On July 8, Archie Comics will reboot their storied flagship title Archie -- and in advance of the Riverdale reboot, they gave Archie & co. one last hurrah with the recent Archie #666. The issue, by former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Tom DeFalco and some of the company's top artists in Dan Parent, Fernando Ruiz, Tim Kennedy and Pet Kennedy, featured Archie Andrews on the verge of being expelled from school by Principal Weatherbee on account of his various infractions over the years.
DeFalco talked about the story in Archie #666, as well as the big picture implications of this story being the end of the classic Archie to make way for July 8's Archie #1 reboot by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples.
Newsarama: Tom, what were you first thoughts when you were asked to write the final issue of the long-running Archie series before the reboot?
Tom DeFalco: I felt honored, humbled and totally intimidated. I, like some many others, have loved the Archie characters for a very long time. I couldn’t imagine any farewell story could do justice to these dear friends. It was a creative challenge I couldn’t refuse and did the best job I could.
Nrama: The story in Archie #666 reads like a list of Archie’s greatest and worst actions to his friends and associates. What led you choose to do a story like this?
DeFalco: I felt we had to clearly show all the reasons why people would miss Archie and that naturally led to do the story like this.
Nrama: Tom, you really managed to weave in much of Archie’s extended cast here, including such characters like Cheryl Blossom. Did you have a wish list of those you wanted to fit in, and were there any you couldn’t find room for?
DeFalco: I did start with a checklist and managed to fit in everyone I wanted.
Nrama: Would you have approached this story any different if it weren’t the last story of an era?
DeFalco: Absolutely! Every story demands its own unique approach.
Nrama: The issue number for this was a little ominous – 666 – and you hinted at that in the story. What are your thoughts on the final Archie issue being “666”?
DeFalco: I actually think it is pretty funny.
Nrama: For this four-part story, you’re working with some of Archie’s classic modern artists – Dan Parent, Fernando Ruiz, Tim Kennedy and Pet Kennedy. What was it like having them onboard?
DeFalco: A dream come true! These are very talented gentlemen and it is a great honor to be paired with them.
Nrama: Tom, you’ve been a part of game-changing stories in the past as both writer and editor – what do you think of Archie’s end of an era here?
DeFalco: I think change is a part of life and every individual is in a state of constant evolution. As a reader I am sad to see the end of the classic Archie, but I am also intrigued by the advent of the new and more contemporary Archie. Here’s hoping the new Archie will entertain readers for the next 70 years.
Nrama: And that being said, do you think this is the last we’ve seen of Archie in this classic art and story style?
DeFalco: No way! We can still see the classic Archie style art and story in all of the various digest books that come out each and every month.