Why we’re dying for Vampironica – the new Archie horror comic

Archie Comics’ horror imprint is soaring high – between the excellent Afterlife with ArchieJughead: The Hunger and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we’ve had a crypt-full of creepy Riverdale-related stories to curl up to. But the best might be yet to come.

The next offering from this imprint will be Vampironica and it’s the Archie horror comic that we think will pack the best bite yet. It’s written by brother-and-sister team Greg and Megan Smallwood and, as the name suggests, it’s about everyone’s favourite Riverdale rich-kid, Veronica Lodge, but not as we know her.

Start your creepy Archie comic book collection with Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale.

Ronnie encounters a centuries-old creature of the night who transforms her into a bloodthirsty vampire. She then descends upon Riverdale’s residents to satiate her newfound hunger. It sounds like it will be bitingly bold, heaps of fun and (if the covers are anything to go by) full of luxurious art too.

Expect some spoilers.

Ronnie and vampirism go hand-in-hand

Early on in Afterlife with Archie, Ronnie attends a Halloween-themed dance at Riverdale High. Trying to impress Archie, she chooses to go as a sexy vampire, causing Betty to jibe that she’s “embracing her inner blood-sucker.”

Of all the horror archetypes that Ronnie could have chosen, it’s rather telling that she decided to go as a vampire. If writer Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa knew that Vamipronica was on the cards, then this was undoubtedly sly foreshadowing.

If Vampironica wasn’t conceived at that stage then it’s still impressive, as it hammers home that fact that Veronica is inherently drawn to the vampiric. There’s something about undead, immortal blood-suckers that speaks to her – perhaps their immortality speaks to her ego, or their agelessness to her quest for beauty. Having her become a vampire is going to be a perfect storm.

Greg Smallwood has said:

“Fans can rest assured that we’ll be staying faithful to the core of these characters. It was very important to Megan and I that Vampironica be the same Veronica that we all know and love, only now with fangs. Realistically, how would a narcissistic teenage shopaholic react to becoming a vampire? We found an equal amount of humor and horror in the answer to that question but the story also takes us to some amazingly heartfelt places.”

The variant #1 cover by Djibril Morrissette-Phan.

Marcy, anyone?

Adventure Time and Archie aren’t alike, but the first glimpses of Veronica on the covers of Vampironica issue #1 remind me a lot of one of Adventure Time’s most adored characters – Marceline the Vampire Queen.

When you remember that Veronica has a great singing voice too and has also been known to perform in bands, you’ll see the comparison is more than a little apparent.

Marcy is a wonderful mix of darkness and vibrant fun, and I think Ronnie’s going to be the same here. Most of the covers have a sense of morbid glee about them – from holding Jughead’s skull to sucking on a milkshake of blood and eyeballs. It feels like she’s relishing being a vampire, just like Marcy.

And just like Marcy, I have no doubt that she’ll use her new-found abilities to scare the life out of more than a few Riverdale denizens. Her day-to-day confident playfulness is already dialled up to ten, so imagine that with supernatural abilities thrown in too.

Megan Smallwood has promised:

“Ironically, Vampironica humanizes Veronica in a way that only horror can. Becoming a vampire is a humbling experience for her and she’s forced to open up and expose a little vulnerability.”

A variant #1 cover by Francesco Francavilla, in which Veronica cradles Jughead’s skull.

Betty stole the show as a werewolf hunter – now it’s Veronica’s time to shine

In Jughead: The Hunter, Betty is a werewolf hunter, descended from a long line of badass lycanthrope-hunting Coopers. It was one of the stand out components of that run and it pleased a lot of fans.

That run was Betty’s time to shine – I think Vampironica will do for Veronica what Jughead: The Hunger did for Betty. This time Ronnie will be the lethal star of the show – she’ll be the standout character, but this time from the other side of the morality line.

If Betty and Veronica are always equally matched and equally at odds (I certainly love them both as much as the other), then it’s only right that the scales are balanced and Ronnie gets her moment in (or more aptly firmly out of) the sun.

Vampironica will stalk its way into your life on 14 March 2018.

H/T: io9

Image credits: Archie Comics

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