The Archie folks have had a busy time at Comic-Con International, taking part in a number of panels in addition to their own. Two of the more interesting stories to emerge this weekend:
Jughead Jones, Semi-Private Eye: This is a four-issue story arc (Jughead, #202-205) that imparts a very different style to Mr. Forsythe Jones, as he prowls the mean streets in trenchcoat and trademark hat, looking to solve a mystery for a beautiful dame. (This cover, provided exclusively to Robot 6, suggests that ninjas are also involved, which veers away from the noir genre a bit, but hey, that's innovation!) Alex Simmons, who recently won a Glyph Award for his work on Archie & Friends, will write the story. The first issue shows up in comics shops on July 28 and everywhere else on Aug. 10.
The return of Li'l Jinx: Now styling herself simply "Jinx," this icon of my childhood is back. Li'l Jinx mainly appeared in one-page stories in the various Archie comics, but she seems to have had a low profile of late. The exciting thing about this is that J. Torres (Alison Dare, Lola: A Ghost Story) will be writing the stories. (Click here for some samples of Li'l Jinx in her glory days.)
Sam Hill graphic novels: Jughead may be having fun playing the hard-boiled detective, but Sam Hill is the real thing, a tough guy who got the job done, apparently, as his series only lasted for seven issues, ending in 1951. Since no Archie-owned character can be permitted to sit idle (watch for Katy Keene, Josie, and Sabrina revivals as well in the near future), Sam has been brought out of retirement and will star in his own series, with all new adventures.
Watch also for some streamlining of their digests, with the return of The World of Archie Double Digest and the launch of an Archie and Friends Double Digest (which will replace the Archie Pals 'n' Gals Digest) and Betty & Veronica and Friends Double Digest. And the much-discussed Life With Archie magazine, which features dual stories in which Archie is married to Betty and Veronica (in different worlds) will be on newsstands Aug. 10.