The New York Comic Con is three days of tightly packed comics action, a quick but enormous event in Gotham City. Sifting through the content, we ask some of our favorite comics creators questions on their craft in The A.V. Club’s Comics Questionnaire.
When it came time to relaunch America’s favorite comic book best friend, Jughead, Archie Comics couldn’t have asked for a more perfect creative team than Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson. Henderson has been turning heads all year with her work on everyone’s favorite down-to-earth crime-stopping girl-next-door in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Zdarsky recently won (and turned down) the Harvey Award for humor for his work on Sex Criminals and has been cranking out zanier fare with Kaptara and Howard The Duck. If anyone can make comic book buyers care about the hometown kid who just wants to eat hamburgers again, it’s these two.
If an alien species discovered Jughead as the only remnant of human civilization, what would they learn about us?
Erica Henderson: I think they would learn how human biology works, in terms of how much sleep and food we need.
Chip Zdarsky: Yeah, that’s true. They’d think we’re all very funny, and very very attractive, so that’s all right.
EH: I’m sure they would also think we were amazingly attractive, all humans. We’re working on the Star Trek standard where everybody looks alike anyway, so it would just be aliens with, like, a thing on their forehead.
If my résumé included a whole summer spent reading Jughead, how could I spin that into valuable work experience?
CZ: You could end up writing the Jughead comic. The job would be to write or draw Jughead, really. That’s the one thing it’s good for. I guess teen psychology, is that a job?
EH: Guidance counsellor, I guess. Or you could be a Hollywood reader. Just read some screenplays.
If copyright law were no concern, what character from another game, comic, movie, etc. would you like to see crossover into Jughead?
CZ: Jughead is kind of like my childhood love, so I want to marry that with my other childhood love which was General Hospital, the soap opera. Robert Scorpio and Frisco Jones, secret agents, I’d probably include them at some point. Maybe I will, actually! We do have a secret agent coming up. [Speaks to Henderson.] I’ll give you a lot of reference to 1980s soap actors.
EH: I feel like we should do a sequel to Archie Meets The Punisher and just bring back that whole Miss Grundy-Frank Castle kiss at the end.
CZ: Yes, yes! In every interview, when people talk about the possibility of there being a Howard The Duck/Jughead crossover, I just think back to that Archie Meets The Punisher crossover…
EH: Archie’s got a duck.
CZ: Right, Super-Duck!
EH: So we don’t even need Howard.
CZ: I clearly need Howard.
AVC: You would want some duck-on-duck action?
CZ: Oh no! have you ever seen ducks mate?
EH: It’s terrible!
CZ: Absolutely terrifying!
EH: It’s the worst.
If Jughead were the main course of a meal, what would be the appetizer and what would be the dessert?
CZ: Jughead is such an entry point into comics, Jughead feels like the appetizer for the entire comics industry. I would say Garfield. Obviously, I would say Garfield, because he does have sort of the same lazy quality and it would ease you into the idea of laziness in human form.
EH: I would want Jughead as the appetizer to lead into Oishinbo, that 20-year comic from Japan about food. We have three books, not sure what order to put them in, so just family style them.
How would you describe lead character Jughead’s ideal first date?
CZ: Nobody else on the date, having a nice meal. That’s essentially it.
EH: It would just be him and Hot Dog at a grill with an endless supply of meats and buns.
CZ: If it had to be an actual date, it would be him and Betty, but a reasonable distance.
EH: Presumably she is paying. That’s why she’s there.
CZ: When you go to a movie, sometimes there are people who sit one seat over instead of the seat next to you.
EH: Put popcorn in the middle.
CZ: I could see that being his ideal date, where there’s food in between himself and let’s say Betty.
Let’s say Jughead has been adapted into a Broadway musical. Describe the big show-stopping musical number.
EH: To make it accurate to modern Broadway, which one band is doing all the music? Spider-Man was U2.
CZ: We have to find the composer of the rap song from the Riverdale movie.
EH: Or we could get the B-52s.
CZ: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. I picture it as a one-man show, you know? Just Jughead in a spotlight, sitting there, espousing his beliefs. He doesn’t care if there’s anyone in the audience, he may not even open the doors to let the audience in. He just espouses his burger-centric world view.