It's hard to believe that Archie Comics is turning 80 years old. What started as a superhero comic under the MLJ publishing name, our iconic redhead, didn't make his first appearance until two years into the publisher's life. Archie initially served as a backup story to MLJ's superhero comics, starting with Pep Comics #22 in December of 1941. Yet Archie proved to be a hit, and the rest they say is history.
Archie is getting the party started early with a special line of digital comics. Falling under the Archie Comics 80th Anniversary Presents line, these digital books will be made up of classic, all-ages comics on various digital platforms. Fans can find these digital comics on ComiXology, Hoopla, and the Archie Comics app. Starting April 22nd, fans can download Archie, Josie and the Pussycats, and Veronica Lodge as Powerteen With BlackJack. On April 29th, fans will be able to download Jughead, Cheryl Blossom, and New Crusaders. On May 6th Betty & Veronica, Katy Keene, and Young Salem will be available. Some of these titles may be new for a lot of readers, but many of these heroes were staples in the MLJ hero line. Young Salem will follow the exploits of a young Salem — the snarky talking black cat who lives with Sabrina Spellman.
Fans can expect to pay $0.99 – $1.99 per comic. While I don't know what content will be in each comic, I'm willing to bet we'll see at least a few reprints of each characters first appearance. And while we don't know what other characters will get the 80th Anniversary treatment, I am holding out hope for a few long-forgotten characters such as Ginger, Suzie, and Wilbur. Of course, once comic companies are able to release physical books, I hope Archie considers releasing these to comic shops and wherever comics are sold. These would look beautiful in my extensive Archie collection — especially the superhero comics. If you're not familiar with many of the Archie Comic characters, these books are terrific. They're a great jumping-off point for new fans, and even some old ones as well. Happy 80th, Archie! Here's to another 80 — and then some!