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“It’s Archie”… Or Is It?

There’s a new Archie in town, and this time he’s a rambunctious 12-year old dealing with the modern issues of today’s youth, such as finding Wi-Fi hotspots, texting and pie eating contests.

In It’s Archie, the as-yet-unsold animated series being developed by Archie Comics and French animation company Moonscoop, the kids from Riverdale are reimagined as young contemporaries in “outlandish, exuberant, off-the wall novel adventures” that include, according to the press release, “loopy, disparate elements such as mad scientists, extraterrestrials taking up residence in janitorial closets, enchanted fogs [and] pirates.”

The sleek – and not-at-all garish – re-design doesn’t stop with the look of the characters. It also transfers over to the motivations and personalities of the cast as well. “In the It’s Archie quixotic world of Riverdale, love is measured in puppy portions, exuberance is in the air and the impossible can always be solved with a dose of kid ingenuity… Upbeat, playful and four years away from their coveted driver’s licenses, these It’s Archie pre-teens are not yet affected by teenage brooding, surly attitudes, or peevish behavior.” It’s a groundbreaking combination of style and direction that is sure you leave you asking… “Is this A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?”

Season 1 of It’s Archie, which will include 52 11-minute episodes, will be making the rounds at MIP Junior and MIPCOM from October 5-10, 2013, in Cannes.

  • Ju-osh

    I think Skynet just went live, cuz every time I try to type, “This looks hilarious,” my spell-check re-writes it as, “This looks hideous.”

    While I still vehemently disagree with the Terminators’ plan to eliminate all mankind, I think they might be right about his one.

  • Ward Jenkins


    • the Gee

      So, it is like garish-kabob.
      If you squint you can see some distinctions which separate character designs and surely the colors and the rest suit the aesthetic that is needed for pukey, greenish predicaments that kids that age can relate to.

      (i’m kidding. I think.

      As an animated property, “Archie” hasn’t had a great classic run in the past 40 some odd years but it has had numerous incarnations so by no means is this a last gasp; the legacy won’t be tarnished because so few of the recent animated efforts are like the comic books.

      So, I don’t feel this show is greatly significant (it isn’t great or horrible) except from a standpoint of more cartoon content. And, who knows, basing one season on four frames isn’t the bestest move. If there is a Season Two, maybe it improves. Like a good garish-kabob, it may marinade in a blend of deliciousness which results in a blossoming of flavors when cooked.

      it’s lunchtime, dontcha know.)

  • Emanuel Alfredsson

    Is it me or can this show spark some Archie-vers out of this?

  • Jeremy Galante

    Those backgrounds are definitely reminiscent of Day of the Tentacle.

    • Mike Scott

      Ha. Ya, really like the backgrounds. “TIME TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD.”

  • Amids sarcasm aside, those BGs are real purty. design wise, those characters look like they were given a “anime but not anime” design note yet I don’t find it as garish as you. And honestly, as a former purchaser of Archie comics, I can honestly ask “were those original designs that great?”, i think it’s looks fun. good job guys

    • AmidAmidi

      I didn’t write the piece, but thanks for playing.

      • Doh! lol. Sorry Amid. musta been reading two pages at once. what a heel. Totally going to stand out on the internet now as “that” guy… posting frivously and all. hey i like your blog

  • Debbie Perry

    While I can’t comment on a show that hasn’t even aired yet, these deigns rob the Archie characters of their visual appeal.

    Archie as a pre-teen is nothing new…there was Little Archie in the comic books and the New Archies on TV. Archie’s publisher is always coming up with new (and often bizarre) mutations of the Riverdale gang…as Super Teens, secret agents, Time Police, cavemen…the list goes on and on.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      And not doubt this isn’t the last of that.

      • StephaneDumas

        It won’t be long before we see an updated version of Josie & the Pussycats. Strange they didn’t tested the waters with other comics in the Archie’s world like Lil’ Jinx or Bingo Wilkin of the comic series “That Wilkin Boy”.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    This looks like a bad idea, take an established yet very dated series and make all the characters kids! Did I go back to the 1980s in my sleep? Because that was every other show in that decade as I recall. I kind of like the backgrounds but those flash characters look ugly as sin to me. IDK, why, maybe they’ll look better when I see them animated and maybe the show might not be that bad. I’ve been surprised before so I try to keep an open mind, but still as of now, not looking good. And even if it does turn out good, one thing I ask is the same thing I ask with The Looney Toons show. Why not just make something original?

    • Barrett

      I don’t have a problem with them turning the 16-ish Archie gang into 12-year-olds. It would allow for a larger playing field for stories. I would love it if they aged, if not in real-time, maybe half-real-time or one-quarter, kind of like King of the Hill did with its characters. Start the show with them at 12, and take them through middle and high school, and maybe onto college.

      My big problem with this pitch is the character designs. The backgrounds are maybe a bit over-dynamic, I’d tone down the crazy “perspective” a few percentage points but otherwise leave them alone. The big problem is the character look like average-looking redesigns stuck onto Colorforms that are bent and folded in 3D space. The flat cutout look doesn’t work with the “conventional” drawing design, if they were just straight shapes almost like Dexter or the Powerpuff Girls, it *might* work having them be that way, but I still wouldn’t advise it.

      I don’t think Archie needs “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” designs combined with a “Galaxy High” scenario. I do, however, consider it an almost perverse “achievement” that they managed to make it that garish while using a mostly desaturated palette.

  • Arnaud

    Good intent, but… Squashed-up characters, especially the girls. They seems to come from Christropher Hart’s cartoon learning book

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Lord know show many tempted souls have to go there Arnaud. The designs don’t speak to me at all though I wish luck to the partners on this if they can find something in the interactions and plot the intended viewers may care about (and some long-time fans may appreciate).

    • Agreed. These designs make even Butch Hartman look good, and that saying a lot.

  • top_cat_james

    Hey, at least they kept the criss-crosses on the sides of Archie’s head this time.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I was going to mention that James, those cross-hatched sides should never be touched (a lesson Filmation didn’t feel was necessary to remember).

      “There’s a new Archie in town, and this time he’s a rambunctious 12-year old dealing with the modern issues of today’s youth, such as finding Wi-Fi hotspots, texting and pie eating contests.”

      Finding Wi-Fi hotspots seems so ghetto to me but I guess if these kids don’t have a 4G plan (except Ronnie), I can see why.

      • the Gee

        I’ll half-heartedly defend them making the characters younger. Even before the “Muppet Babies” and “Tiny Toons”, there were Li’l Archie comic books. So, the publisher screwed that pooch decades ago. Making them younger isn’t that big of a deal. And, modernizing their adventures….whew….they were in a kids comic that started in the 50s or 60s, how stale would you want it to be? Even if it follows one or the main Scooby Doo template, it is better than teenage soap opera plus the antics of goofball characters.

        (seriously, i barely care about “Archie” and loved the Mad Magazine parody more than any of the original stuff.)

    • Arnaud

      And Reggie looks like Wallace from the Scott Pilgrim comics.

  • oslaf

    This kind of thing always puzzles me. Won’t the appeal of an existing property be pretty much cancelled out by wrapping it in a redesign which obviously alienates the target of said appeal?

  • If you want a character and his “…young contemporaries in “outlandish, exuberant, off-the wall novel adventures” that include
    “loopy, disparate elements such as mad scientists, extraterrestrials
    taking up residence in janitorial closets, enchanted fogs [and]
    pirates.””, just watch Phineas & Ferb.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Someone else here just mentioned “Archie’s Weird Mysteries”, so it’s nothing new!

  • Dana B

    Archie redesigned as a 90’s looking kid?
    “Weird mystery adventures”?

    Did they really need to do this? REALLY? It’s bad enough they’re adapting a long running comic into something it’s not, but make a cartoon about preteens and their daily struggles through school and hoping to become popular and wooing over crushes and gossip and drama and yadiyadiyada?! Yeah, because that’s what TV animation needs more of. For God sake…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Again, it’s more of that obnoxious tween stuff I just can’t stomach anymore, we’ve all been through that before, why again?

      • StephaneDumas

        I guess the other attempt of going the other way around with a late-20 to mid-30 years old Archie in live-action format like the 1990 tv movie Archie: to Riverdale and back again didn’t worked as they hoped.

        • Chris Sobieniak

          Oh that was a stinker!

    • SarahJesness

      Tell me about it. When I was a kid, most animated shows aimed at girls were that. (and pretty much all of the live-action ones as well) It’s no wonder my friends and I all jumped to anime, ha ha. Sure, they did some of the same stuff, but they at least fought monsters as well.

  • Lil_Nemesis

    I can understand wanting to modernize Archie for a new age and generation. I don’t know a single person in my age range (early 20s) who could even name the characters with any confidence. I doubt anyone younger than myself could either.

    That being said, what I do know of Archie doesn’t seem to be… anything like this at all. It seems like not so much a revamp as a totally new show dressed up to be something recognizable.

    Maybe it will be good. It certainly sounds crazy and interesting.

    • SarahJesness

      Shoot, I can only name Archie characters because of parodies like Robot Chicken.

      • Marbles471

        I don’t know, though. SOMEBODY is buying those comic books and keeping the company in business. The fact they’re often the only comic books left on regular magazine stands anywhere says something. I’ve been to Q&As at MoCCA where Archie artists spoke, and they would talk about how kids still buy them—sometimes in places and among demographics you wouldn’t expect.

        • Chris Sobieniak

          They were still printing the digest versions that get sold next to other digests in supermarket checkouts for years so I’m not surprised there.

    • Ronnie

      I am 22 years old. Archie was my first exposure to comics as a thing that existed. The ONLY thing in these designs at all that made me realize this was Archie when I first saw them elsewhere was Jughead’s hat. This speaks to how flawed they are as Archie designs. IF I NEED JUGHEAD’S HAT TO TELL ME THIS IS AN ARCHIE SHOW, YOU ARE NOT MAKING AN ARCHIE SHOW.

  • Sardonic Tuba

    He’s totally in my face!

  • CLXcool

    My god. The designs just look like another cartoon from Butch Hartman. Couldn’t they have used a more ‘fluid’ style than copying a style that is complete crap?

    • SarahJesness

      To me, they don’t look like Butch Hartman. They look like an extremely bad attempt at copying Butch Hartman.

  • Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe

    Looks awful. They MIGHT can redeem themselves IF they have Kevin Keller doing some competitive eating (that’s his hobby in the Archie comic books).

    • Shazbot

      Oh, him. Figures he’d have an oral fixation…

      Nothing, but NOTHING, redeems those horrible character designs.

  • caricaturist

    It is like an experienced character designer deciding that every bad idea and clumsy placement of features, every boring head shape and ill-thought arrangement, every BAD decision was now GREAT…. Yeesh…

  • SarahJesness

    The designs… They just don’t look very good. The eyes on the girls are freaking me out, and I don’t think the bodies are going to look very good if the show decides to do a lot of cartoonish movements.

    With that said, I’m surprised they haven’t done this earlier. Archie hasn’t been well-known with his target audience for a very long time, you’d think a television reboot would’ve been tried a few years back.

  • Kesler

    Isn’t there some connection between Scooby Doo and Archie?

  • James Ian Sims

    These new designs of the Archie characters are poorly drawn and hideous but at least they’re not as bad as Filmation’s Archie. Filmation is still one of the worst animation studios in history.

  • Donovan D. Roberts

    EyE cancer!!!!!

  • Rodan Thompson

    It’s not Archie with such a redesign… And I feel the same way about the Mickey Mouse redo… All new series, new characters– yes. But, these are just not the same characters.

  • Roberto Severino

    Terrible character designs. This has wonky written all over it! Not good.

  • Animator606432

    Geez, you weren’t kidding when you said these designs are garish. One of things i’ve always LOVED about the Archie franchises (including Sabrina, etc) is the look of the characters. There is just something appealing about the tiny noses and large expressive eyes. I always liked how well that look was able to be used on other characters when they entered Archie’s world.

    These designs, in general, perfectly shows my problem with modern day animation. This is going to be a long rant.

    It has been said by many that we are in the golden age of television. While big box offices movies are bombing, television is thriving not only money wise but artistically as well. Look at something like Game of Thrones, so much detail and work goes into each and EVERY episode. It looks amazing, and it is movie quality. Or Breaking Bad with it’s incredible writing and performances. LOTS a big name directors understand that television (including Netflix) is really where the real creativity.

    However, the same CANNOT be said about television animation….at all. I for one can’t understand why. Why does television animation have to look so, unappealing? I was watching some mid 2000’s show form the WB and while the animation wasn’t perfect, it had so much more character then most things on television now. I just don’t understand why half these things even need to be animated, if the only thing we are getting paid for is to move mouths? Or maybe they might let us use a tweening tool to do “animated” movement. Do you know what that does to an animator? When a lot times they aren’t even able to animate arms moving up in down or when that’s all they do?

    When I watch a lot of modern television animation (I would like to add that I was born in the mid-90’s, so i’m not some cranky old artist) I just don’t see any passion. Today’s tools allow higher quality animation to be bad a LOT cheaper then even half a decade ago, yet I don’t see television animation really reflecting that a lot of times. Sure, you get your occasional “Gravity Falls” or “Adventure Time” but that’s hardly the majority of stuff that’s created.

    Overall, I would just like studios to let animators do what they are paying for us to do, ANIMATE. If they just us, for once, go past just moving mouths and arms, get away from using tweening tools as much and let us really draw….you’d be surprised at what can really come out.
    /end rant

    • Barrett

      I largely agree with you. I think most 21st century TV cartoons, at least those aimed at kids, have a very limited range of styles. A lot of the very flat stuff that seems to be an attempt to ape off the styles of Craig McCracken and Genndy Tartakovsky’s early work. The rest is some kind of variation on the “indie comic/street art” aesthetic that values style over technical skill. Frankly, I miss the level of detail and traditional cartoon principles that were present in the late 80s and early 90s shows from Disney, Warner Bros. and even any smaller studios. Even shows with unconventional character designs like The Tick and Earthworm Jim seemed to have a much more “solid” feel than the wafer-thin, crudely rendered productions I’ve been seeing over the past decade and a half.

      • minespatch

        I get the feeling(Also from what I’ve read on John K’s blog) is that animation companies just pull kids out of college before they can bloom with balanced fundamentals of design. Possibly they have a very limited range or knowledge of art so they just feel they are ‘original’.

    • Markb

      I think it started with Beavis and Butthead and continued with bad web animation until you could get a show like Allen Gregory actually produced in prime time on a major network. Each successful show using bad animation lowers the bar. I actually saw one online review that praised Allen Gregory’s animation while trashing the rest of it. Possibly because the average viewer thinks the only criterion for “good”animation is smooth movement, whether that comes from lots of labor intensive inbetweens or Flash tweeting.

  • Inkan1969

    I think I’d prefer this “version of Archie” instead.!/shows/highschoolusa

    by Dino Stamatopoulos.

  • Joshua Marchant

    I can already tell you I will not be watching this show.
    The art style is the same hideous ‘flat, ‘wacky’ style we see in all sorts of Canadian and French animated shows. No thank you!

  • MaskedManAICN

    Yup, should have been made in the ’80’s with all the other kiddifed toons (Muppet Babbies, Tiny Toons, Pup named Scooby Doo, James Bond Jr, Flintstone Kids, Popeye and Son, Pink Panther and Sons, etc)

    I’m all for Archie getting an update, but this doesn’t for me- but then I assume they aren’t making it for me :p

  • OdysseyTag

    So far, this is not translating well – not at all…

  • Lil_Nemesis

    I agree, which is why I didn’t throw out my opinion without first saying I don’t necessarily know the details.

  • I’m usually okay with redesigns like the one in Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes (no judging lol) but I’m gonna have to say no to this one.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I can’t F*****g see anything! the characters blend into the background, for one thing!

  • pannu

    WHYYY??? why did they need to modify so much from the original??

    I can understand redesigning, but this… i dont know about others, but this is ridiculous in my opinion….!
    at first glance i really cudnt figure out the structure of the girl characters which is designed..!.. not a great idea…

  • bob

    The designs are so bad I can’t believe its not Canadian.

  • Kris Åsard

    Where’s the talking dog? They’re not re-hashing the *full* Hannah-Barbera standard reboot module unless the shoehorn a talking dog in there somewhere. (I bet there is one, they’re just being coy about it for now.)

  • NinaMariel

    The designs are killing me… I don’t like them at all. And from the stills, the characters’ poses are ridiculously repetitive. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  • BongBong

    Why even bother calling it Archie? A waste of a licensing deal.

  • Humphrey

    Seems interesting enough, but I’m more curious if Kevin Keller will make an appearance. Now that will be interesting to see :)

  • conker and co.

    what has happend to archie what?

  • rooniman

    These redesigns look absolutley hideious. Just……..why?


    Oh my jughead I want to see it now play it now let me see it let me see it pretty please with money for pops choclet shop on top