Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy,
Joe Eisma, Bob Smith, Matt Herms
Published by Archie Comics
You know, for a company whose bread and butter has been teenagers for the past 76 years, somebody up at Archie sure seems to take delight in torturing them these days.
Between gory encounters with Sharknado and Predator, the zombies of Afterlife with Archie, and the soap opera morass of TV’s Riverdale, the classic American teen characters can hardly seem to catch a break these days.
Case in point: Jughead: The Hunger.
This first collection of the ongoing series offers us our usual old friends only once again in nearly unrecognizable forms.
It seems Jughead is a werewolf who, as the story begins, has apparently already killed Pop Tate, Big Ethel, and Bingo—That Wilkin Boy. Miss Grundy and Dilton soon follow.
But don’t worry.
It seems blonde, good girl, tomboy Betty Cooper is ready to take him down. You see, the Coopers have spent hundreds of years tracking the werewolf Joneses and killing them.
The art here, credited to a number of folks—some of whom I’m familiar with and some not—comes across at times like a cartoonier attempt at the visceral horror style of Stephen Bissette. Perfectly appropriate in its place but there just seems no reason for this to be its place.
You want to tell a werewolf story, create new characters. Trying to mold pre-existing, familiar, and friendly characters into such a dark and bloody tale makes it seem more like a parody…or would if the script didn’t take the whole thing deadly seriously.
More grisly torture porn deaths pop up as the story continues as do more Bernie Wrightson style werewolves. In fact, just about all the surviving regular cast members morph into werewolves by the end and they all vow to kill Jughead.
Continued next volume.
There are the usual assortment of extras for this type of collection—variant covers, original art pages, etc. but there’s also a whole new preview story of the next, completely unrelated, attempt at turning the perpetual all ages heroes into R-rated monsters. This time it’s Vampironica. You can probably guess just from that what this one is about.
While I continue to find this trend annoying, I have to admit that Vampironica’s introductory tale is way better than the main reprints in this book. Credited to Greg and Meg Smallwood, the focus seems much more dedicated to telling a good story, at least, and not solely attempting to increasingly freak out readers. The art here by Greg is uniformly excellent. In fact, it’s probably the best art I’ve seen on an Archie project in several years.
Still, this book is about Jughead, not Ronnie, and as far as the overall book goes, I can’t recommend it.