One of the more intriguing pieces of news to come out of Comic-Con was that the Archie folks are bringing back the venerable cute-kid comic Li'l Jinx, but with an older Jinx and a fresh new look. Even better, the comic is being written by J. Torres (Alison Dare, Lola: A Ghost Story). The series will go direct to digital in four 22-page issues and then see print as a trade paperback.
Not only did J. take time to talk to me about the new comic, but the Archie folks provided some exclusive character sketches of the new, more grown-up versions of Jinx and her friends. Hit the jump for comics and conversation.
Brigid: First of all, since Jinx isn't very well known, can you give our readers a quick description of who she is and why she is unique?
J. Torres: Li'l Jinx is a feisty little girl who got into comical battles with her motley crew of friends and her long-suffering dad in a childhood slice-of-life type comic. Some people describe her as the female Dennis the Menace, but if I'm not mistaken she debuted before he did.
Brigid: Did you read Jinx as a child? If so, how do you remember her; if not, how did you encounter her?
J. Torres: I knew her mostly from one-page strips that appeared in the Archie digests I read as a kid, but she also had her own series for a time. I liked how she butted heads with her dad and other kids like Fat Charley. Those strips had a little more of an "edge" to them than the other material in the digests. I enjoyed that.
Brigid: How are you changing her for this updated version?
J. Torres: She's now fifteen, starting high school, and starting to worry about the kind of things high school freshman worry about. She's still sporty, spirited, and a bit of a troublemaker but the situations are maturing like she is.
Brigid: How did you prep for this—did you read a lot of the old comics or just look over the characters and come up with a direction for them?
J. Torres: I re-read some of the old strips, but I also got a pitch of the updated concept from Archie editorial. I went with most of what they proposed, fleshed things out and also made a few contributions of my own, and basically tried to have the characters evolve in a logical fashion. They're the same kids from the old strip, just grown up a little. Or I should say "growing up."
Brigid: What are the challenges of reviving an older series?
J. Torres: Staying true to the spirit of the source material while "updating" it. We've seen that work and we've seen that totally fail with other properties. It's challenging to get it right, but it's also fun, and I'll admit a tad scary.
Brigid: What format are you working in? I remember Li'l Jinx was always a one-page comic that sort of filled space in the Archie comics. Will you continue to do shorts, or will Jinx get longer stories?
J. Torres: It's a four-issue miniseries, 22 pages per issue, but it's debuting as a download first and then it will be published in print as a trade paperback. That part of it is pretty exciting for me, going digital first. I know a lot of people who do webcomics, but I don't think I personally know anyone who's worked on a comic as DLC first.
Brigid: Who is doing the art for this?
J. Torres: Rick Burchett! I'm a big fan and he's one of the main reasons I took on this assignment. So far, I've only seen some of his designs, which look terrific, and I'm dying to see some pages. I think a lot of people will be too once they hear he's drawing this.