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SYFY WIRE New York Comic Con 2019

Archie Comics previews horror, crossovers, and YA slate at NYCC

By Rich Sands
Vampironica: New Blood

Archie Comics celebrated its 80th anniversary at New York Comic Con with a look its upcoming slate of titles. Romance and horror continue to be big themes for the publisher, which has found a new generation of readers thanks to the hit TV adaptations Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The publisher continues to lean into Riverdale's popularity in particular, and will release a new original graphic novel, Riverdale: The Ties That Bind, next year as part of the just-announced Archie Blue Ribbon imprint. Micol Ostow will write the book, with art from Thomas Pitilli, John Workman, and Andre Szymanowicz. Ostow returns to the world of The CW series after handling this year's Season 3 tie-in comic as well as a series of successful novelizations for Scholastic.

"We basically start with the [TV show] storylines we were really excited about that we didn't get to see enough of for our liking," she said. "It really just starts with my favorite character pairings and what did the show not get a chance to do."

Riverdale: The Ties That Bind graphic novel cover

Also coming up for the YA crowd is Betty & Veronica: The Bond of Friendship, by Jamie L. Rotante, with art from Brittney Williams, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli, while Little Bee Books will publish books for middle-grade readers featuring the company's characters. The first, The Riverdale Diaries: Hello, Betty!, written by Sarah Kuhn and art by J. Bone, will be released next summer.

On the horror front, a new Vampironica series is coming in December. Vampironica: New Blood, will continue the adventures of the blood-sucking Veronica Lodge, the spoiled rich girl who was "turned" by a horde of vampires last year. The character is currently featured in the crossover series Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica (concluding next week), which has introduced the idea of an Archie multiverse that spans beyond the horror titles.

"We spin out of the events of the crossover," Frank Tieri says of the five-issue series, which he is writing with Michael Moreci. (Audrey Mok is handling the art.) "So things that Vampironica learns in the Archie universe, is stuff she'll have to deal with in her regular series. Stuff about who she is and who her family is, her family history and how it affects her now."

Discussion of this expanded universe prompted one fan to ask the panel about the potential for a DC-esque "Crisis of Infinite Archies" series. "That is a great idea," Archie co-president Alex Segura responded in an extremely teasing tone.

Archie and Katy Keene, a new series coming in January, will continue the romantic exploits of Riverdale's redheaded heartthrob. The timing of the comic is meant to coincide with the upcoming premiere of The CW's Katy Keene live-action series, a Riverdale spinoff. The character, first introduced in 1945, has traditionally been portrayed as a fashionista and aspiring model. The book is being written by Mariko Tamaki and Kevin Panetta, with art by Laura Braga, and follows on the heels of the current Archie and Sabrina miniseries.

"We knew we wanted to bring Katy into this more modern Riverdale world and [Tamaki] came up with a really funny way of doing that," Segura said before clarifying that "we don't know that they'll be dating" in the book. However, CEO Jon Goldwater quipped that "Archie gets around."

Archies Meets The B-52s will bring the popular new wave band to Riverdale for the publisher's latest musical crossover (following in the footsteps of KISS, The Monkees, and The Ramones). Segura will co-write the miniseries with Matt Rosenberg, with Dan Parent, a mainstay for the publisher, handling the art. The first issue is set for release in February and while plot details weren't shared, Parent promised that "it makes sense in a weird way."

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