My affection for Archie comics has been well-documented here at ComicsAlliance, and I never love them more than when things get weird for the teenagers of Riverdale. Magical gender reassignment
, hillbilly murderers with bad intentions
are my favorite Archie stories. And in this month's Betty and Veronica #261, writer/artist Dan Parent has given us a story that may be the single most bizarre Archie adventure ever printed.
Because this is the one where Riverdale is assaulted by vampires and Betty is instructed to drive a wooden stake through the heart of her best friend
. And it is fantastic
We first heard about this story -- and caught a glimpse of Parent's sketches
-- way back in 2010, but last week, the first installment of the two-part story finally made it into print, and it'll stand up next to any of our "Bizarro Back Issues" subjects for sheer kookiness. It's essentially a gigantic Twilight
/ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
crossover fan-fic done with Archie characters, and somehow ends up being even weirder than that sounds.
Part of that weirdness comes from the fact that the vampires -- to be accurate, vampire surfers
, in what I can only hope is a blood-sucking tribute to Point Break -- just show up in Riverdale one night as thought they've always been there and nobody ever noticed because they're usually home by dusk. And not only that, but that there's a second group of evil vampires -- who are presumably not into surfing and only like to start fights with sound effects like "PUNCH" and "KICK" for their recreation -- also just hanging out in town. What exactly is going on up there in New England that they don't notice two distinct gangs of actual people-eating vampires?
Of course, that sort of takes a back seat to this being an Archie story heavily influenced by Vampirella, but somehow even weirder. See, while Veronica herself gets bitten by one of the nosferatu
and starts displaying downright Marceline-esque tendencies towards red foods....
She's not the one who shows up at the end of the story in pleated skirt Vampirella cosplay, and she's certainly not an alien from the planet Drakulon, where blood flows in rivers and oceans like water.
She's actually a vampire clone
There's an evil vampire clone of Reggie, too, but he mostly just stands around with his shirt off.
And the only one who stands between an army of vampire clones
and the good people of Riverdale? Betty Cooper, naturally, who is given a stake carved out of a tree-branch by one of the good vampires (who has both a pocketknife and
the most improbable hair in the book) between panels. Super-fast whittling, of course, is one of the vampire's lesser known powers.
There's still one more issue of the story to go, but from what I can tell in the first half, this is not a dream, not a hoax, and not an imaginary story. Then again, that
shouldn't really come as a surprise, considering that they live one town over from an actual witch with a talking cat who's always getting into supernatural hijinx. Either way, it's well worth picking up.