Archie Comics took to the stage at this year’s Comic-Con to discuss the future of their Dark Circle imprint and the good news is that things are looking great. Along with some kick-butt artwork and covers, the panelists revealed plans for new story arcs and new characters.
First up was the violent crime comic The Black Hood. “It’s basically a dark noir story,” editor Alex Segura said. Issue five of the series just wrapped, which brings the books first arc to a close. “We’ve only just started. It’s just the origin story; things are going to go where you don’t expect it,” Segura said. He also pointed out that the book’s strong roots in Philadelphia were part of its great tone and feel. It was then announced that the legendary Howard Chaykin would be filling in on the sixth issue of the series. Segura stressed that The Black Hood – and the rest of the Dark Circle line – was unlike anything you’ve ever read from Archie Comics before. “This is not a superhero book, there are consequences for everything,” Segura said.
The discussion then moved to The Fox by Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel. ”Basically, every villain he has interacted with is after him. It’s like the sinister six Spider-Man comics times a thousand,” Segura explained. He pointed out that Haspiel is working to make every page a nod to a different era of comics. “Dean is an artist’s artist,” Segura said. “It’s a lot of fun to read, zany stuff.” Titles like The Fox show that Dark Circle is committed to all different tones and styles within their line.
The Shield by Chuck Wendig and Adam Christopher was next up, with Segura noting that this title would really show how the line was challenging expectations. “We have to make this different. It’s not what you expect. I look for people who aren’t immersed in comics, people who love them but aren’t obsessed with the language and can create something different and unique,” Segura said. Adam Christopher praised Archie for pushing them to create something new and allowing them to do whatever they wanted. The first issue of The Shield is due out in September.
Segura said these titles all showed that Dark Circle was dedicated to story before all else. “It’s story first, I reach out to people who are doing things a little outside the box. Yes, overall, it’s the same universe, but each character and book is its own thing. There are no limits if the story is good and you are presenting something that is unique and strong to the line, we are open to it. We wanted to get a network vibe, there’s no continuity vibe; you don’t have to watch all the shows on HBO to understand what is happening in one of them. That’s what we wanted.”
Archie, as a company, is dedicated to being fearless in these things. “Pushing the envelope is the only way you can make noise in this market,” Segura elborated. “We’ve tried doing the same ol’ thing again. Archie has had a huge history of publishing superheroes.”
The panel then moved onto the upcoming title The Hangman by Felix Ruiz and Frank Tieri. “They said pushing the envelope? We are blowing the envelope the f*@# up,” Tieri said. He said the title was a mixture of sex, violence, the mob, devils, demons and other dark stuff. Tieri stressed that The Hangman is not superhero book. “It’s a horror book. It’s about redemption, this is not an Archie book. Hangman is not going to be hanging out with Jughead at the malt shop,“ Tieri said. Segura described the book as Quentin Tarentino meets Stephen King.
Next, the panel showed off some images from the upcoming series, The Web. Dave White and Szymon Kudranski are on the title, which looks very different from the other Dark Circle books. ” It’s about a teen hero, but dealing with things like death, murder, and darker crime aspects. She’s a cosplayer who steps into the role of a real hero,” Segura said. He also noted the new character was a Korean-American who was a fan of the original Web character.
Speaking on the line as a whole, Segura said, “We know there are fans of the older stuff and we are respectful of that. We are keeping that stuff available, but also pushing forward. We are trying to be fearless. We acknowledge that history, but move forward in a different way,”
“We’ve had a lot of growth, but superheroes were tricky. We had to play in a space that others weren’t play in,” Archie President Mike Pellerito said.
Which title are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.