Is that you Archie?
I think that every fan of comic books has a relationship of some kind to Archie. I remember
waiting for my mom at the grocery store as a kid and reading “Archie Digest”. Archie for me
was always a relaxing dive into a familiar place, the world was never ending, everyone had
relatable problems, but everything stayed the same. Vampironica is not the Archie Comics you
or I knew as a kid, and it is all the better for it.
Vampironica is Written by Greg and Meg Smallwood, with art by Greg Smallwood and Greg
Scott. In my opinion Greg Smallwood makes some of the best art in the industry. Like most
people I found Greg Smallwood through his work on Moon Knight and was captivated by his use
of shadow and negative space to create dramatic effect for a page. With Vampironica I noticed
another trope of Greg Smallwood: his use of bizarre imagery to shock the audience. At one
moment the protagonist of a Smallwood book could see an inhuman beast that appears out of
nowhere, or a scene could end suddenly with a car crash or brutal murder. Vampironica has all
of these paranormal shocks and spooks mixed with the casual Archie comics charm.
As the title suggests, Veronica Lodge is a vampire. The premise starts simple, but quickly
involves the entire town, and pits the time-tested and beloved characters like Jughead, Betty,
Moose, and Pops against a terrifying and primordial horde of the undead.
I think that primarily Vampironica is a humor title, but Greg and Meg Smallwood inject a
healthy and heavy dose of creep and horror. In one moment, a typical Archie scene is in play,
and then immediately intercepted by a grotesque monster or blood-curdling scene that
wouldn’t be found in any traditional Archie story.
The coloring of the interior art is incredibly helpful to establish the tone and air of this book, as
the color itself shifts to fit the mood of a particular scene. At one moment the color could be
bright and pastel, and then as a darker horror is revealed so too do the shades change to
something more sinister.
The art of Greg Smallwood lasts until issue three, where issue four and five is taken over by
Greg Scott. Greg Scott has an obviously different style than Greg Smallwood, but Scott
understands the touches of horror just as well as Smallwood does, and his unique use of
character framing lends itself to the creepier aspects of the horror found later in the book.
Vampironica is a short and self-contained read with only five issues for the initial run. As
someone who loved Archie as a kid and delved into horror as an adult, Vampironica is a perfect
mix of nostalgia and creep factor. Any open-minded fan of classic Archie should definitely give
this book a try.
I give Vampironica seven out of ten Dollar Store fake vampire teeth, I very much recommend
this book for classic Archie fans looking for something new, and for comic readers looking for
gorgeous and unique art.
This book and many others can be found in trade paperback and in single issues at Comic Spot. Also, make sure to check out the Phenomenal Funko Friday sale. We have lots of Riverdale POPs going to be up for grabs live on Instagram (@comicspotfl)