Norm Breyfogle has done everything from penciling, inking and lettering Whisper, to drawing Batman, Detective Comics and Shadow of the Bat. He is currently starting two new series from Archie Comics, The Married Life: Archie Loves Betty and The Married Life: Archie Loves Veronica appearing in the brand new “Life with Archie” magazine. Norm took some time away from the drawing board to talk to First Comics News about his new series.
Norm Breyfogle: Last year, at a New York comics convention, in Artist’s Alley, I was speaking with Joe Staton and looking at his Archie work when Mike Pellerito (then Archie Comics’ Managing Editor) appeared and we exchanged contact info. Mike offered me the “New Look” gig a couple of months later, just when another series of mine (“The Danger’s Dozen,” done for the publisherA First Salvo) was ending, so the timing was just about perfect.
1st: How did that story lead to the two new series in the new “Life with Archie” magazine?
Norm: Well, the Archie Comics folks liked my work, so a few months after I’d finished the “New Look” story arc, Victor Gorelick (Archie Comics’ Editor-in-Chief) offered me two new, ongoing, monthly Archie titles to pencil. I was elated, although it is a lot of pages per month!
1st: You did a more realistic look on that story; looking at the covers for the new series, Archie looks like traditional Archie but there is more of an animated look to him. He doesn’t quite look the same as he did in ”The Archie Wedding” story. Did you redesign the adult Archie for these series?
Norm: Not really intentionally… not initially, at any rate. Actually, it’s been very interesting to me (as I’ve discovered in my research in preparation for this job) how much variation there’s already been in that traditional Archie cartoon style over the years. I’ve found that as long as the faces and body proportions are in the traditional style, everything else can be more or less pretty “realistic” or dramatic, although perhaps a bit simplified. So, my own version of the Archie traditional cartoon style features the same faces and body proportions, but with my own storytelling layouts (page layouts), body language, and fold concepts, among other things. The folks at Archie seem to like it, and I’m really enjoying the work. I’ve even shown some of it to some long-time Archie fans, and they really like it, too.
1st: There are actually 2 different monthly series in the “Life with Archie” magazine Archie Loves Betty and Archie Loves Veronica. Will you be drawing both series?
Norm: Yes. A lot of pages per month!
1st: “Goodbye Forever” was a very emotional story; normally Archie stories are shorter with more gag humor. What will the tone of theMarried Life stories be like?
Norm: As far as I can tell (and I’ve read Paul Kupperberg’s first two issues’ scripts for each title and his six issue outline for each title), the stories are traditional Archie in tone but with just a somewhat more sophisticated edge to them, which makes sense, since the two titles are set five years or so in the future, more or less.
It’s basically Archie as we’ve known him, but married.
1st: Archie has been a teen for 70 years; how do you think the fans will respond to twenty-something Archie?
Norm: I think they’ll respond well. The few Archie fans to whom I have shown a little of it appear to like it a lot.
1st: Even though all the same characters are in both series, they have different relationships and professions. Will they look the same in both comics?
Norm: Heh. That’s one of the things I’m wrestling with a little. Penciling two alternate reality stories featuring the same characters could get tricky, and I have to make sure I remember which characteristics for each character go with each title. So far, however, there’s only very small differences. The biggest difference is obviously in Archie himself. In Archie Loves Veronica, Archie wears a business suit, while in Archie Loves Betty, he’s much more casually dressed.
1st: What makes these series so cool no fan would want to miss the first issues?
Norm: Both substance and style. The most obvious draw is that we finally get to see Archie fulfill his relationships with both Betty and Veronica by marrying each, in two separate, alternate realities. We also get to see some important changes for many of the other characters as they grow up into adults. For me, what’s most interesting about these two titles is that they’re a new take not only on the characters’ life situations, but also in terms of visual style, all while retaining the traditional feel. I think both the stories and the art style will combine to make both titles irresistible.