Archie #616 and Archie Digest #265: I'll have Two
And Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are coming to Riverdale
The Archie Comics Company is receiving a lot of positive, free publicity with their Sarah Palin / Barack Obama battle issue that comes out in Archie Comics #616 in December 2010. Part of the press coverage is dedicated to the congenitally of the cover, which features Palin and Obama having a milkshake together. Considering how bitter and loaded with violent discourse is the political realm of America, probably a cartoon image of two famous/infamous personalities getting along actually is something of a news story.
UPDATE: Digitalspy has an update on the plot for the Palin / Obama issues:
"Archie scribe Alex Simmons has admitted that he found the comic's 'Campaign Pains' storyline "tricky" to write.
"...Neither one of these people are absolutely God's gift. Everybody has their flaws," he added. "They're major political figures coming to Riverdale - how can I work with that? How can I keep a balance? How can I not play favourites?
"I defused some of the more touchy areas with keeping the focus on Archie and the gang."
Archie #616 and #617 arrive in December and January, respectively."
Here's the description from the Archie Comics Group Company web site:
"ARCHIE #616 "Campaign Pain" Part 1.
President Barack Obama and famed politician Sarah Palin get involved as Student Government campaigns spiral out of control at Riverdale High! The race between Archie and Reggie gets hot as campaign chaos reaches to the top, forcing an impromptu visit from these big-name politicos, who get pulled into the fray!
SCRIPT: Alex Simmons ART: Dan Parent, Jack Morelli, and Digikore Studios COVER: Dan Parent and Tito Pena
Shipping Date: DEC 15, 2010 On Sale at Comic Shops: DEC 22, 2010 Newsstands: Week of JAN 4, 2011 Comic, 32 pgs, 40 lb glossy stock, Full-Color $2.99 US"
Mainstream press seems to be jumping onto this as a fascinating novelty. Fox Business news covered the story:
Michael Cavna's Washington Post based comics blog also has been covering the story.
"Here’s a quick summary of the political currents that will roil Riverdale, home of America’s favorite red-headed teen, when the two-part epic “Campaign Pain” hits newsstands starting the first week in December: Archie is running for student president, and to give his campaign a boost, his zillionaire girlfriend Veronica calls in President Obama himself. In retaliation, Archie’s opponent, Reggie, calls on Sarah Palin for help."
Archie Comics is not sitting around with all this coverage. Moving fast, they're putting out two variant covers for the issue "The Chicago Kid" and "The Thrilla from Wasilla":
Besides getting free promo throughout the media outlets of the USA, Archie Comics is also launching a full-size Life with Archie : The Married Life comics magazine, 12 issues for $24.00. The comics market is supposably contracting everywhere because of the tough economic times, how is it the Archie Comics Group is expanding?
Archie Comics is able to perform the feat of staying in front of the general public by holding their spot on racks around the cash registers of grocery stores in America. I've written of this before, but there's no way to overstate that actually being accessible to the buying public is the principal way for a comic book to be purchased and read as a comic book (versus a 'comic book property' being accessed via films and TV programs). That Archie can do this from a place that is NOT a comic book specialty shop is something of a puzzle.
How many comic book and newspaper comic strip characters have faded to a place where only the aficionado are aware that they exist, or did exist at one time? Newspapers and magazines are shrinking (or dying in many cases), and mass-media now means the internet, television/radio, and motion pictures, probably in that order. (The Nielsen rating service claims an audience size of 115.9 million households in the United States with television. I'm searching for statistics on reading and audiences size for other media.)
Who else can do it?
Consider something like Disney Adventure Comic Zone, the kid-oriented sorta-digest sized publication that was racked into general public mainstream stores in 2007 and had a $3.95 price tag. Why didn't it last? Was it the price? Was it the audience? Eventually even the parent title "Disney Adventures" died, too, after 17 years of publication (though it is unclear if the popular version of Disney Adventures in India might still be going, as it had built a large audience, though a cancellation of the series was announced for 2010.)
Prevention, Altoids, Taste of Home Holiday Halloween Food and Fun, and Archie
But look at what Archie is surrounded with on a rack. Archie survives and prospers here in between the Prevention Magazines and the Altoids. Why?
Original Page Sept 29, 2010