Fans of the all-American comic "Archie" may be dismayed to learn its eponymous star is doomed. Archie Andrews will leave this world in a bloody blaze of glory in the penultimate issue No. 36 of the "Life with Archie" spinoff series, which imagines the lives of Archie and his friends after they leave high school and grow into adulthood.
The original Archie comic has been running since it debuted in 1941 and has spawned spinoff series, including Betty and Veronica,"Jughead" and the Life with Archie series where Archie "will sacrifice himself heroically while saving the life of a friend" this July, according to a statement issued by the company. The last issue of Life with Archie will follow, and will revisit the surviving characters of Riverdale as they remember their fallen friend.
"We've been building up to this moment since we launched 'Life With Archie' five years ago, and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie's life as an adult had to also show his final moment," said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater in the statement. "Archie has and always will represent the best in all of us—he's a hero, goodhearted, humble and inherently honorable."
The company has taken numerous steps to reinvigorate its brand in recent years. Life With Archie explored alternate futures by imagining two different plotlines in a double issue: Archie marries and has a life with girl-next-door Betty in one story and his dark-haired crush Veronica in another.
It introduced a gay character named Kevin Keller and eventually gave him his own series. The company even launched an Afterlife with Archie, where the pleasant, friendly town of Riverdale suffers a zombie invasion.
The two issues will be sold only in comic book stores and will feature several different covers drawn by different comic book artists.
Because the Life With Archie imagines Archie's life as an older adult, the ginger-haired hero will continue to live on in comics set during his high school years.
But Archie Comics is pleased with its best-known character's demise. "It's the biggest story we've ever done, and we're supremely proud of it," Goldwater said.