Celebrating Archie’s Cross-Generational Talent

Examples of various Archie Comics splash pages by the subjects of this interview: Steven and Lily Butler and Bill and Ben Galvan.


On this Father’s Day weekend, we wanted to acknowledge two sets of Archie creators that are bound not only by a shared love of Riverdale, but also by familial ties. The creative efforts of father/daughter Steven and Lily Butler, and father/son Bill and Ben Galvan have helped bring to life many of the most memorable recent stories in the Archieverse. Working in tandem and separately on a variety of different Archie projects, the Butlers and the Galvans literally illustrate the continuing cross-generational appeal of all things Archie. Join us as they lift the curtain to discuss their unique approach to working with each other.

How did you first get interested in comics?

Steven Butler: I’ve always been interested in comics since I was a kid in the 1970’s.  I would buy them from the local pharmacies and grocery stores from spinner racks. I would read all genres from all the publishers: superheroes/westerns/humor/funny animals/horror, you name it.

I think it was the bright colors that first attracted me, and my love for comics has always been tied to my love for drawing. I remember copying the panels in the comics at a very early age, then I started drawing my own comics with characters I created. Comics inspired and fueled my imagination. I couldn’t imagine life without them, actually.

Lily Butler: I was first introduced to comic books before I could even read! Archie digests, Marvel’s old monster comics drawn by Jack Kirby, Jack Kirby’s Kamandi, Harvey Comic’s Casper and Hot Stuff, and Archie Sonic the Hedgehog were my and my little brother’s bedtime stories. My dad would use different voices for each character and made it such a fun and engaging experience. It was one of my favorite daily rituals, and I believe that the early exposure to comic books in that positive, nurturing way, would really become a cornerstone for why I would grow up to work in the comic industry. And it wasn’t just the bedtime stories, I grew up with a stay-at-home father who drew comic books for a living. I was surrounded by it!


Archie has had a history of cross-generational creators, what is it about these characters that you think keeps them so relevant across the decades?

Steven Butler: I think a big part of it is the fact that Archie, as a character and a comic company, ultimately represents Americana, and exemplifies so many things that people identify with. Granted, it’s an idealized world, where its inhabitants never grow old and its main cast will forever be in high school, but it’s a great place to escape to for a little while — enjoying a laugh at the expense of Archie, Jughead, or Reggie. I also think that the Archie characters are highly relatable to their readers. They are all archetypes of people most of us know in real life, ones who are not afraid to laugh at themselves and make us laugh as well.

Lily Butler: Archie and its titular characters have become classics! I grew up reading Archie digests and have always loved and related to the stories and characters. I agree with dad that they’re all a classic example of Americana, which makes them lovable and relatable as someone who was born and raised in the United States. People tend to see themselves in fictional characters and relate to them in that way, and I feel like that rings true with the Archie crew. When I was younger, Betty was always my favorite, and Veronica was my older sister’s. Looking back now on that fact is funny because we often acted like them when we were catty and bickered with each other, as sisters do. I think everyone can see a little of themselves in the residents of Riverdale and its neighboring towns!

Ben Galvan: I have always been into reading and drawing comics since I was a kid because of my dad, but the works of artists like Akira Toriyama and Hirohiko Araki that I discovered in my teenage years really kickstarted my passion for the art form.

Art from an Archie Comics story featuring Betty, Veronica, and Young Dr. Masters by the subjects of this interview, Steven & Lily Butler.

Art from WORLD OF ARCHIE DIGEST #136 by Daniel Kibblesmith, Steven & Lily Butler, Glenn Whitmore, and Jack Morelli

How does your family dynamic carry over into your work?

Steven Butler: Working with my daughter Lily is the absolute best! It’s hard for me to put into words just how special it is, to have a daughter who is not only supremely talented, but is also driven and wants to do the same kind of work that I’ve been doing for so long.  I’ve also never seen someone catch on so quickly to so many facets of this business, it’s like she knows instinctively what to do when we’re working on a story together. I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve been doing for Archie.

Art from an Archie Comics story featuring Jughead and Reggie by the subjects of this interview, Steven and Lily Butler.

Art from WORLD OF ARCHIE DIGEST #137 by Tom DeFalco, Steven & Lily Butler, Glenn Whitmore, and Jack Morelli

Lily Butler: I’m lucky to have a good relationship with my dad, so it’s really awesome getting to work with him! I am extremely grateful for all the work opportunities I’ve gotten through him, like working for Archie! Since we get along so well and are so close, it really helps with the workflow when we’re working together. For example, when he wants something changed but can’t really voice exactly what the change needs to be, it’s usually pretty easy for me to understand what he means and implement the change. Also, our communication is easy and streamlined since we live together and don’t have to rely on communicating through email or phone. Our easygoing family dynamic of mutual respect and knowing when to get things done absolutely transfers over into our working life!

Ben Galvan: I see Archie Comics as an American staple that has maintained a dedication to our culture that allows it to continue to resonate with multiple generations. Looking back at the numerous decades of Archie Comics gives one an apt sense of the ever-changing nature of American pop culture.


What have you learned from working each other?

Steven Butler: I believe I’ve taught her the importance of basic storytelling and how important it is to be clear and concise when telling a story of any kind. She’s taught me how to work digitally. I admit it, I’m a dinosaur-as old school as they come, and I know I haven’t been an easy pupil to teach, but she’s done a great job teaching me the basics of how to use an iPad Pro and clip studio paint. Much of our Archie work has been done digitally.  Let’s just say I’m a “work in progress” in that regard!

Lily Butler: I’ve learned so much from my dad that I don’t even know where to start! He’s taught and continues to teach me how the industry works as well as many, many facets of what makes a story good and fun for the reader. He’s stressed the importance of good and engaging storytelling, what to include and what to omit. I am self-taught growing up, Dad never pressured me to be any kind of artist at all; he gave me my space and let me come into my own. Once he realized my aptitude and drive, he gradually brought me into the professional artist world, and we’ve only gained more momentum since then! If I’m ever stumped with a layout or have a question about anatomy, he is immediately happy to give me insight and show me how he would do it. I know that any question or concern I may have, I can come to him for help. And I’m very thankful for that!

Bill Galvan: Working with my son Ben is a real dream come true. He is detail oriented and always does his best to remain true to the original pencils. It’s been so fun to see him grow as an artist and be able to pass along my knowledge.

Ben Galvan: When it comes to drawing comics, me and my father luckily have similar values and tastes that we are able to discuss and apply to our work.

Splash panel from an Archie Comics story featuring Captain Valor and Little Betty & Veronica by the subjects of this interview, Bill & Ben Galvan

Splash panel from WORLD OF BETTY & VERONICA DIGEST #28 by Tom DeFalco, Bill & Ben Galvan, Glenn Whitmore, and Jack Morelli

What is it like working on these books with your relatives?

Steven Butler: Oh, it’s been just fantastic! Again, I have a hard time putting into words how I feel about our collaborations, but I know I’m extremely proud of Lily and her amazing growth as an artist over the last several years. To be able to work with her on material that is being read all over the nation and abroad is mind-boggling to say the least.  I believe Archie Comics is the very best place for “Team Butler” to be working, and we’re really excited for what the future holds for us here!

Lily Butler: It’s still crazy and a little surreal to me that this is what I get to do for a job! I have a good relationship with my dad where we both respect and love each other, and I believe that is a huge reason as to why we can successfully work together. I absolutely love working for Archie! The team is awesome to work with, and I get so excited whenever I get an email with a new job opportunity for us! Knowing how many eyes across the world may see our work is so crazy and still a little hard to wrap my head around!! I’m super happy and grateful to be working for Archie Comics, and I’m very excited for whatever my dad and I may do in the future!

Art from an Archie Comics story featuring The Web by the subjects of this interview, Bill & Ben Galvan

Art from BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST #318 by Ian Flynn, Bill & Ben Galvan, Glenn Whitmore, and Jack Morelli

Bill Galvan: One thing that makes Ben stand out is his ability to take feedback and critiques to become better. I’m super proud of his success inking The Cult of That Wilkin Boy series and all of the covers we have done together.

Ben Galvan: My dad is great at giving me tips, hints and encouragement that guides me in the right direction. Watching my father’s work ethic and passion for comics has been the best learning experience for me growing up and is something I’ve always hoped to emulate.

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