Archie Comics fascinates me; not just for its characters and content but in its management decisions, some quite brave, to reflect modern America. In doing so, it results in a Riverdale more in line with a Millenial generation of readers who embrace storylines filled with Zombies and openly Gay characters in a multi-racial setting. It also creates a body of work that is ready for a transmedia approach that will appeal to a broad range of enthusiasts who currently passionate about television show "Glee" and a seemingly infinite number of zombie, vampire and werewolf properties.
In order to engage a wider audience in multiple media formats, the company chose Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to be its new Chief Creative Officer. Aguirre-Sacasa does not come out of the publishing industry but is a playwright who has written for theatre, television and movies.
This transmedia approach seems perfect for a company whose range has grown from the traditional Archie series to darker versions like “Afterlife With Archie” which is an on-going series brings Riverdale into the world of Zombies and horror. There was even a "Glee" version in which the Riverdale characters interacted with the show's cast.
Tellingly Mr. Aguirre-Sacasa has reached out to Lena Dunham, the woman whose surprise hit movie “Tiny Furniture” led to her current hit series on HBO, “Girls.” Ms. Dunham's four part series is expected to be a “Girls” take on Betty, Veronica and the rest of the girls.
What I find really interesting in all of this is that there is an adult (primarily female) following for Archie that the play industry has never minded. Think about it; isn’t “Afterlife with Archie” just a more grown up version of Monster High?
As Mr. Aguirre-Sacasa continues his efforts, it will be interesting to see if they include adult collectables, apps, video games, dolls, board games and more. Ahhhh Riverdale, the town that keeps giving.