The “Red Circle” line of superheroes—The Fly, the Shield and so on—has been bouncing around the industry for a while now — first at Archie, then recently licensed to DC where they basically kicked back on the veranda with an iced tea. They’re one of those little bits of IP that isn’t always out in front but just seems too valuable to let go of entirely.

Now Archie Comics is continuing its forward-looking ways by bringing back their superheroes as a series of digital comics.

The comics will be available as a subscription via iVerse. Readers will get a series of new stories and access to all of the old archives as well. Writer Ian Flynn and artist Ben Bates will produce a series of 6-page stories.

The premise of the digital series, written by Ian Flynn and illustrated by Ben Bates, begins with the heroes largely in retirement in a suburb called the Red Circle. Their enemies find and dispatch the heroes, forcing the next generation, who will be overseen by The Shield, to save the day, thus paving the way for The New Crusaders, the title of the series.

[snip]Archie’s latest digital initiative will be similar to Netflix, Mr. Goldwater said. “It will be a nominal monthly charge with access to new comics and thousands and thousands of pages from the archive.”

The final price and format hasn’t been decided on yet, but Archie’s Jon Goldwater says “value” is a prime concern. “We’re very conscious of what’s going on in the economy right now. We want to be recession busters. We don’t want to gouge our fans.”

As the digital news comes fast and furious, this is yet another paving stone for the new journey. Creating original serialized material is old hat for self-publishers and indies. But major comics publishers are just beginning to get into this part of the business. Archie folks will have more to say about this initiative at New York Comic Con.


  1. Interesting… the art style looks like it could be animated. Or perhaps that’s just standard operating procedure for Archie… create a standard style which a variety of artists can replicate.

    The last volume of The Web was interesting… he franchised his suit’s tech a year before Batman, Inc., with mixed results.

  2. “They’re one of those little bits of IP that isn’t always out in front but just seems too valuable to let go of entirely.”

    Is there such a thing as a bit of IP that superhero comics WILL let go of?

  3. It’ll be interesting to see what Archie Editorial think fits well into six pages. Remember those five-page backup stories Marvel used to put in comics? If someone did a series of those, how would he get them to link to each other without having to assume that a reader has read the prior stories?