Next month, Archie Comics will release The Best Archie Comic Ever! The new one-shot features a trio of stories starring everyone’s favorite Riverdale residents in new and exciting scenarios, from both established and rising star creative teams including Fred Van Lente & Tim Seeley, Aubrey Sitterson & Jed Dougherty, and Ruben Najera & Giorgia Sposito, all of whom are joined by colorist Matt Herms and letterer Jack Morelli. Today The Beat has an exclusive first look at Sitterson & Dougherty’s story from the forthcoming one-shot, which introduces a new, savage version of Archie Andrews’s best pal: Jughead the Burgarian.
Here’s how the publisher describes The Best Archie Comic Ever!:
THE BLOCKBUSTER OF THE SUMMER IS HERE featuring Superheroes! Barbarians! Spies! All this plus Archie’s trademark mix of romance, humor, and adventure in an all-new anthology! In the first of three all-new stories, Pureheart the Powerful encounters a superhero that looks a lot like himself! Is this other hero an imposter, or is it a case of imposter syndrome? Next up, the reluctantly heroic barbarian Jughead Jones is scaling a tower, hell-bent on saving the day and waging war against a menacing wizard in a tale that action & adventure fans will love! Finally, intrigue and espionage take hold as the world’s most dangerous woman Veronica Lodge teams with spy extraordinaire Betty Cooper on a top-secret case!
The “Jughead the Burgarian” story comes from Sitterson and Dougherty, the creative team behind the Dark Horse Comics series Savage Hearts. “Jed and I established a really incredible rhythm and working relationship together on our comic Savage Hearts,” Sitterson told The Beat. “So, when editor Jamie Rotante reached out and asked us to bring our take on romantic comedy action to Archie Comics, we knew exactly what we needed to do.”
Similarly, Dougherty described to The Beat what made working on his first Archie Comics story a unique experience. “It was fun finding some Archie analogs for sword and sorcery tropes,” Dougherty said. “Aubrey nailed Jughead’s singlemindedness and Betty and Veronica’s jadedness with being damsels. My contributions were the Principal Weatherbee gargoyle and the petrified Moose. I wanted to draw a grotesque gargoyle on the tower and was torn between him and Ms. Grundy. Aubrey’s script mentioned previous lunkheaded barbarian rescuers, and I thought Moose fit naturally into that role.”
“Comics don’t have to be funny to be good but the truth is that our medium lends itself to comedy,” Sitterson added. “And that’s one of the things I love about Archie Comics: Comedy is always at the forefront, whether it’s a teenage soap opera, a superhero story, or, well . . . a barbarian scaling a tower to square off against an evil wizard.”
Check out the exclusive preview of “Jughead the Burgarian,” as well as Tom Whalen‘s variant cover and pages from Van Lente & Seeley’s Pureheart the Powerful story “Once We Were Heroes,” below. The Best Archie Comic Ever! #1 is set to arrive in stores and digitally on Wednesday, June 15th, with a preorder cutoff date of next Monday, May 23rd.