The world of Archie has gained a whole new audience in recent years with both it’s revamp of the main Archie series of comics and their successful television outings. It’s safe to say though that the key ingredient for Archie’s new era was the 2013 comic Afterlife With Archie. Future Archie Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did a fantastic job of infusing classic Archie with elements of horror and a more modern slant, but a chunk of the credit has to go to artist Francesco Francavilla whose art was not only some of the best you’ll see in any horror comics, but also proved that Archie could be adapted into a new style whilst retaining the iconic elements that fans of the series remember. It is only fitting that he is the subject of a new art book from Archie.
Francavilla has worked for more or less every major comic publisher, having provided both covers and interiors for a variety of series including his creator owned book Black Beetle for Dark Horse, Black Panther and Hawkeye for Marvel, and Detective Comics for DC just to name a few. He is highly regarded for his work in the horror genre, but it would be a disservice to not point out how adaptable he is in any genre he is presented with. From pulp style stories (Black Beetle) to superhero action (Captain America) to space opera (Guardians of The Galaxy), he can do it all with gusto. It is little wonder that his art style was one of the key factor’s in Archie’s modern revival.
The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla covers the entire duration of Francavilla’s Archie career. Included are the covers to Life With Archie which caught the attention of Archie management along with a variety of interiors and covers from the resulting Afterlife With Archie series. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who can measure up to Francavilla’s skill at using shadows and negative space and his storytelling skills are top notch. This small peak into his landmark work on the series is just the icing on the cake though, as we are presented with a variety of his covers from every Archie assignment he has worked on including the gritty update on The Black Hood, the Riverdale comic tie-in, Archie’s meetings with KISS, The Ramones and Batman ’66, and his contributions to the new line of Archie titles that started in 2015. Francavilla’s influence on Archie’s media adaptations is undisputed and the work presented in this art book cements that.
It’s rare these days for one artist to shift the entire direction of a company but you could make an argument that Francavilla is such a case. This book is a great sample of his talents and a perfect snapshot of a very important time in Archie Comics’ history. There’s a reason why Francavilla is considered one of the top talents working in comics today.
The Archie Art Of Francesco Francavilla is out now from Archie Comics
9781682559369 – H/B £20.99
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