It’s not everyday an entire comic book publisher returns from the grave, but that’s exactly what is happening on May 16th. Defunct since the 80s, Archie Comics will be dusting off Red Circle Comics and yanking it into the 21st century as a digital comic line. And in August they’ll also join the ranks of good old fashioned paper issues.
The flag ship launch title will be New Crusaders written by Ian Flynn and drawn by Ben Bates. The original Crusaders have a long history and even served as inspiration for Alan Moore’s The Watchmen. Considered by Red Circle to be a mash-up of The Incredibles and James Robinson’s The Golden Age, the Crusaders won’t be a dark comic but they won’t be just for kids either.
Buzzfeed was lucky enough to get the exclusive first look at this new title and score an interview with writer Ian Flynn to answer some questions.
Buzzfeed: Where do the New Crusaders fit in the Archie universe? Are they in the same time and place as the kids of Riverdale?
Ian Flynn: Well, I’ve heard you can find the towns of Red Circle and Riverdale on the same map, but I don’t think a crossover would be in the best interest for Archie and the gang. The New Crusaders are dealing with life-or-death scenarios, walking away with scrapes and bruises, and dealing with loss. Archie’s biggest concern is juggling dates.
BF: Who are the New Crusaders? Can you tell us a little about each one?
IF: Our opening roster in a nutshell:
SHIELD - The original hero from the 40s who’s been tasked with bringing this team together - whether they like it or not.
STEEL STERLING - son of the original and a gentle giant. He is the embodiment of “speak softly and carry a big stick.”
COMET - adopted son of the original and the most level-headed of the team, which is nice given he’s arguably the most powerful.
FIREBALL - nephew of the original who’s had some trouble with the law in the past. Is he just misunderstood, or was it a bad idea to let him play with fire?
FLY GIRL - daughter of the original with a lot of pluck and spirit (which will be put to the test)
JAGUAR - of no direct lineage to any hero, she’s about as far removed from “super hero” as you can get. Now she gets a magic helmet, super powers, and a whole lot of surprise baggage.
WEB - son of the original, and 98-pounds of geek. Interestingly enough, he’s the only teen bringing actual super powers to the group from the get-go.
BF: Following DC Comics “Final Crisis”, the Crusaders were absorbed into the DC continuity. Does this mean we’ll get to see Batman in Riverdale?
IF: The Crusaders have come home to Archie and aren’t part of the DCU anymore. We’ve got a plan to give a nod to the non-Archie interpretations of the characters, but they’re not connected to what we’re doing now.
BF: Is this a reboot or a continuation of the storyline from other Crusader comic runs?
IF: We’re picking up where we left off in Archie’s Red Circle line from the 80s, which in turn was a continuation of the stories from the 40s and 60s. Despite the long lineage, New Crusaders will be easy to pick up and read for anyone.
BF: The original Mighty Crusaders served as inspiration for Alan Moore to write TheWatchmen. Will you come full circle by including Watchmen references in the new series?
IF: I’m fond of putting easter eggs and nods to other media in my scripts, so I wouldn’t bet against it. For the first few issues, though, I’m focusing on getting the story going and setting up the world and characters. We’ll have time for shout-outs later.