Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett looks at the surprising news coming out of Archie.

As previously reported, I always find it a little strange when comic book projects are first reported on places like The Hollywood Reporter website, and there’s been quite a few of those this week concerning Archie.   First up was "Archie Launching New Superhero Team Comic 'Mighty Crusaders' (Exclusive)."  Archie CEO and Publisher Jon Goldwater told THR, "These are beloved, iconic characters and it’s time we dust them off and let them shine for what they are — amazing superhero properties that deserve a bigger spotlight,"

Due diligence compels me to point out a couple of things.  First, except for a small cadre of hardcore collectors, these characters have never been either “beloved” or “iconic,” and since 1965 there have been five separate attempts to revive them, all of which have failed.  And seeing as how comic book sales are down and the direct sales market is saturated with superheroes, I might suggest now isn’t exactly the ideal time to attempt yet another revival.

That having been said, I must confess I have a weakness for superhero team books and after reading about the project online I’m definitely interested in giving the title a look.  It’s going to be written by Ian Flynn and drawn by Kelsey Shannon and the team line-up will supposedly feature The Shield, The Comet, The Web, Jaguar, Darkling, Firefly, and Steel Sterling.  I say “supposedly” because the animal person standing next Steel Sterling on the cover of #1 doesn’t look particularly Jaguar-like to me.  And the young woman with wings looks more like Flygirl to me than any Firefly I’m aware of.  But then, what do I know?

Though of course this revival undoubtedly has as much (if not more) to do with launching a brand as it does a new comic book series.  If nothing else, it goes to show that in spite of sometimes sluggish box office and seeming oversaturation, the cinematic superhero remains a valuable commodity in Hollywood.  And one of the key components of a successful superhero franchise is pre-awareness, because as I first reported here back in 2012, “pre-awareness is priceless” (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- Pre-Awareness Is Priceless”).

The premise behind the phrase is that any pre-existing property somehow seems more “real,” hence more appealing (and therefore potentially more profitable) than a character somebody came up with last week.  And while The Mighty Crusaders may be neither beloved nor iconic, they do come with the benefit of having a long-established history.  And that might just be good enough for Hollywood. And audiences worldwide.

Then there was the announcement “Archie Comics’ Betty and Veronica Becoming Bikers in New Series.”  B&V Vixens will feature the girls as “badass biker chicks in charge of the meanest gang in town,” and will be written by Archie proofreader and editor Jamie Rotante drawn by Eva Cabrera, best known for her work on Black Mask Studios’ Kim & Kim.  So, at the very least the comic won’t look like any other Archie Comic.

Now, I sincerely admire the fluidity that current management has brought to the classic Archie characters, and their willingness to actually do creative things with them, even when that meant having Jughead’s insatiable appetite turn murderous in Jughead: The Hunger.  So I’m relatively cool with the idea of an Archie Comics version of Sons of Anarchy, though hopefully it’ll be one without quite so much crystal meth dealing and Neo-Nazis in it.  But it does lead to the inevitable question: what could possibly be next, Betty and Veronica as professional wrestlers?  I mean, GLOW is trending on Netflix right now.  And, given his predilection for “lady wrestlers,” it might just be the premise that could finally lure Love & Rockets creator Jaime Hernandez to commit to do a series for the publisher.

And, finally, yesterday The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Goldwater, “Archie Comics CEO on Taking Risks With Classic Characters and the Future of Riverdale.”  In it he talked about the publisher’s slate of upcoming projects, including the new series The Archies, which features the adventures of the titular rock band.  As someone who was actually there in 1969 when Sugar, Sugar was a #1 hit, this could be seriously cool, if it gets the music right that is.  To help with that I’d recommend everyone watch Empire Records if they haven’t already, because while the music might be “dated” (I’d prefer to call it. “classic”) it gets the characters’ attitudes right   But also because along with being great, it’s probably as close to an actual Archie feature film as we’re going to get anytime soon.

But as far as I’m concerned, they buried their lead.  The big news in it (for me anyway) was that Archie is finally going to be doing a new version of Cosmo the Merry Martian.  It’ll be a humorous adventure series written by Ian Flynn that seems perfect to fill the hole left by the sudden absence of Sonic the Hedgehog's move to IDW Publishing.  It seems especially apt seeing as how Flynn was a long-time writer of Sonic.

Click Gallery below for all five Archie images!

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of