‘Afterlife with Archie, Volume 1: Escape from Riverdale’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Not all good horror has to be scary. Though some may tell you different, I am of the mind that campy horror is just as good as terrifying horror, and that’s just what Afterlife with Archie is. Featuring all your favourite characters from the long-running comic book series, this graphic novel is Grease meets Night of the Living Dead—and I loved every page of it.
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has brought us such works as The Stand and Thor: The Trials of Loki, the plot is easy to follow and just dark enough to tarnish the idyllic ’50s world of the Archie franchise. Jughead’s canine companion, Hot Dog, gets hit by a car and dies. In an effort to save his friend, Jughead takes the body to Sabrina the teenage witch, who conjures dark magic to bring him back to life. Unfortunately, the result of her meddling is a zombie infestation that forces the gang to try to get out of Riverdale.
The plot is extremely simple, to be honest, but I didn’t mind that because it didn’t feel rushed, and it still felt complete. Despite the fact that this was a collected work (this volume combines single issues one to five), the arc of the plot still seemed to have the three tiers—beginning, middle, and end—with just enough tease left over to get me interested in the next volume.
The art, which was done by Francesco Francavilla, draws the perfect amount of inspiration from the classic style of the characters, which began in Pep Comics #22 in 1941 and continued until the Archie series reboot in 2015. Francavilla successfully “horrifies” it, by emphasizing a darker colour palette and focussing more heavily on detail—pretty much universal horror genre staples in regard to art.
Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel immensely, and would definitely recommend it as a Halloween treat this October.