A few months ago, Archie Comics revealed that after three years, they were bringing the Life with Archie series to a close with none other than the death of Archie Andrews.
I’ve read Life with Archie since the beginning– before the beginning, if we go all the way back to the Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty 600th issue anniversary story arc from 2009-2010. I grew up reading Archie comics, and I was instantly hooked for a multitude of reasons (warning: spoilers). I was so into it that when I wound up missing an issue, I actually kept buying every issue after while refusing to read them until I filled in that gap, because despite each issue’s recaps, I didn’t want to miss anything.
So yeah, I’m definitely a fan of the book, which made the news that it was all coming to an end all the more disappointing. But if you read my previous article about it, you know I had questions about how this was all going to go down, and so I decided to get some answers to tide me over until the final book drops next month.
And where better to get the answers to such questions than the writer of the series, Mr. Paul Kupperberg?
Why is now the time to end Life with Archie? Do you think that it could have been sustained as an ongoing narrative, perhaps similar to the core “teen” Archie books and other versions of the character?
Absolutely. I could have kept coming up with stories enough for LWA for the next five years without even breaking a sweat. Give a writer great characters and a world to play with them in and story ideas are endless. But better to go out now, with a bang rather than let things just trail off.
Was the Life with Archie story always planned to end this way?
I never really thought about how it would end because I was too busy having fun telling the stories. But it just seemed the natural route to take. I mean, how else does anybody’s life end except with their death?
Jon Goldwater told MTV “In the event, the publisher decided to do away with the dueling storylines, opting for “one big Riverdalean sort of universe,” so as better to keep the focus on Archie’s sacrifice.” Given that each side of the book features two very different worlds– not the least of which being who Archie’s wife is in each, of course– can you shed some light on how this will be handled?
Very skillfully. Seriously, all along there have been some commonalities between the Veronicaverse and the Bettyverse, most notably with Jughead owning the Chocklit Shoppe and the Kevin Keller/Clay Walker relationship and story lines. So by using those common points I was able to work out the final stories by leaving out specific references to who Archie was married to and the like and focus more on what was going on inside Archie’s head and less on the characters around him. It’s actually difficult to explain without giving away the story, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be disappointed or feel cheated by the way it’s handled.
This book, as I understood it, was supposed to fill in the blanks between Archie getting married and that later point in time when he and his respective wife had kids in the “Archie Marries…” stories, but now it appears to be contradicting itself. That leaves me scratching my head. We have two divergent timelines here, and they threw in a third at one point outside of the magazine where Archie gets together with Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. Was it instead bumped up to five different continuities?
The “Archie Marries…” stories, like the LWA Veronicaverse and the Bettyverse stories, were never etched in continuity stone. We’ve always treated them as “what if/alternate future” stories, so LWA was never meant to be the definitive future for the characters as they’re handled in the teen Archie stories. As for the Archie/Valerie story, there’s no “endgame” for that relationship that I’m aware of, so who’s to say it’s not just a bump in the road of the Archie/Betty/Veronica triangle. Archie can be pretty fickle, you know.
If this was meant to fill in the blanks of the original stories, then swerves so those outcomes could never happen, does that mean that the book fell short of its original intent? Or were these stories always intended to be further separate universes from the original “Archie Marries…” stories?
I refer you back to my “what if/alternate future” stories answer.
Do you think there could ever be a Life with Archie revival? So long as we’re looking at all these different timelines, surely there could be some where Archie doesn’t die that could pick up where you left off, right?
Anything’s possible, of course, and I can think of a dozen ways to revive the title in the continuity we’ve just finished… and I can easily think of at least a dozen ways to bring back LWA with different continuities. The title is Life With Archie… but it doesn’t specify which life, does it?
With Life with Archie now behind you, where can fans of your work find you?
Post-Life With Archie I can be found all over the place, including in other titles from Archie Comics, as well as in the occasional comics story for Bongo Comics, Moonstone Comics, and depending on various negotiations and pending editorial approvals, from other comics publishers as well. I’ve also got a couple of MAD Libs, published by Penguin Books, coming up based on both Archie and DC Comics properties, and various prose projects through Crazy 8 Press and in R. Allen Leider’s Hellfire Lounge anthologies published by Bold Venture Press. I can also be followed on Facebook, on Twitter at @PaulKupperberg, and on my website, PaulKupperberg.com.
My biggest thanks to Mr. Kupperberg for taking the time to answer these burning questions, and to Jonathan Betancourt and Alex Segura of Archie Comics for making this interview possible!
Chapter 1: “The Death of Archie” will be available in Life with Archie #36, a collector’s edition available July 16th, 2014 while Chapter 2: “Celebration” will appear in Life with Archie #37, in stores on July 23rd, 2014. Both chapters will also be available in Life with Archie magazine #36, also available on July 23rd, 2014. Any and all of the different collector’s covers (shown above) can be pre-ordered here.