There's never been a better time to be a fan of Archie comics. In addition to the decades of great back issues in existence, exciting new crossovers continue to come out as well, including Dark Horse's brilliant four-part Archie vs. Predator series. At Comic-Con, Daily Dead had a chance to catch up with Archie vs. Predator writer Alex de Campi, who discussed bringing a teenage Predator into Riverdale to hunt Archie and his pals.
How did the idea of bringing a Predator into Archie's world originate?
Alex de Campi: The Archie bullpen. I wish I could say I was the person crazy enough to think it up, but Archie had done Glee, which got Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa into it, because he was a Glee writer, too, and then he did Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and became their creative director and good things happened. Then they did Archie Meets KISS with IDW and then they said, "What can we do to top this?" Because the crossover was bringing a lot of publicity, so they wanted to continue doing them, and they had the meeting about it. Obviously someone in the back was like, "Who should we crossover with next?" "Predator! Hee-hee-hee-hee!" And they were all like, "Actually, that's really brilliant. We should do that."
They called Dark Horse and then Dark Horse called me because I write a series called Grindhouse, which, if you like the gore and exploitation horror aspect of Archie vs. Predator, you should definitely get on Grindhouse. There are two trades out now and a third coming out soon. The stories are all completely independent of each other, including creature features and teen slashers.
So they called me up because they knew I could kill teenagers and make funny horror. This book was always going to be drawn in the Archie style. It wasn't going to be like the Archie horrorverse. We call it Archie Splatterverse. It's being drawn by, penciled by Fernando Ruiz, who's one of the great Archie pencillers and just an all-over A+ plus human. They called me and I'm like, "Okay." And so I just wrote the craziest thing I could think of.
You don't hold back on the violence in this limited series. It definitely retains the blood and grime of the Predator films. How did you go about mixing that splatter element with the often sunny backdrop of Riverdale?
Alex de Campi: It has to be a book for Predator fans. It has to be a great Archie book that appeals to Predator fans. It was just going to be a really hardcore teen slasher film with the adorable Archie characters bumbling into this and the Predator is bothering with them because it's a teen Predator on its first hunt. They let me get away with all sorts of amazing things.
*Spoiler Warning* In the third issue when Archie and his pals are cornered at Riverdale High, Dilton fights the Predator in a giant Archie robot. Where did that awesome idea come from?
Alex de Campi: One of the things I'm really proud of in issue three is the whole Dilton subplot. Dilton's an interesting character because he shows up a lot as a plot device in Archie comics, but he's never really explored as a character. He's the silent little nerdy science kid who builds things that go wrong that start inter-dimensional crossovers and time travel and general craziness. He also built a truly gratuitous number of sex bots in old Archie comics way back when.
Archie books are about dating and Riverdale's all about dating. Even Jughead has Ethel who's after him even though he wants nothing to do with her. So even Jughead, who admittedly is married to Pop Tate's hamburger, has a steady girl, which he doesn't acknowledge. Dilton doesn't have anyone and he's never presented as having a dating storyline, so I wonder what it must be like for him, and he's just decided to go off and be amazing and he's basically building a Gundam suit in the A.V. cloakroom in Riverdale.
Also, I didn't want people to read this and be like, "Wow. That was amazing. Nothing can be good as issue one." I wanted to make issue one really good, maybe a little on the slow side with a lot of character establishment. I wanted two really good deaths to let you know this was going to be properly gory enough and then issue two would be crazy and then issue three would be like, "Oh my god! They went there." Then in issue four we stick the landing. There are thee ways you can end the series and we choose a fourth.
Everyone can die, the Predator wins or the Archie gang wins. Those are the three ways that it can end. We choose a different ending from that. None of those three things happen in the end.
What can you tease from the impending epic showdown in issue four, due out July 22nd from Dark Horse?
There are some really wonderful Predator Easter eggs in there, including possibly one of the most immortal shots from Predator. The first Predator movie is recreated in issue four. And in it, Veronica ain't got time to read.