Archie Comics today announced a pair of new initiatives aimed at bringing middle-grade and young adult readers to their classic stable of characters. The publisher will launch Archie Blue Ribbon, which will produce original YA graphic novels based on the comic version of Archie and his pals, as well as books set in the universe of The CW’s Riverdale TV series. Additionally, Archie will partner with Little Bee Books on a series of books aimed at younger readers, to be released through the publisher’s BuzzPop imprint.
Along with the announcement came details on the first few books for each line. Archie Blue Ribbon’s first two offerings will be Betty & Veronica: The Bond of Friendship, which will be written by Jamie Lee Rotante and illustrated by Brittney Williams. Rotante has written these characters before, in the recently-wrapped Betty & Veronica: Senior Year miniseries, while Williams is best known for her work on Goldie Vance and Patsy Walker: Hellcat!.
The other inaugural Blue Ribbon book will be Riverdale: The Ties That Bind, written by novelist Micol Ostow and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli. Ostow is the author of over a dozen young adult novels, and Pitilli has previously worked on Riverdale tie-in comics for Archie. Both of these books are slated for release in 2020.
Archie and Little Bee also announced the first of their upcoming titles on the middle-grade reader front. The Riverdale Diaries: Hello, Betty! reimagines the Riverdale gang as middle-schoolers. The first in a series of books, Hello, Betty! will be written by Sarah Kuhn and illustrated by J. Bone.
Archie Comics is the latest publisher to jump into the YA and young reader markets. Dark Horse and IDW have had fairly robust publishing programs for younger readers for quite some time, and DC’s Zoom and Ink imprints launched earlier this year to a fair amount of success. Marvel also looks to be in the market for someone to oversee YA and young reader projects. And we reported on Friday that superstar cartoonist Raina Telgemeier‘s latest all-ages graphic novel, Guts, was the best-selling book—not kids book, not graphic novel, book—in the United States last week, news that generated a lot of chatter over the weekend.
You can check out more details on Archie’s forthcoming graphic novel lines over on THR. Look for these books to start arriving in stores some time next year.