Most television and film is putting their best Halloween foot forward this week, so why not comics too? Valiant launches a new Eternity mini-series, even IDW are getting in on the spirit of the season with Goosebumps and a new X-Files series. DC’s got a superhero scare brewing but the award for most must-read of the horror week goes to Archie Comics.
As always check out the respective rundowns on The Beat for everything Marvel and DC.
JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #1
Story: Frank Tieri
Art: Pat & Tim Kennedy
Colors: Matt Herms
Inks: Bob Smith
Letters: Jack Morelli
Published by: Archie Comics (Archie’s Madhouse)
I know I’m in the minority when I say I haven’t watched Riverdale since it first premiered on The CW. More power to you if you’re a fan, it’s just not for me. To its credit, Archie Comics has done everything to try and ride the wave of Riverdale nerdlebrity popularity. They’ve put out some really terrific comics to back the show including Zdarsky’s Jughead. Perhaps what Archie Comics does best is keeping their world of characters accessible to any readers simply passing through. That’s due to the self-containment of all these books, not being a slave to a continuity often frees creators to tell daring stories. Like Jughead being a werewolf.
The only thing a reader who’s never read any Archie comic has to know is this title’s main character, Jughead Jones, is a descendant of a lineage of Lycans. You know… those things Kate Beckinsdale was so dick hard about preventing the rise of. As explained in the comic, Jughead’s curse has already had adverse effects as his monstrous rampage claimed the lives of several teens in Riverdale. Not only has he done the only logical thing of becoming a runaway (*wink wink*) joining the circus, he has to live in fear of being killed by this Arch-dimension’s monster hunter, all-American girl Betty Cooper. Issue one sets up an interesting mystery as Jughead and the return to life Reggie may not be the only monsters in town.
Writer, Frank Tieri plays up the horror side of this book splendidly. From emotionally heavy hospital scenes to gruesome disembowelings, it can become easy to forget this is a story about a group of teens. Just when that happens, BAM! There’s Archie Andrews being a puppy to Betty Cooper. Tieri isn’t out to make the Handmaid’s Tale of comics, he’s having fun and it shines through in this issue. He accomplishes this feat by simply doing what he does better than most in comics. Allowing the entire package of script and art to come together properly. These pages aren’t bogged down by dialogue-heavy scenes or boxes upon boxes of exposition. I wish more writers would subscribe to this school of thought. Keeping dialogue short and frugal makes even the most background of characters feel as though what they’re saying is important.
Archie Comics, as a line, distinguish each genre of books through the art. Archie’s main series uses prime examples of comic and pop art while books such as this horror title have a unique atmosphere because of the heavier lined style Pat & Tim Kennedy utilize. The emotional tone is bolstered by the lack of details in certain places and the perfect expressions at the right time. They can appear as blatant as the screaming nurse in the hospital or as subtle the brow of a contemplating Jughead, both delivering impact. The art deco clash of Matt Herms colors magnifies that emotion. Seeing that blood red against the cool tone pallet just never lets you get away from the feeling that everything is about to go wrong.
I love the idea that comics with nearly a century of history can do things unencumbered by continuity. It almost dares readers to just sit back, take everything at face value, and enjoy the ride.
[WON] Jughead: The Hunger is off to a must-read start.
Here’s the rest of this week’s #1′s:
- BATMAN THE MERCILESS #1 (DC)
- DC HOUSE OF HORROR #1 (DC)
- RUFF & REDDY SHOW #1 (DC)
- GHOSTBUSTERS ANSWER THE CALL #1 (IDW)
- GOOSEBUMPS MONSTERS AT MIDNIGHT #1 (IDW)
- X-FILES JFK DISCLOSURE #1 (IDW)
- HACK SLASH RESURRECTION #1 (IMAGE)
- UNDERWINTER FIELD OF FEATHERS #1 (IMAGE)
- THOR WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 (MARVEL)
- ETERNITY #1 (VALIANT)
- NO ROOM FOR MAGIC #1 (KEENSPOT)
- STRANGE CEREBUS #1 (AARDVARK VANAHEIM)