I recently interviewed Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater, and after we had covered the business at hand, we digressed a bit on the topic of some upcoming comics. Archie has definitely become more topical over the past year, yet it’s hard to imagine an Archie creator being nominated for an Eisner award. So I put the question to Goldwater: Is the fact that people generally don’t take Archie comics too seriously a plus, because it gives creators the freedom to take on subjects that would be more controversial in a different context, or is it a bad thing because, well, people don’t take the comics too seriously? Here is his response:
Neither. When you are dealing with the world of Riverdale, you’re dealing with real people, not superheroes. Archie, Betty, and Veronica are based on real people. They are teenagers who go to high school, albeit in a safe environment that doesn’t exist any more in the real world—I wish it did—and they have the opportunity to deal with real life issues that have resonance. In the other ones, if something goes wrong, some superhero is going to come to the rescue. If something goes wrong in Archie, you had better use your brains, your wits to figure it out, and that gives us the opportunity to push the social boundaries—within the boundaries of Riverdale. I hope people do take us seriously. Very often a lot of our stories are fun romps and jokes, but part of what I want to do here, since I came to Archie, is tackle some real issues for kids today. I think we really have our own ground.
(Image from Betty #190; here’s a preview if you want to see what happens next.)
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