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Essay: Jamie Rotante Says Betty and Veronica: Vixens is About “Women Helping Women”

Art by Fiona Staples

We’ve been really excited about the upcoming Archie Comics ongoing title, Betty and Veronica: Vixens, in which Betty and Veronica are the leaders of the Vixens, the toughest motorcycle gang in Riverdale! In an exclusive essay for TMS, writer Jamie L. Rotante explains why this new comic is so important. Especially right now.

by Jamie Rotante

The premise of Betty & Veronica: Vixens is simple enough: the iconic duo hits the open road for wild adventures on their new toys as they lead an all-girl motorcycle gang. There’s leather, brass knuckles and an appropriate amount of ass-kicking. It’s what you’d get if you made the two BFFs the stars of a Russ Meyer film.

But it’s a lot more than that, too. It’s not just about motorcycles. It’s not just about a subversion of classic characters we’ve all come to know and love. Hell, it’s not even just about Betty and Veronica—there’s a larger story that spins out of it, one that extends past the comic page itself and bleeds into everyday life. It’s about women who have waited their turn for decades finally getting the chance to take charge. It’s about Betty, Veronica and a host of the other ladies of Archie Comics who have only ever been explored as passing characters. And it’s about these female characters coming together to rise above. It’s women helping women.

I couldn’t be more honored to get the chance to write two characters that were so influential to me growing up. Archie was my gateway to comics—actually, Betty and Veronica were. And as much as I loved the teen hijinks stories, I always wanted more. Getting to take them out of their comfort zone and onto a new adventure is thrilling—and I’m grateful that Archie CEO/Co-Publisher Jon Goldwater has allowed these characters to grow and change in so many different ways over the past few years, as we see in the Archie Horror and Riverdale series.

I’m also incredibly honored to be working with a team of vastly creative, hard-working women. Eva Cabrera gives a new twist to the classic style in a way that captures the essence of the book so well. Elaina Unger’s color palette so perfectly fits the mood of each and every scene she colors and Rachel Deering is a powerhouse when it comes to lettering, making my words look so much prettier on the actual page. It’s been a blast so far, and it’s still only the beginning.

And if there were ever a time to publish a comic about strong female characters, it’s right now. I’d argue that there never has nor should have ever been a bad time to publish a comic that lets its female characters lead the way, but now more than ever it’s necessary. It’s not doing it to fit a niche or to appeal to a demographic; it’s doing it because it’s right. Women are working hard both behind the scenes and within every comics panel—and that’s not going to change.

What can you expect from Vixens? Friendship. Fun. A lot of “VROOOM VROOM” sound effects. Most importantly, a story that goes beyond bikers and badassery—one that’s about women and by women.

Plus, Betty and Veronica beating the crap out of any naysayers, catcallers and good-for-nothings that cross their paths—because who doesn’t want to see that?

 

Betty and Veronica: Vixens #1 drops November 22 wherever comics are sold.

(image: Archie Comics)

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