Jughead is known for his love of hamburgers - but Harley Quinn writer Frank Tieri has found some success in making the teen hungry for "humanburgers" as well.
Spinning out of a successful one-shot earlier this year, the ongoing Jughead: The Hunger debuts this week with the whoopee cap-wearing teenager transforming into a whoopee cap-wearing werewolf. But don't worry, Betty Cooper now has a surprising lineage as a werewolf hunter.
For more on Jughead: The Hunger, Newsarama spoke to Tieri to learn more about the series and how it all started with the writer having an Archie editor for lunch.
Newsarama: Frank, where did the original idea for Jughead: The Hunger come from - and how did it develop into its final form?
Frank Tieri: So, I was at Comic-Con International: San Diego one day having lunch with Mike Pellerito, Archie’s President/Editor. Hangman was taking a hiatus and he wanted to know what else I’d want to do at Archie. I’ve always thought the idea of Archie Horror was a brilliant one so I figured I’d do something with that if they’d be crazy enough to let me. So, I threw out this whacky notion that Jughead was secretly a werewolf, that that’s why the guy’s always hungry all the time. Good ol’ Pell went for it and me and all the Jughead: The Hunger fans out there are certainly glad that he did.
Nrama: And after that initial one-shot’s success, an ongoing series launches Wednesday. What can people expect?
Tieri: Expect more. What fans loved about the one shot, just expect more of it. More Jughead werewolf, more Betty werewolf hunter, more conflicted Archie, more werewolves, more monster hunters, more black humor, more death, mayhem and destruction… just a hell of a lot more.
Nrama: For those that haven't read the original one-shot, can you explain a werewolf Jughead?
Tieri: Well, it turns out that our ol’ pal Jug has more than just an appetite for cheeseburgers… that he’s secretly a werewolf that craves the occasional humanburger as well. That unknowingly to him, he comes from a long line of werewolves that date back centuries. And that clean-cut, innocent Betty Cooper comes from a long line of werewolf hunters that have been hunting his kind almost since their beginnings. And it all continues in the modern day, with Betty biding her time until Jug turned… and that’s where the one-shot came in.
Nrama: For some who read the one-shot, a Buffy-esque Betty steals the show. What can you tell fans of her about her role in this new ongoing?
Tieri: It’s funny but Betty the Werewolf Hunter turned out to be just as popular as Werewolf Juggie himself. I don’t think we really expected that - so it turned out to be this great surprise. We needed someone to play a foil to JugWolf and I thought… hey, why not Betty? That beneath this nice, wholesome exterior lie something deeper, something darker. That she was actually this major league kick ass monster hunter, that she was just about every bit as dangerous as Jugwolf was.
So now in the ongoing, we pick up right where we left off: Jug is a fugitive for the murders he committed as a werewolf, and Betty and Archie are in hot pursuit. And Betty will be like a force of nature. She doesn’t want to hear about longshot cures or anything. She thinks the only way to cure a werewolf is to kill it, so obviously none of this bodes well for our favorite beanie wearer.
Nrama: We have Jughead, Betty, and Archie… are any other Riverdale regulars in this?
Tieri: Don’t worry, we’ll be seeing plenty of the regular cast - Veronica, Weatherbee, Moose all make appearances in the first arc. But the guy you’ll especially be getting to see more of is Reggie. We’ll learn that he may not be as dead as we were led to believe at the end of our one shot. He’s out for revenge… and may actually pose more of a threat to Jughead than Betty or anyone else for that matter. He’ll basically be our “big bad” moving forward.
Nrama: For the ongoing, artists Pat and Tim Kennedy are taking over from Michael Walsh. How are they fitting with the series so far?
Tieri: They’re fitting in great. They’re bringing a sort of “EC Horror Comics style” to the book and with Matt Herms coloring over them, it looks creepy as hell. And when doing a horror book, creepy is good.
Nrama: And lastly, what are your big goals with Jughead: The Hunger?
I’ve been saying that if the one-shot was a bite, the series is where you get completely devoured. We’ll be greatly expanding the universe. You know all those other Jones werewolves and Cooper werewolf hunters we’ll be talking about? We’ll be seeing some of them - in both the present and the past. Jughead and Betty are just part of a bigger picture and with the ongoing series, we’ll start to see what that bigger picture looks like.