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Writer Stephen Oswald talks about Archie & Friends #130, due in stores on April 8.

Question: In Archie & Friends you are doing a two-part story with the Archies vs. Josie & the Pussycats at a Guitar Hero contest. It has been a while since we have seen a new Josie & the Pussycats story, what brought them back?

Oswald: That's just it, we haven't seen them in a while and we figured it's about time to find out what's been going on in there lives since we last saw them.

Question: Why Guitar hero?

Oswald: Well, Guitar Hero along with Rock Band are both wildly popular games across all the gaming platforms. It makes sense that both The Archies and Josie and the Pussycats being teenagers would be into that type of game.

Question: Do you play Guitar Hero yourself?

Oswald: Yes, I have played it. Though usually at my friend's house, he has more room to store all the band equipment that comes with the game. I'm a long-time gamer and have been playing video games since my first system, Colecovision.

Question: In the Archie Universe, both the Archies and Josie & the Pussycats are successful bands. What attracts them to Guitar Hero?

Oswald: Like almost all teenagers, they're into video games. Video games have become much more ingrained in our culture over the past 10 years; it's a familiar touchstone to pretty much all young people. Plus, even though both The Archies and Josie and the Pussycats have successful bands, they still love playing games. It's like my brother Ryan who had his own band, in which he plays the drums, but he also loves playing the drums in Rock Band.

Question: Without the video game, who is the better and more successful band, Archies or Josie & the Pussycats?

Oswald: The more successful band I'd definitely say is Josie and the Pussycats. As far as who is the better band, you'll have to read Archie & Friends to find out!

Question: Later this month you have another real-world based story coming out in Pal's 'n' Gals #131, with real-life husband-and-wife pro bowling team Chris and Lynda Barnes. How did this come about?

Oswald: This came about because of a previous bowling story I had written last year in Pals 'n' Gals #122. The story proved popular and gained the notice of Jim Arehart, the editorial director at the United States Bowling Congress. He mentioned that two of the top bowlers, Chris and Lynda Barnes, would love to make a guest appearance in a Archie story. So I went about writing a sequel.

Question: Do you find that real-life stories make better Archie stories?

Oswald: I've always liked including real life events and people in comics. If you look at a long running show like the Simpsons, they've had a long tradition of including real life guest stars. As to the question if real life stories make better Archie stories, I think that a good story is a good story whether or not they have a basis in real life. Having said that, including real life events or people can help add a familiarity that often engages the readers more.

Question: When you use real people like Chris and Lynda Barnes, do they get any input in how they are used or how accurate their likeness is?

Oswald: I did my research; like any good 21st century writer I used the interwebs. I read up on Chris and Lynda and downloaded pics of them to send to Pat Kennedy, the penciller on the story, so he would have a reference for their likenesses.

Question: You're also an editor at Archie. What is it like to go from being an editor to being a writer? Does it change the relationships you have with your editor?

Oswald: I don't think it changed the relationship. It's more like having a new driving route on your way to your job. You see some new sights but in the end you still arrive at the same destination. Plus having good editors like Victor and Mike makes writing all the more easy. They'll take the initial story and add there own input about what's working in the story and what's not, I'll then take the suggestions make the necessary changes or additions to the script. Good editors will see story from a different point of view that a writer may not otherwise see. This helps polish out any imperfections that might have been missed, giving you the shiny, gleaming Archie books everyone comes to expect!

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