—Here is a cover sketch for my proposed storyline where long-time high school student, Archie Andrews finally graduates from Riverdale High!
Around 2009, Archie Comics was undergoing some pretty heavy changes. In his own comic, Archie had married BOTH Betty AND Veronica! In the Veronica solo series, my friend and colleague… and future Die Kitty Die collaborator… Dan Parent introduced his history-making character, Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in Archie comics. We had just expanded the Archie cast with the New School storyline. All of a sudden, it seemed like there was a new wave of creative freedom at Archie Comics where ideas previously thought unthinkable were now fair game and very possible.
In the midst of these new possibilities, I decided to pitch an idea for a storyline in which Archie Andrews FINALLY graduates from Riverdale High. Bear with me. It’s been about seven years and I’m trying to recall as much as I can of this proposal from memory.
Archie, Jughead, and Betty were all going to graduate from Riverdale High and be accepted at the local Riverdale University. Meanwhile Veronica and Reggie were going to have enrolled and been accepted at a nearby, very prestigious university which was basically Riverdale’s “Ivy League” college where all the snobby rich kids go. Of course, rich twins, Cheryl and Jason were going to be students there.
As everyone makes their plans for college, Veronica sees Archie and Betty making plans to take classes together, join clubs together, and stay at dorms close to each other. Veronica begins to fear that she’ll lose Archie to Betty forever. She cries to her father and gets herself transferred to Riverdale U.
In the meantime, Reggie’s dad loses his job and can no longer afford to send Reggie to the prestigious school (or whatever I was going to call it) and reluctantly ends up enrolling at Riverdale U.
I was also going to have Mr. Weatherbee take a job at Riverdale U as the school’s new dean. Henceforth, he was to become Dean Weatherbee. I hadn’t decided yet whether or not Dean Weatherbee was going to hire his old Riverdale High colleagues, Miss Grundy and Professor Flutesnoot, to teach at R.U. but I think I was leaning towards creating a faculty of original characters for R.U.
There may have been other details but this is what I’m recalling as I type this. Don’t judge these ideas too harshly. A lot of this was right off the cuff and pretty raw. I never had the chance to really let these ideas brew so I know I wasn’t necessarily spinning pure gold here. They were the broad strokes of an unrefined, very young concept that had yet to be really kicked around. I pitched this as a possible two or four-issue storyline in the regular Archie title with the possibility of spinning off into an Archie At Riverdale U title about a college-age Archie and friends. This wasn’t intended to displace the regular Archie title or to “age” the regular Archie gang. I saw this as a “continuity” that could run concurrently with the regular Archie titles in the same way Little Archie and the later Life With Archie existed at the same time as the regular high school themed Archie titles existed.
I submitted my pitch and as is often the case with Archie Comics, I didn’t hear anything. I finally asked about it and I was told they didn’t want to do it. It was that simple. There really wasn’t any more to it. They just didn’t want to have Archie graduate from high school.
A couple of years later, though, they had Archie get shot and killed.
Here is a proposed sketch for a possible ad or promotion piece for the story: