Next month Archie Comics will release Fun with Little Archie & Friends Special #1. The all-new one-shot comic features stories starring young versions of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the Riverdale gang. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive preview of the one-shot, with pages from three of the issue’s delightful stories.

Main cover by Erin Hunting

Here’s how Archie Comics describes Fun with Little Archie & Friends Special #1:

Get ready for high-octane fun and adventure with LITTLE ARCHIE and his friends from Riverdale! When Little Sabrina meets up with Little Archie, Little Jughead, and Little Betty and Veronica, all kinds of chaos breaks loose and the gang find themselves transported into new, fantastical game world inspired by their favorite hobbies! Watch as they brave the mystical and mysterious realm of Gryphons and Gargoyles, form a big-wheel gang, and attempt to relax in an unexpectedly exciting animal farming video game!

The latest Little Archie special features stories from writers Shannon WattersJ. Torres, and Jamie Lee Rotante, illustrated by Erin Hunting, Adrian Ropp, and Agnes Grabowska, colored by Matt Herms, and lettered by Jack Morelli. Along with the preview pages, Rotante, who is also the issue’s editor, told The Beat how the new one-shot came about:

“A few years ago, Editorial started discussing the idea of a kid-friendly title, and one of the first ideas we came up with was ‘Li’l Vixens,’ because just the image of the little versions of the characters riding around on big wheels and protecting their turf (a.k.a. the playground) was too good to pass up. We didn’t have the chance to make it then, so a kid-friendly anthology was one of the first ones we wanted to make happen in the 2022 publishing slate. Suffice to say, getting the chance to finally make it happen is nothing short of a dream come true — and Agnes’s absolutely adorable art just took it to the next level.” 

Artist Erin Hunting and writer J. Torres also expressed to The Beat their enthusiasm to be working on such iconic characters:

“Archie was one of those comics I read as a kid and it’s never really left my life, so to get the opportunity to draw up ‘Critter Junction’ for the LITTLE ARCHIE one-shot has been a definite career highlight. Add to that, I got to illustrate a Shannon Watters story — someone who I have admired since reading her work in Lumberjanes — which heavily features Little Sabrina and Salem (Witches! Cats!), and I got to design a cute little Jughead as a dog. I can say it was a pretty perfect introduction.” – Erin Hunting

“For as long as I’ve been reading Archie comics, the Little Archies have always been my favorite iteration of the gang. So, it’s always a treat to get a Little Archie assignment. And speaking of treats, one of those assignments gave me the opportunity to write a Little Archie story for the legendary Bob Bolling himself! As far as this one shot is concerned, I think it truly is ‘fun with Little Archie.’ It is a bona-fide all ages comic; fun for the young and the young at heart like yours truly.” – J. Torres

Variant cover by Brittney Williams

Still wearing her editorial cap, Rotante praised the work all of her fellow creators on the issue:

“I’ve been such a huge Lumberjanes fan for years, so when Shannon Watters said she was available for freelance work, it was a no-brainer. And, unsurprisingly, she came up with an amazing character arc for Little Sabrina as well as a fun story with nods to Animal Crossing. Add to that Erin Hunting (someone whom we’ve also wanted to work with on a Little Archie story for years) and we have a perfect situation!

“J. Torres has proven time and again that he’s a master at Little Archie stories. The idea for this to take place within a Dungeons & Dragons-style game (Gryphons and Gargoyles, a nod to The CW’s Riverdale) just made so much sense. Adrian Ropp is another artist who we’ve wanted to work with for some time, and he completely knocked it out of the (Pickens) park!” 

Check out the preview pages for the trio of stories below. Fun with Little Archie & Friends Special #1 is set to arrive in stores and digitally on Wednesday, April 13th. The final order cut-off date for the issue is next Monday, March 21st.