Eternal teenager Archie Andrews can’t hold off Father Time forever. The popular comics character is killed off in “Life With Archie” No. 36, on sale now.
The flash-forward series “Life With Archie” looks at Archie Andrews’ future in two timelines: in one, as the husband to Betty; in the other, he married Veronica.
“We’ve been building up to this moment since we launched ‘Life With Archie’ five years ago, and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie’s life as an adult had to also show his final moment,” Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in a news release.
Oklahoma comic-book writer and critic Rob Vollmar said Archie’s end fits in with what’s happened to other comic-book characters.
“Death of a main or major character has always been the great taboo of serial comics, and it’s kind of neat to see how the Archie mythos will go through this after decades of timelessness,” said Vollmar, of Chickasha.
“As Archie has been released from his decades-long limbo of not choosing between Betty or Veronica, of never leaving high school, of never facing adult problems in an adult world, it seems only fitting that people would be curious to see how he, and his friends, cope with mortality.”
Vollmar said this could be seen as an effort to goose sales, but he also thinks the storyline will be interesting to newbies and longtime fans.
“While it’s tempting to treat these as commercial gimmicks, Archie is one of the few titles that has never really done this kind of thing before,” he said. “When you kill Superman for the seventh time, it’s a gimmick. When you kill Archie, you are making a creative statement about what kind of character he really is. He’s a hero because he dies a hero’s death.”
The story will be available in multiple formats, including an extra-large magazine-size “Life With Archie,” two comic-size issues and a trade paperback collecting the entire story, written by regular “Life With Archie” writer Paul Kupperberg, with art by Pat and Tim Kennedy and Fernando Ruiz.
“Life With Archie” No. 36 shows readers Archie’s final moments.
In issue No. 37, the story leaps a year into the future, looking at how Archie’s friends Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie have dealt with the loss and honored the legacy of Archie.
Vollmar said pushing the envelope from Archie Comics is needed in today’s comics marketplace.
“Not every experiment will be successful,” he said. “But I think challenging the casual reader’s expectation can be creatively exciting and bring new layers to characters that people think they know.”