Well, well, well, here we are again!

I’m excited to return to Daily Dead with Archie’s House of Horrors. It’s also a perfect way to kick off Archie Horror in 2024, with a second installment of a title that garnered great success for Archie in 2023: POP’S CHOCK’LIT SHOPPE OF HORRORS. We’re returning to this fun anthology for a second serving of terror in FRESH MEAT.

Sequels are ubiquitous when it comes to horror. There’s no better franchise game in media than that of the horror sequels (sorry, Star Wars fans, I stand by that statement!). Series like Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, Saw, Scream, and—probably most notably—Halloween (of which even Archie has had a little fun with Michael Myers in the past), are not just beloved within the horror space, they’re iconic franchises with immediate recognizability. Would Freddy or Jason or even Michael Myers be as notable if those films had just stuck to one instead of sequels that expanded the lore and kept them at the forefront of fans’ minds for decades? Maybe, but it's hard to say definitively. What we do know is that continuing their stories never fails to bring fans back for more.

But why are horror fans so hungry for more all the time? Scientifically, the thrill of horror gives people a rush of dopamine. It allows us the chance to experience something we hope to never in the real world, distilling it into simple frights as opposed to abject fear; leaving us with, at worst, a few nightmares instead of lingering trauma. People also like returning to the same horror franchises because, as odd as it may seem, the familiarity is comforting. Sure, people are getting slashed, slaughtered, and brutalized—but it’s by our ol’ buddy Leatherface, or our misunderstood pal Michael. We can see horrific outcomes and still root for the bad guy, knowing that the only way they’ll truly be defeated is for these movies to have definitive ends, far sadder than any person-without-a-backstory’s jacuzzi drowning.

Until they’re reborn, of course.

It’s also fun to see these once-low-budget films be upgraded thanks to new technology, costumes, and even ideologies. New ideas are always fun, but integrating them into familiar territory can yield even more successful results. Progressive mindsets brought to the baddies we know and love make them feel even more like warm, comforting blankets when the horrors of the real world get just a touch too scary.

So why can’t Archie Horror get in on that too?

POP’S CHOCK’LIT SHOPPE OF HORRORS: FRESH MEAT, on sale March 20, isn’t a direct sequel to last year’s POP’S CHOCK’LIT SHOPPE OF HORRORS anthology one-shot—instead, it’s both a prequel and a glimpse into the future of sorts. While last year’s offering focused on the nefarious goings-on presently taking place at Pop’s, FRESH MEAT goes back into the past to explore how it became a hub of misdeeds, while also showing what horrible deals Pop can strike to keep it going in the future. As we learn, too, even someone who’s given up everything for small business security can have some standards, even if his moral compass is irreparably broken.

POP’S is also unique in that it deftly blends both horror and comedy—two things that Archie Comics have proven to excel at, but it never ceases to amaze me just how well the two disparate genres work together. And that’s often furthered in horror sequels. For many, there are only so many ways you can up the ante when some of the most horrific moments have already taken place. Sure, you can increase the number of kills, you can come up with new and inventive ways to murder, you can “pass the torch,” but all of those things are expected in a subsequent project. What can you do when all else is anticipated? Flip the script entirely, and go comedic.

A few films that come to mind include Bride of Chucky, Jason Takes Manhattan, and Army of Darkness. These sequels aren’t afraid to poke fun at the tropes they became synonymous with, and move towards absurdity as a way of making their respective installments interesting. While they may not always be fan-favorites (some, to be fair, are), you cannot deny the appeal of doing the unexpected, as well as the new fans they may have garnered from taking things and going a different route.

POP’S had elements of humor in both installments (when you’ve got a comedic genius like writer Jordan Morris on your team, it’s to be expected), which just meant that the humor alongside the horror had to be amped up even further in FRESH MEAT. The dichotomy of absurd moments, hilarious dialogue, and well-placed puns just makes the sincere moments of horror even more frightening, something that’s even easier to do in an anthology collection. This space and format have allowed us to keep expanding Pop’s dark world while hitting different subgenres and tropes within horror (slashers, body horror, demonic entities, and more).

So what does the future have in store for Pop Tate and his retro-stylized malt shoppe? Only time will tell. Will Pop eventually become Riverdale’s own slasher, terrorizing the teens for decades to come? If fans demand it, it’s quite possible. But until that’s determined, be sure to keep coming back each month to see what new Archie Horror installments there are. Pop’s not the only person returning to horror, in fact, next month we return to the world of pop star-turned-cult leader in The Cult of That Wilkin Boy: Initiation. Because why have just one horror franchise, when you can have them all?


Read on for additional details on Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors: Fresh Meat, and go here to catch up on previous installments of Archie's House of Horror!


Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe has been around for what feels like forever… but how? In this thrilling horror anthology, we learn just how Pop’s infamous malt shop came to harbor such evils, and the cursed deals he makes to ensure his doors always stay open. From the full creative team that brought you last year’s successful Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, we learn the nefarious origin of the beloved hometown haunt, with stories filled with shady business deals, carnivorous plants, and the horrors of small business ownership.

Script: Amy Chase, Jordan Morris, Ryan Cady
Art: Federico Sabbatini, Liana Kangas, Chris Panda
Colors: Ellie Wright
Letters: Jack Morelli
Cover: Adam Gorham
Variant Cover: Aaron Lea
On Sale Date: 3/20
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Cover Art by Adam Gorham:

Variant Cover by Aaron Lea:


Want more Riverdale thrills and chills in your life? Sign up for the "Books of Mayhem" Archie Horror subscription to receive upcoming issues of scary good Archie Horror comics:

Books of Mayhem Subscription: Archie Horror has been frightening Archie fans for nearly ten years... and that's not going to stop anytime soon! Be it vampires, zombies, werewolves, or aliens, Riverdale always finds itself as ground zero for the scary, spooky, and supernatural. This spine-chilling subscription for horror fans will ensure that you receive every new Archie horror title that's released, showcasing a wide array of horror genres and iconic Archie characters! Act now... if you dare!

Teen +

5 issue subscription - You will receive the next horror issue available. It will not start with an issue already printed.