How Riverdale Killed Lena Dunham’s Archie Comics

In March 2014, Archie Comics announced that Lena Dunham would be writing a four-party Archie Comics story to be published in 2015, set in their standard Archie Comics continuity. It never happened.

At the time, Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater stated “She’s the voice of her generation. To have someone like that say, ‘Not only am I a fan, I’d love to write something,’ it just epitomizes all the hard work we’ve put in for the last five years.”

Dunham expressed her love for Archie Comics in November 2013  during a Q&A event with J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, leading the publisher to reach out. In January 201, Dunham was tweeting about her… research,

Archie CCO Robert Aguirre-Sacasa stated “We sent her a box of tons of Archie books, she devoured them all, and maybe a week or two later came back with her pitch. I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s really, really funny. It’s incredibly contemporary. It’s a classic Archie story, with a definitely unique, Lena spin, and it’s going to be set in Archie continuity. She brings a unique point-of-view to all these characters, but she also loves them, and knows what makes them work. It’s really good stuff, and obviously it’s going to be a huge deal for Archie.”

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And we learned that Dunham’s story will follow the Riverdale gang as a new reality show was filming in town.

“I was an avid Archie collector as a child — conventions, first editions that l kept in plastic sleeves, the whole shebang,” Dunham said. “It has so much cultural significance but also so much personal significance, and to get to play with these beloved characters is a wild creative opportunity.”

Later in the year, in September 201, she went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about her plans as well. Saying “I love Archie but going back and reading it, I would say that the values system of the Archies that I read as a child is slightly off from my own. It’s like, two really hot, intelligent women fighting over a redhead. So I think it could use a little bit of a feminist update. So I’m going to try to figure out a way to be true to the world of Riverdale, while also inserting some of my politics and beliefs and trying not to show breasts … The teaser I’ll give is that reality TV has come to Riverdale.”

Since then… nothing. But why? In a piece on comic-writing celebs for Deadline, they stated,

The project was nixed, however, apparently by the same editorial-strategy revamp that led to the frothy Fox hit Riverdale.

Given that Robert Aguirre-Sacasa was behind each project… couldn’t we have had both?

How Riverdale Killed Lena Dunham's Archie Comics

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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