If you’re any kind of Archie fan at all, you should be on the Fans of Archie Comics Facebook page. It’s probably the best place to go a discuss America’s Favorite Teen-Ager. Not only are the members very nice and passionate about Ol’ Carrot Top, but the page is frequented by many Archie artists such as myself, Dan Parent, Gisele Lagace and many others. An added bonus of the page is that it is independent of Archie Comics which means the posts are honest, unfiltered and they are by no means edited by Archie Comics. Criticism, both positive and negative, is accepted. I prefer an open atmosphere like that myself. Let’s face it. We’re not all going to love EVERYTHING Archie Comics does. It’s very refreshing to have a place where we can discuss even what we DON’T like about them. You can find the board here:
I was on the Fans Of Archie Comics page this weekend when I was reminded of some of the unpublished and rejected artwork I’ve drawn for Archie Comics during my twenty-two years there and of some of the ideas that for one reason or another were never to be.
Here I’ve posted a few sketches for drawings intended to go into a special Archie 75th Anniversary hardcover book. Archie Comics has published a number of these hardcovers such as The Art Of Archie: The Covers and The Art Of Betty & Veronica. Written by Archie co-president Victor Gorelick and comic book historian Craig Yoe, these books take a historical overview on Archie and their particular focus. A special book was planned for Archie Comics’ 75th anniversary which is this year, 2016. This book, as it was explained to me, was going to be a decade by decade history of the entire Archie Comics company going back too its origins as MLJ. It was going to break the company’s history down decade by decade with each chapter being devoted to an entire decade.
The sketches above were for drawings intended to serve as frontispieces for each chapter. Each fronts was to be representative of that chapter’s decade. I did a TON of these sketches. I’m only showing a few favorites here. If you’re interested in seeing any of the others, just let me know and I’ll post them here.
The first sketch above, intended for the chapter on the 1950’s, is inspired by Elvis’ famous dance number in Jailhouse Rock.I don’t remember if this one was accepted or not. As I said, I did A LOT of these sketches and I can’t remember which ones were approved and which ones weren’t. Ultimately, I guess NONE of them were approved… but more on that later.
The second sketch of course was for the 1960’s chapter and obviously it’s Archie as a hippie. I know I did at least one more of these, but I think this one was preferred by co-author Craig Yoe.
The third piece is of course Archie as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever for the 1970’s chapter. This one was an immediate winner and I think the only sketch I had to do for this chapter. Sadly, as I’ll explain later, this image went no further than this sketch.
The fourth piece is for the 1980’s and it’s Archie as Michael Jackson from his Thriller days. I know I did a few sketches for this decade. This one was in the lead to be chosen.
In the end, after numerous sketches and a few meetings with Victor and Craig, the book was cancelled. My understanding is that it was a casualty of Archie’s shaky financial situation in 2015. These drawings went no where but into my own personal archives. This will be the only place you’ll ever see these drawings. Let me know what you think. Comment and share!