The modern era of Archie Comics has seen the company rapidly diversify the world of Riverdale and beyond—not just in style and tone since the reboot of Archie in 2015, but in its view of its characters and their identities, from the introduction of queer characters to moves like revealing Jughead’s asexuality. Now, in the realm of its horror imprint, the publisher is ready to take a major step.
io9 can exclusively reveal that the next upcoming chapter in the story of Jinx Holliday—inspired by the old Archie character Li’l Jinx, and revived for Jinx: Grim Fairy Tales last year on the precipice of a series of solo adventure one-shots—Strange Science, will spotlight classic ‘80s Archie Dilton’s Strange Science character Danni Molloy, now Jinx’s best friend, and re-introduce her as a trans woman, in a major first for the company.
“I’ve been wanting to make this happen for a long time, and it’s really cool to see it finally come to fruition. I never wanted Danni’s trans identity to be gimmicky, or for her to feel like she was only created to be trans. So, I’d like to apologize for sneaking her over the line like this,” Jinx writer Magdalene Visaggio said in a statement provided to io9 over email. “I wanted you to have a chance to fall in love with her for who she is, not what she is. I’m honored I got to make it happen, and I’m grateful to Archie for never, not even once, pushing back on my insistence on making their books a little bit more queer. I hope Danni finds a good home at Archie with supportive writers and artists helping to keep her alive for years to come.”
Archie Comics senior director of editorial Jamie L. Rotante added, “Strange Science is one of, if not the, most important one-shots we’ve released to date. It also showcases how versatile horror can be, as it deftly blends sci-fi with horror and tells a beautiful, poignant tale about confronting the past. That’s all thanks to writer Magdalene Visaggio, who had the idea to have Danni Malloy tell her own story about her transition. We just needed to figure out the best way to make it fit, and a callback to her character’s classic origins mixed with the new horror surroundings she’s been re-introduced in just made the most sense.”
“I think it’s clear to anyone reading this that there is a ton of passion and heart in this story, which was demonstrated on every script page. Every comic Mags has worked on so far has been my favorite, but this one really stuck with me, and I think it will for everyone who reads it. Butch Mapa delighted us with his work on a horror short in last year’s Happy Horror Days one-shot, and not only is his work both gorgeous and grotesque (when the script calls for the latter, of course), but he puts an incredible amount of care into every detail and design he creates.”
“I’m so proud of this book, but moreover, it’s an honor to help bring this beautiful story to life,” Rotante concluded. “I’m consistently awed by the amazing talent I have the opportunity to work with.”
We’ll meet Danni properly in her solo story in Strange Science, written by Visaggio and illustrated by Butch Mapa, in August. But she made a supporting appearance alongside Jinx in Archie’s Free Comic Book Day special The Cursed Library, by Visaggio and artist Craig Cermak (out now); that same creative team is behind this week’s Jinx and Danni one-shot Jinx: A Cursed Life. Although all four stories, including last year’s anthology tale, are standalone, readers who follow along through each tale will be subtly rewarded with an overarching story connecting them.
“I already felt so honored to be doing this one-shot, and that was before I learned what the story is about. Magdalene is one of the more important voices in writing today, and I’m thrilled to join her for this chapter in her ongoing story with Danni and Jinx,” Mapa added in his own statement over email. “I’ve been a fan of Ellie [Wright, Strange Science’s colorist]’s work, and am excited to see her wonderful hues over my lines. And of course, the living legend that is [letterer] Jack Morelli completes this amazing group of collaborators I’m blessed with. Magdalene wrote a story that is vital and poignant and brilliant at the same time, while also being a fantastic piece of horror/sci-fi. Expect lots of weirdness, emotion, action, and character.”
Strange Science is expected to hit shelves August 16. Jinx: Grim Fairy Tales is available now, as is The Cursed Library as part of Archie’s FCBD offering from earlier this month. The next tale in Jinx and Danni’s story before Strange Science, Jinx: A Cursed Life, is due out this Wednesday, July 17.
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