Following Afterlife success, Archie launching full horror imprint with mysterious new comic

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Mar 19, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT (Updated)

For a comic that dates all the way back to the 1940s, it seems like Archie has never been cooler — and now his most ambitiously weird stories are about to get a whole lot bigger.

Archie Comics struck gold with the risky, dark comic Afterlife With Archie in 2013, which reimagined the classic high-school world through the dark lens of a zombie apocalypse striking the lovely town of Riverdale. That hit series spun off the 1960s-set Chilling Adventures of Sabrina last year, and now the folks behind Archie Comics are truly ready to embrace the dark side.

Both series have seen new issues delayed for a while now (fans are still waiting for the second issue of Sabrina), and it seems we finally know the reason. The comic company has announced a new Archie Horror imprint, which will take over both Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina — along with a mysterious new comic that has not yet been fully announced. Here’s what Archie Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly about the move:

"I could give you a dozen excuses, and none of them are really good. We really really wanted to launch the book at New York Comic-Con because it was close to Halloween. In retrospect, we should’ve delayed the launch to get a few issues in the can. [T]here’s no excuse, and there will never be a delay like there was been between Sabrina 1 and 2. Like, never. We are very, very lucky that we have an incredibly passionate and understanding fan base that is eager for the book…

In retrospect, the idea of mixing teenagers and horror is like, the biggest no brainer on the planet! It’s weird because, in Afterlife there are dark, dark things—but it’s also funny! Its tongue is planted firmly in its cheek. But with Sabrina, it’s really, really dark, and only getting darker. We’re halfway through issue three now, and I would say the darkest comic book I’ve written, and the weirdest comic book I’ve written."

Though the Archie books are great, the Afterlife run has been a breath of fresh air for the franchise. It’s chillingly creepy, and that mix of horror and wholesome has created something truly unique. If you’re not reading it, this is the perfect time to catch up. 

In regard to that mysterious third book that will round out the Archie Horror lineup, Aguirre-Sacasa said they’re not ready to formally announce it. But he did reveal that the series will be set in the modern day and centered around a "Major Archie character." It’ll also focus on a genre that has been almost entirely unexplored up to this point in Afterlife or Sabrina. Hmm, what’s your best guess?

In the meantime, Afterlife With Archie #8, which is inspired by The Shining, will hit shelves on May 6. The long-awaited Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2 will arrive on April 15. Do you think there's room for more freaky Archie comics?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)