Interview: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura on Archie Comics’ The Archies

The Archies #1 Joe Eisma cover

The Archies #1 Joe Eisma cover


Matthew Rosenberg is the writer of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, Rocket Raccoon, Secret Warriors, and more. Alex Segura is a novelist and has written comics including Archie Meets KISS and Archie Meets Ramones. Together they recently brought you the adventures of comics’ most famous band in The Archies one-shot. Now, the band’s going back on the road with The Archies ongoing series. Rosenberg and Segura stopped by to fill in Westfield’s Roger Ash about this new series.

The Archies #1 Matthew Dow Smith cover

The Archies #1 Matthew Dow Smith cover


Westfield: You’ve had Archie meet KISS, the Ramones, and written solo stories of The Archies. What is the appeal of the band for you?

Matthew Rosenberg: The Archies are fun to tell stories about because it takes everyone’s favorite characters- Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, and Jughead – and it puts them in a different context. It shakes things up in a fun way. For this series especially you are going to see the band at their highest points and at their lowest. From sharing the stage with some of their favorite bands and playing to amazing crowds, to sleeping in the van and getting on each other’s last nerves. It’s the Archie characters everyone loves living out everyone’s rock n’ roll fantasies… and nightmares. And both of those are fun to read.

Alex Segura: The way we sold it internally, to my bosses at Archie, was that this book could be our Avengers or Justice League, minus the punching and with lots more music. The Archies is a team book and a rock book and a coming-of-age book. That’s a really cool trifecta, and it’s a chance to spotlight how these great characters interact. It’s been a lot of fun to find cool ways to spotlight each of the members. While Archie is the viewpoint character and the de facto leader of the band, I’m as interested in what Betty’s take is or what Reggie’s role is going to be.

The Archies #1 preview page 1

The Archies #1 preview page 1


Westfield: How do you work together on a story?

Rosenberg: I think Alex and I are still figuring that out a bit, but the key thing is, since we have been friends for a long time, it’s all pretty easy going. We came up with the idea and what we wanted together. Then there is a lot of handing outlines and scripts back and forth. I trust Alex a lot, he knows these characters so well and has a great voice, so sometimes I just get out of his way.

Segura: Matt brings a lot of heart to the book, and I think that’s so important. It’s been so much fun to collaborate with him, because, like he said, we’ve been friends for a long time and I think have a similar approach to storytelling. The way it’s shaken out so far is that we talk, then map out the beats and split the scripting, then trade what we’ve done and tinker. There’s not a lot of ego or posturing going on, which to me is always the sign of a good partnership. I’m really excited to see how things go, because it’s definitely become something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

The Archies #1 preview page 2

The Archies #1 preview page 2


Westfield: What can readers look forward to in the series?

Rosenberg: We’re trying to fill it with as much humor, heart, drama, and fun as we can. Crazy situations you’ve never seen Archie and the gang in. Awesome rock moments. Jughead eating lots of weird stuff on tour. And Joe’s amazing art and Matt’s gorgeous colors. Seriously, people should buy this book just to look at how amazing the art is.

But one of the biggest things is the guest appearances from some of the best bands in the world- starting with the amazing CHVRCHES in issue #2!

Segura: Yeah, one of the coolest things about the book is the chance to bring in real bands we love and have them cameo. It’s been surreal to actually interact with these bands to nail everything down, and then to see Joe Eisma bring them to life visually has been an added treat. We’ll also be including a musical playlist at the end of each issue, in case you want to listen along to the music that inspired all of us as we put it all together. But as Matt says – it’s gonna be a funny, heartfelt and emotional read, with a big dose of comedy and drama. Imagine being stuck with your closest friends in a van for weeks – fireworks of the best and worst kind will go off.

The Archies #1 preview page 3

The Archies #1 preview page 3


Westfield: Will you be introducing any new characters?

Rosenberg: Yes, for sure! And bringing back some old favorites. But you’re gonna have to read it to find out who.

Segura: I’m particularly fond of our new take on a classic Archie character in #2, plus Bingo Wilkin and his band are rounding out our supporting cast.

The Archies #1 preview page 4

The Archies #1 preview page 4


Westfield: What are the challenges/rewards of translating music to the printed page?

Rosenberg: Comics is a totally unique medium in that it fully engages some senses but leaves others completely untouched. In that way trying to make a comic about music can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a brilliant challenge to try and get readers to hear the music, to try and have that synesthetic disconnect where they can hear songs from the art and the words. But if we fail, it just reads awkward. We all do our best to avoid that, to try and make it this immersive experience. And I think it’s amazing because we ask people what they think the Archies of our book sound like, and everyone answers differently. They are all taking what we give them and inserting part of themselves to form a soundtrack and that’s beautiful.

Segura: It’s a unique challenge, and one that I don’t have a clear answer for. Comics is visual and collaborative and personal as a medium, so I think the challenge for us and Joe is to create the perception of music without over-burdening the reader with too much detail. So far, in large part due to Joe’s amazing talent, we’ve been able to really give off the feeling of music and the feeling of being at a show, and I’m really grateful for that. It’s not easy.

The Archies #1 Sandy Jarrell cover

The Archies #1 Sandy Jarrell cover


Westfield: You’re working with artist Joe Eisma on The Archies. What can you say about your collaboration?

Rosenberg: Joe is amazing. I’ve been a huge fan of his since Morning Glories first came out. But working with him on this, what he brings, is really incredible. His art has this way of feeling exaggerated in a stylish and cool way, but his characters still feel real. The emotions and acting he gets across really carry the book in a lot of ways. But more than that he is adding easter eggs and gags, structuring panels in these really fun, inventive ways. It’s really a great chance for me to study what he is doing and try to up my game to keep up.

Segura: Joe is the MVP of this book. He takes everything we throw at him with zest and he makes it better. When it comes to The Archies, we just tell Joe to cut loose because he’s a pro and knows what he’s doing. It helps a ton that he loves music as much as we do, so it’s been a really fruitful jam session.

The Archies #1 Thomas Pitilli cover

The Archies #1 Thomas Pitilli cover


Westfield: Any closing comments?

Rosenberg: We all hope you like the book. Buy a copy for someone you know who loves music but doesn’t read comics.

Segura: Let us know which bands you’d like to see! We’re mapped out for about the first year, and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.

Purchase

The Archies #1

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