Nobody could have predicted that Archie Comics would become one of the best publishers for the horror genre, but here we are. After the enormous success of Afterlife With Archie, the zombie apocalypse version of Riverdale, the line has continued to try new combinations of their classic teenagers and horror’s greatest monsters. They are unlike prior mashups in which Archie would meet The Punisher or Predator too. These comics are primarily focused on the horror aspect of the combination, and they use the archetypal characters of Riverdale in order to offer iconic spins.
So far Archie Comics has tackled witches (and the devil, himself) in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, werewolves in The Hunger, and now vampires in the first issue of Vampironica out this week. Many of these monstrous combinations have centered on the most popular characters of the Riverdale gang as well: Jughead has become lord of zombies and a lycanthrope. Sabrina has remained a witch, albeit with a Lovecraftian twist. Veronica has developed a taste for human blood.
The success of these series forces one to consider what other opportunities there are for Archie Comics to explore the greatest monsters in film and literature. We’ve taken the time to consider eight great monsters and how they might offer a new take on the increasingly dark town of Riverdale.
Crossover Character: Moose Mason
The key to a great Frankenstein story is that the monster must be profoundly misunderstood. Is there any better example of this in Archie Comics than gentle giant Moose Mason? He offers both the immense frame and initially kind nature that makes the monster a sympathetic figure. Any version of the monster needs a Frankenstein to create and combat him though, and there’s no more obvious mad scientist than Dilton Doiley. This pair could work to homage the original plot of Mary Shelley’s Victorian masterpiece or add a new spin to the story. In either case, there are plenty of residents and bystanders who could fall victim to a battle between scientist and creation in Riverdale.
Crossover Character: Hiram Lodge
It’s always possible that the Riverdale gang could dig up a cursed mummy while on a school trip to Egypt, but where’s the fun in that? The town already has a vengeful, old man who would likely be buried with untold wealth in the form of Hiram Lodge. All that’s needed is for Veronica’s father to have a curse placed on his crypt for protection and one resident foolish enough to break in and incur his wrath (obviously, Reggie). Lodge has spent his entire existence terrorizing the town of Riverdale in life, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t continue in death. This is an updated take on the mummy mythos that could provide scares and a bit of commentary on wealth distribution.
Crossover Character: Reggie Mantle
Every great invisible man story features an antagonist whose awful character is only exposed when they can no longer be seen. This requires an Archie character that is generally disliked, but unable to do anything too awful without fear of being caught. The case is clear for Reggie Mantle. This self-absorbed prankster is mostly harmless when watched by his friends and classmates, but it’s scary to imagine what he might do if turned invisible. It is a story with both comical and horrifying possibilities, but they all seem bound for tragedy given Reggie’s penchant for taking every joke too far.
Crossover Character: Ethel Muggs
Both this film and King Kong offer a mysterious, intelligent species encountering humanity for the first time and falling head over heels for at least one person. That dynamic matches perfectly with the ever bizarre romance of Jughead Jones and Ethel Muggs. Ethel’s obsession with Jughead has led her to stalk and trap him over the years, and providing her with a new, scaly guise is a fun way to update the genre of story. There’s no need to even call the Creature Ethel, it would be great to simply see Jughead flee the unwanted desires of a dangerous amphibian and still try to get his hamburger fix.
Crossover Character: Geraldine Grundy
The original French novel by Gaston Leroux has been updated many times over the years, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t find a new home at Archie Comics. It requires a talented outsider, disliked by the masses for its titular role. Miss Grundy fits that bill, especially considering her role as a music teacher. All that’s needed is an unhealthy obsession with one student and some secret passages at the high school. There’s also the updated elements from Riverdale to consider as the television show’s version of Miss Grundy has been transformed into a similarly predatory teacher. Perhaps the comics could address that revolting twist in an appropriate genre using this classic story.
Crossover Character: Waldo Weatherbee
An alien takeover of Riverdale in which residents are slowly replaced by their conquerors would make for a great mini-series. Who better to lead the invasion from within Riverdale High than the principal himself, Waldo Weatherbee? This wouldn’t be the first time Invasion of the Body Snatchers was updated to a high school setting either. The Faculty offered a fun take on this concept in theaters in 1998, but we think that Archie Comics could do it even better.
Crossover Character: Pop Tate
How could you make the ever affable Pop Tate threatening? Give him a grudge so severe that he starts to transform customers into the very burgers he grills as part of a revenge scheme. This classic musical emphasizes how bad a good man can go when wronged, and Pop Tate is in the perfect position to exact terrible revenge on Riverdale. Whether he’s plotting against Hiram Lodge or Jughead Jones, Pop could provide some truly gruesome twists while running the Chok’lit Shoppe.
Crossover Character: Betty Cooper
The Exorcist is still the gold standard for exorcism stories, and that’s partially due to the film’s victim. There’s nothing more disturbing than watching an innocent person controlled and twisted by a malign influence like “Captain Howdy”, and there’s no one more innocent in Riverdale than Betty Cooper. This is an idea that lends itself to the slow build as well, providing for small incidents at school and around town to build up to the climactic showdown. The only real question is who would serve as the old and young priest. Could Archie take up the cloth in an attempt to save Betty’s soul?