A slate of new one-shot horror comics headlines a spooky season full of frights from Archie Comics this fall!
Archie Comics rules Spooky Season once again with the return of Archie Horror’s Month of Mayhem, a fall event launching new spine-chilling horror comics in the run-up to Halloween. Kicked off by the imprint’s first trade paperback collection of short stories, the slate includes a battle with the forces of Hell, demonic toys, robots run amok, and a twisted version of Riverdale where nothing is what it seems.
Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante said, “We’re so excited to return to our Month of Mayhem event this year, celebrating all things horror and Halloween throughout October. From a psychological thriller in WELCOME TO RIVERDALE and a collection of middle-grade horror tales in TOYBOX OF TERROR, not to mention all the Halloween fun in our classic-style comics and digests, there’s truly something for every Halloween lover from Archie!”
The initiative launches with CHILLING ADVENTURES – THE ANTHOLOGY COLLECTION, the long-awaited trade paperback compendium of Archie Horror’s recent one-shots and short stories, on September 12. A delightful candy box of quick spooky thrills that can be dipped into over and over, the book has something for every horror fan across sub-genres, art styles, and tones. Month of Mayhem then continues with the next installment of writer Elliot Rahal’s Madam Satan saga as Hell follows the iconic Sabrina villain to the mortal plane in MADAM SATAN: HELL ON EARTH on September 20.
Leading the pack of new horror hits is WELCOME TO RIVERDALE on October 11, an eerie one-shot exploring the horrific implications of toxic positivity gone wrong in America’s ideal small town by writer Amy Chase (POP’S CHOCKLIT SHOPPE OF HORRORS) and artist Liana Kangas (Star Wars Adventures).
Chase said, “Riverdale itself is a character in this book, so we want to be sure readers really feel like they’re being greeted by familiar faces and places. Longtime fans and the newly Archie-curious should all find something to enjoy as we spotlight the absolute best the iconic town has to offer and try to keep its uncanny, dark secrets swept under the rug. I hope people feel a little unsettled, but also charmed by what’s in store here.”
The comic stars Ginger Snapp, an older character who has recently returned with new kid-friendly stories in Archie’s line of digest magazines. Archie Comics Art Director Vincent Lovallo said, “WELCOME TO RIVERDALE features the modern style debut of classic Archie Comics character, Ginger Snapp, as she discovers Riverdale isn’t as perfect as it seems. Main cover and story artist Liana Kangas and variant cover artist Marguerite Sauvage both capture that disturbing feeling of unease through vibrant colors and gorgeous, yet chilling, artwork.”
Dealing with themes of deceptive appearances and dark mirror images, WELCOME TO RIVERDALE captures a certain zeitgeist of the Archie Horror imprint overall. “So much of what people think of as Riverdale, and even Archie Comics as a whole, is wrapped up in Americana, a nostalgia for a bygone era peered at through rose-tinted glasses,” Rotante added “This takes people’s preconceived notions of not only the friendliest town on earth but the superficial and oft-misguided view of Archie as a ‘retro’ company and turns it on its ear. There’s so much more beneath the facade, and while this comic unearths a darker side of the truth, our goal as a company is to always invite people to look at what we do beyond your childhood notions of Archie, and appreciate every chance we take with our publishing and our ideas.”
Archie Horror’s first foray into children’s horror was last year’s FEAR THE FUNHOUSE anthology one-shot, inspired by genuinely scary children’s horror like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?. This year’s Month of Mayhem event is rounded out by a return to that dark universe with FEAR THE FUNHOUSE PRESENTS… TOYBOX OF TERROR on October 18. It boasts three middle grade chillers written by Timmy Heague, owner of Arsenal Comics and Games, Danielle Paige (Mera: Tidebreaker), and Michael Northrop (Teen Titans Go!) with art by Ryan Caskey (The Spooky Tarot), Tango (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Ryan Jampole (Sonic the Hedgehog).
“Since the release of the M3GAN movie earlier this year, I was inundated with pitches for stories about toys coming to life, and it became clear what the theme for this year’s Funhouse would be,” Rotante said. “Pulling from both M3GAN as well as iconic series like Child’s Play with a dash of Small Soldiers thrown in for good measure, the writers for TOYBOX OF TERROR all delivered big time on their stories, with each one being a unique take on the theme, all with a special Archie flair.”
“TOYBOX OF TERROR prompts readers to play nice, or else!” Lovallo said. “Ryan Caskey, who made his Archie debut on last year’s anthology, returns as cover artist and lead story artist for this new collection of terrifying tales. And also returning on variant cover art is the exceptional Sweeney Boo! Both Ryan and Sweeney know just how to scare our pants off with their mastery of illustrating unsettling expressions and dynamic compositions!”
That frame story, “Love Evernever” written by Heague, sets in motion a terrifying sequence of events that leads to an evil toy invasion of Riverdale. As Heague explains, the chaos is instigated by Evelyn Evernever, a character from classic “Little Archie” comics making her Archie Horror debut here: “In the days before the Chock’lit Shoppe, when the Riverdale gang was hanging out on the playground, little Evelyn Evernever’s heart was crushed. Now, with the help of a mysterious villain called the Toymaker, she is unleashing a Toybox of Terror to get her revenge and bring back what was lost to her many years ago. The Riverdale Gang beware! Evelyn Evernever and her demonic dolls are coming for you!”
The theme of human creations taking on a life of their own was top of mind for all three writers. Paige added, “With the advent of AI and riffing on the enormously popular M3GHAN, I had the immense pleasure of giving a lonely Midge Klump her own CH3RYL doll. Come on Dollies, let’s go party! Midge ultimately has to choose between her new doll BFF and her real friends, and when CH3RYL feels like she’s maybe losing Midge, how far will she go to hold onto her?”
Northrop captured the spirit of the season—and the Month of Mayhem!—saying, “Archie is perfect for this kind of horror. That safe, familiar suburban setting is like a perfectly raked leaf pile. It’s nice and cozy but also just begging to be wrecked—and probably wrecked by a kid!”
CHILLING ADVENTURES – THE ANTHOLOGY COLLECTION and MADAM SATAN: HELL ON EARTH are available for pre-order now from only the most haunted comic shops, and the rest of the Month of Mayhem lineup will be open to order on July 21.