Any fans of Archie’s universe will rejoice with The Archie Encyclopedia. It’s a comprehensive breakdown of all things Archie-related. The book covers first appearances, spinoff series, and comics, with numerous drawings depicting Archie’s—and others—transformation in the hands of different artists. Even if you’re not an Archie fan, chances are you know and enjoy something Archie-adjacent. Fans of Greendale, home to witchy Sabrine or Josie and the Pussycats, can discover new aspects of these characters. The Archie Encyclopedia is a fun, informative collection that engages with hardcore fans or newcomers to Archie’s universe.
With a script by Jamie Lee Rotante, Ian Flynn, Caty Koehl, and Gillian Swearingen, the book begins with the most notable character, Archie, then the mainstay Riverdale set. But fans can flip to their favorite characters. So rest assured, after reading Big Ethel Energy; I flipped to Ethel Muggs’ section. But it’s incredible how an over-80-year-old character like Archie continues to flourish. As such, it brings devoted fans and newcomers into the ever-expanding cherished universe.
The Archie Encyclopedia Shows More Diversity Than Some Might Realize
For those looking to expand beyond their Riverdale obsession, this encyclopedia assists. It mentions various issues that can be a jumping-off point to the comic world of their beloved characters. Regarding Archie alone, I had no clue he was a superhero, spy, or detective. But that’s the beauty of comics. New writers instill the character with their own twist. So they add a fresh breath to pre-existing characters and new characters in the Archie universe.
As it expands, newcomers like Eliza Han, a Black Korean, disabled, pansexual—courtesy of writer Tee Franklin—enrich the world. They bring inclusivity, so everyone has an opportunity to see themselves. Archie’s universe is increasingly diverse. Characters like Harper Lodge, Tomoka Yoshida, and Tina Patel are the tip of the broad iceberg. There’s an indescribable joy when you read about your beloved characters. But that bliss compounds when they interact with new ones who share your background and experiences. It says, “you are welcome.”
From Riverdale to Greendale to Cosmo
After focusing on Archie and Riverdale, The Archie Encyclopedia moves to a neighboring town, Greendale. Here readers can learn about Sabrina and her family, friends, and enemies. However, beloved Prudence from the Netflix series is not here as she’s from the show only. But readers can learn details unexplored in the series. Like Sabrina’s cat, Salem was a lot more than a cat.
Each new spinoff section begins with “Welcome to” in the Table of Contents, making searching easy. Characters with prominent roles get pages devoted to them. They detail their first appearance, physical appearance, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Minor characters get less love but still get some detail. They include a drawing, the year of their first comic appearance, and a paragraph breaking down their personality. My favorite section is the “Did You Know?” highlight because you can use this in conversation among friends. I did not know Sabrina accidentally started a zombie apocalypse in Riverdale!
Tons of Character Art
The Archie Encyclopedia includes a lot of character drawings and photos from television series. It’s fantastic to see each iteration of one character. Each artist’s reimagined style for the character plays into current trends. It gives them contemporary relatable looks. The designs show an evolution in each character’s appearance and popular artistic styles over the years.
Encyclopedias get a bad rap. There are some—light the one for urban legends—that blend history with tons of fun. For fans or newcomers, The Archie Encyclopedia gives enjoyment and can add a stronger appreciation for the timelessness of these characters. Worth purchasing for any fan of comics or this universe, as it is the “be-all, end-all” touted on the back of the book.