When you think of titanic comic book team-ups, names like Batman and Superman or the X-Men and the Avengers might spring to mind. But for the folks over at Archie Comics, their colossal crossovers have come with some of the biggest names in the music business. Over the last decade, we’ve seen groups like KISS, The Ramones, and The Monkees make guest appearances in Archie books, rubbing shoulders and instruments with our favourite Riverdale citizens. The latest band to come face to face with Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty are The B-52s in, what else but Archie Meets The B-52s.
When you think about it, this cartoon combination makes absolute sense.
The Princess and I are both big fans of The B-52s, so you can imagine how thrilled I was that Archie Meets The B-52s co-writer (and Archie Comics Co-President/Editor) Alex Segura took time out of his schedule to answer some questions via email about the new book.
Andy Burns: Archie Comics has had such great musical guests over the last few years. My 9-year-old daughter and I are both huge Monkees and B-52s fans and love what you did with both iconic bands. In the case of The B-52s, can you explain the process that made this book possible, from pitch to final product?
Alex Segura: Sure – it started with our artist, Dan Parent, who is a HUGE B-52s fan. He got in touch with Fred Schneider and mentioned our past music crossovers, and the band was really keen on doing it. Dan brought it to me and it seemed like such a cool opportunity, we couldn’t pass it up. They’ve been so great to work with and we’re all very happy with the end result.
Andy Burns: What comes first when it comes to these projects – is it the idea of a band and then a story is created? Or vice versa?
Alex Segura: It varies, honestly. For a book like The Archies, which had a big, serialized arc that we’d slot bands into, we had to see which bands were game and where in the story they worked. But with standalone events like Archie Meets Ramones or Archie Meets The B-52s, we have a little more leeway. Though, if you squint, you can notice threads from The Archies finale spilling through time into the new one-shot.
Andy Burns: One of the things I loved was that you included Ricky Wilson in Archie Meets The B-52s, even though he passed away so many years ago. How did the decision to include him come about?
Alex Segura: That’s a great question. While we all love every era of the band, we wanted to figure out a different approach to this event. Time travel was out since we’d done that with the Ramones, and we tried the whole “dream sequence” idea with the Monkees issue of The Archies. I am not sure if it was Dan or me, but we quickly locked into the idea that we’d just set the story in the 80s since Archie and the band were both around then. Once that was locked in, we knew we had to showcase the B-52s’ original lineup.
Andy Burns: You and Matt Rosenberg co-wrote the book – in the case of Archie Meets The B-52s, what’s the co-writing process like? Why co-write in the first place?
Alex Segura: I like co-writing because it allows me to not only see how another writer works but to add another voice to the story. I’ve known Matt forever – since before either of us were published writers, and I admire his sense of story and the way he gets to the core of his characters. We’ve written a lot together, so it feels very second nature to us. We usually come up with the plot together, one of us going first, then we split the script-writing from an outline and trade sections when we’re done. It’s super painless, and I love working with him.
Andy Burns: Why was Dan Parent the right artist to illustrate this particular book?
Alex Segura: I mean, Dan’s a legend! I’ve been wanting to work with Dan again since we did Archie Meets KISS forever ago and I can’t believe it’s taken this long. He’s *the* iconic classic Archie artist, but the thing about Dan that’s amazing is his art feels timeless and modern, too. He’s always pushing himself and trying new things to change up what he’s doing. I can’t think of anyone else that would work for this book, and I’m so blown away by what he did on the art side, along with J. Bone on inks, Glenn Whitmore on colours, and Jack Morelli on letters.
Andy Burns: What was the response like from Fred, Kate, Cindy and Keith when they saw the book?
Alex Segura: They liked it! It was painless and fun, which is what you want from something like this. It was really validating and cool to get the thumbs up from a band I’ve been listening to since before I can remember.
Andy Burns: Archie Meets The B-52s make total sense. The same with The Monkees. On that note, what other bands do you think we could see in Riverdale at some point?
Alex Segura: Oh man, the wish list is so long! I’d love to do Taylor Swift, or The Beatles, off the top of my head. Talking Heads and The Replacements would also be fantastic. We got Jenny Lewis to pop into an issue of Jughead’s Time Police, too, which was neat. I think the possibilities are endless.
Thanks to Alex Segura for taking the time to talk to Biff Bam Pop!, and to Ron Cacace and Jesse Post for helping make it happen. You can order Archie Meets The B-52s direct from Archie Comics now.