Tag Archives: Archie

Afterlife with Archie: Issue #6 (Blending Lovecraft and Pop Culture)

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Alright, I’ll admit it. I am completely hooked into the Archie horror comics. They are so damn good, I can’t get enough of them. In fact, after reading this issue, I am going to delve into the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series. I believe there are two or three issues out, so I should not have a problem getting those.

This issue focuses on Sabrina, who is in a mental institution run by Doctor H. P. Lovecraft. There are lots of great allusions to Lovecraft’s writing, which works really well in the story. In addition, the artwork is downright creepy and draws on Lovecraftian imagery that crawled right out of the primordial slime and onto the pages of this comic. At this point, I’m issuing a spoiler alert, because I could not do this review justice without revealing what happens.

Sabrina discovers from another of the youths at the institution that Lovecraft plans to resurrect the old gods.

Erich: Lovecraft? He’s not a doctor, he’s a procurer. He procures for them.

Sabrina: What?

Erich: And Godzilla? From the movies? He’s one of them—one of the elder gods—Yig. Same with the Creature from the Black Lagoon—he’s Dagon.

At the end of the issue, Sabrina is offered as a bride to Cthulhu, who is summoned from the depths. And while the imagery and artwork are outstanding, it is the writing which is really the most amazing aspect of this comic. It is some of the best writing I have ever encountered in a graphic horror publication.

Then they all back away from me, and I’m alone in the Temple of R’lyeh, and I hear it, the sound of thunder… Of the world cracking in half… Of a universe being born… or dying… And it rises in front of me, from beneath the ocean’s depths, where it had been asleep… until I—I—awoke it by reading that spell that was meant to save Hot Dog… It blots out the sun—or maybe the sun simply ceases to be… And in the forever-darkness, I hear Dr. Lovecraft, on the edge of reality, saying: “All hail, Sabrina Spellman, Queen of Carcosa…bride of Cthulhu.”

This passage really captures the psychological symbolism which makes Lovecraft’s stories so engaging. It expresses the surfacing of the darker shadow aspects of the subconscious mind seething up to the forefront of the psyche. I personally got chills when I read it.

I am going on the assumption that this leads into the Sabrina comics, and honestly, I cannot wait to start reading them. This is one of the best graphic series I have ever read. If you are a horror fan, I guarantee you will love these comics.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on reading!

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #5

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Another excellent issue! In this installment, Archie and the gang formulate a plan to escape Lodge Manor, which is being overrun by zombies. This segment of the tale is narrated by Smithers, the Lodge’s butler. There are some great insights into what it is like to serve as a butler, to be the eyes and ears in a grand household, but to move silently and remain unseen. It’s very well done.

There is a quote that I found interesting. Fireworks are set off to distract the zombies so the group can make their escape. Smithers makes an astute observation regarding the zombies’ reactions.

There was something… child-like about them; they were captivated; as if some sliver of their former selves existed beneath the corruption…

I believe that our past always remains with us. Our experiences form who we are, and no matter what we become later on in life, we always retain a part of who we once were. It is impossible to completely sever yourself from your past.

Something I have failed to mention in my previous posts regarding this series is that each issue includes a short black-and-white horror vignette at the end, reminiscent of the classic horror comics which I grew up reading. The one in this issue is definitely worth mentioning. It concerns a person who creates a modern golem, which he unleashes to seek revenge on his girlfriend and his best friend, who are having an affair. The myth of the golem fascinates me, and I have to say that this tale is pretty true to the myth. It was a nice bonus for me.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #4 (Oedipal Archie)

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This comic is graphic, scary, and now I can add intellectually engaging. I have nothing but praise for this.

This issue begins with a flashback to when Archie is young and his parents took him to adopt a puppy. Archie’s mom, Mary, is struck with sadness as she remembers having a dog as a child, and when the dog died, having to face the realization that death is an inevitable part of life, something her own young son must one day learn.

Mary: …I’m just remembering the dog I had, when I was a girl. Spotty. How overjoyed I was when I got him, and how utterly devastated I was when… when…

Fred: Spotty was a good dog.

Mary: He was, and it was the most awful feeling, Fred, and I can’t bear the thought of Archie going through it.

Fred: Yes, but that’s years from now, Mary. And sad to say, a part of growing up. Comes a time in every young person’s life when they realize that not everything is forever…

Mary: Too, too soon… when they learn that death’s a part of life, even their own.

Archie makes it home where his dog, Vegas, fights with the infected Hot Dog and becomes a zombie dog too. But the real dark twist in the story comes when Archie enters his house and discovers his mom is alive but that his dad is infected and has become one of the walking dead. As Fred gets ready to attack Archie’s mother, Archie comes to her defense and violently kills his father, having flashbacks of their happier times together as he is forced to smash his father’s skull with a baseball bat.

It is a very dark and disturbing sequence, but very symbolic. Archie assumes the role of an adult male and the master of the household upon the killing of his father. He then escapes with his mother in an attempt to make it back to Veronica’s house and rejoin the others. Even though there is no sexual innuendo concerning Archie and his mother, this is a clear reference to the Oedipus myth.

I am still amazed at how complex and dark this series is. I applaud the writers for taking risks and making Archie into something modern and engaging.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #3 (Things Fall Apart… Quickly)

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Archie and the gang trying to survive the zombie apocalypse; it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Issue 2 left off with Archie and the gang holed up inside Veronica Lodge’s mansion, but with the revelation that one of them was infected. That one turns out to be Midge. Meanwhile, Archie sneaks out to find his parents and discovers that chaos reigns in Riverdale.

My favorite passage from this issue is spoken by Veronica’s father, Hiram Lodge. After his butler reports on the status of things, Hiram comments: “Good Lord, how did it all fall apart so quickly?” We all like to think that our social structure is so secure, but the reality is that is not the case. Things fall apart, and when they do, it happens quickly. I remember being in Miami when Hurricane Andrew struck. What I witnessed first-hand changed my view of society’s stability forever. In no time at all, people were shooting at each other over water, breaking into each other’s homes to steal food and supplies. It was complete chaos.

Our society has become so digitized, I shudder to think what would happen if there was a collapse in infrastructure. How many people have money or food stores on hand? Very few. If all of a sudden no one could use a credit card or withdraw from an ATM, what would happen? Things would fall apart… quickly.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #2

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After picking up the first issue of this series I knew I had to acquire the rest and read them. Being a horror fan, this comic was right up my alley. I found issues 3 – 6 easily enough, but locating Issue #2 took some effort.

This issue was not disappointing in the slightest. It is graphic and bloody and definitely fits into the classic horror genre. The artwork and writing is great and I love that it deals with modern themes, such as the concern teenagers face about being open regarding their sexual orientation. I would say the only thing I was slightly disappointing was that it lacked the mystical references which were in the first issue, such as when Sabrina used the Necronomicon to raise Jughead’s dog from the dead. But the scenes of Jughead tearing into Ethyl’s flesh with his teeth and then Ethyl reanimating as a zombie definitely makes up for it.

The issue leaves off with the surviving teens hiding out at Veronica’s house. The closing panel displays all their faces and cryptically warns that one of them is infected… but who? It definitely makes me want to jump right into the next issue. Since I have all of them, expect my review of Issue #3 soon.

Cheers, and never stop reading.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #1

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Yesterday I went with my daughter to the Halloween ComicFest at our local comic store. They advertised free comics and treats, so we couldn’t pass it up. We were each allowed to choose three free comics from a table of available issue. One of the ones I selected was this Afterlife with Archie comic. WHOA!! This is nothing like the Archie comics I remember from when I was a kid.

This is some pretty dark stuff. Basically, Reggie hit’s Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, while driving and kills it. Jughead, in distress, takes Hot Dog to Sabrina and her aunts to see if they can use magick to bring the dog back. The aunts say that since the animal’s spirit has passed to the next realm, there is nothing that they can do. Sabrina decides to use the Necronomicon to bring Hot Dog back from the dead. But bringing back the dead has negative consequences and the story turns very dark and graphic.

I have to say that I have always viewed Archie as kind of fluffy, mainstream stuff. This is anything but. It draws on the horror genre from film, books, and comics. It also makes references to the darker occult practices and beliefs which are pretty accurate. And the illustrations, all in black and white, are about as nightmarish as they come. In fact, I found this to be more graphic and scary than other horror comics I’ve read recently, such as Creepy and Eerie. In fact, this is so well-done and scary, I’m seriously considering reading the rest of this series. I’m not sure how many will be in the series, but I am going to look into it.

If you are into graphic horror, you should give this a read. I say without hesitation that, with the exception of Wytches, it is the best horror comic I have read in a long time.

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