ARCHIE INTO MOTION, BIG TIME
In the wake of the launch of “Riverdale” on tv at CW, Archie Comics has signed an exclusive deal with Warner Bros Television to develop more of the publisher's properties for television and original content.
As Archie CEO Jon Goldwater tells The Hollywood Reporter, the deal extends beyond the traditional Riverdale crew of Archie, Betty and Veronica as seen in the current CW series. It could include lesser-known properties, including "America's Queen of Pin-Ups and Fashions" Katy Keene, as well as the superheroes of the company's Dark Circle imprint.
Said Goldwater: “Archie is unique in that we have a huge library of characters that are not only recognizable, but they’re successful and entertaining. Everyone knows Josie and Sabrina. Beyond that, we have an entire pantheon of heroes and villains that are perfect for tv or movies. Not to mention Black Hood and Sam Hill, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to start talking about what we have coming up.”
“Riverdale” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told reporters last month he was interested in creating a whole Archie world. The series, with its dark tone and sexy new murder mystery plot, was, initially, a critical hit. The deal is similar to Warner Bros tv’s pact with DC Comics, which has seen it put a whole stable of series on the air, including CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, as well as Fox's Gotham and NBC's Powerless.
“Riverdale's” success and the tv pact marks the latest stage in Goldwater's push to modernize Archie as a company, which started with the 2010 introduction of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the publisher's long history, and continued with the launch of a series that featured an adult Archie struggling with life post-marriage (to both Betty and Veronica; the series ended with his death).
Coinciding with news of the Warner Bros deal, Archie revealed that Mark Waid, the writer of flagship comic book series Archie, will be expanding his relationship with the company later this year by signing up to co-write a number of series, as well as mentoring upcoming writers, with the overall aim of growing the current stable of talent at the company.
Goldwater, asked if he is experiencing a “sense of vindication” in seeing the success of his drive to get the characters accepted once again by a mainstream audience, agreed:
“This deal with Warners is in many ways a culmination of the work, along with the amazing staff and freelancers who work at Archie, to bring these characters forward into the present day. To show that Archie is an iconic brand that is flexible, relevant and energized.
“The moment where I could finally sit down and say “Okay, now we’re ready to roll,” Goldwater continued, “was [2015's] Archie No.1, by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. This was ground zero for the company. This was a rebirth. This was an Archie for today’s reader. Obviously, we still cherish and respect the classic Archie stories — we still produce them because that audience is hugely important to us. But the ‘Death of Archie’ was more than a publishing stunt. It was a metaphor for the company. That Archie had to die, saving Kevin Keller, the face of the new Archie brand, to ensure the company would continue.”