Women in Comics: Welcome to Riverdale

First appearing in 1941, Archie Andrews is a classic comic figure. In the years since his debut, a community has developed around him, made up of his friends and family in Riverdale as well as an array of famous figures Archie has bumped into, from the band KISS to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This long and storied history includes a huge list of authors and artists who each bring something different to the characters and settings that are iconic for Archie comics, but this month’s post will focus on a few of the talented female authors and artists who have contributed to the world of Riverdale over the years.

Archie Vol. 1Archie: Goodbye ForeverJughead

One frequent contributor to the Archie universe is Melanie J. Morgan who has written several popular stories about the characters over the years. In Archie: Goodbye Forever, she partnered with artist Norm Breyfogle to tackle what would happen if Archie was forced to leave Riverdale. When his father is given the promotion of a lifetime, Archie is left with no choice but to support the decision to move out of state for this new opportunity. The comic packs in a range of emotions from laughter to tears as it covers a topic that is relatable, but also one that feels very unexpected in the Archie universe.

In Betty & Veronica in Bad Boy Trouble, Morgan and artist Steven Butler shift the focus to the girls of Riverdale and, in particular, the friendship between Betty and Veronica. The story focuses on Veronica’s relationship with Nick St. Clair, the new boy in town, who just might be a bit of a bad boy. Betty sees him more clearly than Veronica can and in the end, he threatens to jeopardize their friendship. Readers who are interested in comics that focus more on female friendship will definitely want to check this one out.

In the summer of 2015, the Archie comics were rebooted as part of “New Riverdale,” with author Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples tasked with reinventing and modernizing the classic characters. They delivered this and more in Archie Vol. 1, which offered a fresh take on the character that had a little something for all ages. Focusing on Archie’s previously unknown origin, the story proved popular and has helped to spawn other new series, including a new Jughead series by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson (a name some may recognize from the recent Squirrel Girl series). This series has already made its mark on the classic character of Jughead Jones with the fourth issue earning headlines by revealing for the first time that Jughead is asexual and even before that revelation it had earned a large fanbase.

Archie vs. PredatorJosie and the Pussycats artArchie Meets the Ramones

Crossovers are an iconic part of the Archie world and one that has recently proved extremely popular is Archie vs. Predator by Alex de Campi with art by Fernando Ruiz. Though these two cultural icons might not seem immediately suited to one another and this limited series prompted some skepticism when it was initially announced, it was ultimately a bestseller. It is a perfect option for horror fans and anyone who enjoys their humor with a dark side.

This fall, Archie is going to be welcoming two new works featuring female creators. The end of September will see the launch of a new Josie and the Pussycats series written by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio with art by Audrey Mok. The series will focus on the bandmates’ friendship and is a great option for readers who wish they were in a band or who love humor. In October, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Ramones, Archie will meet the band in a crossover event entitled Archie Meets the Ramones. Written by Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg with art by Gisèle Lagacé, this is another great option for music lovers and represents the latest in a long history of Archie crossover events. Both of these new comics promise to make this an exciting fall for long-time Archie fans and new readers alike.

I hope this will help bring the world of Archie comics to a whole new audience. If you are already a fan of Riverdale and its inhabitants, let me know other great Archie comics by women in the comments!