The latest issues of the “Jughead” ongoing series take Riverdale’s most lovably gluttonous character on a romantic journey as he crosses paths with the Teenage Witch herself, Sabrina. Thanks to the creative team of writer Ryan North and artist Derek Charm, the duo soon find out they have more in common than they think — something CBR was fortunate enough to dig into in a recent discussion with both creators.
Over the course of our discussion, North and Charm touched on the philosophy of the titular burger-loving hero, in addition to his crossover with Sabrina, and why it’s a match made in (burger) heaven.
CBR: What do you find appealing about Jughead as a character?
Ryan North: I like how competent he is. I feel like in Riverdale he’s the most competent of the Riverdale gang. While everyone else is running around chasing boys, chasing girls, he’s like, “I would prefer to do my own thing and eat a burger.” He and I aren’t so different.
Derek Charm: Pretty much the same. He stays out of everyone’s drama. He’s aware of it, but it’s not of any interest to him. He doesn’t have any of his own.
Do you approach Jughead as a full-on comedy series?
North: I always want a certain number [of jokes] — I like jokes, so I like writing in jokes. I feel like this is a comedy. When I was a kid, they were comedy books — and this is a comedy book — but you’re [also] telling a story about characters. I feel like what’s happening between Sabrina and Jughead is real, but… you can still tell a serious story and tell jokes, have fun with it at the same time. I think that’s what we’re going for.
Charm: I think that’s what [previous writer] Chip [Zdarsky] was doing, too. There’s some serious things, but it’s like a comedy book at it’s heart, so it’s going to be explored in a funny way, whereas Archie is more like the teen drama book.
Basically, “Archie” is the balanced book, whereas “Jughead” is the more comedic take on Riverdale.
Charm: I mean, in Jughead’s book, everyone seems totally unbalanced. Archie’s crazy in this book… it just depends who the hero is.
How do you relate to Jughead?
North: I was once a young man who really liked to eat burgers and was afraid of talking to women. From there, it’s not a far leap to write someone who’s really into burgers and just disinterested in talking to women. It’s very easy to empathize with who Jughead is.
Charm: [Jokes] We both have dark hair… You watch your friends going through certain things, and on a certain level you want to be above it.
Is Jughead a cynical character?
Charm: I don’t think he’s cynical — maybe a little aloof. I think it’s more that he’s just not interested.
North: I agree with that. Cynicism can be very reductive and toxic. I don’t see him being like, “Oh, whatever. See you later, guys.” He cares about his friends. I think it’s just that he’s more talented at not getting involved in drama. It’s sort of a useful life skill.
Why do you think Sabrina and Jughead are a good match?
North: Jughead’s the most competent person in Riverdale —- I feel like Sabrina is, also. She literally has magical powers —- she’s very competent too. [I thought] seeing those two characters together would be a lot of fun. The Jughead books have always been the more magical books, in my mind. We were just talking about the old ‘Dipsy Doodles,’ where he would do a painting, and it would come to life and interact with other people. It was, like, surreal and magical without actually invoking magic. Putting Sabrina in the book really invokes that sense of magic that’s been with the character the entire time.
Charm: I think, also, going back to what we were saying earlier — he doesn’t seem phased. It’s like, “Oh, Sabrina’s a witch.” He seems to be the person who’s bothered by it the least.
Is Jughead the kind of guy who can really find love?
North: He loves his friends, he’s loved by his friends. Romantic love is fine, if you like it. I say this as a guy who’s married: I don’t think there’s anything missing in his life.
What’s a highlight you want to share from their crossover?
North: Issue 10, they’re gonna be fighting. Things do not go well. It’s fun — lots of magic. Legit magic.
Archie Comics’ “Jughead” #10 is on sale now; issue #11 hits stands on November 30.
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