Fighting with your sibling over who should get a certain toy is natural. Fighting with them over who should get to be the Antichrist is not.
Well, it is for the Blossom twins, Jason and Cheryl, the two main characters of Blossoms 666, the upcoming five-part limited series from Archie Comics. The Blossoms may seem popular and wealthy, but Riverdale's in for a whole mess of trouble.
Written by Cullen Bunn with art from Laura Braga, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli, the new series, which drops in January, will put a new spin on the "evil twin" and "Antichrist" horror tropes. Below, we've got an exclusive look at the front cover of Issue #1 and three interior pages.
"We’re pushing the sibling rivalry aspects of the story to the limit here," Bunn told SYFY WIRE via email. "Cheryl and Jason [agree] to enter a kind of competition to see who can corrupt or destroy the people of Riverdale in the most evil way possible. It’s a game they are both pretty good at."
May the best Antichrist win! But don't expect them to be lurking in creepy hotel hallways and holding hands, because the Blossom siblings are nothing like what you imagine when you try to picture the spawn of Satan. That was one way in which Bunn was able to subvert genre expectations.
"It’s the relationship between the Blossom siblings that really shakes things up in terms of the anti-christ trope," he added. "Cheryl and Jason are not dour-faced moppets unintentionally making bad things happen to good people. They are fun-loving, popular, friendly, good-looking, and cunning. Their otherworldly 'powers' are subtle at best, at least for now, because neither one of them has claimed the title of Antichrist. In order to prove themselves, they must rely on their charm and wits and their willingness to commit unspeakable acts. They care for each other, but they know that only one of them is going to gain the unholy crown."
To get the look of the art just right, Braga turned to some of her favorite teen horror movies for inspiration.
"I'm a big fan of every kind of horror: movies and TV shows," she wrote to SYFY WIRE. "For this story I have definitely been inspired by the teen horror movies of the '90s like Scream (the most recent TV show, too), I Know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination... For the darker backgrounds and atmospheres I was inspired by American Horror Story, too."
Like the town of Castle Rock in Stephen King's Needful Things, Riverdale starts out normally when we enter the first issue of Blossoms 666. As the plot progresses and peoples' minds are tainted by the evil of Jason and Cheryl, the town begins to spiral out of control.
"For this story, I wanted Riverdale to appear pretty much like the small town you know and love," Bunn said. "I wanted the characters, at least initially, to be familiar and comfortable. When bad things start happening—and they do pretty quickly—it is all the more horrific because we know the characters. Of course, the events of this story start to change people in good and bad ways. Betty rises to the top pretty quickly as she realizes what the Blossoms are up to. That also makes her a target. And there’s a newcomer to Riverdale who might spell trouble for both the town... and the Blossoms themselves."
One of the most important things in Bunn's script, said Braga, was the stark contrast between the "Riverdale teenagers’ scenes of daily life mingl[ing] with horror and disturbing scenes." Using the light and dark came into play when drawing Jason and Cheryl.
"I love drawing Cheryl and Jason Blossom! The two main characters of this story are not the classic 'perfect good heroes,' indeed, on the contrary... I love drawing 'complicated' characters, with a dark side or with a story behind them to tell and discover."
The first issue of Blossoms 666 goes on sale Jan. 23.