An early look at Archie Comics latest reboot, Jughead #1, by Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals, Howard the Duck) and Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) doesn't disappoint. The talented duo brings out a contemporary twist to Riverdale's clown prince of hunger that pays homage to his classic characterization with some modern day sensibilities.
After the massively successful relaunch of Archie with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, it was Jughead's turn to shine and shine he does. The change of Principal at Riverdale shakes up many things but most notably the cafeteria food. It goes from pasta to "healthy" slop and it makes the formerly uninitiated Jughead to take up activism but not before fainting from shock. The medieval dream sequence that proceeds is funny and inspired. Just the type of satirical allegory you'd expect from Zdarsky.
There's an adjustment period with Henderson's interpretation of Archie character designs. They continue the contemporary look of the new Archie series but Henderson's angular pencil work and slightly exaggerated body language amplifies the slapstick humor making Jughead stand out on its own. It's more broad and built for humor than Staples with a style more like Henderson's Squirrel Girl. She makes the Archie universe all her own.
There's a nice post-script from Zdarsky that leads into a reprint of 1949's Archie's Pal Jughead #1. It nicely traces the character's origin and how it relates to its 2015 version. Zdarsky has successfully transferred Jughead's essence in a uniquely modern way.
Jughead #1 is a light, funny, and smart revival of one of comic's best pals. Zdarsky and Henderson work in unison to bring a modern take on classic characters while keeping the goofy charm, hysterical hijinks, and subversive smarts well intact. Jughead is a winner.