(Image credit: Archie Comics)
This summer, the teens of Riverdale High will welcome new friends and rivals when all-new characters make their Archie Comics debut and then have regular recurring roles in the Archie universe. Readers will be able to meet Eliza Han, a teen business magnate, and Stacy Banks, a computer software technology genius in July. Who are these two new additions to Town with Pep, exactly?
Eliza Han comes to Riverdale in the pages of Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’, a one-shot comic by the creative team of Tee Franklin and Dan Parent. This issue will feature Eliza Han, a bi-racial and pansexual woman who works for Harper Lodge (a cousin of Veronica). In a bid to win Harper’s love, she is matched up against Reggie Mantle (the Riverdale bully). Harper will become bisexual for the first time in this story.
“The best Archie characters are the ones you can drop in and have them create a little fun chaos,” Archie Comics editor-in-chief Mike Pellerito says in Archie’s announcement. Eliza Han is another Archie character you will fall for. There’s more about her than just sexuality. “
Then, in July’s Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Summer Surf Party, African American teen coding savant Stacy Banks will shake up the “genius” hierarchy of Riverdale normally ruled over by Dilton Doiley’s mechanical know-how. Stacy’s online savvy has resulted in the launch of an internet word game that is making waves in Riverdale.
The one-shot will again be drawn by Archie veteran Parent and will be written by Archie Comics senior director of editorial Jamie Rotante.
“STEM has become such an important field in today’s world – but it also can be incredibly fun,” Rotante says. Rotante says that there are many possibilities for what one can do with STEM. The opportunities it opens up to students is amazing. It’s exciting to have a STEM-focused student in the Archie classic-style titles. “
Rotante adds that despite their brief introductory appearances, the new characters “are here to stay” as part of Archie’s “ongoing commitment to expanding and diversifying its storytelling universe. “
“Any and all new characters are meant to become integrated into the regular cast of characters,” Rotante says in Archie’s announcement. Rotante says that Riverdale will continue to grow and that they’ll take extra precautions to ensure no new characters are left out. “
Though much of its cast dates back to the 1940s, Archie Comics has had a few more recent additions that have stuck around to make an impact on their world. Kevin Keller was the Archieverse’s first gay character. Antoinette Topaz is a key player on the Riverdale TV Show. Stacy and Eliza see both characters regularly in Archie.
Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’ hits shelves and digital platforms everywhere on June 8th, followed by Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Summer Surf Party’s release on July 17th.
Archie and his friends seem like normal teens but have been involved with two of the most unlikely comic book crossovers ever.
Grant DeArmitt is a NYC-based writer and editor who regularly contributes bylines to Newsarama. Grant DeArmitt is an avid horror fan. He has contributed reviews and features to Nightmare on Film Street and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Grant says he probably isn’t a werewolf… but you can never be too careful.