For decades, Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe has been a (relatively) safe haven for the fine folks of Riverdale to gather and converse over a frosty milkshake and a steamy basket of burgers and fries, but in the new one-shot anthology Chilling Adventures Presents... Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, Pop Tate has turned his community hub into a house of horrors where his own customers just might end up being on the menu!
With Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors out now from Archie Comics, we had the pleasure of catching up with Jordan Morris, the writer behind "Soylent Teen," one of the three tasty tales served up in the new one-shot. In this new Q&A feature, he reflects on what it was like to cook up a cannibalistic story in the idyllic world of Archie Comics, collaborating with talented artist Liana Kangas, and he also discusses his upcoming horror comedy graphic novel Youth Group!
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for us, Jordan, and congratulations on your new story, “Soylent Teen,” which appears in Chilling Adventures Presents... Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, now available from Archie Comics! How did you initially get involved with this one-shot horror anthology?
Jordan Morris: I was Twitter friends with Archie super writer/editor Jamie L. Rotante. I let her know that I was an Archie fan and she should consider me stoked to work with them anytime. She sent me their plan for the 2023 horror line and I came up with some pitches. I’m so glad they picked "Soylent Teen"! I put it at the top of my pitch doc because I was the most stoked on it.
Were you a longtime fan of Archie Comics prior to writing “Soylent Teen”? What are some of your favorite memories of reading Archie Comics?
Jordan Morris: My main source of comics as a kid was the grocery store. If I was acting up while we were shopping, my mom would grab me a comic to keep me quiet. It was the ’90s, so there was a lot of X-Men, some clone-based Spider-Man and, of course, Archie. My mom was a huge fan when she was a kid, so she was always stoked to pick them up for me and my sister. I got back into Archie via the Mark Waid/Fiona Staples reboot in 2016. That led me to the horror stuff, which I absolutely loved.
Riverdale is traditionally known as being an idyllic, peaceful town, and Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe has usually been a safe haven for the teens living there. How fun was it to subvert those expectations by making Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe a cannibalistic house of horrors in “Soylent Teen”?
Jordan Morris: I loved getting to do the messed-up version of Pop’s! I’m a huge Simpsons fan and this felt like writing an episode of Treehouse of Horror. You can make it as insane as you want to and it doesn’t matter because everything resets after the story is over. I’m so impressed that team Archie is okay with us being so incredibly mean to their beloved characters!
Were you inspired by any other cannibal stories while you were writing “Soylent Teen”?
Jordan Morris: You know, I’ve never actually seen Soylent Green! I pledged in another interview that I’d watch it before the comic came out, but I still haven’t seen it. I’m sorry that I’ve let you all down. I was very inspired by the Hannibal TV show that turned cannibalism into fine dining. I sent Liana a listicle of food-porn moments from the show to potentially inspire our menu.
“Soylent Teen” features line art by Liana Kangas, coloring by Ellie Wright, and lettering by Jack Morelli. What has it been like to team up with these talented artists to bring your prose to life on the paneled page?
Jordan Morris: Everyone did amazing. The book looks so good! I collaborated closest with Liana and they were an absolute joy to work with. The food they created really does look delicious! I love the fashions they created for the characters, too. Stacey Banks makes an appearance in some checkerboard pants that my inner ska kid loves.
I love the humor that comes with the horror during Betty Cooper and Pop Tate’s cat-and-mouse chase in the kitchen. How important was it for you to blend comedy with scares in this tale?
Jordan Morris: I love it when horror and comedy hook up. Shaun of the Dead, American Werewolf in London and Cabin in the Woods are some of my favorite movies and I wanted to bring that sort of spooks ‘n’ goofs energy to this project.
Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from “Soylent Teen”?
Jordan Morris: I hope they laugh and get a little grossed out. I guess if you wanted to get academic about it you could say that we’re commenting on how the rich kill and consume the lower classes for their own sick pleasure, but mainly we’re in it for the goofs.
Do you have any other horror stories that you’d like to tell in the Archie Comics universe if given the opportunity?
Jordan Morris: I’d love to! Working on this diner story made me think a lot about Jughead. I’d love to see how his chill AF attitude would hold up in a life-or-death scenario.
What advice would you give to aspiring comic book writers who are just getting started?
Jordan Morris: I’d say to not be afraid to put what you want out into the universe. It can be tough and kind of embarrassing to ask for what you want sometimes (it is for me at least), but unless you’re one of those writes/draws/self-publishes super-creators you’re going to need some help. Let folks in the industry know that you want to work with them. They may not have something for you right away, but if you’re polite and cool they’ll keep you in mind.
In addition to “Soylent Teen” in Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, what other upcoming projects are you excited about, and where can our readers go online to keep up with your work?
Jordan Morris: I’ve got a YA horror-comedy graphic novel coming out next year called Youth Group. It’s about a bunch of goofy kids in a Christian youth group who have to do actual exorcisms. I’m working on it with an amazing artist named Bowen McCurdy, who did the awesome YA horror series Spector Inspectors. I can’t wait for folks to see it! Pre-orders aren’t up yet, but I’ll definitely be crowing about it on social media when they are. I’m @Jordan_morris on Twitter and @JordanDavidMorris on Insta.
In case you missed it, read this month's installment of Jamie L. Rotante's column Archie's House of Horror to learn more about Pop's Chock’lit Shoppe of Horrors, and to order a copy of the new one-shot anthology, visit:
CHILLING ADVENTURES PRESENTS... POP’S CHOCK’LIT SHOPPE OF HORRORS
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: