In June 15’s Jughead #7, artist Derek Charm takes over the series from previous series artist Erica Henderson – and has big plans for the hamburger-loving ham. Charm is illustrating writer Chip Zdarsky’s last two issues of the title, and then continuing ahead with incoming writer Ryan North from August’s #9 and beyond.
Charm, who has worked previously on a variety of licensed titles such as IDW’s Star Trek and BOOM’s Regular Show, but describes Jughead as a chance to learn into his natural drawing style and be, in his words, “100% me.” Coming into this with a healthy respect for the Riverdale gang as “comic book royalty,” Charm talked with Newsarama about the series, working with Zdarsky and North, and why Reggie might be his favorite character to draw – sorry, Jughead.
Newsarama: Derek, what was it about Archie's Jughead series that enticed you to sign on as its new series artist?
Derek Charm: Honestly, Jughead is like comic book royalty. He’s right up there with Batman and Superman as far as iconic characters go, and the world of Riverdale—especially this new version—is so up my alley as far as what I want to do and the style of storytelling I’m drawn to.
Nrama: How do you feel about the storyline Chip and Erica have done that you're picking up with #7?
Charm: Chip and Erica’s Jughead was one of my favorite books every month and guaranteed to make me laugh out loud. I always felt a strong Simpsons-vibe with that book, it was such a full and realized world but still anything could happen. I was floored when I was asked to fill-in on interiors after a few covers. How many people get to work on their favorite series?
Nrama: And have you talked with incoming writer Ryan North, or seen notes on his story, to talk about it? If so, what can you say about this upcoming arc?
Charm: Yeah it’s kind of funny, Ryan was actually the one who emailed me and was like “I think you and I are the new Jughead creative team?” I was in the middle of drawing #7, so I had no idea if I was staying beyond my two-issue fill-in or what was going on in the outside world. Then the announcement went out confirming it the next day and I was like, “Oh! Amazing! Back to work…” I’m super excited to be working with Ryan on this, though. I’ve been a fan of his for years and just like Chip, he’s one of those writers who always makes me laugh. The fact that we get to introduce Sabrina the Teenage Witch to the New Riverdale world is really amazing too. Sabrina is one of my very favorite Dan DeCarlo designs, it’s so surreal to think that I’ll be drawing her.
Nrama: Since this is the Jughead title, what are your thoughts on depicting him for this series?
Charm: I think it took about half my first issue before I found a Jughead look that I felt fit the writing. I did a ton of sketches beforehand, and if you look at my first few covers he looks a little different on each one. Initially I was leaning pretty hard on his aloofness, which is an important part of the character, but I really wanted the humor comes across too. So I just kept kind of tweaking as I went. I’m pretty happy with where he ended up, he finally feels like Jughead to me.
Nrama: Archie Comics sent an advance look at your first issue, and I really enjoy how you've drawn Reggie. Is there a certain affinity you have for him, or any specific character in Riverdale?
Charm: Thank you! Reggie is definitely a favorite of mine. I’m generally drawn to bully character types in fiction. They’re funny! That was another case where I had an idea for how I wanted to draw him before I started and it totally changed once I read the words Chip put into his mouth. The scenes with him in Jughead #7 are amazing. Ryan promised me more Reggie in the future and I can’t wait.
Nrama: You've previously done work at IDW and BOOM! on titles based on animated books. What's it like to transition from something with such a set-in-stone style, to something that's a little more loosely defined with Archie's new Riverdale style?
Charm: Yeah, I mean the nice thing about comics based on cartoons and stuff is that you know exactly what it’s all supposed to look like, so you know if you’re doing it right or wrong. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was actually the first book I did in something close to my natural drawing style, but Jughead is 100% me—for better or worse. It was kind of a slow realization that it was okay for me to draw things the way I wanted to, but it’s been a lot of fun. At the same time, I’m still doing Powerpuff Girls comics and kid’s books, it’s sort of like using different parts of my brain jumping back and forth between those, but I like the variety.
Nrama: Before we go, what are your big goals with Jughead?
Charm: To draw this book forever.