“I looked for the one whose death would have the most impact on the core cast and on the town,” Waid explained. “That doesn’t necessarily make the victim one of our squeakier-clean kids — there’s a lot of mileage to be gotten out of anyone’s loss, even a heel’s.”
But now, death is coming to the company’s flagship comic, Archie, in a major way. The next story arc, “Over the Edge,” will last three issues and will depict a climactic drag race between Archie and his rival Reggie Mantle — and at least one major Riverdale resident isn’t walking away.
“Up until now, Archie and his pals have led fairly untroubled, normal lives. Suddenly, in one horrifying instant, that all changes when one of the kids looks death in the eye — and death doesn’t blink,” Archie writer Mark Waid tells EW in a statement. “Who will it be? All we can tell you is that you’ll be shocked — and that no one is safe.”
How did you decide which character would die on Dead Man’s Curve? And was there any pushback or second-guessing from the Archie editors about that choice?
Mark Waid: Once we got it locked down, no (surprisingly — Archie’s taking a real gamble here). We simply asked ourselves, “Who’s the most valuable teenager in Riverdale?”
Even though Archie has already “died” before in a previous story, this time it’s happening within the canon. Will this impact Riverdale and the universe you’ve crafted in Archie?
This is different. In the what-if Death of Archie storyline, it ended that storyline and wasn’t “in continuity.” This event is very much part of the New Riverdale universe we’ve been building.
Thankfully retailers have six days to change their non-returnable orders for the comic because from today’s io9… spoilers.
Archie #20 ended with the horrifying crash itself, but io9 can now reveal that Archie #21—by Mark Waid, Pete Woods, and Jack Morelli, on shelves tomorrow—will reveal that the accident has left Archie and Reggie physically unscathed, but reeling at the fact their race has left poor Betty Cooper at death’s door….
Check out the full interview below as well as an exclusive preview of the issue, depicting Jughead, Veronica, and several other Riverdale citizens’s initial reactions to learning that one of their own is near death….
Archie has done tragedies on this level before, but they’re always out of main continuity. What was the pressure like pitching this storyline knowing how it would impact on the current Archie universe in such a huge way?
Waid: It’s funny, because I feel like I’ve spent more time explaining that we’re NOT killing anyone than talking about the real story here—which is to showcase how these characters handle themselves under extreme, stressful circumstances.
As you were, people, as you were…