This week sees the release of THE FOX: FAMILY VALUES, a one-shot comic featuring three action-packed stories of the Patton family’s signature style of superheroics. If you aren’t familiar with The Fox but you were drawn to this title, here’s a little background info on one of Archie’s oldest superhero characters from Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial, Jamie L. Rotante!
The Fox debuted in MLJ Comics’ Blue Ribbon Comics #4 in June 1940, in a story written by Joe Blair and drawn by Irwin Hasen. That’s right, The Fox actually predates Archie! Fox would then go dormant for a bit, only to re-emerge nearly 20 years later in a few cameo appearances but most notably in stories (like the classic reprint featured in this very anthology) written and drawn by the legendary Alex Toth. The Fox would appear in more stories in the 1980s, before retiring his mask and retreating to a quieter life . . .
. . . until 2013.
Dean Haspiel, the writer/artist responsible for the dynamic and insanely fun “Mid-Life Pisces” story in this issue, is no stranger to Paul Patton’s life. When the hero was revived with his own mini-series, FREAK MAGNET, it was Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid at the helm. We then invited them back to pick up where they left off with a second series, called FOX HUNT, which saw a darker take on our hero, but also introduced his son, Shinji, better known as Ghost Fox!
Is it any wonder why we asked Dean to return to The Fox once again? Dean placed his stamp on the character, deftly blending fun with big action. But more than just the amped-up super heroics, Dean has created such a well-rounded character in Paul Patton, Jr. We understand his motivations. We can see how much he loves his family, even if his inability to avoid drama makes it feel at odds with their concerns. We see how much devotion he has to his wife. We see the passion he still has for his career. Paul is arguably one of the most well-rounded superhero alter-egos currently out there, which means that the possibilities for the character—and his family—are endless.
It’s not easy to jam a lot of story into a small package, but Dean was up for the challenge. And what we have here is a story that leans into the weird and wacky, but also gives us such a clear picture of the Patton family dynamics and the opportunities for all of them in the future.
The issue’s second story, “Back to Back,” was written by Vito DelSante with art by Ric Ortiz. Vito’s a longtime fan of the Archie superheroes, and I’m glad we finally got the chance to have him on a story. He made magic out of the space he had, telling a story that somehow manages to be both action-packed and romantic; quite a balance! And Ric’s art goes above-and-beyond to highlight both of those aspects.
And, of course, I’d be remiss to talk about this anthology without shouting out Matt Herms’s colors and Jack Morelli’s letters. Matt’s ability to nail the tone of a story is unparalleled, and on great display here, and Jack—well what more can I say than I’ve already said in the past? He’s the best, hands down.
Not yet had your fill of superheroics and action-adventure? Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more where that came from! Come back next month for THE BEST ARCHIE COMIC EVER!