This summer, the teens of Riverdale High will welcome new friends and rivals when all-new characters make their Archie Comics debut and then have regular recurring roles in the Archie universe. In June, readers will meet teen business mogul Eliza Han and then, in July, computer software tech genius Stacy Banks. But just who are the two latest additions to the Town with Pep?
Eliza Han comes to Riverdale in the pages of Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’, a one-shot comic by the creative team of Tee Franklin and Dan Parent. The issue will introduce the bi-racial pansexual Eliza who is the brains behind a major tech corporation as a love interest for Harper Lodge, cousin to Veronica. The relationship pits her against infamous Riverdale bully Reggie Mantle in a bid for Harper’s affections. The story will be the first time Harper’s character is revealed as bisexual.
“The best Archie characters are the ones you can drop in and have them create a little fun chaos,” Archie Comics editor-in-chief Mike Pellerito says in Archie’s announcement. “Eliza is another character that you can fall in love with very easily — and there’s a lot more to be revealed about the character besides her sexuality.”
Then, in July’s Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Summer Surf Party, African American teen coding savant Stacy Banks will shake up the “genius” hierarchy of Riverdale normally ruled over by Dilton Doiley’s mechanical know-how. Stacy’s digital savvy results in the creation of an online word game sensation that creates waves in Riverdale.
The one-shot will again be drawn by Archie veteran Parent and will be written by Archie Comics senior director of editorial Jamie Rotante.
“STEM has become such an important field in today’s world – but it also can be incredibly fun,” Rotante says. “The possibilities of what you can do with it are nearly endless, and the doors it can open for students are invaluable. The chance to bring a STEM-focused student into the spotlight in the modern classic-style Archie titles is especially exciting!”
Rotante adds that despite their brief introductory appearances, the new characters “are here to stay” as part of Archie’s “ongoing commitment to expanding and diversifying its storytelling universe.”
“Any and all new characters are meant to become integrated into the regular cast of characters,” Rotante says in Archie’s announcement. “Riverdale is forever expanding, and we’ll be taking extra care to make sure that none of these new kids get lost in the mix!”
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Though much of its cast dates back to the 1940s, Archie Comics has had a few more recent additions that have stuck around to make an impact on their world. Examples include Kevin Keller, introduced as the first gay character in the Archieverse, and Antoinette “Toni” Topaz, who first appeared in the pages of Jughead comics and now is a major player in the Riverdale TV show. Both characters now appear regularly in the pages of Archie, a future entirely within the realm of possibility for Stacy and Eliza.
Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’ hits shelves and digital platforms everywhere on June 8th, followed by Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Summer Surf Party’s release on July 17th.
Archie and his friends seem like normal teens but have been involved with two of the most unlikely comic book crossovers ever.