The Schmooze

John L. Goldwater’s ‘Archie Comics’ Gets a Darker, Sexier Makeover

Beloved comic book characters Archie, Betty and Veronica are staging a comeback—just not quite in the way John L. Goldwater, the Jewish creator of the “Archie and Pals” series, may have intended.

The CW released a trailer for the new series “Riverdale” yesterday, which features an eerie spin on the comic book’s world, complete with shots of bloody hands, a suitcase filled with money and a very buff, shirtless Archie jogging.

“It’s definitely Archie, but a little darker, a little more complex and a little weirder than you might remember from the digest you bought at the supermarket,” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re saying it’s a little bit like Archie meets Twin Peaks.”

The new series, which picks up during the gang’s sophomore year, is packaged as a murder-mystery drama — definitely a far cry from the cheerful, innocent teen romp the comic book’s creator penned years ago.

Goldwater, a distant relative of Senator Barry M. Goldwater, wrote the book on wholesome comics—literally. The writer founded the Comics Code Authority, which worked to monitor the industry’s depiction of sex and violence. He populated his stories with the young characters he met as a teen living in Kansas, taking inspiration from the football players and cheerleaders he went to school with.

“[Archie] basically a square, but in my opinion the squares are the backbone of America,” the late Goldwater told The New York Times in 1973.

Watch Archie and the gang being decidedly un-square in the trailer below:

Thea Glassman is an Associate Editor at the Forward. Reach her at or on Twitter at @theakglassman.

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John L. Goldwater’s ‘Archie Comics’ Gets a Darker, Sexier Makeover

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