“The Archies” - Alex Segura and Joe Eisma on the New Comic Book Series

Drawn From Life

Nov 22, 2017 Issue #62 - Julien Baker
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Comics' perennial teenage band, The Archies, are back for new musical adventures. The new comic book series of the same name, written by Alex Segura and Matt Rosenberg, with art by Joe Eisma, sees the fictional band interact with illustrated versions of real life musicians, while, as ever, The Archies fret, bicker, and try to remember that, despite the many difficulties, being in a band is about the fun of it all.

Both huge music fans, Rosenberg and Segura drew up a shortlist of bands they wanted to include as guest stars and, according to Segura, "the response was amazing. And only got better when we announced the first band, CHVRCHES. People want to be in a comic book, who knew?"

Created in 1941, the redheaded star of the comic books, Archie Andrews, began indulging his bubblegum garage-rock ambitions in the late '60s with his friends Jughead, Veronica, Betty, and Reggie. A real life version of the band had a huge hit with "Sugar, Sugar" in 1969, with the franchise continuing to grow over the years. In 2011 Segura penned Archie Meets KISS and Segura and Rosenberg wrote Archie Meets Ramones in 2016. The CW is currently airing the second season of the Riverdale live action television show, featuring all the main Archie characters in their titular hometown.

While each issue of The Archies can be read as a stand-alone, the writers are telling a bigger story too. In Issue #1, we see the band struggling to keep going after the initial excitement starts to fade. Segura comments, "Let's face itthe idea of being in a band with your best friends sounds great. The reality is less so." As the myriad problems of a five-way musical marriagecontinue to bubble up, in Issue #3 CHVRCHES guest star to serve as mentors to The Archies. The creative team are keeping quiet on the other bands who will be appearing in the series (although Tegan and Sara were announced after our interview) but Eisma lets slip that he still wants to land the all-female teenage Japanese metal/pop idol band Babymetal. "I've been a fan of theirs for a long time, and in terms of a team up, I think Babymetal and The Archies would make a great combo!"

"One of the main things that attracted me to this project," Eisma adds, "is the honest portrayal of what it is to be in a band, as tumultuous as that can be! My college band days were some of the wildest and most creatively expansive times of my life, and it's fun to draw a book that is really rooted in that." Rosenberg and Segura have also had similar experiences with bands which they've drawn on to make what The Archies go through ring as true as possible.

In the one-shot for the new series, published in July 2017, Archie has posters of The Clash and Built to Spill in his room, with The Ramones and Oasis' Definitely Maybe LPs also on view. "I love putting those Easter eggs in, and they are very representative of the creative team," says Eisma. "I see Archie as the type that just loves really good songwriting, no matter the genre. So he seeks out the masters and whoever is breaking new ground at the moment. As for the rest, I think Reggie is a Britpop fan, but also likes funky stuff. Veronica is into synthwave, Jughead into garage rock, and Betty's into classic '60s and '70s pop rock."  

Segura agrees. "Archie's a pretty modern music listener, but also has an ear for what's come before and what kind of songs he wants to write and play, so that'll be reflected in the book."  

So what does the 2017 version of The Archies sound like? While Eisma hears them as garage rock-"there's some punk elements, but having Veronica on synthesizer adds electronic aspects to their sound"-Segura says "a mix of Rilo Kiley, Weezer, Imperial Teen, and a more modern Fleetwood Mac with a big spoonful of The New Pornographers."

Eisma concludes, "Archie has pretty diverse tastes!"

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Fall 2017 Issue (October/November 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

www.archiecomics.com

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