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The Mary Sue Exclusive: Veronica Fish Talks About Being Archie‘s New Artist, Plus a Preview of Issue #6

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We were thrilled to learn that the talented Veronica Fish, after having had her work appear in Issue #5 of the new Archie title, had officially been made the book’s ongoing artist, following Fiona Staples and a one-shot by Annie Wu. Check out the preview above for her first official issue as Archie‘s artist! When you’re done with that, TMS had the chance to chat with Fish via email about her new gig, what she hopes to bring to the table, and what fans can expect from Archie going forward. Have a looksee at that below!

Veronica Fish

Teresa Jusino (TMS): First, I’d love to hear a little about your history in comics – what inspired you to apply your artistic talent to sequential art and comics? How did you get your first pro jobs?

Veronica Fish:  The comic book that changed my life was Will Eisner’s The Dreamer – at 16 I think only the second comic book I ever read. But my earliest love of visual storytelling was animation – I really wanted to be an animator for a long time. That was a painful Career Day as a kid – they never got any artists to come in, haha. While taking a drawing class at a museum it was suggested I check out the local comic book store – and lo and behold all my favorite cartoons started as comic books, so I was hooked. Got a job there and comics got into my blood.

If we define pro job as something you get paid to do then that would be Pirates of Mars with JJ Kahrs. We are still working on the 2nd volume now (whoo!) between gigs. If we define pro job as one of the Big Two publishers then that would be Howard the Duck #2 for Marvel. I think I got both of those jobs because I managed to blow out all the candles on my birthday cake for those respective years.

TMS: You’ve told us that you never read Archie comics until you were about 16 – did you ever enjoy the Archie characters in other mediums? Animated or live-action? (C’mon, I wasn’t the only one watching Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, was I?) What do you think is the most successful TV/film adaptation of Archie universe characters?

Fish: Actually yeah, I was a big fan of the Sabrina TV show! It was funny and sweet and really felt approachable, I totally wanted to be friends with her! It was Clarissa Explains It All with magic and a talking cat, how rad is that?? (also, FWIW I really, REALLY regret not buying that MAC “Veronica” lipstick in 2013!)

TMS: Speaking of other mediums – we’ve seen Archie universe characters in live-action adaptations like Sabrina, or like the Josie and the Pussycats film, and now we’ve got Riverdale coming up. What do you think is the major difference in how the characters in Archie need to be handled on the page vs. how the characters should be handled in a live-action adaptation? What do you think should always stay, and what do you think needs change/updating?

Fish: I’m really interested to see what ends up happening with the TV show — it’s one thing for a reader to adapt to a new artist drawing the characters, but hearing their voices and seeing them move is totally different!

Acting in comics can be really exaggerated, and personally I enjoy bigger, overly expressive body language to help me really sell a character’s mood. In TV something like that can go both ways, it can either be really funny or very strange, so seems like live-action is the more delicate medium.

I don’t know what needs changing or what should stay — when I see something that works, it works, and wouldn’t want to limit possibilities.

TMS: How did you get hooked up with Archie Comics in the first place? How did this great gig happen? Was Issue #5 basically a test run because they were already considering you as the ongoing artist?

Fish: Chip Zdarsky. I’ve only done 2 convention appearances in my life, and as luck would have it, in 2014 I was sitting a table away from Chip at Heroes in North Carolina. He saw my portfolio and we talked about working together on something.

A year later I get an email that says “Hello from Archie Comics!” and thought “Oh cool, I signed up for their email list apparently.” Then I opened it and nearly fainted. Alex Segura, Archie PR guy and Dark Circle editor asked if I could do some trial sketches, and he had gotten my name from Chip. They offered me a different job in the beginning, and then a while later #5 and #6 would be a test run. I’m very appreciative and feel humbled they see something in my work that can benefit the new series.

TMS: What do you think you bring to the table when drawing these stories? What about what we’ll see in upcoming issues of Archie is uniquely you, or reflects your particular perspective?

Fish: To be honest I still don’t know what is unique about my work, maybe I’m too close to see. But all I know is I love this job with my whole heart and I hope it shows in the finished art.

I love that Mark gives me the opportunity to make up lots of my own jokes and gags – and if that makes somebody laugh that’s a win for me. Collaborating with him is a real joy. I love to stick in TONS of Easter Eggs to make myself laugh while working. (The “Trip Zerdersky” fake I.D. was an example of something I made up.) I really love throwing in fun props and giving even the smallest side character an interesting design.

TMS: What can you tell us (without spoilers, obviously!) about what we can expect from the Archie gang in upcoming issues? Where’s the focus, and what are these characters going through?

Fish: I’m so excited to see how readers like Reggie’s storyline, he’s such a wonderful character and really shakes everybody up. We’ll also see the shifting dynamics of Archie’s love triangle, and as someone new comes in to Betty’s life it has a ripple effect!

Can’t wait to read what happens next, myself!

Here’s the official solicit info for Archie #6:

The biggest comic series of the year continues into 2016! Archie and Jughead are on the outs with each other, and now Archie has no one to help him against the fury that is Hiram Lodge! Not even Veronica wants to go up against her own father! Rising star comics artist Veronica Fish (Howard the Duck, the RIVERDALE CW promo image) joins the legendary Mark Waid for another brand new issue of the hit series!

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Veronica Fish, Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Archie #6 CVR A Reg Cover: Veronica Fish
Archie #6 CVR B Variant: Derek Charm
Archie #6 CVR C Variant: Marguerite Sauvage
On Sale Date: 2/17
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Have you gotten on the new Archie bandwagon yet? Will you be picking up this month’s issue? Inquiring, comics-loving minds wanna know!

(Preview images via Archie Comics, photo Courtesy of Veronica Fish)

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