Adam Hughes talks about the Riverdale cold war in new Betty & Veronica series

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Jun 16, 2016, 1:09 PM EDT


It’s a popular hashtag to use this year regarding many comic-book-related properties, what with various Civil Wars and Dawns of Justices happening. Now there’s a new war brewing – in Riverdale.

On July 20, Betty and Veronica #1 will arrive in comic book stores to usher in an entirely new era for these eternal frenemies. The premise is that the ladies will butt heads over Riverdale’s most popular hangout. Lines will be drawn, jokes will be hurled, and Archie ... wait, what about Archie?

The puppetmaster behind this new title is celebrated writer-artist Adam Hughes, and he’s indicated this book will feature a major role reversal from most Archie comic books. This time, "Archie’s girls" – not Archie, Jughead and the other boys -- will be the stars.

Hughes is one of the comic industry’s most in-demand cover artists and on the very short list of illustrators whose covers are guaranteed sales Viagra. His renditions of comic book women is extremely popular as well, so there is major interest in seeing what he does with the most famous women in Riverdale.

We conducted this interview with Hughes via email, presumably because he’s locked in his basement with no cell service, cranking out the script and artwork for the series. Read on to find out his answers to our questions about everything from gist of the feud that sparks this series to how sexy his Betty & Veronica will be.

We’ve also included a gallery of the slew of variant covers that will accompany the release of the first issue.

This is literally music to the ears of countless comic book fans, who love your rendition of female characters. Now you get to tackle two of the most recognizable ladies in pop culture.  How did this project come about?

I have compromising photos of ARCHIE Editor-in-Chief Mike Pellerito in JAWS cosplay as Mrs. Kintner, so I blackmailed him.  Actually, Mike just asked me to be involved in the reboot in any way, probably expecting me to do the covers.  And I shocked and horrified them all by asking to write and draw it.

 The premise is Betty and Veronica are going to butt heads over the corporate takeover of Pops Chocklit Shoppe - so the frenemies become full-on foes? Do the others in the Riverdale gang take sides?

 Yes, it's total war.  Blockades, saturation bombing, hair pulling, the works.  It's BETTY VERSUS VERONICA.  And the gang is FORCED to take sides.  The only character that remains impartial is Hot Dog.  

It seems this is the perfect time to be rebooting "Betty & Veronica," with so many movies, TV shows and comics thriving with strong female characters. Was that part of the appeal?

Not really.  I just want a chance to tell stories that make you laugh.  Also -- Archie and Jughead don't look as good in bikinis.  So Betty & Ronnie it is.

You’re writing and illustrating this comic. How are you managing the workload? You've talked in the past about challenging working on a monthly book is for you ...

How am I managing?  I weep a lot.  Remember, kids: If you weep a lot, stay hydrated.  The book is on a 6-week schedule, and I'm holding on by my fingernails. WHY DID I WRITE SO MANY CHARACTERS INTO THIS?!?

You're renowned for your renditions of beautiful, sexy women. Will we see sexier versions of Betty & Veronica in the covers you do?

Betty and Veronica are, what, 16, maybe 17 years old?  They can't be sexy until they're old enough to vote.

OK, you've publicly stated you're #TeamBetty, but you enjoy writing Veronica. That's a very careful answer. So, does that mean, Miss Lodge gets all the good one-liners?

This is the part of the interview where I go, "Check out Betty and Veronica #1 and find out!!" and then ARCHIE pats me on the head and gives me a dog treat.