Zombies and Incest: Archie Comics Goes Too Dark?

Archie-Comics-Cheryl-Jason-Blossom-Incest

In a story in today’s New York Times, an article featuring Archie Comics’ new chief creative officer, playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, had a lot to say about the new direction of Archie Comics. One thing you probably never expected: an Archie comic that takes two characters from the Archie universe and puts them in an incestuous relationship. The characters are siblings Cheryl and Jason Blossom. Now, the entertainment industry is notorious for dropping a provocative nugget and seeing who will take the bait. Dig a bit deeper to the actual comics series referred to and this pairing of siblings suggests more than it outright says. The series in question is Afterlife with Archie, which is Archie Comics’ foray in zombie comics. And the incest, well, perhaps an ambiguous suggestion. So, a provocative nugget.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, left, chief creative officer of Archie Comic Publications, and Jon Goldwater, publisher and co-chief executive. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, left, chief creative officer of Archie Comic Publications, and Jon Goldwater, publisher and co-chief executive. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

Whatever happened to enjoying the witty banter between the Archie kids? Look back, and you’ll find some really funny and well-paced humor in Archie comics from yesteryear. Sure, changes need to be made but just how far do you want to go? Look at it this way, you can only stretch something so far before you lose the magic of the original. You can’t, for instance, turn The Tonight Show into the Dr. Phil Show. Fans would be outraged. In comics, there’s always this feeling that no one is really reading, no real profit is being made, until you have a big event. In my view, Archie and the gang have all the potential to be a home for some very funny stuff. It would take a dedicated stable of talented writers and a clear mission. That’s a worthy direction to go.

Another thing about comics, much like children, which comics ignores more than it should, it is full of elasticity. Of course, the comics industry can be downright brutal to its offspring. They can trash it, leave out in the cold for dead, and then throw it up in the air and start all over again.

The New York Times article ends with another teaser: expect an Archie Comics story by Lena Dunham in 2015. Now, that could be a step in the right direction.

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9 Comments

Filed under Archie Comics, Comics

9 responses to “Zombies and Incest: Archie Comics Goes Too Dark?

  1. I heard they were going to kill off Archie.

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  2. Zombie Archie I can take but incest? WRONG!!!

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    • I think the folks at Archie Comics have watched one too many episodes of Game of Thrones.

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    • ARoseByAnyOtherName

      I have been reading Archie comics since before I could read. I started with looking at the pictures. They are a major reason I have always had a (to quote a friend) “quick as a fox wit” and a high vocabulary (for my age as a child). And while Jason and Cheryl are just another pair of High School Frenemies to Archie and Crew, they bicker with each other just as much. Kinda like the Cabots in the Josie and the Pussycats stories. Fairly ordinary competition in the romance game (aside from being billionaires.)

      But I have read every issue of the Afterlife with Archie books (and I cry in every single one). Let me say first off I am playing Devil’s Advocate here (I am not pro-incest). But incest happens, and not just amongst royalty and nobles going back centuries (and only stopped fairly recently, history-wise). It happens today. Probably more than anyone knows. I knew a brother and sister in my High School…well, I heard it from one of the horses’ mouths, so it wasn’t just a rumor. They weren’t twins, they weren’t rich, but they weren’t a normal family. Not bad people by any means. But just a little…off.

      AGAIN, PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. NOT PRO-INCEST! (Maybe I just try to see the other side because of all those “Flowers in The Attic” books.) But, looking at it from a purely logical point of view, (this is just food for thought mind you) if the couple doesn’t plan on having kids, just having sex, who are they hurting? They’re going against a cultural stigma and that’s all really. The Pharaohs did it (yeah yeah, I know, look what happened to them, they’re all dead now), and so did Royalty in many cultures-but they did it for breeding bloodlines and it didn’t work. But if a brother and sister moved to another state and married, again without having kids, chances are their neighbors would see them as any other couple…that being said…ew! I do think it’s kinda stupid that step-siblings can’t marry though.

      Now as for Cheryl and Jason in AWA…first of all these comics are creepy as hell and explore an alternate universe of Archie’s World (that rips off Stephen King a LOT, almost word for word in the first issue) and is genuinely scary! I can watch horror movies all day and sleep fine, but these kept me up at night. And (Spoilers!) the part with Archie’s dog Vegas made me cry for like, an hour, but I’m a sucker for animal stories. ANNNNYYYWAAAAYYY. The incest between Jason is implied, but I see it more as Jason being obsessed with his sister. I mean (SPOLIERS!) he chokes Sugar to death because he’s jealous of Cheryl’s affection for the pup. So I’d say it’s more rape, or coercion (not that’s there’s much difference) than incest. And she’s not into it, as she proves. Did she kill her brother, the man who she grew up with side-by-side but who had a hold on her she doesn’t want. Me, I think she did. And should have. Because I really think he messed with her head and abused her.

      Also (SPOLIERS! Aw dang, now River Song is coming after me!) I’ll just say this…if an implication of incest bothers you, don’t read on. It gets worse.

      Me, I’m annoyed with how they treat Sabrina and her Aunts, making them not just naughty but downright evil. Stupid Hollywood adaption of witches….but honestly, I think Wiccans will always have to live with that, because of propaganda and the average person (who hasn’t bothered to educate themselves) are all too happy to hold on to that stereotype.

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      • I appreciate your comments. Given the history of Archie Comics, the fact that Archie Comics work so well as light humor, I think it is nuts to foist upon these characters subjects that are really out of their scope. Sure, it will get an uptick in readers for a while but, in the long run, what has it accomplished?

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