As a writer and editor, industry legend Tom DeFalco has told stories with heavyweight heroes ranging from The Amazing Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four to G.I. Joe and the Transformers. So when he calls Reggie Mantle a 'sinister super-villain,' you might want to pay attention.
Despite his impressive Marvel Comics resumé, DeFalco actually started his comic book career as an editorial assistant with Archie Comics in the early '70s. As such, he's no stranger to the character that he will be writing in a new ongoing series, "Reggie And Me," debuting with its first issue on Dec. 7, which will be illustrated by Sandy Jarrell, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli.
CBR connected with DeFalco, who shared his thoughts on the young man he says all of the boys in Riverdale want to be like and all the girls want to be with – despite him being an outsider that would make Ponyboy proud.
DeFalco promises that events in his series will tie-in directly with other recent hits from the publisher, "Archie," "Jughead" and "Betty and Veronica." He also teases that the secret origin of Reggie's canine friend is coming, who he admits is in no way related to the other famous Vader with the black helmet and bass-booming voice.
CBR What would Reggie Mantle say about getting his own headlining series after Archie and Jughead?
Tom DeFalco: Reggie would say, "Now that you've been warmed up by the rest, make way for the best, the true star of the show – Me!" I agree. It's high time Riverdale's most beloved teen – or so he believes – got his own title.
I realize full well that you have been writing comic books for Archie again for a few years now, but I was wondering if you can talk about your thoughts on Reggie Mantle and his place in Riverdale when you first started working with the publisher in the 1970s versus your thoughts on the character today?
Classic Reggie was a prankster, but he was always rather harmless. He was also one of Archie's friends, and a member of the gang. The current Reggie is an outsider. Yes, the other guys want to be like him and the girls want to be with him, but he is no longer a member of the gang.
In the announcement for "Reggie And Me," you say he's one of your favorite characters. You admit that he's been called a self-aggrandizing egotist, a sinister super-villain, a merciless monster and worse. So -- what's to love?
What's not to love? He drives the best cars and throws the wildest parties. He is also the closest thing Riverdale has to a supervillain and everyone loves a great villain.
Is Reggie Mantle misunderstood?
Absolutely! A lot of people assume he has some redeeming characteristics. [Laughs]
Did you know a Reggie Mantle in high school?
I believe everyone knew at least one Reggie in high school and beyond. I know I've run into quite a few in the comic book industry, and no, I'm not going to name names.
Did you like him?
It all depended on who he was targeting at the time. [Laughs]
Can you confirm today that the 'me' of "Reggie And Me" is in fact Reggie's dog, Vader?
I could, but why spoil the surprise?
Will we, as readers, hear from Vader in this series, or at least see his point of view?
You will definitely hear from Vader.
Awesome - is Reggie able to speak with him, too?
Anyone who has ever experienced a dog already knows the answer.
With apologies – and regrets – I am not up to speed on the origin of Reggie's dog's name. Is he named for Darth Vader? Or maybe it's the other way around? I know George Lucas named Indiana Jones after his own dog.
Would you believe that I never saw the connection until now?
There you go. Will you be telling done-in-one stories in "Reggie And Me," or will the stories be longer arcs?
I will be doing both. Every individual issue will be a done-in-one, but the stories will build upon each other to form larger arcs. I never make life easy for myself.
What can you tell us about the first story that you have planned?
Reggie throws a party and things go sour for everyone… except Reg. Also, we learn the not-so-secret origin of Vader.
Does "Reggie And Me" tie into the events of "Archie," "Jughead" and "Betty and Veronica"?
"Reggie And Me" definitely ties into the other books. Like everyone else, I've been really enjoying these other titles and can't wait to join the fun.