He’s fighting cults on Riverdale. He’s turning into a werewolf in the comics. Sometimes, he’s just eating his way through Pop’s menu time and time again. Jughead’s living a wild life wherever you get your Archie fix these days, but his new series is his weirdest one yet, because Jughead’s going back to the future. And the past. And everywhere, really! io9 has your exclusive look.
A revival of the short-lived ‘90s comic series of the same name, Jughead: Time Police’s return marks Archie Comics’ latest foray into putting its beloved characters through their genre paces. Penned by Iceman scribe Sina Grace and with art from Archie staple Derek Charm, the new miniseries—which, like several of Archie Comics’ past genre experiments, like Jughead: The Hunger, has the chance to expand to a full ongoing if reader demand is there—sees Jughead decide that, after being banned from the Riverdale annual Bake-Off contest for a pie gone awry, the only way to solve his problem is to...well, use time travel to fix his mistake.
Equally natural, of course, is that Jughead Jones is not exactly the sort of person you’d expect to nail the delicate balance altering the timeline requires, so when he mucks it up, he finds himself roped into a war to prevent time itself from being torn apart. Thank god it’s all in the name of something worth it, like delicious pie.
To find out more, we recently spoke to Grace and Charm about what to expect from Jughead’s sci-fi adventure—check out our chat below, as well as an exclusive sneak peek at the first issue, making its debut here on io9!
io9: Why was now the right time to bring an idea like Time Police back?
Sina Grace: Ever since Cher’s renewed popularity with her ABBA covers album, everyone’s had “If I Could Turn Back Time” on their Spotify playlists. In all seriousness....wait, no, we’re talking about Jughead—I don’t wanna be serious. I foresaw how frustrated everyone would be with the way Game of Thrones is ending and understood how the notion of wanting to change the past would be on the minds of countless millions.
Derek Charm: We’d been talking about doing something new with Jughead since his previous series ended, but I don’t think anyone really wanted to do more of the same. I’m kind of glad it took as long as it did because it’s nice coming at these characters and situations with fresh eyes again.
io9: Tell us a little about what fans can expect from the miniseries.
Grace: It’s safe to say that fans can expect a pretty hyper and fun romp through space-time. We’ve revealed some covers to the later issues in the arc, so I believe I’m okay to indicate that we may be seeing Jughead from other timelines...that should make things quite interesting! There’ll be a visit to the future, cool music references, awesome Hot Dog asides, Time Thieves, Thought Bubbles, and so much more!
io9: Coming into this new iteration of it, what did you want to keep from the original ‘90s series in this new take?
Grace: The two big things I wanted to preserve from the original was showcasing Time Police Deputy January McAndrews as an awesome co-pilot to the story and spending a little more time in the 29th century. The ‘90s plotlines were very linear, which was fun. But in 2019 you gotta complicate things on an epic level, and my take totally provides space for, uhh—complications.
Charm: I have the paperback of the ‘90s series sitting on my desk at all times and I pull from it often, just seeing what I can reference or reinterpret visually.
io9: Sina, this is your first time getting into the world of Archie as a writer—what’s it been like exploring a character like Jughead, especially through such an out-there lens with Time Police’s sci-fi framing?
Grace: Writing Jughead has been like having that acquaintance you only see at parties or events, and then finally meeting up to catch a movie together and realize just how much this friendship needed to happen. The sci-fi framing gave me the freedom to get pretty out-there in terms of structure and surprises. Editor Alex Segura was incredibly wise to direct me to this corner of Jughead’s history, as it really allowed me to flex the stuff I learned at Marvel and apply it to my general humor sensibilities.
io9: And Derek, coming off your past run on the Jughead book, what was your approach to designing his looks in this series? What did you want to evolve about your take on Jughead?
Charm: I really took this as an opportunity to rethink and redesign each of the characters. When I did the first Jughead series, it was just pre-Riverdale, and the idea of non-classic versions of these characters was fairly new. Now, after doing 10 issues of Jughead and after seeing all these alternate interpretations, it’s really freeing to go through and rethink each character and location to what best serves the story. I also just didn’t want to do the same thing again, and as we’ll see in this story, other versions of these characters will be popping up so it made sense to try something different.
io9: Time travel as a conceit lends, naturally, to being able to visit Archie Comics’ history as a publisher. For both of you, what was challenging to try and evoke a specific tone or style of an era you call back to in Jughead’s new adventures?
Grace: Speaking only for myself, I don’t think I saw any challenges with the tone or style...only insofar as this entire project has been like, “how do we take this thing and make it bigger, better, stronger, faster?” in the most exhilarating way possible. What ended up happening for me was realizing how the conceit could tap into some Archie deep-dives instead of, “Hey, what if Jughead was in Medieval Times!? Aren’t we ker-razy!?” Where we go is kind of a secret, so I’ll stop there.
io9: Sci-Fi, horror, slice of life, supernatural—what is it you think about the Riverdale kids that has made them so perfectly malleable to all these genres over the years?
Grace: The Riverdale kids have the perfect chemistry chart. The way that the group of them interact and deal with conflict is basically an endless well for fun and exciting stories. Like, if they were just six water signs, the books would be boring in any genre because all they’d do is go with the flow and agree with each other.
Charm: Yeah, I feel like they’re so iconic and classic you could honestly drop them into any kind of story and their characters would remain unchanged despite whatever weird situation they find themselves in.
The first issue of Jughead: Time Police (of five in all) hits shelves next month, on June 12.
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