Adam Hughes Gets Caught Up In "Betty & Veronica's" Whirlwind Friendship

With "Archie" and "Jughead" both having enjoyed successful relaunches, it's no surprise Archie Comics has big plans for "Betty and Veronica."

This week, the publisher unveiled 25 (count 'em, 25) variant covers, by industry heavyweights including Cliff Chiang, Francesco Francavilla, Erica Henderson, Ramon Perez, Ryan Sook, Chip Zdarsky, Veronica Fish and many, many more. But while that's exciting, the big draw is obviously the work of superstar creator Adam Hughes, who is writing and drawing the new series.

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Hughes, who tells CBR News he's not put off by being called a "cheesecake artist," dicusses whether or not you can go too "sexy" illustrating the series' wholesome stars. The writer/artist also hinted at a comedic supporting role for Jughead, answered the ultimate question: Betty or Veronica, and more?

CBR News: Okay -- I have to put you on the spot. As a fan, was it Betty or Veronica?

Adam Hughes: I have been Team Betty since before the discovery of the hashtag.

How about now, after working with them this past year? Has your opinion changed?

Not at all. I do love Veronica, but Betty? I love her and I like her.

Has your opinion of Veronica changed while working on this new series?

Yes. I thought I was going to do a Betty-centric book about what Veronica means to her, meaning Ronnie would remain a bit of a sphinx as we are seeing the world through Betty's eyes. That ended up not happening. Hurricane Veronica is Force 5 and goes where she wants, narratively speaking.

Obviously, their personalities are often on different ends of the spectrum, yet somehow their friendship works. I know your first arc has Betty and Veronica at ends, but how has the relationship endured the past 74 years?  

The best relationships have friction, I think. It's about the differences you bring to the table, more so than the similarities that sparked the attraction, that encourages mutual growth. Betty and Ronnie endure because, in an ideal narrative, they provide a missing piece to each other's puzzle. 

Artistically, how do you approach Betty and Veronica? Obviously, one is blond and one is a brunette, but stylistically and physically, how do they differ?

I've personally never glommed on to the design aesthetic that Betty and Ronnie are identical, just with different hair. In our book, Betty is medium height and is a sporty tomboy who hasn't quite gotten the memo yet that Mother Nature has decreed her lovely.

Veronica is a supermodel waiting for the right runway. She's three inches taller than Betty, with a neck like a swan and legs that go all the way to the floor. Clothes queue up just to hang from her. Ronnie was born fabulous, and I hope to show the good, the bad, and the ugly of growing up knowing it. 

I'm not sure you like the term "cheesecake artist," but over the years, you have been known for depicting your female characters in a specific light. Can you illustrate Betty and Veronica in a manner that's too sexy?

Of course. There's a balancing act to be performed here, especially in our current climate. That's been the most challenging aspect of the gig so far, since I come from a time when people thought about things like context before starting riots. I'm second-guessing myself constantly, both as writer and artist, and I don't mind being called a cheesecake artist at all. Dave Stevens, Olivia, Gil Elvgren, George Petty -- they're all cheesecake artists. It's a good club to be in.

The Chocklit Shoppe is front and center in this first arc, so I'm assuming Pop Tate plays a role. Will we see his No. 1 customer Jughead, too? And what about Archie? Or will there be new boys in the girls' sights?

The boys from the 'Dale will be in the series, surely, but they are not the focus. This comic won't feature Betty and Veronica as shot through the prism of Archie Andrews. It's about Betty and Veronica and their relationship with each other.

That being said, Jughead Jones really is a Rosetta Stone of comedy, so how can I not use him? Or maybe I just like drawing whoopee caps. [Laughs]

Did you consider re-naming the series "Veronica and Betty"?

No. Because "The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy" doesn't roll off the tongue well. "Betty and Veronica" just sounds more natural.

What do you think Veronica would think about being listed second in the title? 

In my world -- and I guess this is my world -- Veronica wouldn't care. She's so secure in her own fabulousness, she's not threatened by something as prosaic as her name in a title. She knows how wonderful she is, so she's happy to let Betty have some of the limelight. That, I think, is part of the comedy of the relationship. Ronnie's unselfish because she's the obvious center of the universe. "You go first, darling! No one will notice you once I've entered the room."

"Betty and Veronica" #1, by Adam Hughes, arrives July 20.

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