Archie Comics, the longtime purveyor of comics for young readers, is moving into graphic novels in a big way with two different strategies for two different age groups: licensed graphic novels for middle-grade readers and an in-house imprint for YA titles.

The young adult line, Archie Blue Ribbon, will feature work by Archie Comics creators and will kick off with two titles, both of which are scheduled for 2020 and will be 144 pages with an MSRP of $14.99.

Betty & Veronica: The Bond of Friendship, by writer Jamie L. Rotante (Betty and Veronica Vixens) and artist Brittney Williams (Goldie Vance, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat) features the two leading ladies of Riverdale musing about the future and wondering how their friendship would be tested in different situations, whether working in the White House, journeying to outer space, or living the celebrity life.

Riverdale: The Ties that Bind, by writer Micol Ostow and artist Thomas Pitilli, builds on the world of the Riverdale TV show with four interconnected stories that take place in a single night: Jughead and Moose are locked into Riverdale High after hours, Veronica and Cheryl are at the mall and can’t get out, Betty and Polly start out at a girls’ night and end up evading a stalker, and Archie is held hostage by a relative bent on revenge.  Both creators have worked on the Riverdale comic series, and Ostow has also written several Riverdale novels. 

The middle grade line, The Riverdale Diaries, will be produced by BuzzPop, the licensing arm of the children’s publisher Little Bee Books.  The classic Archie characters will be front and center in these graphic novels, but the stories will be set in middle school and will focus on friends, family, and relationships, with a tone similar to the Baby-Sitters Club books.  The first scheduled title is Hello, Betty!, by writer Sarah Kuhn, author of the Heroine Complex novels and writer of the DC Ink graphic novel Shadow of the Batgirl, and artist J. Bone (Alison Dare, Super Friends).  The book is scheduled for an August 2020 release.

Archie Comics announced in April that BuzzPop would be the master publisher for Archie’s licensed children’s books.  Their first titles are two board books, Archie’s ABC, which came out in September, and Jughead’s Food Hunt, a lift-the-flap book scheduled for mid-October.