We're a little less than a month away from the return of Riverdale, as the hit The CW series will be making its way back to our television screens in late January. The series' return will be marked by some major milestones -- for one thing, it will be the first new episodes in many months, as production was forced to be delayed this past spring amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When Riverdale does resume for Season 5, it will have a lot of ground to cover, as its teenage characters will go through prom and high school graduation, before the series jumps forward at least five years into the future to showcase the ensemble as adults.
If you're wanting to get prepared for Riverdale Season 5 (outside of rewatching all of the previous seasons on Netflix), there are a wide array of existing comics available at your fingertips that can help get you hyped. Some deal directly with the newer pockets of the Archie Comics lore, while others just carry the same dramatic energy of the series. Here are eight series we'd recommend checking out ahead of (and probably during) Riverdale's fifth season.
To an extent, you recommend comics tied to Riverdale without mentioning the flagship Archie Comics series, which helped bring the iconic roster of characters into the modern era. The series - which properly began in 2015 with writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples at the helm - reimagined a lot of the buzzworthy stories generations of readers had begun to recognize with Archie Comics, but with a modern charm. After an impressive 32-issue run, the series underwent a quasi-reboot in late 2018 with Archie #700, bringing in creatives that included writers Nick Spencer, Mariko Tamaki, and Kevin Panetta, and artists Laura Braga, Marguerite Sauvage, and Jenn St-Onge.
There really is no wrong place to begin reading the "New Riverdale" era of Archie -- it really just depends on how much reading you want to undergo. Either way, there's a lot for fans to enjoy, including miniature arcs featuring Sabrina Spellman and Katy Keene in the post-Issue #700 run.prevnext
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Sure, Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has yet to fully cross over with the world of Riverdale, with the two series mainly resorting to bizarre Easter eggs to tie the two together. While we might not see Sabrina Spellman herself on Riverdale anytime soon, there's still so much to love about her recent comic series, which comes from Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish, and Jack Morelli. The run, which spans two five-issue miniseries, sees Sabrina relocating to the town of Greendale, and balancing being the new girl in town and dealing with various supernatural threats.
Regardless of whichever era of Sabrina you have a fondness for - whether it be her appearances in the '60s, her sitcom in the '90s, or her spookier relaunch with Chilling Adventures - there's something in this series for you. Thompson gets to the heart of what makes Sabrina such a delightful and iconic character, and the Fishes' art is here to fulfill all of your spooky cottagecore fantasies.prevnext
Jughead's Time Police
Some fans have already been speculating about what Season 5 will hold for Cole Sprouse's Jughead Jones, especially after the beanie-wearing fan-favorite was put through quite a lot in Season 4. While there's really no telling what the future holds for him, you can pass the time until Season 5's time jump by checking out the recent Jughead's Time Police relaunch. The five-issue series, which hails from Sina Grace, Derek Charm, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli, follows Jughead on a madcap adventure, after a goof tied to the Riverdale Bake-Off sends him traveling through time.
Jughead's Time Police is weird, wonderful, and hilarious in a lot of ways, and one of those comics that you just have to experience for yourself. Plus, it showcases the "multiverse" of different incarnations and character portrayals that Archie Comics has accumulated over the years -- including Riverdale's Jughead himself.prevnext
Getting It Together
Pivoting away from the Archie Comics sphere, there are a lot of series that still capture the spirit of Riverdale -- and Getting It Together is no exception. The recent Image Comics miniseries from Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny D. Fine, and Mx. Struble follows a group of friends in San Francisco whose dynamics get incredibly messy following a change in two of the friends' relationship status.
The three issues of Getting It Together that have come out thus far have brought a drama and narrative elasticity that feels very Riverdale-esque, with characters to match. Plus, the series deals with the complicated mess of growing up in your twenties, something that is going to be front and center of Riverdale in the coming months.prevnext
Another series that brilliantly deals with the complications of growing up - and reconciling with who you were in high school along the way - is Marvel's Runaways. The revival of the title, which began in 2017 with Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka at the helm, revisits the titular group of forgotten superhero teenagers into young adulthood.
The series balances superpowers, time travel, and a dinosaur sidekick with the genuine messiness and freedom of being in your 20s, with an earnestness and inventiveness along the way. Even if you haven't read earlier installments of the team or watched their Hulu series, it's incredibly easy to jump into -- and incredibly rewarding as well.prevnext
Ever since Riverdale initially debuted in 2017, other pieces of media have tried to capture its buzzworthy, stylish teenage energy -- and none have done so quite like Blackbird. The Image Comics series was initially lauded as "Harry Potter meets Riverdale" -- and its five-issue first arc definitely succeeded in that effort. From writer Sam Humphries and artist Jen Bartel, Blackbird follows Nina Rodriguez, a young girl who stumbles upon a magical underworld in Los Angeles. As Nina goes further down the proverbial rabbit hole, she begins to question her own past, as well as her role in a brewing magic war.
Blackbird's sartorial and narrative flair will definitely appeal to Riverdale fans, and it brings a story that unfolds just as dramatically as the hunt for the Black Hood or the unmasking of the Gargoyle King.prevnext
Another delightful ensemble series that deserves a look from Riverdale fans is BOOM! Studios' Heavy Vinyl. Created by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva and set in the late 1990s, the series follows a group of teenage girls working at Vinyl Mayhem, their local record store in New Jersey. Unbeknownst to the outside world, the girls also moonlight as vigilantes, kicking butt and saving the day from various music-adjacent threats.
For those who always want more of the Southside Serpents, the Pretty Poisons, and the short-lived The Archies band on Riverdale, Heavy Vinyl might be right up your alley. It balances narrative absurdity with a heck of a lot of heart and queer representation (and a slew of nostalgic references to boot).prevnext
Speaking of narrative absurdity, Image Comics' Crowded definitely feels more in line with the more outrageous parts of Riverdale -- but that's all the more reason to check it out. The series, from Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt, is set "ten minutes in the future", where a popular app called Reapr helps crowdfund assassinations. This serves to be a complication for Charlie Ellison, a seemingly normal young woman who suddenly has a million-dollar bounty on her head. Desperate to stay alive, Charlie hires Vita, the lowest-rated bodyguard on the Dfend app, and the pair embark on a madcap adventure.
Despite having wildly different plots, Crowded and Riverdale have a lot in common -- a unique sense of humor, ship-worthy characters, and a self-aware approach to its own ridiculous twists and turns.
Riverdale's fifth season is set to premiere Wednesday, January 20th at 8/7c on The CW.prev