Taking Apart The Archie Comics Press Release

Archie Comics are about to issue one of those self congratulatory PR pieces that the Associated Press are so fond of, and that many sites just cut and paste into their news coverage. But how about we go through each and every one of the claims and see how they stand up before they get passed into churnalism?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LIFE WITH ARCHIE #16 SELLOUT CAPS OFF

RECORD-BREAKING, BANNER YEAR FOR ARCHIE COMICS

What records is it actually breaking here? That’s not clear. More on that in a minute.

Publisher continues to position itself as most innovative, relevant comic book company

It is innovative, it is relevant, but the most? Compares to the likes of Jonathan Cape, Drawn & Quarterly or Fantagraphics? Note the language though, it’s not saying it is that, it’s saying it’s positioning itself as that. Basically it’s saying that it’s saying it’s the best. And you can’t really argue with that.

March, 8 (New York, NY) – Archie Comics, the leading mass-market comic book publisher in the world and home to such notable pop culture creations as Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Josie & The Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch announced that, in the wake of LIFE WITH ARCHIE #16’s record-breaking sellout, the company has capped off one of the best years in its storied history.

Okay, the record broken is that it sold out a comic book. Two in fact. Which is a record at Archie. But Image do that every week. Also, “storief history” is probably a wonderfully euphemistic way to say that the stories are great but damn it, they used to sell millions of these things.

Archie is an industry leader for the first time in decades,” said Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “We’re not sitting back and waiting for cues from Marvel and DC. We’re leading the pack with compelling stories that resonate with readers, a digital plan that is expanding — not exclusive — and the best sales and profits the company has seen in years.”

Indeed, it could be seen that June’s Northstar and Kyle wedding is getting such promotion from Marvel as a direct result of the coverages that the Life With Archie comic achieved. I bet Mark Millar wishes the marriage of Midnighter and Apollo had this much fuss, but then DC was rather reticent of frightening the horses.

The sellout of LIFE WITH ARCHIE #16 – the wedding of Kevin Keller, the first gay character introduced in Archie Comics – received international media attention and capped off a great year for the company, which also saw a number of historic and notable accomplishments:

  • Archie was the first major comic book publisher to make its titles available to digital readers the same day as print. Archie became the first comic company to make Spanish translations of its titles available for digital purchase.

Not quite on the Spanish translation side. Quite apart from Alex De Campi’s Valentine, a number of French comics publishers were doing this last year, and its been increasing since.

  • Additionally, the company announced plans to launch the first-ever digital superhero universe with a newsstand Red Circle Comics app, featuring the return of Archie’s classic lineup of heroes in weekly installments some have likened to “Netflix for comics.” The app is set to launch in early May.

The some people who have likened this to Netflix for Comics are… Archie executives and editors themselves.

  • The company announced the first of a series of media adaptations of its characters with the news of a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch animated series slated to hit next year.

I believe my eldest daughter will want to watch this.

  • Archie Comics experienced unprecedented sales in the digital, bookstore, newsstand and direct comic book markets via an impressive lineup of inventive and exciting projects, including KEVIN KELLER, ARCHIE: THE MARRIED LIFE, ARCHIE MEETS KISS, SONIC: GENESIS, BETTY & VERONICA STORYBOOK and THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS, which sold out and went to a second printing.
  • The company was nominated for two GLAAD Awards in response to the debut of Kevin Keller and his subsequent appearances. Archie also won an Eisner Award – the top comic book industry accolade – for a newspaper reprint collection created in tandem with IDW Publishing.

You know what? They should actually win the GLAAD Awards. Because they’re right, no one else in comics has done something like this in quite a so high profile way.

  • Established its place as a progressive, welcoming and innovative publisher with socially conscious and relevant storylines, including the introduction and wedding of Kevin Keller, Cheryl Blossom’s struggle with breast cancer, Occupy Riverdale, Archie’s romance with Valerie from Josie & the Pussycats, the death of long-running character Ms. Grundy and a for-charity issue of ARCHIE, with all profits going to New York’s Ronald McDonald House.

It’s been a banner year for Archie Comics,” reiterated Goldwater. “And we owe a huge thank you to our fans, supporters, partners and colleagues. But the best part is – we’re just getting warmed up. 2012 is going to be even bigger for Archie. Stay tuned.”

No mention of co-CEO Nancy Silberkeit and the legal wrangle there, or the pending Ken Penders lawsuit either. But even despite that, I have found myself writing more in the last year about Archie Comics than in the twenty years before that, combined. And you know what? Most of it has been pretty good.