Archie Comics has been pretty much insane lately. They introduced Kevin Keller, the first gay dude to get married in mainstream comics. They did an Archie Meets KISS miniseries, in which KISS cures Riverdale from being obsessed with boring vampires. Archie sort of had a baby with Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. They have this whole ongoing comic called Life With Archie that has parallel storylines, and in each one Miss Grundy dies. Things are nuts.
That’s when Eisner Award-winning artist Francesco Francavilla did his one-off variant cover for Life With Archie #23. Francavilla did some really nifty retro alternate covers for Archie Meets Kiss, and this one was even more kick-ass. He titled it AFTERlife with Archie, and boy was it full of zombies. Bad girl Veronica crawling out of the grave, ponytailed Betty shambling about, and Jughead reaching his arms out toward a living Archie, his crown tilted on his dead skull. In grave-graveled voices, they’re moaning his name: EEAARRCHIEE!
And then it got nuttier: in early 2013, Afterlife with Archie was announced as a new, ongoing title in the Archie Comics line. No, seriously:
A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this brand-new, spine-tingling ongoing series—but be warned, kiddies, this one’s NOT for the faint of heart!
Unspeakable evil! In an Archie comic! And not only that, but the second story arc is called “R.I.P Betty.” What the hell?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the screenplay for the remake of Carrie and who wrote the fantastic 31-issue adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, will take on writing duties. “I was bummed when the interior of that comic book [Life with Archie #23] wasn’t about zombies,” he said, “and … we all thought it at the same time: ‘Holy crap, a zombie apocalypse in Riverdale would be an awesome story!’”
Francesco Francavilla will be taking his retro EC Comics style to the inside of the ongoing title as well as the covers, but like any Archie event worth its salt, Afterlife With Archie will have some killer variant covers. We here at FEARnet are pleased to bring you the EXCLUSIVE DEBUT of this awesome variant cover of Afterlife with Archie #1, by Andrew Pepoy:
Stay tuned to FEARnet for all your Afterlife With Archie coverage! The undead come to Riverdale (and comic-book shops) October 9th!
Kevin Quigley is an author whose website, CharnelHouseSK.com, is one of the leading online sources for Stephen King news, reviews, and information. He has written several books on Stephen King for Cemetery Dance Publications, including Chart of Darkness, Blood In Your Ears, and Stephen King Limited, and co-wrote the upcoming Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. His first novel, I’m On Fire, is forthcoming.