Must-Read Graphic Novels for Fans of TV’s Riverdale

I’m a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, so I’m well-versed in Dilton’s Strange Science, Captain Hero and even Jughead’s weird stint as a skateboarding punk. When the new Riverdale series launched on Netflix and the CW in January 2017, I was definitely ready for more antics from Archie and the gang.

The new Riverdale series wasn’t quite the wholesome parallel to the Archie-universe I was expecting, but its gripping storyline left me on the edge of my seat and wondering what surprises awaited my favourite characters in each new episode. The show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, describes the series as Archie meets Twin Peaks meets Gossip Girl meets Blue Velvet meets River’s Edge, which gives you a sense of exactly how far he’s taken these familiar characters.

The plot thickens tonight at 9 on @thecw

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If you haven’t picked up an Archie comic in a few years (or decades), the show may seem completely foreign. While those classic-style Archie digests still grace the shelves of supermarkets everywhere, the franchise has also created a series of new, darker and more serious graphic novels. The show takes its cue from those.

If Riverdale has left you with a craving for the dark and melodramatic, these comic series are must-reads. Take a breather from each week’s cliffhanger with some of these innovative, gripping and just plain exciting comic titles!


1. Riverdale

This new graphic novel series exists somewhere between the show Riverdale and the Archie comic universe. It’s a collection of stories that fills in the gaps and fleshes out the characters and storylines between episodes of the series. It’s an absolute must-read for superfans of the TV series.

The Riverdale comic series is available as downloadable issues and volumes through hoopla. You can also check out print Road to Riverdale volumes that compile the first issues of all the modern-day Archie relaunches, including Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats, and Reggie & Me.


2. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Exciting rumours have recently been flying around that Riverdale creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is also working on a TV series about Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The show promises to be even darker and more thrilling than Riverdale and is based on the comic series also penned by Aguirre-Sacasa.

This is not for those viewers who are nostalgic for Melissa Joan Hart’s take on the character—or for the timid. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina offers a throwback to classic horror films and eerie EC horror comics. If you watched Rosemary’s Baby from the couch instead of behind it and read Tales from the Crypt sans nightlight, read on!

Aguirre-Sacasa’s involvement in the 2013 reboot of Carrie is all the proof we need that he has the horror chops to pull this show off and his keen eye for teenage drama really shines through in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina graphic novels.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are available from EPL in print and as single issue and volume downloads.


3. Blacksad

John Blacksad, a hard-boiled private investigator, would definitely beat Riverdale’s Betty and Jughead to solving any case. This thrilling detective series is a throw-back to classic film noir cinema and will satisfy cravings for Riverdale’s gritty whodunit mystery setting.

The Blacksad series is available in print and as downloadable volumes through hoopla.


4. Strangers in Paradise

If there were a drama-bomb arms race, David, Francine, and Katchoo could go toe-to-toe with the cast of Riverdale. Secret pasts, scintillating love triangles and crime syndicates abound in this comic classic by Terry Moore.

Strangers in Paradise offers melodrama, mystery and winning characters that Riverdale fans will love. And, in my humble opinion, the Southside serpents have nothing on the Parker Girls.

The Strangers in Paradise series is available at the Edmonton Public Library in print.


5. Snotgirl

Bryan Lee O’Malley is best known for his epic Scott Pilgrim series. He’s embraced an even-less-likable character in his new collaborative series with illustrator Leslie Hung.

Snotgirl follows the dramatic life and career of Lottie Person, a fashion blogger living in Los Angeles. This comic will satisfy anyone wondering what may have become of Veronica if she had moved to L.A. rather than Riverdale.

Snotgirl is available in print and as a hoopla download.


Bonus: Archie Superstars

The Calgary Olympics happened before my time, but I can credit Archie and the gang (along with the handy comic book discount bin at the Wee Book Inn) for schooling a young Riverdale enthusiast on the (very official) history of the 1988 Winter games and the definition of a chinook in Archie Superstars issue #356.


 Archie Superstars

 Issue #356



It’s always thrilling to catch up with the original crew from Riverdale, and what could be more fun than seeing them fly a helicopter into Edmonton and shop at our very own West Edmonton Mall? This comic will not disappoint fans of the original series or anyone up for a campy good time.

Original Archie series comic digests and single issues are available at the Edmonton Public Library as hoopla downloads.

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