6:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Archie 1955' Comic to Send Riverdale Back in Time (Exclusive)
Last year, the pals and gals of one Archie Andrews went back to the past with the Archie 1941 comic book series, which told an all-new story of the iconic characters in the period in which they had originally been created. Later this year, Archie Comics is moving forward through the 20th century and headed for one of the most important eras for American teenagers in all of history, with the new series Archie 1955.
A thematic sequel to Archie 1941 — in other words, don’t expect Archie, Betty, Veronica et al to be 14 years older than usual — Archie 1955 is set during the early days of rock’n’roll, offering a new escape from the humdrum everyday (and maybe more) to a certain red-headed dreamer from Riverdale.
"For as long as I can remember, rock and roll music has been the soundtrack of my life — almost as big to me as were comic books — and I have long been very interested in the 'overnight sensations' such as Elvis, Buddy Holly and other legends,” co-writer Brian Augustyn tells Heat Vision. “So, Archie 1955 comes from a sweet spot of my lifelong fascinations.”
The series sees Augustyn once again working with his Flash co-writer Mark Waid, following up on their earlier Archie 1941 miniseries.
"As a boy who grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, I've been a rock-origins aficionado my entire life. Doing Archie 1955 is my chance to visit that era I so love, and do it with an Archie spin,” Waid explains. “As with Archie 1941, we're very true to the time while telling a story in a modern way that's exciting and dramatic. Using Archie as a lens through which to really examine the beginnings of rock 'n' roll is a blast."
Augustyn adds, "Archie is the perfect analog for the budding star: Small-town guitarist and singer dying to crack show business and suddenly finding the rainbow bridge to the big time! What naive 19-year-old is ready for the on-rush of fame and all its joys and heartbreaks? The story will chart Archie's arc from meteoric rise to the stratosphere and back again. To be the Prince of Rock and Roll and the biggest star of all time is a lot at that age. More heartbreaks may come, and life will demand that he grow up fast — and keep on singing."
Joining the two writers on the project is fan-favorite artist Tom Grummett (Superboy, Section Zero) who, along with inker Bob Smith, create what Augustyn described as “the perfect vision for our vintage rock yarn.”
"As a teen in high school, I had two ambitions: comic book artist and rock star,” Grummett recalls. “My guitar skills being what they were, rock star was pretty much off the table. It's going to be a kick to explore what might have been through Archie and his friends, at the very birth of rock 'n roll."
The dawn of rock’n’roll arrives Sept. 18, when the first issue of Archie 1955 arrives in comic book stores and digitally. For those who can’t wait that long, look below for a preview of Grummett’s art from the issue, as well as variant covers from Jinky Coronado, Francesco Francavilla, Aaron Lopresti and Pete Woods. (The regular cover to the issue, by Audrey Mok, is at the top of the page.)
Let’s leave it to Augustyn to sing us out with one last tease of what to expect: “The sweeping story will feature laughs and tears, music and drama, and all the pals and gals. Get with it, hep-cats!”