Archie comics full of punk & indie rock (Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Title Fight, CHVRCHES, MUCH more)
Archie Comics have of course had ties to music for a long time. The comic's fictional band The Archies became a real band in the late '60s and early '70s, and there have been entire Archie stories dedicated to music, like the more recent Archies Meets Ramones and Archie Meets KISS.
The current ongoing series The Archies that began in 2017 has the fictional band The Archies crossing paths with real-life bands, and there's a whole lot of cool indie rock, punk, and alternative rock involved (and other music too). Issues 2 and 3 star CHVRCHES, issue 4 stars The Monkees (who, like The Archies, were both a fictional and a real band in the '60s), issue 5 stars Tegan & Sara, issue 6 stars Blondie, and the upcoming issue 7 (the last one in this series) stars Speedy Ortiz. "Adding real bands in the mix gives the series a must-read twist and opens the door for [co-writer] Matt [Rosenberg], [artist] Joe [Eisma] and I to get our favorite bands into Riverdale," said Archie Comic Publications co-president and series co-writer Alex Segura. "We’re taking The Archies out of Riverdale and sending them on tour across the country to experience everything a touring band goes through," added Rosenberg. "Taking them out of their elements is really key. That plays a lot into their roles in the band and who they are." As opposed to the '60s bubblegum pop band, The Archies of today are also an indie rock band. "I envision them sounding like early Rilo Kiley or the Breeders," Segura said.
i'm weird. i'm a weirdo. i don't fit in, and i don't wanna fit in. and i’m judging a battle of the bands between the archies & josie and the pussycats in an upcoming @archiecomics issue. weird!!! get a copy of #thearchies last hurrah: bit.ly/archies7 (earnest note: i’ve been an active archie reader since the early 90s. i remember dressing up as veronica at my birthday party. sabrina the teenage witch had me CONVINCED i would one day get some magical powers. i literally learned guitar because of josie and the pussycats. i can’t imagine a cooler thing will ever happen to us beyond getting featured in this issue, so thank you SO MUCH @alexsegurajr for reaching out and letting us crash the BOTB).
Each issue in the current series also comes with an accompanying playlist, and there's some seriously awesome music on these playlists, including Jawbreaker, The Mountain Goats, Rilo Kiley, Weezer, Galaxie 500, Fleetwood Mac, The Replacements, Talking Heads, Liz Phair, Ex Hex, Blur, The Breeders, The Decemberists, R.E.M., Jason Isbell, St. Vincent, David Bowie, Waxahatchee, Against Me!, Iron Chic, Buzzcocks, Bat Fangs, The Regrettes, The Ergs!, Paws, and still so much more. You can listen to the playlists for issues 1 through 6 below.
On top of the playlists and the actual bands that are featured as part of the storyline, there are so many Easter eggs in the current series where the Archie creators tip their hat to the bands they love. We talked to Alex Segura about it, and he said:
One of the best parts about working on THE ARCHIES comic book series was having not only amazing, real-life musical guest stars like CHVRCHES, Speedy Ortiz and Tegan and Sara, but weaving a bunch of hat tips and Easter Eggs to all the bands we (artist Joe Eisma and co-writer Matthew Rosenberg) love - from Oasis to Waxahatchee, you'll find nods to every era of music. It's a love letter to the sounds that inspired us while we worked on the book, and you can dive deeper by listening to the unique playlists we created for each issue of the book, which is concluding next month with #7 - in comic shops on 5/16!
You may have seen one of these Easter eggs going around Twitter: the one of Archie walking past a record store window in issue 1 that has posters for Hop Along, Joyce Manor, Jeff Rosenstock, Against Me!, The Mountain Goats, Converge and Bear Hands. Hop Along themselves shared and commented on it:
And that pic is just one of the MANY Easter eggs/hat-tips you'll find in this series. The picture at the top of this post shows Archie in a Title Fight shirt from the one-shot prelude. And not to give too much away, but the prelude also includes Superchunk, The Clash and Stone Temple Pilots shirts, a Sub Pop sticker, Rancid and Weezer posters, a copy of David Bowie's Low album, and more. Issue 1 features Born Against, Against Me! and Bear In Heaven shirts, a Waxahatchee sticker, CHVRCHES, Phoenix and Goldfrapp posters outside a club, and more. Issue 2 has Blur, Paramore and Praise shirts, a Sleigh Bells concert flyer, and more. Issue 3 has a Grimes poster in a radio station, a RVIVR poster and a copy of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love in Newbury Comics, CHVRCHES singer Lauren Mayberry wearing a Whitney Houston shirt, and more. Issue 4 has a poster with Wilco on it. Issue 5 has a Black Flag shirt, and a guitar case with tons of band stickers including Radiohead and the Pixies. Issue 6 has a Duran Duran shirt. There's even more than that, and to see them all (and of course, read the actual storylines), you can pick up copies at the Archie Comics Store.
The creators all have backgrounds in music, so it's no surprise that they all have their ear to the ground when it comes to new and under-the-radar music. Alex, Matthew, and Joe all played in bands for years -- Alex was in Faulkner Detectives. Matthew used to run the punk/indie label Red Leader Records (home to releases by Strike Anywhere, Polar Bear Club, Nakatomi Plaza, and more), and also collaborates with Patrick Kindlon (of Self Defense Family/End of a Year, Drug Church, and other bands) on comics, including his Ghostface Killah comics. Together Patrick and Matthew are Ashchan Press. Matthew recently talked to AltPress about the music that inspired his new book 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank. He made a playlist that includes Patrick Kindlon's band End of a Year, plus Makthaverskan, Pet Symmetry, Hop Along, Joyce Manor, Pity Sex, Julien Baker and more, and also gave song-by-song commentary on each pick. It's worth a read.
Check out the covers for the first six issues of the new Archie series and a few more Easter eggs from the series in the gallery above. Listen to the Archie Spotify playlists below.