Search This Blog

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Afterlife With Archie


Heh...only kidding.

So, how do you like my new zombie look above? Pretty scary looking huh?

Okay, so I'm not REALLY a zombie. I just got a little bit creative with YouTube.  

But have you ever heard of a show known as "The Walking Dead"?  I can vouch for everyone when I tell you that this particular show has been doing extremely well in the ratings. Currently in its fourth season, it's all that I ever see people commenting about in social media. And, I can definitely vouch that the program's DVD box sets have also been selling well. I think I've restocked seasons 1-3 in the electronics department at least two dozen times since I began working in that area. For whatever reason, zombies are in style again.

But, did zombies ever really go out of style? I mean, when you stop and think about it, zombies and their relatives have been invading film screens, television projects, and comic book pages for at least five decades...maybe even more than that. From the slow as molasses moving zombies in “Night of the Living Dead” to the insanely super speedy zombies in “World War Z”, zombies are going to remain a permanent fixture in pop culture horror for years to come.

Why zombies are so popular is anybody's guess. I'll admit that I find some of the more recent zombie projects to be interesting. And the brilliant thing about zombie movies is that they are not simply a display of rotting body parts and a voracious appetite for human brains. Many of them are clever and witty social commentaries. I think a lot of the reason why people are attracted to “The Walking Dead” is that in each episode of the series, they have a hard time trying to figure out who is more of a threat – the flesh-eating zombies, or the humans that are left behind – becoming increasingly paranoid with each passing day.

In the Resident Evil video game series (which later turned into a movie series), the main theme is corporate corruption and corporate greed...and how too much of it can literally cause an umbrella effect that can destroy entire communities. Just ask the people of Raccoon City.

(Oh, can't. They all died. My bad.)

Even a movie like “Dawn of the Dead” is socially relevant. After all, the images of zombies with dead expressions on their faces in the middle of a shopping mall is really no different than wandering inside of a shopping mall in the middle of Black Friday or Boxing Day. It's a rather biting (pardon the pun) commentary on commercialism and greed.

Even parody movies featuring zombies such as “Zombieland” or “Shaun of the Dead” have their own moments. After all, parody is commentary too!

So, I'm sure that you've already guessed that today's topic is going to be featuring zombies in some capacity. But I bet you don't know how I plan on doing this. And, I bet you probably are never going to expect that I'll be linking zombies with Archie comics.

Yes. You heard me correctly. Zombies and Archie Comics.

Believe me, I was very skeptical of the idea myself. I mean, being a longtime fan of Archie Comics since the late 1980s, the closest thing to a zombie story that I've ever read about Archie comics was in those “Life With Archie” comics where Archie characters are hypnotized into doing things that they didn't want to do. Or in a recent storyline from three years ago in which an evil being used mind control power to put the entire town in a state of mindlessness until Jughead discovered that Ms. Beazley's chicken soup would snap everyone out of their trances.

(Hey, it's Archie Comics. They're directed at a younger audience. Or, in my case, thirtysomething men who have one childhood obsession that they refuse to let go of.)

But to have Archie comic characters actually transforming into zombies and having them eat each other? Come on. It'd never happen, right?

Apparently I was wrong.

The first issue of the ongoing series “Afterlife With Archie” hit store shelves earlier in October 2013. And, would you believe that the first issue was sold completely out? I can attest to that one, as I couldn't find it anywhere. I had to resort to ordering it from an online comic book store to get my copy (which finally arrived a couple of days ago).

And, just as the title suggests, the serial combines the white bread world of Riverdale, U.S.A., and mixes it up with darkness, evil, and lots and lots of zombies.

This ain't your grandpappy's Archie comic.

Now, I suppose you're the heck does a zombie apocalypse begin in Riverdale? There are several fingers of blame that could be pointed to several people in the community of Riverdale, but there is one person who I feel is the one that sets about the end of the world.

Reggie Mantle.

Through a series of flashbacks within the first issue of the story, we piece together how the zombie apocalypse began. Reggie tried to get his hooks into the unattainable Midge Klump once again, and Moose Mason caught him and decided to land a few “clumps” on Reggie himself...along with a thud, a punch, a couple of blams, and a giant kerblammo.

Onomatopoeia at its finest.

Now, if this were a typical Archie story, Reggie would crawl back home to heal his wounds, and then learning absolutely nothing from his experiences, goes right back to chasing after the unattainable Midge. That is, if it were a typical Archie tale.

But in Afterlife With Archie, this story is not like your typical Archie story. This time around, Reggie is absolutely distracted by Moose's latest attack. So distracted that he doesn't notice a fuzzy white creature approaching as his car speeds through a city street.

Yes. You read that right. Reggie runs over Jughead's beloved Hot Dog. And it doesn't look good. At some point, Jughead comes across a fatally wounded Hot Dog and actually picks his body up and jogs all the way to the home of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

(Apparently, Jughead discovered that Sabrina was a witch in a recent issue of his now defunct title. I think it's issue #200. But I'm getting off track here.)

Because Jughead knows that Sabrina is a witch, he urges Sabrina to bring Hot Dog back to life again. Even Sabrina's aunts, Hilda and Zelda try to help. But it's too late. Hot Dog is no more, and Jughead is left inconsolable. Jughead asks Hilda and Zelda if there is a magic spell that can bring dogs back from the dead, but both of them refuse, warning Jughead and Sabrina that the magic of necromancy must not be used with Zelda uttering a prophetic statement just before Jughead leaves.

Are you getting goosebumps yet?

Well, seeing the broken hearted look on Jughead's face causes Sabrina to completely disregard her aunts' warnings, and she and Jughead bring Hot Dog's dead body to a swamp near Carson's Creek to perform the ritual that will bring Hot Dog to life. Sounds like a bad idea, right?

Well, when Hilda and Zelda find out the truth, they lose their minds...and their human personas, apparently.

And with that Sabrina is banished to another realm for a whole year. Not good. Especially since elsewhere in Riverdale, a now zombified Hot Dog greets his master...and not in a happy way either.

Ouch...that had to hurt.

Meanwhile, while all this is going on, Reggie is feeling incredible guilt over killing Jughead's dog, and Archie is once again caught in the middle of a love triangle, deciding whether Betty or Veronica will be his date for the upcoming costume ball at Riverdale High. On top of that, Archie is extremely worried about Jughead, who skipped school. Amazingly enough, Archie doesn't seem to notice the gaping hole wrapped up in gauze that is now around Jughead's arm, nor does he seem too taken aback when Jughead freaks out whenever Archie mentioned Hot Dog's name. But Jughead and Archie seem to have one (what turns out to be final) moment where Jughead thanks Archie for being a friend, and urges him to have a good time at the dance without him.

But as the sun sets and the moon rises, the kids at the Halloween dance have no idea that this will be their final dance ever. Before the night is out, Zombie Jughead comes out to play...and unbeknownst to the kids in the gymnasium, Jughead has already claimed at least three victims.

The plague is in effect...and nobody in Riverdale is safe.

Now, issue number two doesn't go on sale until the end of November...but let's have a little bit of fun with this hypothetical question.

According to the comic book solicits, there are at least five issues that are in the works, with the possibility of several more if the series proves to be a success. And in those five issues, we see several people attempting to flee Riverdale to find refuge elsewhere. But the series also states that not everyone in Archie's group of pals and gals make it out alive. We've already seen that with poor Jughead.

So, let's ask the question. At the end of the Escape from Riverdale mark...who do you see making it to the end?

I'll come up with my list. Blue means they survive, Red means they become zombies, and Green means that I'm not sure yet..

ARCHIE: Well, since the title is called “Afterlife With Archie”, I would be mighty surprised if Archie was killed off at the end of the Escape from Riverdale arc. That could be why the title isn't called Afterlife With Cheryl Blossom or something like that. Actually, keeping Archie alive is a solid option. His grief over losing his best friend and seeing his hometown fall apart could make for a great story. And, when put under pressure, Archie can rise to the occasion in any situation. I say Archie makes it.

REGGIE: Reggie is one that I also predict will make the escape alive. Why? Reggie caused this mess. He killed Hot Dog, and that set the zombie attack in motion. Can you just picture Reggie's guilt over killing Hot Dog multiplied by a million when he realizes that he is responsible for killing off three-quarters of his town by just that one action? It would be interesting to see Reggie survive – WITHOUT HIS SECRET COMING OUT AT FIRST. I would imagine that once the survivors discover Reggie's role, they will hunt him down, but I don't see that happening until after the action shifts from Riverdale.

BETTY: Sadly, I see the curtains falling for our young blonde heroine. I think Betty will meet an early end, just because of the fact that she is the type of person who would want to help people in need. I can easily see Betty running over to Jughead to try and get him first aid, and Jughead biting her, and Betty becoming the next victim. I hope I'm wrong about this, but I can't help but think that Betty doesn't get out alive.

VERONICA: I think Veronica will outlive Betty just because of the fact that some of the spoilers indicate that the action moves over to Lodge Mansion at some point. Veronica's fate to me is probably the hardest to predict. There's a fifty per cent chance that the zombies will get her, but there's a fifty per cent chance that she could live to see a way out of Riverdale. Just because the story needs a female character, I'm tentatively putting her on the “survive” list, but I really am not sure.

ETHEL: She's Jughead's not-so-secret crush. She's a goner.

DILTON: Dilton thought that Zombie Jughead was a costume. This is disappointing, coming from a super genius as Dilton. But if brains are what zombies are looking for, he's history.

MOOSE: Moose is the brute force of the operation. It'll take a lot to get rid of him. I say he stays. But there's one possibility that could see him zombified...

MIDGE: If Midge is in a position where she is threatened by zombies, Moose will sacrifice himself to save her...leaving a path open for Reggie. Actually, you know what...let me change that.

REVISED MOOSE: He dies saving Midge, leaving a clear path for Reggie...though considering that there's a zombie attack in Riverdale, going on a date to Pop Tate's is out of the question.

CHUCK AND NANCY: We may as well group them together since they happen to be joined at the hip together. They'll either both survive or both die. Let's go with survive on this one. We need a somewhat big group to leave Riverdale to keep the story going.

KEVIN: We haven't seen Kevin Keller in Afterlife With Archie. He is a fairly new character to the fold. If he does appear in the storyline, his fate is just as questionable as Veronica's. Since Kevin and Veronica are BFF's, I see Kevin sticking very closely with Veronica. And, if one of them became a zombie, the other one would likely turn into one too. But since I have Veronica on the survive list, I'll put Kevin there.

So, my predictions are as such.

SURVIVES PAST RIVERDALE: Archie, Reggie, Midge, Chuck, Nancy
ZOMBIFIED: Jughead (confirmed), Betty, Dilton, Ethel. Moose
STILL HAVE NO IDEA: Veronica, Kevin

Time will only tell whether my predictions are true. And, will we ever see Sabrina again? I know I'm excited to see what happens.

(Oh, and for those of you who like Archie comics...the Afterlife With Archie story is non-canon. You can still read the funny, classic Archie stories you grew up with.)

No comments:

Post a Comment