Yes, you heard that right! Riverdale’s coolest teenager Archie Andrews is dead… Archie is killed by a rogue gunman who attempts to assassinate Archie’s friend, Senator Kevin Keller, who is a gay character in the comic series. The redheaded character came to life in 1941 and has ever since captured the imagination of the youth worldwide. The 75 year old character has gone onto sell nearly over two billion comics since its inception. Jon Goldwater, the publisher of Archie Comics didn’t mince words when he went on record to say that ‘this move is no marketing gimmick, bullets don’t bounce off human flesh… thus we slapped it right on the cover of issue #36 of ‘Life With Archie’, nothing subtle about it’. ‘Life With Archie’ #36 has already sold out on the distributor level, and a second printing with a re-coloured cover will be on offer soon. The series will conclude with next week’s issue #37, which will serve as an epilogue with Archie’s friends and family reflecting on the life of Riverdale’s favourite son. Luckily, for all Archie fans he will live on in eternally in his youthful teenage form in the publisher’s other ongoing series, in the horror comic ‘Afterlife With Archie’. But, what do the Indian comics artists have to say about this event… AnimationXpress.com spoke to some of them and below are the excerpts:- Independent Comic Publisher and Co-Founder Kini Merch, Abhijeet Kini says: “I think it’s a tactic to get back Archie in action, because Archie has lost most of its readership over the years, so something as shocking and big as this will get its readers back. It’s more of a publicity stunt which they are trying to pull off and I don’t know how it is going to work out for the brand, because I feel, not many care about it anymore. Only the old readers will be affected not the ones who are unaware of his popularity.” “I feel there is a chance they might re-launch it, but it’s sad they are ending it this way. Archie was never the character that would die,” he adds. “I personally like Jughead Jones, he is so laid back and eats a lot still doesn’t put on weight, so I can completely relate with him (gigglesJ)” Gravity Comics founder Ajay Mathews adds: “The brand Archie is because of the character Archie, so if they are going to kill the lead character what will they title their new books? It is unexpected, I am sure many people would be very upset with this but I feel there is another side to it as well. These Americans are very creative; you never know what’s going on in their heads. Marvel did the same thing with the book ‘The Death of Wolverine’, Earlier they said that wolverine can’t die, but they came-up with this. I am sure the publishers and writers of Archie will definitely do something big and new.” On his favourite character from the comic he reveals: “Nobody wants to kill their precious property, until and unless they have a fantastic plan. My personal favourite is Archie Andrews because he is one of us, a normal boy, with pimples on his face. He is funny and likes to find out new stuff.” Campfire Comics creative content head Jason Qinn says: “I am shocked and stunned; it’s like Captain America getting killed. I don’t like this concept of killing Archie; it’s a cynical marketing gimmick by the creators. Killing superheroes is still fine because we know they will be back, but I can’t see them doing the same with Archie; it’s quite different from others. I am just taken aback. It’s almost like someone calling me and telling me that an old school friend has passed away.” “But am sure there will be a future, they just can’t kill the golden goose. I just hope they do it well and come back soon in a short span of time with something like it was may be an imposter or a clone that died. Archie is just meant to be forever, but I don’t know how they are going to carry it on,” he adds. On his favourite Archie character he exults: “Archie has always been my beloved one, but I do like Veronica a lot, she is very hot and I also had crush on her (ChucklesJ).” Chariot Comics founder Aniruddho Chakraborty says: “I don’t think it’s going to affect brand Archie as much, because Betty & Veronica comics also has a great following. So it’s not going to make much difference. In addition to this it’s just a comic, and comics are temporary.” He adds: “If they can bring back Sherlock Holmes on popular demand then why not Archie? So it’s not too much of an effort to bring him back, they can definitely come-up with alternate reality.” Vimanika Comics founder Karan Vir Arora adds: “I am sure this is just a strategic decision as the sales of Archie Comics have been dwindling in numbers. The creators would certainly be looking at bring him back going forward, but currently look at milking as much as they can on the final issue due next week.” “My favourite character is Reginald “Reggie” Mantle, as I always connect with the bad guys. Even Jughead Jones is a very likable character and adds the much needed flavour to the gang,” reveals Arora. The Life With Archie series which looked at Archie as an adult, in fact, comes up with two futures for him – one married to Veronica and one to Betty. As he dies, his last words to both Betty and Veronica, as they stand over his body, are “I’ve always loved you.” Trying to keep up with changing times, in Life with Archie, Kevin Keller gets married to his boyfriend. Cheryl Blossom copes with breast cancer. African American Chuck Clayton, Latina Ginger Lopez and Indian American Raj Patel add some demographic diversity. Riverdale High grapples with budget cuts and school closures like all real American schools. But, no one would have expected that the creators would think of killing off their main protagonist. 16 July will go into the history books, as the day when the comic industry lost its true inspirational hero… or is it really the end???