The Archies sang of sugar and their candy girl. The Ramones sang of wanting to sniff some glue. The Archies came from Riverdale; the Ramones were all about 53rd and 3rd and Rockaway Beach. The Ramones sang about wanting to be sedated. The Archies…uh, Jughead was kind of sedated.
This October, worlds and eras will collide in Archie Meets Ramones, a time-bending crossover where a record from Sabrina the Teenage Witch thrusts the red-headed Riverdale teen into another era, and into the path of four bad dudes from Forest Hills, Queens, who are about to jumpstart the punk movement.
We spoke to writers Alex Segura (Silent City) and Matt Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) about what exactly this crossover with artist Gisele Lagace is, and what readers can expect.
Newsarama: Matt, Alex, first off, fair warning: A prized possession of mine is a print done for a screening of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School printed on a vinyl record I later got signed by Marky Ramone, Mary Woronov and P.J. Soles. That is not hardest of the hardcore when it comes to Ramones fandom, but I wish to indicate that I take this interview seriously.
Alex Segura: Duly noted!
Nrama: That said - how did this story come about?
Segura: I wish it was more elaborate than it really is, but it boiled down to Matt – an old friend of mine – reaching out and saying he knew the Ramones people and would Archie be interested in doing a crossover.
We said heck yes, and then we got to ironing out the logistics of the whole thing. After that, we just had to hash out the story. I knew Gisele was a huge Ramones fan, so when I mentioned it to her she threw her hat in the ring and we were on our way!
Rosenberg: Yeah, I used to work in music so I was a few degrees away from the Ramones camp. I really loved the Archie Meets KISS book that Alex wrote and I mentioned how fun an “Archie Meets Ramones” thing would be. He was obviously very excited by it, and then it was just a matter of making it all work.
Nrama: What do the Riverdale crew have to deal with in terms of the Ramones? Does the KKK take Betty and Veronica away? Does someone beat on Reggie with a baseball bat? Afterlife with Archie kind of already shows what would happen if Hot Dog were buried in a Pet Sematary.
Segura: I like your comparisons, but I don’t want to spoil too much, either! There will be a ton of Archie and Ramones Easter Eggs throughout the book.
Our goal when hashing out the story was, first and foremost, to tell a fun adventure and, secondly, to make sure fans of both sides felt like they got a lot out of the book in terms of fan hat tips and nods to the past.
Rosenberg: We're all huge Ramones fans ourselves, so we tried to make the book we'd want to see.
Nrama: Tell us about the Ramones lineup we'll be experiencing in this. What sort of personalities and such are you applying to the comic versions, especially given that the originals are no longer with us?
Segura: We’re dealing with the original four, at the beginning of their careers. Tonally, it’s very similar to Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, in terms of being fun and light-hearted. Matt and I tried to make sure each Ramone got ample “screen time” and a few zingers.
Nrama: How are the Ramones perceived in the Archie-verse? Is this Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, an alternate reality where they are rightly perceived as the greatest band on the planet, or something closer to their unjustified struggle they went through to sell some records?
Segura: Oh, in this one-shot it’s very clear the Ramones are the greatest band ever. And the Archies know this from Page One.
Nrama: What was your collaborative process like for this?
Segura: Pretty painless. Like I said earlier, Matt and I go way back, so once the business stuff was ironed out, we literally just sat down in my office and hashed out the big beats - knowing how much space we had and what we wanted to accomplish.
We wanted it to be fun and memorable, and less about the “how” - which I think bogs down a lot of the “wacky” crossovers you see happening lately - and more about the adventure of having these two great bands together.
Rosenberg: Most of the work on our end was us trying to figure out a way to get all the cool stuff we wanted into the book.
Nrama: Tell us about working with Gisele Lagace on the art for this..
Segura: Gisele is amazing. Her style is constantly evolving and improving and I think this is her best work ever. She’s pushed the “traditional” Archie style forward to become something all its own, and she’s really getting to cut loose on a music comic, which is fun for her.
We both come from bands and have experience in the music world (as does Matt, though both have been much more successful than me!), so we’re all able to throw in our knowledge of those kind of things to really inject some realism into this, even if the project is fantastical.
But back to Gisele - not only is she a great artist, but she’s an amazing storyteller. From facial expressions to action, her art really carries the story. I couldn’t imagine anyone else drawing this book.
Nrama: Archie's had some other musical crossovers, such as Glee and KISS. This begs the question: Which musical acts would you most like to see pal around with the Riverdale gang? It seems almost destiny that the Insane Clown Posse head through town and Jughead becomes a Juggalo. He seems the sort to enjoy a Faygo and contemplating such miracles as the inner workings of magnets.
Segura: I can’t say that an ACP / ICP crossover is in the works, but we are in the very early stages of something that I’m hesitant to even tease.
That said, we’re always open to doing crossovers - musical or not - as long as they make sense and are creatively engaging. We don’t want to do them just to do them.
Rosenberg: As a fan I'd love to see Archie meets some of the early hardcore bands. Archie meets Minor Threat, Bad Brains, or SSD. Or maybe some black metal bands. That would be fun.
Nrama: If the Ramones covered "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies, what do you imagine it would have sounded like?
Segura: Probably pretty awesome.
Nrama: What was the most fun part about working on this?
Segura: I love working with talented people, and I got to jam with two of my personal favorites in Matt and Gisele. Plus, how can you top Archie meeting the Ramones?
Nrama: Why should fans of Archie and/or the Ramones pick this up?
Segura: If you like comics and/or music, you’ll get a kick out of this crossover – one of the most unexpected but at the same time most natural team-ups ever. It has it all! Time travel, basements, rock ‘n’ roll, cameos galore and a crash course in the best band that ever was…
Nrama: What's next for each of you?
Segura: I’ve got another Miami crime novel, Dangerous Ends, coming out early next year and a few things I can’t announce yet!
Rosenberg: I am finishing up my creator owned series 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank. I'm also wrapping up Civil War II: Kingpin for Marvel. And early next year I launch a Rocket Raccoon series and the Kingpin ongoing book. And then there is a bunch of stuff that I also can't talk about yet.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
Rosenberg: For maximum enjoyment of this comic I'd urge folks to make sure they own a copy of the Ramones’ first record, a good sound system, and a comfy chair. It's not necessary but it will help.