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Exclusive: Archie lives alt-history of rock ‘n’ roll in new Archie: 1955 miniseries

By Benjamin Bullard
Archie 1955 no 1 panel 03

Archie Comics fans have long enjoyed a steady stream of fun limited runs that take the gang into interesting territory, well beyond the main title. Now an upcoming comic from the team behind the Archie: 1941 historical fiction mini-series is gearing up to explore the highs (and inevitable lows) of rocketing to the top of the rock ‘n’ roll charts … only to come to terms with the heavy price of fame.

SYFY WIRE has an exclusive first look at the upcoming Archie: 1955 #1, the first in a five-part miniseries from writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn. Archie’s alternate-history tour of the glamorous life is being illustrated by artists Tom Grummett, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, and Jack Morelli, with cover art from Audrey Mok. A string of variant covers will also hit store shelves with each issue, courtesy of artists Jinky Coronado, Francesco Francavilla, Aaron Lopresti, and Pete Woods.

Check out our sneak peak inside Archie: 1955 #1 in the gallery below:

The setup is simple, but it’s also pretty deep: Archie’s career zooms from small-town dreams as a rock ‘n’ roll teenager to fame and fortune, but it comes with all the rewards — and hassles — that overnight success can bring. “When Archie proves to a local DJ that he’s got the makings of a hip-shaking stardom, he begins an ascent to fame that will carry with it both triumph and tragedy,” explains the press release.

Just as with Archie: 1941, the idea is to reimagine the gang as real teenagers in a recognizable historical period, but 1955, says Archie Comics, isn’t a direct 1941 sequel. Rather, it’ll stand apart from the earlier mini-series.

“This is my sweet spot,” says Waid via the release. “I’ve long been a fan and historian of the origins of rock ‘n’ roll, and Archie and his crew are a perfect fit with their eternally youthful energy. There’s lightness and comedy in the book, but it’s at heart a very serious, sometimes chilling look at what overnight success did to young musicians back in the day — and still does.”

Rock’s early days are a natural fit for the Riverdale crew, added Augustyn. “Archie and his pals have long been associated with pop music — and, as ‘the Archies,’ even had Top-40 hits in the '60s and '70s. Hopefully that history resonates in Archie: 1955, the story of a young man's roller-coaster ride through rock ‘n’ roll fame and fortune. Our every-teen rides high but also finds himself plummeting into the harsher realities waiting on the downside. Through it all, Archie is, as always, quintessentially Archie.”

We don’t have long to wait, so now’s the time to get ready to rock. The first issue of Archie: 1955 cranks it to 11 in comics shops beginning Sept. 18.