Afterlife with Archie 1: Escape from Riverdale

afterlife with archie volume 1 escape from riverdale cover
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

A great zombie ride with plenty of substance


Comic Info

Comic Name:  Afterlife with Archie

Publisher:  Archie Comics

Writer:  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Artist:  Francesco Francavilla

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2014


Afterlife with Archie #3 Variant

Reprints Afterlife with Archie #1-5 (September 2013-July 2014).  Tragedy has struck!  Jughead’s beloved dog Hot Dog has been struck down by a hit-and-run driver.  When Jughead decides he can’t take the grief, he turns to his friend Sabrina and her magic to try to reunite him with his furry friend.  Unfortunately, Sabrina’s magic works and unintentionally unleashes a plague on Riverdale.  Led by a zombie Jughead, the plague of zombies is spreading and Archie and his friends might not survive the night.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie 1:  Escape from Riverdale is a zombie horror comic based in the “funny” comic world of Archie Comics.  The series became not only an immediate sales success but also garnered high praise from critics.

I bought Afterlife with Archie on a fluke.  I like Francavilla’s art, but I felt that zombies had largely been tapped out.  Other Archie crossovers like Archie Meets the Punisher were more of a novelty and goofy while Afterlife with Archie was taking a bit more serious approach.  As a hesitant reader, I wasn’t sure Afterlife was going to even be worth my time…instead, it has become one of my favorite comics in recent years.

The thing about Afterlife with Archie is that it really doesn’t pull many punches.  From the running down of Hot Dog by Reggie (who is tormented by the horror he has unwittingly unleashed) to the deaths (and rebirths) of popular characters, the series isn’t afraid to toe the line and cross the line that generally keeps Archie one of the friendliest lines of comics.


Afterlife with Archie #4 Variant

Zombies are way overexposed right now…but for this series it completely works because Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa combines the story with other strange tones.  Be it incest suggestions between Cheryl Blossom and her brother Jason or hidden lesbian trysts with Nancy and Ginger, Riverdale is given a darkside which doesn’t really seem to taint the classic Archie world…and the individual comics try to give younger readers some context to what they are attempting by having old Archie title reprints of their horror comics as back-up stories (which are not included in the collection).

With a great story, the series is backed with fantastic art.  Francesco Francavilla manages to make the Archie characters look real without making them freakish looking like in some earlier “real” Archie looking styles from the 2000s.  Here, Francavilla gets the art, style, and visual context of a horror story combined with the great writing.

I cannot recommend Afterlife with Archie 1:  Escape from Riverdale enough.  The title was a great surprise to me and has me excited to get the new issues each month.  Interviews with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa have indicated that he has big plans for the Riverdale gang in future storylines so I hope that the quality keeps up with good planning…and I await a ravenous Josie and the Pussycats try to eat the gang.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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