It’s rare that a comic series comes along that can just grip you like the new Afterlife with Archie series has for me. Remember the days of Archie Comics? I grew up with them, as my older brothers used to bring home Archie Digests all the time, and they were a fun read for a teenager, even in the 80’s.
Archie has been around since the early days of comics, and they are still out there making comics. They have even handled some big questions along the way, like drugs, homosexuality, and more. Yet, for most Archie Comics aren’t even on their radar. Most people are more familiar with Sabrina the Teenage Witch than they are with Jughead, thanks to Melissa Joan Hart. Who knows that Sabrina is part of the Archie gang? Well, I do.
I heard that Archie Comics had decided to run a zombie series that was going to be called “Afterlife with Archie” a humorous and appropriate play on their Life with Archie series. I’m as drawn into the whole zombie craze started by the Walking Dead as the next person, so I was interested in seeing where the team of Robert Aguirre-Sarcasa and Francesco Francavilla would take the series.
I’m here to say that these are not your dad’s Archie Comics. These comics are a serious look at what could happen in Riverdale if the Zombie Apocalypse started there. I don’t want to give many spoilers, because it is so good, but I will tell you how it all started.
It seems that Reggie Mantle ran over Hot Dog (Jughead’s beloved companion) after a serious beating by Moose. Reggie drove off in shame and remorse, leaving a mortally injured Hot Dog to struggle home, only to die in his owner’s arms.
Jughead in desperation goes to Sabrina for help, but this kind of help is forbidden. He lays the guilt on thick as Sabrina turns him away. After all, her own cat Salem was once dead. Sabrina does the unthinkable, and defies the laws of her order to return Hot Dog to life.
When her aunts find out what she has done, they do not gently rib her and send her to her room. Instead she is banished to suffer for a year in some type of not pleasant other worldly prison. Meanwhile, Hot Dog has come back, but something is wrong. Sometimes, dead is better.
Jughead greets his buddy with open arms, and that was his fatal mistake. Jughead is bitten, and gets sick. That night is Halloween, but he won’t be going to the party, at least, not alive.
Hot Dog has started the spread of the zombie plague, and now Jughead continues it. Some beloved characters are bitten right in the first issue, and we find out more in the second. I simply cannot wait to get the third issue, as we already know that another of the main gang members is already infected.
This series is spectacular, the covers and variant covers are amazing and they have really got their hands on a great series here. If you know anything about Archie comics, and you like zombie stories, then you will really love this series. Heck they killed off my favorite character in the first issue and I still think it is great. Even if you don’t know Archie, it is a great zombie story.
My advice, jump on the bandwagon now, as this series has legs, and arms, and other bits.