At their NYCC panel yesterday, Archie Comics announced that they will be pacting with WebToon to bring their characters to the vertical scroll format. Creative teams and details will be announced later for a 2021 launch. Polygon had the exclusive.
WebToon is a hugely popular platform for teen and mobile users, with 100 billion pageviews last year. And it’s also a place where Archie’s lighthearted romance should find a suitable audience: most of WebToon’s top comics are lighthearted romance.
“The WebToon platform and audience is perfectly suited for the Archie brand, and we’re excited to partner with them to create new stories that expand and build on the tales we’ve been sharing with fans for almost 80 years,” said Archie Comics Co-President Alex Segura in a statement to Polygon. “Archie’s goal is always to be accessible and everywhere, and this is another step in that direction. We’ll be sharing more details about the story and creative [team] soon, and we can’t wait to hear what fans think about this major digital partnership.”
“We are thrilled to add [an] Archie series to our program as we are constantly looking to broaden our offerings on the platform for the US audience,” said David Lee, head of content for Webtoon. “This story will provide an opportunity for Archie fans to experience the vertical scroll format on Webtoon and we appreciate Archie Comics for allowing us to be creative with our pitch.”
Like everyone else, Archie has had digital editions of their comics for some time. But of late, print publishers have begun working with some of the larger online comics platforms – AWA did a deal with WebToon and Tapas when coronavirus shut down the industry, for instance. Vault has also teamed with Tapas. But a company as prominent as Archie creating new content for WebToon is a significant step. And shifting their comics to the scrolling format is also a very smart move, as it seems more natural for readers used to this way of reading comics.
Polygon’s Samantha Riedel summed up the deal quite well:
Though it remains to be seen who will join the creative team for this new series, which is set to debut sometime in 2021, Segura’s on to something when he says that Webtoon and Archie are well suited for one another. Of the top 10 most popular Webtoon strips right now, seven are romance comics, while another two are comedies, so it’s a safe bet that the classic Archie formula of cute and quirky teens bickering over relationships and occasionally stumbling on weird misadventures will fit in just fine. This partnership of American comics’ most aerobic brand and the world’s highest-trafficked webcomics portal seems tailor-made for the tumultuous modern moment in comics.
As we see more and more of the Pandemic Shift happening, you may see more and more traditional comics companies teaming up with online partners like this.