Archie - Veronica Adult

Archie - Jughead Adult

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Norm Breyfogle, best known for his work on Batman, takes a trip to Riverdale in Archie's Double Digest #202, due in stores on Sept. 23.

The artist talks about his latest project in the following question-and-answer:

Question: How did you get the assignment at Archie?

Breyfogle: I attended one of the New York Cons -- maybe the Big Apple Con, I'm not exactly sure, now -- and, while browsing through artist alley, I met Joe Staton, who was showing some of his Archie art. While speaking with him, Mike Pellerito (Archie Comics' managing editor) walked over and we were introduced. Mike expressed an interest in my work, we exchanged business cards, and within a few months Mike phoned me, right when I happened to be looking for more work.

Question: Were you given any instructions on the look of the kids, or did they say, "Just draw them in your style"?

Breyfogle: I was told to draw them in my style, more or less, with only one suggestion, as I recall: I was asked to not make the girls too voluptuous. Apparently, some of the "New Look" artists tend to overdo the girls in that respect, I'd guess that it comes naturally for many artists after drawing exaggerated super heroines.

Question: Some of the characters are very cartoony, such as Jughead. When redesigning them in their "new look" what are the elements you need to keep to make each charter recognizable to fans?

Breyfogle: Each character already possesses unique or individual elements, so it's really just a matter of retaining those, even in a more "realistic" style of drawing. Archie has the red hair and freckles, and thick, dark eyebrows, which I now -- too late -- feel like I could have made darker and thicker than I did; Jughead has the Beanie cap, the skinny body and face, and the large nose; Moose is very large, with a somewhat innocent look to his face, etc...

Among the Riverdale characters, I suppose that Reggie, Betty, and Veronica are among the least unique in their looks, but while Reggie almost always has a smart-aleck expression on his face to distinguish him, Betty and Veronica are defined pretty much only by the color of their hair and their styles of clothing, though they do, also, show their personal character in their facial expressions.

These characters were designed by John L. Goldwater, Vic Bloom and Bob Montana to possess unique looks. Considering how very many Archie characters there are, it's impressive how easily distinguishable they all are without the use of the superhero convention of unique costumery.

Question: You are mostly known for your work on super-hero comics. Is it different drawing Riverdale?

Breyfogle: Not really. It's not much different. The storytelling is the same, and my penciling and inking tools are the same. The only real difference is that I'm not drawing a lot of muscular anatomy, masks, high tech sci-fi elements or bombastic fight scenes. Frankly, I really thought I'd miss those bombastic elements more than I actually did! I guess, I like to think, I've reached a level of professionalism that allows me to totally enjoy drawing anything I need to, even it's more "down to earth" stuff. It's actually been quite a challenge. When you have to depict more realistic, everyday kinds of things, subtle elements like facial expressions, body language and page layout become even more important. Every comics artist knows that it's challenging to make "talking heads scenes" visually interesting ... especially when the characters are women and/or young people/teens.

I've been a fan of Archie Comics, off and on, all my life, but I never imagined I'd be drawing them. It's very gratifying. I always get into the characters and stories I draw; I'd love to draw more Archie.

Question: Archie stories are usually humorous. Did you expect the story to be this emotional?

Breyfogle: I wasn't sure what to expect beforehand, so I wasn't too surprised. There are Archie signature humorous elements throughout the story I drew, which I expected, but I also figured it might be a little more emotional simply because it's a "New Look" story. And, it is. In fact, it's quite a touching story.

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