Over the weekend, comics industry news site Newsarama reported that Archie Comics will adopt a new style, altering the basic appearance of Archie and the rest of the Riverdale gang for the first time in…well, ever, as far as I can tell. At right, I’ve grafted the classic Betty and Veronica onto the cover art unveiling their new look, but look at what they’ve done to Archie! (Note: I’ve adjusted the brightness and contrast levels from the original artwork—which I should point out is not yet completed—to make it more readily visible.) Comics fans have been voicing skepticism, mostly along the lines of “it if aint [Dan] DeCarlo style, it just ain’t Archie to me,” but there’ve also been some more substantial concerns raised: “Archie seemingly has a normal everyday physique, while B&V look like twigs that could snap in two,” says one commenter. “I realize that comic books aren’t known for their realistic anatomy, but comics like this specifically designed to court younger, and female, readers really should take care to not indoctrinate such a double standard.”
Comics shop owner Mike Sterling offers a guardedly optimistic analysis: “This new less-cartoony style might possibly keep some of the readers around a little longer, as it may appear less like a ‘kid’s book’ and more like a contemporary teen romance/comedy on par with some of the manga books they might be reading as well.” On the other hand, his commenters are speculating as to whether this is “New Coke all over again.” We shall see!
UPDATE: The Archie folks would like to emphasize, because they’ve been getting a lot of worried feedback, that this “new look” is actually only going to be used for one storyline for now, and is not a complete makeover of the entire franchise.