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Messages - Fernando Ruiz

Wow! They STILL put out The Black Hood?!?

The numbers for February's direct sales figures are out. Here's how Archie is doing:

Archie #17 = 11K

This number held from the preceding issue but down from the 13K the title had been at a couple of months back. I've mentioned before that January is a notoriously bad month for publishing in general. I'd wondered if the dip in this title's sales was due to the usual January publishing doldrums or part of an overall gradual decline. I'm still not convinced one way or the other. Has "Reboot Fatigue" set in? How does this title refresh itself and attract new readers?

Jughead #13 = 6K

This number is also being held from the preceding issue. This book HAS to be in trouble. The pre-reboot Jughead sold about 1.5 K when it was cancelled. Keep in mind the current creative team is paid significantly more than the pre-reboot crew. This book is also currently bolstered by THREE variant covers (Another expense!) a month! Taking those factors into consideration, this book is probably drifting very close to where its predecessor was in terms of profitability. The preceding Jughead title was published by the previous regime of Archie Comics out of pride and stubbornness. They believed Archie Comics should ALWAYS publish a Jughead title. They also published the thirty-two page books even at a loss because they provided fresh material that would later be funneled into the far, far more profitable digests. From their perspective, the digests paid for the thirty-two's.

Josie #4 = 6.5 K

This one suffered a heavy drop of about 2K from the preceding issue. Ouch! Bad, bad news for a title in its fourth issue. I expect this one to be retroactively declared a "mini-series" soon... or go on "hiatus."

These were the only Archie titles I could find on February's sales charts. Wow!

Quote from: 60sBettyandReggie on March 06, 2017, 08:01:46 PM

I don't understand why ACP doesn't have old copies stored somewhere. I also don't get why they don't keep track of which artist worked on a certain story (I have seen a few times "artist unknown" on those 1000 page comics). Really? they don't have all of that info written down somewhere?

They really don't.

At best, they have some of their runs bound in these beautiful hardcover volumes but they really don't keep copies of every issue they print. Maybe they have more recent books but not the early stuff.

As for credits, early on artists were allowed to sign their work. In those days, an artist would be given a story and he would turn it around complete with the inking and the lettering done. The artist might hire anonymous assistants to do some of the lettering and inking for him. Later on as the production of comics evolved into the more familiar "assembly line" process we have today (and even today its sort of changing again thanks to the advent of computers and digital production!) the credits fell away from many comic book. Publishers, as DeCarlo Rules said, assumed their audience was comprised completely of children who simply did not care who was drawing Archie, Mickey Mouse, etc. 

A secondary cause for the elimination... and outright SUPPRESSION... of credits is believed to be that the publishers deliberately wanted to keep their artists anonymous and interchangeable so as to prevent the rise of any "superstar artists" who might ask for more money!

With the amount of stories Archie has published over the years and the number of pencillers and inkers they've had, they have no definitive catalogue of who definitely did what. In recent years, Archie has decided to add credits to their reprinted stories in the digests. A cynical reason for this was to camouflage the new stories, which were always credited, from the reprinted ones and hopefully no one would be able to tell how few new stories were actually being added to new digests. Up until my "departure," the credits for these reprints were added by the production staff and when a credit couldn't be found, the story would be shown to editor, Victor Gorelick, who would identify the artists from memory or if he absolutely couldn't remember, by analyzing the style. Obviously, it's not a perfect system. I know in recent years, I've been credited for writing a few stories that I only drew.

All About Archie / Re: Sonic Comics Officially Canceled?
February 22, 2017, 05:01:22 PM
Sonic Universe sold a little over 4K in January.


In other Archie news...

Archie = 11K 

This is a pretty big drop of about 2K from the previous issue. This book, Archie's only remaining monthly title, was averaging a loss of about 1K copies per month. Then it appeared to level off at about 13K for a couple of months. January is traditionally a bad month for publishing. This drop may be the January doldrums or perhaps an indication that some serious hemorrhaging is about to happen.

Jughead = 6K

This title has also been losing about 1K per month. At 6K, there's not much room for this one to go much lower.

Reggie = 5K

Ouch! It's clear now why this one was retro-actively declared to be a mini-series. This one will limp to its death at #5. There's a weird gap of a few months until #3. That's only going to hurt things even more!

Keep in mind these numbers are the books ORDERED by retailers and NOT the actual books SOLD to readers. Nationally, 11K copies of January's Archie issue may have been ordered by stores but that isn't necessarily the number of copies the stores actually sold. This is one of the reasons you see these numbers go lower with each issue. These days, however, stores tend to order pretty tightly. They usually order enough to cover their subscribers with a couple of extra copies for their stands. As the months go by, if the store starts to notice that those extra copies fail to move, they'll order less and less.

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on February 17, 2017, 07:22:38 AM
... And just to clarify, I believe they're saying "six" issues "to be published each year", not six ongoing digest titles.

Might this take the place of a vanishing Sonic digest?

Quote from: Ottawagrant on February 09, 2017, 11:35:47 AM
One has to wonder if the reboot of Archie titles was not just a big ploy to give them time to make the company look attractive to a potential buyer.

I've been wondering this for the past few years. It would explain how short-sighted their strategies have been and their poor execution.

General Discussion / Re: "Future Quest"...
February 02, 2017, 04:09:22 PM
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on October 27, 2016, 06:41:37 AM

Fernando Ruiz did some variant covers for Dynamite Entertainment's first issue of KISS, and possibly some others.

Currently, I'm writing and drawing Animal Jam for Dynamite Comics. This past year I've also written and drawn a couple of stories for Boo: The World's Cutest Dog also for Dynamite.

Keep up with my latest projects and appearances over at my site: Fernandoruizeverybody.com


Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 26, 2016, 12:41:56 AM

This kind of behind-the-curtain stuff is fascinating, Fernando. I thought Trev was part of the "New Kids" initiative, which included many new ethnically-diverse characters, or maybe he came about even earlier, as part of Dan Parent's "Archie Marries Valerie" storyline. Maybe Dan would know more about the genesis of those characters. I'll have to ask him sometime.

I'm not a hundred percent sure of the details behind Trev's creation. He was Dan's idea. I'm pretty sure he did stem from Pellerito's call for more interesting minorities.

Quote from: SAGG on November 25, 2016, 08:12:00 PM

I've got two: What if ACP wanted to change the direction of Archie like they have now, but wanted to keep you Classic artists? Would you have any trouble doing what they wanted, or would you have felt uncomfortable with the change? What if they wanted you to change your artwork as well to match the change in the story retro-wise, something more "serious-looking"?  :coolsmiley:

   If Archie had opted to have the classic artists draw the reboot books, I would draw it just as I would any other job. I'd already modified my approach to the characters somewhat while I was drawing the Life With Archie magazine series. If ACP had wanted the looks of the characters modernized, I certainly, as a professional, would have no problem doing that. As a fan, of course, my preference would be for the characters to remain in their classic style! I have always worked very hard to remain a diverse artists capable of working in many styles, genres, and tones. Drawing a more serious or mature Archie simply would have been just another job for me.

At New York Comic con this year, I had my very first conversation with Archie president Mike Pellerito since my "departure" from Archie Comics. To his credit, the conversation came about at his suggestion and as an attempt to repair the relationship between Archie Comics and myself. (Rest assured nothing came of this.) In the course of this exchange, I'd suggestion that one of the reasons why my "dismissal" had been unnecessary was because I easily could've drawn any one of the reboot titles. He responded very quickly with, "It wouldn't have sold."

I have no illusions that a reboot title drawn by myself would've sold in the same numbers as the Fiona Staples drawn issues, but we would have seen a boost in sales simply from the reboot alone. We also would have seen that boost be far more sustainable since I would have stayed with the title far longer than Staples' three issues. (The book has been bleeding readers since she left!) Plus, with a more moderate modification, they would've had material that could more seamlessly be used in the digests further on down the line.

Unfortunately, Pellerito was fixated on using (however temporarily) "big names" and trying to use the "news" of a total stylistic overhaul both in terms of story and art to further bolster the "splash" they were looking to make. Admittedly, they did make a bit of a splash, but the ripples of that splash are very evidently waning now.

I may have to tell the wonderful, heart-warming story about how us "classic guys" first learned of the reboot. It's a beautiful story that is very pertinent to the Holiday season, but its a story for another time...

Quote from: irishmoxie on November 25, 2016, 05:55:56 PM

More stories like this!! Fernando, you need to write an autobiography.

These days I post most of my Archie stories and commentaries over at my own blog. Please check over there for my behind the scenes accounts.


I keep threatening to write a lengthy telling about my time on Life With Archie. One of these days when I get a little time, I'm going to sit down and do it.

I've scaled back my posts on this board simply because as Archie Comics retreats further and further into my past, I have less to offer on it. I certainly have made my feelings concerning Archie Comics' current direction known. What else is left to say? Still, I do check back from time to time so if anyone has questions for me specifically, I'll answer as best I can.

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 24, 2016, 12:08:03 AM

She's a Tom DeFalco creation.

Well sort of...

I think I've told this story before... Archie Comics president Mike Pellerito was obsessed with bringing diversity to the Riverdale cast who he constantly described as being "too lily white." A noble enough sentiment, but he often urged us to shoe-horn Chuck and Nanci into stories and cover gags where they really served no purpose other than to be "the black friend." There were quite a few covers I'd drawn where Pellerito's only response would be, "Could you put Chuck in there?"

Eventually Pellerito decided that Chuck and Nanci were pretty boring and ordered a moratorium on his previous unspoken standing decree that they be included on every cover. He also determined that Riverdale needed new exciting minorities. From this sprang Trev and Toni Topaz.

I wasn't there for Trev, but I was in the office the day Toni Topaz was created by committee by the entire art department. You should've heard some of the other names being suggested for the character! I wish I could remember them, but I do recall they all sounded like we were naming the first stripper in Riverdale. Since I was right there in the office, I was asked to draw a few sketches of this new character. I had a magazine with me with a picture of the singer, Rihannain it. In the picture, she was wearing a hat. This became my inspiration for Toni. I forget if I decided to give her the pink hair or if someone else did.

Toni was put into that first Jughead story and almost immediately afterwards, Archie Comics went into one of its recent big money crunches. As a result, the digests saw a huge cutback in new material. Toni continued to appear on almost all of the digest covers but by that point, she'd appeared in only one or two stories. Most readers' responses to her were, "Who's THAT?"

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 25, 2016, 12:37:50 AM

His original contract was for three issues.

I'd heard four.

Quote from: Deb on November 20, 2016, 05:59:08 PM
  Jughead has been fun, but I get the sneaky fekeling that it isn't selling very well.

It depends on how you're setting the bar.

According to October's sales charts, Jughead sold a little over 8,000 copies. That is about 1,000 copies less than the month before. The Archie title sold about 13K which is also down about a thousand copies from the previous month.* Both titles are still selling a bit better than their pre-reboot counterparts, but the following is worth noting...

1) The creative teams of both books are paid far more than us old "classic" artists ever were! That alone makes these books more expensive to publish than they used to be.

2) The numbers of these books are artificially inflated by the number of variant covers being sold. An issue with three different variants that sells 8,000 copies does not necessarily translate into 8,000 separate individual readers! Something to think about for the Long Haul!

I'm curious to see what happens to Jughead in a few issues if his decline continues.

[size=78%]* And down a whopping EIGHTY-THREE THOUSAND copies from Archie #1![/size]
October 17, 2016, 12:00:26 AM
Some of you guys already know about this but just in case, I thought I'd make an official post about it here.

The new DIE KITTY DIE Kickstarter campaign is going on NOW! The next DKD adventure, DIE KITTY DIE HOLLYWOOD OR BUST, has been funded but now we're out to make it better and better with cool and exciting stretch goals.

Some of you guys helped us out during our first Kickstarter campaign last year and we're very grateful for your support. Here's your chance to help us do it again. Make sure you get your copy of Die Kitty Die plus any of the other cool stuff we're going to make available throughout the campaign. Please check us out here:


Please help if you can and please help us spread the word!

Thanks, Everybody!

All About Archie / Re: New York Comic Con 2016
October 01, 2016, 01:37:15 AM
Dan Parent, Gisele Lagace, and I will all be appearing at Artists Alley. Come on by. Pick up a copy of Die Kitty Die and get it signed by all three of us!