Welcome! Please pardon the dust as we work to set the site up again :)

Main Menu

Show posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Show posts Menu

Messages - Fernando Ruiz

Quote from: Jabroniville on November 26, 2022, 01:21:10 AMAnd also I was having a hard time keeping track of what was going on in which story! Like, all the same characters were in each one! So I'd remember stuff like Betty being a successful writer in NYC was the "Archie/Betty" one but lose track of which half had the "Reggie/Reggie's dad (I forget which) gets arrested" story.

A problem inherent within the complex premise was trying to explain it to the casual reader. It was a magazine that featured TWO separate continuities kind of set in the future about the same exact set of characters... Two adult Archies, two adult Bettys, etc... Take it from me, it was very hard to pare down what this magazine was about for the "civilians" out there who weren't following the comics religiously. These are the same occasional fans who still come up to me and say, "I can't believe you killed Archie" thinking that we killed the regular teen-age Archie and that he stayed dead!

Quote from: Jabroniville on 11/26/2022, 1:21:10 AM And damn... how did it lead to the end for poor Stan? I know he was turfed almost immediately afterwards without a word. I remember a few websites being like "..." on the art in the "Archie Marries..." series, as it had become a bit less detailed than they were used to from him, but the man WAS quite elderly by that point. [/quote]

Sadly... minus a couple of other details, you've kind of answered the question.  As Stan said, "If they could do it to DeCarlo, what chance do the rest of us have?"

The Life With Archie Magazine sprang from the success of Michael Usulan's "Archie Gets Married" storylines which ran around the six hundredth  issue of the venerable flagship Archie title.

Now before Roberto Sacasa, his Archie Meets Glee story, Afterlife With Archie and Riverdale, Michael Uslan was Archie Comics' big hope for some type of Hollywood deal. The company desperately wanted a movie or TV project in the worst way and they were willing to do anything to court whoever could get it for them. Circa 2009, that was Mike Uslan, a longtime comic book fan and a fan of Archie in particular. Since I wasn't involved at this point, I don't know who went to who first, but Mike Uslan wrote the Archie Gets Married story which was a big hit and gained the company something it always hungered for... attention and some smidge of relevance. Incidentally, this storyline would also directly lead to the end for poor Stan Goldberg, the artist of Archie Gets Married, but that's another story...!!   

Archie and Usulan followed up the success of Archie 600 with a proposed spin-off of the Archie Gets Married storyline. Now I still wasn't involved at this point, but it was a big deal around the office and so I was aware of its development. Early on, the idea was for TWO 44-page regular on-going series, one would focus on Archie's marriage to Betty and the other would follow his marriage to Veronica. Again, I wasn't involved yet so I was only following this from the sidelines, but this seemed like a bold idea to me. Keep in mind that at this time, the thirty-two's (what we in the office called the regular monthly comics. Don't get me started on the term "floppies!" UGH!) were starting to seriously go away. Once reliable titles like Betty, Jughead and Archie And Friends were either outright cancelled or they were on the chopping block. The idea of launching TWO double-sized monthlies sounded crazy and brave to me, but I was all for it. Anything that was experimental and possibly might expand the workload I very much supported... even though, as I said, I wasn't involved at this point.

Somewhere along the line the two separate double-sized issues became ONE single forty-plus page magazine. I'm not sure if Archie's success with their Sonic The Hedgehog magazine had anything to do with this decision... I'm honestly not remembering which came first... but here we were. Life With Archie would be a magazine. Michael Uslan would write the first issue and longtime DC Batman artist, Norm Breyfogle, who'd dipped his toe in the Archie waters during Archie's "New Look" experiment," would pencil the entire magazine. This meant that Norm would be producing forty-four pages plus covers on a monthly basis. How didn't anyone see THAT as a problem?? Veteran DC writer and editor, Paul Kuppergerb would write the series from the second issue onward.

The magazine was a weird duck almost from the start. It was essentially a serialized soap opera but it was loaded with juvenile extras like articles on Justin Bieber making it a Tiger Beat-like product. Those wouldn't last long and would soon be pruned from the book. I don't know if it was the almost universal negative reaction to those features or if there was already a desire to streamline the magazine into a leaner book.

Life With Archie #12 was the issue where I started as regular penciller of the Archie Loves Veronica half of the book. The word on the street was that Norm was slow in producing the magazines forty-plus pages of artwork. Plus it was well known that whenever DC Comics rang the Batman dinner bell, Norm quickly threw over Archie to go running after DC's far-superior Batman page rates! I don't know who said good bye first, but with LWA #12, Norm would be off the book. The art would no longer be handled by one artist. I would pencil the then twenty-two pages of the Archie Loves Veronica half of the book, and Pat and Tim Kennedy would illustrate the Archie Loves Betty half. Because, I visited the Archie offices weekly, I also would get to draw the covers and frontispieces.  I was told directly "Make it look like Norm... only better." Oddly enough, I was gradually asked to filter out all of the "Norm-isms" and after a while of this, I said, "The Hell with it", and I just drew it the way I wanted.

Now in its second year, Life With Archie was drifting into a weird schizophrenic limbo of an existence. No one was sure what to do with it. Comic shops hated it because... well, it was an Archie product... but it was an oddly sized magazine so they didn't know what to do with it. Newsstand outlets were still shoving issues among their Tiger Beat magazines and other kiddie fare. This seemed incongruous with the magazine's adult storylines like "Miss Grundy dies of cancer" and "Homophobia runs rampant in Riverdale!" 

LWA would gain spurts of relevance with attention-grabbing events like Kevin Keller getting shot and Kevin Keller getting married, but the decline of relevance was inevitable. Eventually, the magazine became one of those projects around the office that no one cared about anymore. Soon the book's page count would be cut to forty and later... the true sign of the Apocalypse... the book was doomed to a bi-monthly status. No book EVER benefited from coming out LESS frequently... let alone a serialized soap opera. "Hey! Wanna see this storyline continue? Well, ya gotta wait sixty days!"

I learned about the Death Of Archie by accident. I was at a signing with Dan Parent and the PR guy at Archie who'd put the even together. We'd gone out to dinner and he started talking about the Death Of Archie as if we'd all already known about it. Dan and I had no idea what he was talking about, but he filled us in. At that very early stage, the plan was for Archie to die in ONE of the halves o the magazine. He didn't know in which half it would be. It might not even had been decided at that point. The magazine would continue featuring a "Life With Archie" half and a "Life Without Archie" half. I was intrigued and I was hoping Archie would die in the half that I was drawing since that was bound to be somewhat of a big deal.

I didn't hear anything else about it, but the storylines in the book seemed to set up what I believed was ahead. At this point, the book was really on the outer fringes of importance at the office. It'd become worse than the proverbial unwanted step child. No one seemed to know what to do with it. Communication between Editorial and the talent (ME!) had fallen apart. Nobody was talking to me about the book anymore. I was just trading pages for new scripts. I was just happy the book was still alive even if it was limping along because it meant continued steady work.

One day, I showed up at the Archie Offices to deliver my usual load of pages and to... hopefully!... pick up my next script. I asked about the next script and that was when I learned that the magazine was cancelled. Archie would die in the last issue and the magazine would be over. I remember this was the day before Christmas Eve and there was no one in the Office that I could talk to about what was going on. Was the book really dead? What was next for me? By this point, the Thirty-Two's were trimmed to almost nothing. I think we were down to Archie and Betty & Veronica! What was I going to do next? I did continue to drift along drawing digest stories and the occasional odd project. Archie Vs Predator came along in 2015 and after that I was back on digests until I stopped getting work all together from them in early 2016.

Thanks for the kind sentiment. I draw a Scarlet story about once a year.

Hi Everybody!,

Here is on article on the inspiration behind the cover to an upcoming Scarlet story I'll be pencilling...

You cannot view this attachment.

For those not familiar with Scarlet, she is the creation of Nancy Silberkleit, the Co-CEO for Archie Comics. Scarlet is autistic and attends Riverdale High along with Archie, Betty & Veronica, and the rest of the Archie gang. I have illustrated a few Scarlet stories now. They are all available digitally. The upcoming story will deal with autism, pets, and kindness towards animals.

I hope you'll check it out when it becomes available. More details on that to come. Stay tuned!


All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 23, 2022, 12:34:56 PM
Quote from: Tuxedo Mark on April 19, 2022, 12:26:43 PMWhy was she despised at the office?

Johanna Draper Carlson used to report regularly on Archie Comics' sales figures. I believe her posts appeared regularly on The Beat and I think Publisher's Weekly, but I'm not sure about that one. I'm pretty sure the source of her information were Archie's own Statement of Ownership pages. 

Along with the sales figures, which at this time, were in steady decline, Johanna offered commentary and even predictions which of course based on the bleak data were often not particularly optimistic. At Archie Comics, the most unpardonable sin was to speak about the company in negative light... even if what you are saying is true.

Johanna did make these posts fairly regularly. At the Office, she was often dismissed disdainfully as someone with an axe to grind against the company and her information deliberately incomplete and slanted to paint the company in the worst light possible. I never met her and had no idea if she did have any feelings towards the company one way or the other. I viewed her posts with mixed feelings because while I did believe her info was incomplete, I didn't think she was very far off from the truth either. I did admire her openness and what I regarded as her frank objectivity on the topic. To me, she was telling it as she saw it.

All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 18, 2022, 12:12:21 AM
Quote from: Tuxedo Mark on April 15, 2022, 10:54:45 PMOh, and here's a post regarding Archie Comics' sales figures for 2012 (the last year for which this site had made a post for that information, it seems).

Johanna Draper Carlson!! I'd forgotten about her! They despised her up at the Office! Where has she been? Does she still report on Archie's sales?

All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 06, 2022, 11:17:43 PM
Quote from: Oldiesmann on April 06, 2022, 12:38:53 AMI wonder what it would take to get the company to bring back the full-size comics with 3-4 new stories. 

The business of the thirty-two page monthly format, what we called "the Thirty-Two's" back in the day, is a tough one these days for any publisher let alone Archie Comics. 

When I first started at Archie in '94, the Thirty-Two's were already having a hard time but at least they were holding their own. At the time, I was told Betty & Veronica was the "big seller" and that Jughead always seemed to struggle as the lowest seller... despite everyone always claiming that Jughead was their favorite character. 

Some time later, the Thirty-Two's stopped making money, but Archie Comics continued publishing them even at a loss. The thinking was that the Thirty-Two's were a platform for new material that would eventually be funneled into the digests. The digests were still formidable sellers (even by Marvel and DC standards!) so the money would be made there. As long as the digests were sufficiently profitable, they were in a sense paying for a continuation of the Thirty-Two's. The company also firmly believed that Archie Comics should ALWAYS publish at least the Archie, Jughead and Betty & Veronica titles no matter what!

Eventually the company's philosophy became that EVERYTHING had to make money on its own. The Thirty-Two's would no longer be published at a loss regardless of what the digests were doing. Over the course of a couple of years, most of the Thirty-Two's were euthanized. The Betty solo book and Archie & Friends went out sadly as reprint books complete with re-colored reprint covers. I believe I may have provided the last original cover on the Betty series if I remember right. 

At the end, I was told that a Thirty-Two had to sell five thousand copies in order to be profitable. I have no idea if this threshold remains today or what the current publishing philosophy is. 

All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
January 09, 2022, 09:20:12 PM
Quote from: Hanna Barbera Montana on November 29, 2021, 01:56:14 AMThe one thing I really miss on here was Fernando Ruiz's posts.
I thought the site died!
Quote from: ASS-P on June 11, 2019, 07:18:28 PM...How many pages it if? And is this her 3d siory? First to give her a surname?
1. Six pages.
2. I believe so.
3. I think so too.
Hi Everybody!

I've drawn another story for Archie Comics featuring Scarlet Saltee, Archie's first autistic character.

This story, entitled "FLOWER FEET," was written by Dan Collins, pencilled by me and beautifully inked by the great Al Milgrom. Like all of my other recent stories for Archie, this one is exclusively available by contacting Archie Comics CEO, Nancy Silberkleit, at The story is exclusively available as a PDF for 1.99.

You can read more about this story at

Please check it out. 

Thanks, Everybody!
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on April 23, 2019, 05:54:38 AMArchie vs. Predator II? Ugh. The only thing worthwhile about the first one was Fernando's art, so this is kind of like a backhanded slap to him from ACP.

Thanks... and yes. It is. But that's Archie Comics for you.
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on July 16, 2018, 05:22:30 PM

IMO, if what they were attempting to focus on in this story was what Archie's life was like as a typical high school student in 1941 -- how was it the same for teenagers 25, 50 or 75 years later? and in what ways was it different? -- it would have been a lot more relevant to what ARCHIE, as a comic book character with more than 75 years of history behind him, has really been about -- always reflecting "the high school experience" (whatever that may mean).

That could've been very interesting... but it is what the company has been running from at top speed for the last two years.

The story, Kindness Works, was ten pages. There are a number of previews of it out there if you google "Archie Comics autism, Scarlet" The story has received a good amount of coverage from various circles.

You can also check out my pencils to a few of the pages over on my website:

Hi, Everybody!

I just wanted to let everyone know that Dan Parent and I are producing a THIRD volume to our popular independent comic book series, DIE KITTY DIE and we have launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund it. As we've often said, we couldn't produce this series without the loyal fans who come out to support us during these campaigns. We appreciate everyone who has donated and helped us get this far.

In addition to supporting this project and securing copies of Die Kitty Die Heaven & Hell for yourself, the Kickstarter campaign is the ONLY place to get some cool fun stuff not available anywhere else. We're currently offering ALL NEW sketchbooks featuring our art. These sketchbooks are not available anywhere else!

We're also holding our exclusive art sales where Dan and I trade select one-of-a-king pieces in return for a pledge to the campaign. Currently, I'm offering the entire Veronica half of Life With Archie magazine #31. This was a key issue in which began events leading up to the famous Death Of Archie storyline. All twenty pages are included in this offer.

Dan and I are also offering the opportunity for personal one-of-kind commissions.

Please check out the campaign and all of our offerings:

Thanks, Everybody! Your support is greatly appreciated! Please help us spread the word!