Sunday, 13 July 2014

Archie Comics superheroes to go dark?

The old line of Archie Superhero characters has been around for decades. Lest people forget the very first star-spangled hero with a costume based on the American flag with a shield was actually published in Pep Comics no 1 in January 1940, a year before the better known and more successful Captain America of Marvel Comics fame.

They even managed an insect based character before Spider-man (yes I know spiders aren't insects before you write in). The Adventures of the Fly appeared in August 1959. Created by Joe Simon and drawn by Jack Kirby  (creators of Captain America), this was the longest lasting of the Archie line in the "Silver Age" of comics.

Adventures of the Fly no 1.png

Several attempts have been made to revive the line over the years including Archie's own Mighty Comics line in the late sixties which attempted (unsuccessfully) to copy the Marvel Comics way of doing things. Lame stories and wooden characters didn't help, though the hen-pecked Web always amused me even as a kid.

They were revived in the eighties as Red Circle comics, which didn't last long and the characters were licenced to DC comics who launched a younger readers line under the Impact imprint. DC had a second go just before their universe wide "reboot".

More recently Archie tried again with a New Crusaders mini series, killing off most of the (now retired) heroes except the ageing, but agile Shield who saves their children who have powers of their own and begin the quest for justice. Even had a talking monkey (don't ask).

Didn't sell well enough to last. Pity, quite enjoyed it myself.

Now something new is on the horizon for 2015.

USA Today carried the following report:

Archie Comics is getting serious about its superheroes and revamping a classic brand.

Red Circle Comics, an imprint started in the 1970s that was the longtime home for characters such as The Fox, Shield, Firefly, Wizard and The Web, is being relaunched under the new Dark Circle Comics banner. The first round of books is slated to arrive early next year.

The Red Circle brand has some level of burden to it, according to Dark Circle editor Alex Segura. Most comic fans know its history of being rebooted a handful of times in various places, most recently as an all-digital line in 2012.

"With Dark Circle, we want to not only break away from that, but also show fans, retailers and newcomers that this is a fresh start featuring recognizable names and icons with zero baggage," Segura says. "It starts here. You don't need to read anything else."

He has a "dream team" of creators for the new ongoing series, which will feature five-issue arcs and breaks for trade collections.

Some of the names involved are familiar to comic fans, while others are more outside the box, admits Segura, who doubles as Archie's senior vice president for marketing and publicity.

"Dark Circle has an entire library of heroes, villains, worlds and teams that has been basically untapped," he says. "We're bringing together a group of great writers, artists and more to jump in without many rules. We're handing them the keys and telling them to go crazy."

I've always had a soft spot for these characters (go figure) but if they can repeat their recent success of a revamped zombie version of Archie, anything is possible!

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