! I know it sounds like a simplified answer, but it’s true. There is such a thrill in writing comics and seeing them illustrated and then born into the world, and that same feeling carries just as much weight from an editorial standpoint. Putting each title together gives me that same feeling of excitement over and over again, and being able to share these fun new versions of the characters and see the response from fans is amazing. I also look forward to people who may have never read an Archie comic before picking them up and feeling right at home here in Riverdale.
Newsarama: Let’s go back to the anthologies, which you mentioned earlier. You said the anthology format gives your team the “chance to tackle a variety of genres and simultaneously collaborate with exciting new talent and longtime favorites.”
Archie has been doing anthologies from the start, but these oversized genre-based anthologies – are there more to come?
Jamie Le. Rotant: Yes! We play with a few different models – some are gender-based, others are tied to specific holidays and seasons, but each bi-weekly anthology allows us to tell a variety of short, entertaining stories featuring different characters and storylines. .
What’s especially exciting about this model is the ability to bring a lot of talent to each book. We love going back to work with some of our favorite creators to tell new stories outside of the longer ones they’ve created in the past. Likewise, it’s a great way to bring in lots of new faces and styles to develop our talent pool and expand our reach. It also allows fans to see Archie’s characters in different art styles and to trace the evolution of their designs over time. The heart of these stories and the artwork will unquestionably be Archie, but in different flavors – what we hope is to strike the right balance so that there is something for every type of reader to enjoy. comic.
Newsarama: Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m reassured when I see a digest of Archie sitting there. How does this side of the business work these days, and do you have any new ideas on that front?
Jamie Le. Rotant: Our digestion program is stronger than ever! It is absolutely reassuring to see these giant summaries in stores and checkout aisles.
The challenges faced over the past year have made us realize how many people come to Archie Comics as kind of comfort food. No matter what happens, our characters are always there to tell stories full of humor and heart. It’s also a testament to Archie’s dedicated team for keeping these books filled with great content week after week, including the new main stories featured in each digest. From digest to our collection of classic graphic novels, it’s very important to keep our editorial heritage alive. Knowing that these comics are a source of comfort to so many people really helps us keep moving forward.
Newsarama: Archie turns 80 this year. What are the big lessons you take from its story that you want to be Archie Comics’ message in the future?
Jamie Le. Rotant: We’ve said a lot internally that there are three H’s in Archie – Humor, Heart, and Horror. These have been our cornerstones for over eight decades, and they have only grown stronger in recent years, especially during Jon Goldwater’s reign as CEO / Editor.
Archie Comics is for everyone, and it’s something that’s so important to remember. There are so many different types of comic book fans, and besides, so many different types of Archie Comic book lovers. As long as we can continue to make products that they all satisfy and want more, we know we’re doing something right (and clearly, we’ve been doing it for 80 years!)
Newsarama: We’re only months away from your career as Archie’s best editor, but you already have Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on track after years of delay, and even a second Sabrina series. which picks up where the TV show left off. What do you think of Sabrina’s “family” of titles?
Jamie Le. Rotant: It’s been great to see Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa return to writing comics, and it coincided well with starting our new release plans at the same time. He’s an incredible talent and we know our fans can’t wait to keep reading the stories he created alongside Robert Hack, and see him continue the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix series narrative with Audrey Mok in The Occult World of Sabrina. Roberto is a genius in his approach to our characters and he has so many stories to tell, it’s always an honor to see him create these wonderful tales and series for us.
We’ll continue to keep fans and retailers informed when new issues have firm release dates and do our best to keep the excitement going next year for Sabrina’s 60th birthday!
Newsarama: Are there any plans to reboot or relaunch the main Archie comic book series, which was discontinued after Archie # 713 of July 2020?
Jamie Le. Rotant: Nothing is excluded, but it’s a matter of timing and understanding our audience and the market. These new, shorter stories and anthologies are a template we’d like to apply for most of our projects going forward, but that doesn’t mean that a continuing series isn’t possible – whether in print, digital or as part of a partnership.
What we really hope is that fans of modern Archie stories will find something in every anthology that they will enjoy.
Newsarama: Last question then: what are your big goals during your first five years as editor at Archie?
Jamie Le. Rotant: From an editorial standpoint, it’s about establishing and maintaining a robust publishing platform that will allow us to continue to tell new and interesting stories with a diverse group of creators. We know there is a dedicated and amazing readership out there looking to see their favorite characters receive love and attention. Making sure they feel seen and heard is very important to us and motivates a lot of what we do.
You can find Archie comics on comic book stores Or on digital platforms.