NEW YORK – Archie Comics has revealed to the New York
Times its latest move – the relaunch of a superhero comic, this time in
purely digital format.
With the New York Comic Con just around the corner,
Archie comics is hoping to breathe new life into characters introduced
as early as the 1940s, which have since fallen out of the public eye.
Fans will have access to both Archie Comics’ latest
material, in the form of a six-page comic, and to the back catalogue,
which will be reprinted for the first time.
And just like the recent DC Comics reboot, the new comic
will not require knowledge of decades of continuity.
The series, to be written by Ian Flynn and illustrated by
Ben Bates, will feature the original Mighty Crusaders, a collective of
Archie Comics’ superheroes. Set years after their original adventures,
the story will feature the patriotic hero, The Shield, leading a group
of young superheroes to take down villains which have taken out the
since-retired heroes. This new super-team will be known as the New
Crusaders, which is also the title of the series.
The characters were last published by Archie Comics in
1985. DC Comics licensed the characters to revive interest in them in
both 1991 and 2008, however, both attempts did not last.
Those expecting edgy stories that are a common theme
these days might be surprised by the tone of the New Crusaders. “They
are not going to be water-downed (sic) superheroes, but they are not
going to be dark either”, said Jon Goldwater, the co-chief executive of
Archie Comics Publications, to the New York Times. He compared the tone
of the series to popular Pixar animated movie, The Incredibles.
Tackling the digital frontier has become a priority in
the comic book industry. DC Comics and Marvel Comics were at first
reluctant to release digital versions of the comics on the same day as
the print versions, but have since started to do so. Slave Labor
Graphics, a small independent publisher, has also started to release its
comics purely in digital format, and will only print collected editions
of the comics.
“It’s very exciting to be creating the first brand-new
digital comic book label,” said Goldwater. “Financially, it makes sense
… We are not going to have any print costs. To be a slave to printing
prices when you’re starting a new venture is a tremendous concern.”
Archie Comics has yet to set the price for the
subscription. “Value, value, value. That’s what we want to give at
Archie Comics,” said Goldwater, who shared that he hoped the
subscription fees to be no more than a regular comic book sold by DC
Comics or Marvel Comics, which regularly go for US$2.99 (SGD$3.90) to
US$3.99. “We’re very conscious of what’s going on in the economy right
now. We want to be recession busters. We don’t want to gouge our fans.”