CHILLING ADVENTURES IN SORCERY #1 is hitting shelves November 3rd! Jamie L Rotante, Senior Editorial Director of Archie Comics stopped in to chat with us about the upcoming release.
I grew up as a big fan of both horror in general and also… Archie comics. The blending of these two worlds under the Archie Horror umbrella has been something I have enjoyed so much. Can you tell us a bit about Chilling Adventures In Sorcery?
Thank you so much! It’s amazing to see how many people started their comics and reading journey with Archie and have branched out into liking so many varied genres. We’ve learned over the past few years that the two seemingly different audiences can both find a home at Archie, and a goal we have is to make sure there’s always something for everyone at Archie. And that includes even within a genre—there are so many subsets of horror, and the anthology format helps us to explore a few. Chilling Adventures in Sorcery starts off picking up where last year’s Madam Satan one-shot left off, but uses her journey through Hell as the framework for the other stories contained within—including horror stories starring Archie and Jughead, both representing different circles in Hell!
We get to see a lot of familiar faces here, along with some nods to things like The Twilight Zone and even the old EC horror comics. Again, the blending of these two wonderful worlds. What was the inspiration for this particular project?
Horror has always been connected with Archie as a company in some way, dating back to the earliest MLJ comics, and then given a new lease on life thanks to series like Afterlife with Archie. But it’s that classic connection to the genre that really helped fuel this project. The original Chilling Adventures in Sorcery series ran in the early 1970s and featured Sabrina as the host, we wanted to emulate that formula but with Madam Satan taking her place. What I especially loved about that series was that it featured many of the most iconic Archie artists doing these horrific stories, so different from anything else that the company had been publishing. I love the idea of subverting expectations and taking something that seems comfortable and taking it to a weird and twisted place—that’s especially true for our last story in the issue, a very special one-pager I think some of our more classic fans will enjoy.
This is an anthology, showcasing multiple writers and multiple artists. When you set out on a project like this, do you know how many stories you’ll include in one issue, and how do you narrow down your final selections? What is that process like?
We’ve always had the idea of it being three stories—it’s a good number to work around, so from there we reached out to the writers and artists we knew we wanted to bring their unique voices and takes to the title. From each writer, we get a few pitches and some character samples from artists, then we narrow it down from there, trying to keep a narrative thread in mind to help the stories all flow together. There is definitely a learning process and we’re figuring out more of our approach as we go on, but it’s definitely been a lot of fun to bring so many amazing talents together on one title.
Why comics? What drew you to work in this particular realm?
As much as words are my life, being both an editor and writer, I’ve always been drawn to visual mediums. The symbiosis of art enhancing the story has always been something I found fascinating. And that was something that I was first attuned to from a very young age, thanks to Archie Comics!
As a big fan of Jughead Jones and cheeseburgers, there’s a real cautionary tale here, on a personal level. This isn’t a question, I just needed you to know. Unless the question is whether you would recommend I curb my burger intake, but — don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, right? I guess I can ask you, what’s your ultimate food vice? What would be the dish most likely to land you on the gluttony train?
Oh wow—as much of a cop-out as it may seem, it would absolutely be pizza for me. I can never get enough; I have a list of my favorite places all within a ten-mile radius. I have a specific type I consider my platonic ideal of pizza (saucy, cheesy, crispy thin-crust, New York-style, of course). I watch every new One Bite video for more pizza recommendations. There’s no doubt in my mind pizza would be my downfall.
As the Project Lead and Senior Editorial Director, do you plan to continue this journey into the horror realm? Do we have more Madam Satan on the horizon? More horror anthologies perhaps? Can you tell us anything about upcoming projects or titles you’re excited for?
As long as people still want more horror from us, we’re willing to dive back into these deeper and darker stories. As far as Sorcery and Madam Satan go… well, we only see her in two different circles of Hell. There are still a few more to explore!
And I’m really excited for all the anthologies yet to come… up next we have a special holiday-centric one-shot that’s filled with heart, followed by a yet-to-be-announced romance anthology. Then the sky’s the limit from there!
Anything else you’d like to share with the FANGORIA crowd?
Just that I hope fans of Archie Horror are excited for Chilling Adventures in Sorcery… and that anyone who hasn’t taken a chance yet changes their mind on the horror offerings of Archie Comics! You don’t have to be incredibly well-versed in all the horror comics we’ve done thus far to dive right into this anthology!