Archie Andrews is a baby-boomer no more. His polyester pants have been swapped for skinny jeans. His goofy center-part hairstyle is now a Williamsburg-worthy swoop. He texts. He Instagrams. Yes, the 75-year-old comic book character has undergone a hipster transformation.
Archie’s look made its debut at Comic Con in San Diego on Wednesday. The new line of comics hopes to revolution the series, bringing the classic character closer to Williamsburg than a Norman Rockwell painting—a transformation that has also included hiring Lena Dunham as a writer.
“My mantra coming in was: We have to take chances. We have to modernize,” said CEO of Archie Comics Jon Goldwater to The Daily Beast last year on the brand’s ongoing transformation.
For the new redesign, Goldwater and Archie Comics tapped Fiona Staples, the Canadian artist formerly of the popular science fiction comic series, Saga.
“Fiona was our first choice. If she said ‘Yes,’ there was going to be no conversations with anybody else. We were so lucky she said ‘Yes,’” Goldwater told Bloomberg.
The rebrand was not cheap. “You hire the top talent, so costs increase. But it’s a small price to pay because we’re rebranding the entire Archie universe,” said Goldwater to Bloomberg. But unlike the major players, “We have an advantage over companies like Marvel because we can move and react very quickly,” Goldwater told the Beast last year.
Archie isn’t the only one at Riverdale making a major makeover. According to Bloomberg, Jughead has serious stoner vibes. Betty will now sport low-riding jeans and is “is more of a tomboy than before and is capable of expressing more complex emotions.”
The reviews coming in are promising. Kotaku calls the first issue “damn good.” IGN summarized the new comic: “Archie #1 is a joy in every sense of the word. It’s a book that warms you, each turn of the page providing a welcome blast of character and heart.”