[Editor's Note: Welcome to Archie's House of Horror! We're thrilled and chilled to team up with Archie Comics for this recurring column written by Jamie L. Rotante, writer and Senior Director of Editorial at Archie Comics. Each column takes a closer look at the terrifying themes and eerie inspirations found within the pages of the ever-expanding world of Archie Horror, with this month's column focusing on the delectably deadly horrors to be found on the menu in the new one-shot anthology Chilling Adventures Presents... Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, now available from Archie Comics!]

I’m a sucker for a good ol’ fashioned greasy spoon. Is there anything more American than a 24-hour roadside diner, complete with neon lights and jukeboxes? American diners are like relics of the past, preserved in time. At my local diner, the neon sign is almost a roadside attraction in and of itself. There are still jukeboxes on each table—albeit with more updated songs, for anyone who wants to pay $1.00 to hear a Li’l Wayne track—the menu never changes but always keeps expanding. The servers are the same ones that have been there for the past 30 years, and look as though they have aging paintings in their attics.

Maybe diners and soda shoppes are the true fountains of youth. Or maybe, just maybe, they really do have something sinister cooking in the kitchen, an awful tradeoff for eternal youth.

The roadside eatery has certainly become a figure within horror—whether it’s inciting the action or a safe haven from it. Maybe it’s the friendly eatery serving damn fine black coffee and cherry pie in a town that seems normal on the surface but is harboring unspeakable evil. And if it’s not the eatery itself that’s the source of horror, it’s what (or who!) is being served.

Food-based horror has been around for as long as horror has existed. If you think about it, what are zombies and vampires, if not gastronomes with specific, unusual tastes? However, it was a movie that many wouldn’t necessarily consider horror that put food-based frights on the map. 1973’s Soylent Green really shined the spotlight on how horrifying mass-produced food can be—it also lent itself nicely to an excellent title pun for one of the stories featured in the one-shot Archie Horror comic Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors—the aptly named “Soylent Teen.”

Cannibalism is an especially mouth-watering topic when it comes to horror. This is likely because it plays on the basic human fear of being murdered—and then taking it to the next level by being consumed by the person who committed the murder. It takes in one of the purest delights at our horrific expense: feeling satiated after a good meal. Silence of the Lamb’s Hannibal Lecter enjoys a census taker’s liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. Microwave Massacre’s Donald finds his wife’s microwaved limbs to be the tastiest snacks he’s ever had—far surpassing the gourmet meals she was trying to cook for him with that very same fancy new microwave. (Sidebar: I can’t say in good faith that I recommend Microwave Massacre, but if you ever wondered what Frosty the Snowman would sound like as a heartless cannibal, well, this is the flick for you.)

Sometimes it’s the food that bites back.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is the most obvious, albeit not exactly horror. But clearly, the sentient bloodthirsty tomatoes have made some kind of an impact, how else could you explain the seemingly pervasive hatred that so many have for the red fruit and/or vegetable? Poultrygeist’s undead chickens are sick of being served on dinner plates, so the undead zombie chickens enact their revenge.

It’s not all low-brow schlock, though. 2022’s The Menu took food-centric horror to a new level. Offering critiques on capitalism, disparity due to wealth inequality, and what happens when someone no longer feels joy or fulfillment in their chosen calling.

Clearly, food-based horror is a treat for both fans of thought-provoking, critically acclaimed stories and low-budget B-movie-style parodies alike. I’d like to think Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors falls somewhere between the two ends of that spectrum.

Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe is as synonymous with Archie as freckles, bow ties, and love triangles. One of the most iconic pieces of imagery in Archie lore is the “three-on-a-soda,” no doubt enjoyed at Pop’s. And as nothing is sacred in Archie Horror, Pop and his eatery were ripe for destruction. Horror is most effective when it takes the things we hold dearest and turns them on their ear, it’s why Archie Horror works so well. It takes fans out of their comfort zone and forces them to watch their beloved characters face unspeakable horrors and unimaginable circumstances.

The frame story of Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, “Die-and-Dash” written by Amy Chase with art from Federico Sabbattini, answers a question that has crossed my mind many, many times in my endless re-reads of classic Archie tales: what happens if Pop finally gets fed up with kids skipping out on their tab? The answer is far more horrifying than I ever could have imagined.

Next is a story titled “Night Shift” from writer Ryan Cady and artist Chris Panda. This one explores what happens after hours at the eatery. Poor Kevin Keller is just trying to scrape up some extra cash at a place that pays under the table—and for a good reason. What he learns about Pop’s lesser-known, late-night clientele is sure to make him think twice about ordering seconds ever again.

Finally, we have the aforementioned “Soylent Teen” by writer Jordan Morris and artist Liana Kangas. This story mixes the craftsmanship of culinary arts as seen in The Menu with sinister undertones reminiscent of Sweeney Todd.

I mean, Pop Tate has been running his old-fashioned malt shop for decades while hardly ever changing his prices, letting kids ring up tabs he knows they’ll never pay, and somehow still beating all other culinary competitors out of town (with the exception of that damn Segarini). You didn’t think he could do all that without making a few less-than-savory deals, did you?

Now, I’ve worked up quite the appetite writing this. If you need me, I’ll be chowing down on grilled cheese and bacon and slurping on a chocolate egg cream at my favorite local diner. And I won’t be asking where they source their meat from.

Be sure to tip your servers!


To learn more about Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors and to order a copy of the new one-shot anthology, visit:


Pop Tate is the glue holding Riverdale together, whether everyone realizes or not. His Chock’lit Shoppe is the beating heart of the city, where everyone can stop in for a delicious bite and some safe haven—even the worst sorts. And not just the run-of-the-mill rapscallions who recently broke the jukebox. When a young Riverdale couple (Nick St. Clair and Sherry Thyme) attempt to dine and dash on the humble small business owner, they quickly discover the fryer grease isn’t the only heart-stopping thing about the Chock’lit Shoppe. From tales of mystery meat to the unnatural visitors that dine late at night, this anthology tells stories about the horrors that happen at Riverdale’s beloved malt shop—and how Pop Tate is at the center of it all, the most powerful figure in Riverdale providing haven to all sorts of terrors and underhanded villainy. *Retailer orders for all covers placed by FOC date will be 100% returnable (no minimum)*

Script: Amy Chase, Jordan Morris, Ryan Cady
Art: Federico Sabbatini, Chris Panda, Liana Kangas, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe of Horrors ONE-SHOT CVR A Main Cover: Adam Gorham
Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe of Horrors ONE-SHOT CVR B Var: Francesco Francavilla


Cover by Adam Gorham:

Variant Cover by Francesco Francavilla: