§ December 17th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on ATTACK OF THE GIANTS!

“Unleash…the GIANT SCOTT BAIO!”

So pal Ian e-mailed me to ask if I had anything to say about the impending change in Archie Comics’ house style…to wit:

Pal Dorian has already covered message board reaction to that article, so I guess I’m stuck having to give my own opinion, gosh darn it.

And that opinion is…eh, no big whoop. Quite frankly, just from cursory glances at Archie’s current crop of books, it looks like the grasp on the traditional house style was beginning to slip anyway, getting a little rough around the edges, so it was probably time for some kind of change. And I don’t find this new style too terrible, though I like the sample pencils better than the cover I posted above. I find myself intrigued by what the “realistic” versions of the other characters are going to look like, such as Mr. Weatherbee or school cook Miss Beazley. And any redesign of Reggie has got to be better than this, straight from the Archie web site:

It would be funny if Jughead, after the redesign, looked exactly the same as he always had, in the classic style. Well, I’d find it funny.

The real question is if Archie’s fans will accept this new portrayal of the characters. There’s a lot of resistance evident in that message board thread, but, as Dorian noted, it’s mostly from folks who don’t read Archie anyway, so those opinions can be discounted. The important opinions are from the folks who actually read the books…and I imagine they’ll make their voices heard once the redesign starts its slow rollout. But whether those voices will be raised in protest or approval, I’m not certain. Honestly, I think it can go either way. Yeah, I’m waffling, sorry.

If pressed, I’d say there’s enough of a turnover in readership that the kids who don’t like the new style will drop the books (which they’d probably do soon enough, anyway, as they outgrew them), and be replaced by new kids who only know Archie in this style. And this new less-cartoony style might possibly keep some of the readers around a little longer, as it may appear less like a “kid’s book” and more like a contemporary teen romance/comedy on par with some of the manga books they might be reading as well.

Of course, as that Newsarama article mentions, it’s “experimental,” and Archie may pull back from the new designs right away if they feel it’s not going over well. Plus, there’s the merchandising factor, where licensees may not want to shell out for Archie characters that don’t look like how they’ve always looked…assuming Archie just doesn’t stick with the familiar classic designs for merchandising purposes, regardless of whatever is going on in print.

I don’t know…that’s all just off the cuff, there, so I may be totally off base. Let me know what you think, internet pals.

What I am certain of, however, is that I’ll be hearing a lot of this from parents at the shop: “Oh, look, they’re still publishing Archie books…hey, this doesn’t look like the Archie I remember!”

By the way, in regards to the Betty vs. Veronica debate from my site last week: it’s all about Betty, baby.

I sure post about Archie Comics a lot.

EDIT: I like Beaucoupkevin’s theory.

In other news:

I’m getting a lot of Spanish and Italian comment spam on my site, lately, mostly on year-old posts…so if you come across ’em, don’t worry, I’ll delete ’em right quick. And for God’s sake, don’t click on their links! Italians and Spaniards, working together to invade my site. Only one thing to do…UNLEASH THE GIANT SUSAN ANTON!

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