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'Archie Got Hot' Is A Sentence You'll Hear In New, Noir 'Riverdale'

<em>Riverdale</em>: These are not the innocuous Archie comics of your childhood.
Courtesy of The CW/Archie Comics
Riverdale: These are not the innocuous Archie comics of your childhood.

The CW television network has lots of shows that appeal to teenagers — and its new show, Riverdale, tells the story of some teenagers who've been around for more than 75 years.

Yes, Riverdale is the latest incarnation of the all-American Archie comics. It premieres tonight, and it has none of the aw-shucks innocence of the original. This town is full of forbidden love, secrets, and murder.

Producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that he grew up reading Archie. "When I was really young, before comic book shops opened up as specialty shops, I would go to the 7-11, and off the spinning rack I would buy comic books," he says. "Superhero, horror comic books and Archie comic books."

Interview Highlights

On his childhood obsession with the Archie characters

At the time, it was because I really wanted to be friends with these kids, and kind of the older I got ... it became very in vogue for comic book superheroes, especially, to be really dark and brooding. There was something again about the Archie characters that was inherently innocent, inherently optimistic and comforting. So I think that's why kind of they always had a warm spot in my heart.

On bringing these characters into a dark place

The guiding principle for us is that we maintain the absolute core of the characters from the comics, from the 75-year canon of Archie comics.

We take those archetypes ... and we put them in much more morally complex, adult, even criminal situations, and we see what they do.

The characters, when they were conceived, were so strong, they're such archetypes that ... you can throw a lot of stuff at them and the archetypes hold. There's something very flinty about the characters, something very steel-like, and that's what allows us to imagine these different scenarios.

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