Monday, January 08, 2007

Reaction to New Betty and Veronica

Archie Comics seems to be hedging their bets a little with their revamp of Betty and Veronica. Apparently, the new look is scheduled to last only four issues, then the publisher will sit back and gauge reader response (aka sales figures) to determine whether to do more stories in that vein, and, in an interview published on-line, Archie editor Victor Gorelick assured Newsarama that, "There will always be the traditional 'Archie' look." Well, since their digest line consists mainly of reprints and they've got sixty plus years of that stuff sitting around, I would think so.
One things for sure, the news of the "new look" has accomplished something that seemed nearly impossible: it's actually got people talking about Archie comics again, both in the comics press and the mainstream media. While a blurb on the Publisher's Weekly site is not surprising, the story also made news in Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail.
They say any publicity is good publicity, and I hope Archie Comics subscribes to that notion, because a lot of the initial reaction is not what you would call positive. Most it is along the lines of what I described as my initial reaction in my post on Saturday. There are a lot of people asking "Is nothing sacred?" and excoriating Archie for screwing with a piece of their childhood, and many, many comparisons to the 1980's New Coke fiasco. Of course, most of the people expressing this outrage probably haven't read an Archie comic since they were kids, and a few of these whiners even admit this.
While I'm opposed to changing the long standing Archie art style, I'll take a wait and see attitude on the story. However, after seeing these pencilled preview pages posted at Silver Bullet Comics, I'm not hopeful. You can't tell much because these are just the first few pages and the story hasn't really begun. In fact, these pages seem to be largely exposition for the benefit of the new readers that Archie is hoping this stunt garners them. However, the problem is that it reads like exposition rather than the thoughts of a teenaged girl. Maybe the writing gets better once the plot gets rolling. One can only hope.

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