No, we didn’t see that coming either.
In an interview with the New York Times, the creative switch is described as being intended to update Archie and the gang and keep them relevant. Waid specifically mentions restoring the “contemporary attitudes of teenagers.”
It would be remiss not to mention this revitalization happens while Greg Berlanti has the Archie “Riverdale” TV series in development for Fox, although it isn’t clear how much the Waid/Staples version will be influenced by that or vice versa.
After Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was signed up as Archie’s Chief Creative Officer, it was expected there would be a few more changes, so this might not be the only announcement dropping in the near future. The Times does have the book formally relaunching as a new #1. It wasn’t specified if the other titles in the line will switch over to the Waid/Staples depictions or exactly when this new #1 is dropping, but expect that all to come out soon.
UPDATE: For all the Saga fans who just fainted, it’s only for three issues:
Yep, launching a new Archie series with @MarkWaid! For those asking, I'm just pencilling the first 3 issues- Saga's schedule won't change.
— Fiona Staples (@fionastaples) December 15, 2014