From The CW to Bollywood, Archie Comics is eager to prove its relevance to youth culture.
The reinvention of Archie Comics has been in full swing since 2013 and the publication of their utterly earnest zombie apocalypse series, “Afterlife With Archie.” It might have looked like a joke on the newsstands (do they still have those?), but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s walking dead rift proved there was more to Riverdale than malt shops and Betty vs. Veronica melodrama. From there we got a Jughead werewolf spinoff, and a shiny 90210-inspired relaunch from the writer who redefined Superman (Mark Waid) and the artist of the ultra-hip sci-fi series, “Saga” (Fiona Staples).
These were not your mom and pop’s comics…or better yet, not your grandparents’ comics. This company line renovation managed to crossover into mainstream media with last year’s surprise success of The CW’s Riverdale, a television show that I initially dismissed but thanks to some fine folks around the FSR office and their even finer writing, had me falling down the black hole of teen heartache and murder mystery.
As we approach Riverdale’s first musical episode (based around Stephen King’s classic prom horror novel “Carrie”), it’s only fitting that news has dropped of Archie’s adoption into Bollywood cinema. As it was explained to Variety, Archie Comics is partnering with Graphic India to translate the first international comic for Indian Audiences. I guess they’re choosing to ignore the classic Bollywood Batman vs Bollywood Superman.
Speaking to Variety, Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater expressed enthusiasm and confidence in Archie Comics finding an Indian audience:
“We are supremely excited to partner with the great team at Graphic India to bring Archie and his friends to Bollywood. Archie’s lasting and growing presence in India made this move the logical next step as our stellar library of characters continues to expand into other media. It’s a major moment for Archie and its fans around the world.”
Graphic India has already made several attempts to acquire mainstream American attention through their acquisition of renowned comic book talent like Grant Morrison, Chuck Dixon, and Ron Marz. Not to mention securing property concepts from Nicolas Cage, John Woo, Depak Chopra and Guy Ritchie. They’ve recently partnered with Stan Lee on several animated shows, and motion comics from Shekhar Kapur.
Sharad Devarajan, the CEO of Graphic India, explained how Archie Comics has already influenced Bollywood cinema:
“Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead have been a source of inspiration for numerous Bollywood films over the years, and now it’s time to take them fully into Bollywood in an exciting new twist of a story that we have planned. These characters have held a special place in the hearts of Indians for decades and we have no doubt that the new Indian cast of Archie and the gang will be an exciting moment for the country.”
Archie Comics will steal attention in any and every way they can. They’ve recently plundered ’80s action nostalgia with their absurdly entertaining “Archie vs. Predator” mini series, and plucked my Trekkie heartstrings when they beamed in George Takai to help Kevin Kellar’s romantic plight. Even The Ramones were not safe from their sweeping grab to nab eyes to their franchise.
Bollywood is a natural fit for Archie Comics to begin their global domination. India has adapted many American concepts over the years (from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Knight and Day). Archie has proven that a few slight tweaks to Riverdale can expose a completely new audience.