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Messages - DeCarlo Rules

I suspect there are NO legal issues. Archie Comic Publications owns the work-for-hire produced for them by both Uslan and Kupperberg.

It would be somewhat more helpful to know exactly what sort of discussions or notes passed between Uslan and Kupperberg in the handoff between LWA #1 and LWA #2... but with Uslan stepping away from steering the course of the series, Kupperberg may not have felt beholden to follow ALL of Uslan's intended directions. And upon returning to the 10th Anniversary series, Uslan may have felt equally not-beholden to follow what Kupperberg established on his own after Uslan's initial departure from LWA.
Nah... not so much!  ???

This consists of a 4-page preview (or prequel?) to a Pureheart the Powerful story scheduled to appear in the upcoming one-shot The Best ARCHIE Comic Ever! #1 (see cover below), plus a short story reprinted from a recently published one-shot, ARCHIE Love and Heartbreak Special #1, plus another story which may be either a reprint of a recent one-shot or a preview of an upcoming one-shot (I'm not sure).

None of the stories in this FCBD issue are written & drawn in the "classic Archie" style.

It is weird that Archie is now in the position of publishing a FCBD issue (itself a one-shot) that is a part-reprint of an already-published one-shot, and part-preview of another upcoming one-shot of the same title. All things considered, I think I'd have preferred a FCBD one-shot that was entirely assembled from classic-style Archie reprints.

In case you're wondering, the above-pictured The Best ARCHIE Comic Ever! #1 consists of the aforementioned Pureheart story, a B&V Spy Girlz story, and a Jughead the Barbarian story (none of them in the classic style).
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 25, 2022, 03:38:38 PM
If she were that concerned about the very real phenomenon of dwindling sales at ACP, it's probably because she loved the company, or at least the characters, not because she had an ax to grind against it.

We usually take things for granted until it becomes apparent that we're in danger of losing them. Nobody bothers trying to save the animal species that aren't on the endangered list. So it's important for people to know that they're endangered.

The Death of Archie was really a wounded man's cry for help.
Through the Decades / Re: Alas, poor Jughead...
April 23, 2022, 06:02:56 PM
I think the problem with Jughead's "past glory" was that it was limited to too few tropes (also true of Archie) to keep repeating over and over with only the most minor variations.

1) stories dealing with Jughead's gluttony and/or obsession with food.
2) stories dealing with Jughead's laziness, or convoluted efforts to avoid work.
3) stories dealing with Jughead avoiding Big Ethel, or dating in general.
4) stories dealing with Jughead trying to mooch money (for food).
5) stories dealing with Jughead outsmarting Reggie (or occasionally, Archie or Veronica).

... and that's about it, really. Maybe a lesser number of stories proving Jughead's loyalty to his friends. But those tropes were already honed to their peak as early as the late 50s/early 60s.

That's not a long list, to stretch over the next 7 decades. So yeah, Jellybean stories added a new trope. And Craig Boldman added lots more variations just by the simple extension of logic that food isn't the only thing Jughead tends to obsess over -- you never knew what the next thing might be. New tropes added, they didn't subtract, since the old stories were still continually being reprinted. Jughead needed to stretch his boundaries at least a little.

The late 80s/early 90s in retrospect is interesting if only to see the weird transformations Jughead goes through (a bit like DC's Jimmy Olsen) by way of experimentation in testing his limits. Guilty pleasure, but glad it didn't stick.
Through the Decades / Re: Alas, poor Jughead...
April 22, 2022, 01:18:05 PM
Clearly, from sometime in the '70s to the early '90s, they were tinkering with Jughead, trying to update him. At first they seemed determined to ditch the traditional beanie or crown as old-fashioned... Jughead wore a variety of different kind of hats, sometimes commonplace like a baseball cap, and sometimes eccentric, like a Civil War cap.

Then came the phase where he's dating girls lot in order to send the message "He's NOT gay!"... And then the addition of baby Jellybean, making Jughead the only one of the gang who was a big brother, leading to more variety of comedic situations.

Still, from 1989-1996, Jughead was popular enough to appear in four ongoing comics (1 floppy comic, 3 digests) named after him (plus a number of admittedly short-lived spinoffs around the same time). Even if the digests are mainly reprints. Not even B&V could outdo that.

A lot of people think that the best of Jughead didn't even happen until 1997-2012, when Craig Boldman and Rex Lindsey became the main (if not exclusive) creative team on JUGHEAD, resulting in dozens of now-classic stories. Boldman redefined Jughead as not just lazy and a voracious eater, but a quirky oddball given to various temporary obsessions that came and went. He was sometimes impulsive, sometimes set in his ways; he tended to think outside the box, didn't care what people thought about him, but invariably had his own blind spots.

I guess it was inevitable that as the list of floppy comics published by ACP began seriously shrinking, he was going to lose his own book before B&V and ARCHIE, but I was frankly shocked when his last digest title was cancelled in 2017 (even if he required Archie's name in the title to boost sales). I figured give it a year, two at most, and there would be some other iteration of a Jughead digest back on the shelves -- maybe "Archie and Jughead Jumbo Comics", but it hasn't happened and it doesn't look like it's going to.

Through the Decades / Alas, poor Jughead...
April 21, 2022, 01:09:10 PM
I was just browsing through the list of Jughead titles ACP has published over the years. I won't bore you with listing the short-run/miniseries titles, but just look at this list (in chronological order of first publication)...

Jughead (1949 1st Series) #1-352           [1949-1987]
Jughead with Archie Digest #1-200   [1974-2005]
Jughead Jones Comics Digest #1-101   [1977-1996]
Jughead (1987 2nd Series) #1-214   [1987-2012]
Jughead's Double Digest #1-200           [1989-2014]
Jughead and Friends Digest   #1-38   [2005-2010]
Jughead and Archie Double Digest #1-27   [2014-2017]

That's about 1,100 or so individual issues featuring Jughead as the main character (impressive if your name isn't Superman, Batman, or Spider-Man), and certainly more comics than ACP has published about any other character (except Archie himself, and Betty & Veronica as a duo).

Somehow, though... Jughead's relative popularity (and sales) seemed to begin waning some 20-ish years ago, and just fell off a cliff. To the point where there's NO comic published now featuring Jughead at all. And yeah, that's to be expected where floppy comics are concerned, since there's no ongoing Archie or B&V series any longer, either. But not even ONE digest comic for Juggy, when A, B&V both have two ongoing digests?

WHY?? Why, I ask you? What changed? After decades as one of ACP's "Top 3" (again, counting B&V as a team entity), how did he just become one more face in the crowd, no more important than Kevin, Reggie, or Moose?

Is he just "less relevant" now, somehow? Seriously, I want to know what people think. Any theories on this?
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 20, 2022, 08:12:53 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).

Seriously. I haven't seen them in the digests since I began getting digests on a regular basis in 2014. And yeah, I would be both curious and concerned about the digest sales currently... but despite that I still haven't noticed any statements of ownership, circulation, and management. So maybe I should have said "a decade" and not "decades" -- those 2012 Archie Comics sales seem to be the last discussed on, and I'm thinking it's not a coincidence.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 15, 2022, 03:43:54 PM
Quote from: Tuxedo Mark on April 14, 2022, 10:03:28 PM
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on April 14, 2022, 02:13:47 PMMike Pellerito claimed in one recent digest text page that people were subscribing to the digests in record numbers, whether that's true or just hype.

Don't they print the circulation figures in the digests once per year? That could be something to check.

Do they? News to me. I can't recall seeing such a page anywhere in any digests I've read. I mean, a LONG time ago, the USPS had postal regulations that required comics to annually print a "Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation" in order to qualify for reduced mailing rates, but it's been decades since those postal regulations have been in effect.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 14, 2022, 02:13:47 PM
The Archie digests probably wouldn't even make a dent in NPD BookScan's listings if they were tracking periodicals, because then it would be in competition with mainstream magazines, not other comics.

Still, let's remember they have four ongoing digest titles plus a few other limited ones like Archie Showcase, Archie Milestones, Archie 80th Anniversary all going at the same time. And they're all low overhead because they only contain 5 or 10 pages of new material that they have to pay for, plus ACP has its own subscriptions and website direct sales in addition to the bookstores. Mike Pellerito claimed in one recent digest text page that people were subscribing to the digests in record numbers, whether that's true or just hype.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 12, 2022, 08:45:31 PM
Quote from: Tuxedo Mark on April 11, 2022, 07:55:21 PMI checked Amazon, and the only categories where Archie even cracks the Top 100 are some hyper-specific children's comics categories. All of those are the classic-style comics. No Riverdale. No New Riverdale. No Archie Horror. No idea what that translates to in terms of sales, though.

I was reading Brian Hibbs' annual column where he discussed the previous year's Top 750 comics according to NPD BookScan, which claims to represent about 85% of physical book sales in North America outside the comic book Direct Market (comic shops). In other words, actual physical bookstores and online sellers. Physical books only, though; no digital copies. Not one title from Archie even made the list. I asked him about it in the comments, and he wrote:

QuoteThe best-selling comic from Archie, however, is "80 Years of Christmas" and it sells well under 3k copies.

So there you have it. The best-selling Archie book out in the real world beyond the comics shop sold far less than 3,000 copies last year.

Unless I mis-read the opening paragraphs of Hibbs' article, the NPD BookScan is tracking book sales in general... of which the Graphic Novel, Collected Edition, Trade Paperback, or whatever you want to call them is a subset. I point this out because it seems to me that the NPD BookScan is not tracking periodical sales at all. That means it tells us nothing about how Archie digests are selling in the bookstores. So all we're really getting out of this is that ACP's best-selling trade collection didn't do better that 3k in bookstores.

Come to think of it, I'm not really sure what the definition of "bookstores" is from NPD BookScan's POV. Are we talking just the physical brick & mortar stores, or are they including online booksellers? How about online sellers like Amazon where book sales only make up a small fraction of their total sales?

All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 11, 2022, 10:37:52 AM
Quote from: Tuxedo Mark on April 07, 2022, 09:09:18 PMThe highest-charting digest that month, World of Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest #8, sold only 959 copies in the Direct Market. Not sure what they're selling at places like Walmart and Publix.

The nature of the average comic shop consumer is...

a) They have never really embraced Archie Comics in general, despite the good will of various retailers (and Steve Geppi of Diamond Comic Distributors).

b) They have definite resistance to any comic series not in the traditional floppy comic format. They will accept a better cover stock or paper stock gratefully, but that is where it ends. Magazine and digest-size comics are definitely not preferred because it messes up their bagging/boarding and comic-box filing system. Digests of all types have never done well in the comic shop system.

c) Fortunately Archie Comics continues to maintain a toehold in the wider world of magazine distribution (unlike other comics publishers), and that has probably been their sole salvation. In the wider world, the situation is reversed, and retailers much prefer the higher-profit digests (which also take up less display space) to the floppy comics.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 11, 2022, 10:18:27 AM

Seems like the only one doing any bashing here (of Dan Parent) is YOU. We understand that your difference of opinion with the larger group of Archie readers has made you resentful that he remains a popular Archie creator despite what you think of him. Just accept the fact that Dan Parent's stories, covers, one-shots, and miniseries SELL (at least on the scale of what is possible for Archie Comics to sell in the present marketplace). Ousting Dan Parent from the list of Archie creators is only going to result in lost sales, not gained sales. Sorry you don't like him, but every post of yours is just another excuse to grind the same old axe.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 07, 2022, 09:23:30 AM
And now that I think about it, I can't even understand how they can afford to do those occasional "new-style" Archie one-shots. If the floppies are at or below the break-even point, the new-style stories can't even be reused as digest reprints to justify the cost of doing them. If it's a miniseries, it could get a collected edition TP, but we haven't seen any of those lately either. Unlike the annual Archie Modern Classics collection, there is no similar type of reprint book for new-style Archie stories from whatever one-shots they might do in the previous year. They also double-dip on those modern classic stories by reprinting them in separate B&V and Archie & Friends collections.

They should be doing more new pages of stories in the digests, because future digests are always going to need reprint material... unless they have already projected the eventual demise of digests in the not-too-distant future.

For now, the compromise seems to be ONE new 'classic Archie' 5-page story in an otherwise reprint floppy one-shot, the same deal as with the ongoing digests... although once in a while they'll include a new bonus story in one of the digests.
All About Archie / Re: Nobody here anymore?
April 06, 2022, 08:12:05 AM
It would take a LOT. Everything is a one-shot now except the ongoing digests. I can only presume this is so because the only thing that comic shop consumers want to buy now (from Archie, anyway) is a #1. ACP does do all-new one-shots once in a while, just not in the classic style. It's been a few years now since ACP has had any ongoing floppy format comic series. I would be really surprised if the current situation changes in any sort of positive way.
I must say I highly approve of the apparent recent (well, the last year or so) efforts at ACP to interject different characters who haven't been seen in some time into the stories (AND in new "bonus" stories!). I don't know if it's being done solely for the purposes of maintaining trademarks or copyrights, or if they're putting the less-often-seen characters in there hoping to spark some interest in media adaptations...

But for example... I would love to see Toni Topaz, who it seems to me appears in most stories as nothing more than a background player or just a bit of visual window-dressing, be seen in story where she actually gets a substantial speaking role and is important to the plot somehow, where she gets to be a major character just for one story or two. The same goes for Midge or Dilton, or Cousin Marcy. Whatever happened to "the New Kids"? We never see them any more. Let's have a new Jughead, Sabrina, or Josie (and friends) solo-story once in a while.

If they could only get 2 new 5-page stories in every digest, we could see a lot more variety of different characters.