Sunday, January 15, 2012

Who I Want Archie to Meet Next

While I’ve expanded my comic book consciousness significantly over the past decade or so, I’ll always be first and foremost a super hero guy. That said Archie Comics has always been near and dear to my heart.

When I was a kid, while I was only picking up the occasional spare issue of Spider-Man or Avengers, I’d regularly grab all the Archie I could get my hands on, from Archie & Friends to Laugh to Jughead to Betty & Veronica (if nobody was looking). I totally went in for Jughead’s Time Police, Archie 3000 and whatever that weird sci fi book with Dilton was.

I vividly remember that I would take baths when I was a kid (not showers? I don’t know) and while I didn’t want to “damage” my super hero books, I’d always bring an Archie double digest in the tub and end up with my toes and fingers wrinkled because I wanted to finish the whole thing.

Something about the clearly defined characters, classic art, and easy-to-follow storylines appealed to me; it was like comfort food comics. At the same time, even at that age with my writing muscles barely flexed, I had a lot of respect for the guys who wrote Archie because they had to take a pretty firmly and inflexibly established set of guidelines and then create within those, but for the most part, they cranked out a ton of new ideas and stories each month (with the occasional unintentional repeat).

These days, I’m fortunate enough to know one of those writers: the immensely talented and congenial Alex Segura, a good friend as well as PR guru for Archie who has taken up the pen on several high profile stories as of late. Since Alex started at Archie, coincidentally or not they’ve been grabbing a lot of headlines with cool concepts like the stories set in parallel futures with Archie married to Betty and Veronica, openly gay character Kevin Keller and more.

Most recently, in a move right up there with the seminal Archie Meets the Punisher one-shot from the 90’s Alex has helped bring the legendary band KISS to Riverdale in a four-part story currently unfolding in the main Archie book. It’s been a fun read that made me realize how much I’ve missed these characters.

In that vein, with the sky seemingly the limit as far as who could show up in an Archie comic and a pipeline to the powers that be, I’ve compiled a list of crossovers I want to see. Now it would have been easy to come up with “Yeah, that makes sense” stuff from a pop culture standpoint just by surveying the stuff my wife watches on TV and suggesting Jersey Shore and Kardashian knock-off stories, but this is a purely Ben Morse fantasy list, so those ideas get benched regardless of financial appeal (but you can have them too, Segura).

After KISS, this is the next logical step, right? To the best of my knowledge Archie doesn’t have plans to start a mature readers line, so I’ll likely never see them do the Motley Crue story I really want to see, but there’s still plenty of potential. Maybe it comes down to the Crue against the Archies against Josie & the Pussycats in a Battle of the Bands. Maybe Reggie becomes a roadie for Motley and has to spend a week trying to make sure Nikki and Vince don’t kill anybody in Riverdale. Maybe you can just get Tommy Lee to co-write the story with the part of his anatomy that co-authored Tommyland (look it up if you can’t guess). Regardless, Bret Michaels makes a last page cameo to set up the Poison guest shot to end the trilogy.

The well-known chef, food critic and crank is already doing some sort of gastro comic I believe this year and there’s few better known characters who love to eat than Jughead, so this seems a perfect fit. Bourdain could be coming to Riverdale for No Reservations and give Pop’s a savage review that prompts Jughead to challenge him to an eating contest. It’s classic “heroes fight and then team-up” stuff. Bobby Flay can be the real bad guys trying to open a chain soda shoppe down the street.

Kiel will back me up on this one. I would love if there is a to-this-point-unseen Upper East Side section of Riverdale that houses analogues of the Gossip Girl cast and a school redistricting moves them into the orbit of Archie and friends. Archie and Dan switch places in their respective love triangles with Betty/Veronica and Blair/Serena. Chuck introduces Jughead to the world of true hedonism. Jenny and Cheryl Blossom have a mean girl throw down. Nobody from any of the bands has any idea who Rufus is. Nate and Reggie have a really boring storyline. Serena sleeps with Mr. Weatherbee. It writes itself!

Because everybody in comics crosses over with Witchblade eventually. Also, Archie has two of the most iconic female comic book characters in history and I want to see how the artists handle this.

Archie goes nuts when his favorite WWE Superstar comes to town, because you know he’s totally a Broski. Really I just want to see Archie with spiked hair and a Broski headband. I’m not quite sure what the story would be.

Foreign exchange student.


Anonymous said...

This is awesome. Thanks, Ben! Glad ARCHIE MEETS KISS helped bring you back to Riverdale.

-- Alex Segura

Ben Morse said...

I like that you post as Anonymous and then still sign your name :-p

Thank YOU! Archie Meets KISS is awesome!

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