Archie- the lovable freckled red-head has long captured our hearts with comical antics and his perpetual love triangle with Ronnie Lodge and Betty Cooper. Indeed most of our childhood saw us immersed in engaging comics of this Riverdale’s heartthrob.
Some of us remain, ardent comic collectors, while others relive childhood memories by occasionally flipping through stories of Archie and the gang.
Interestingly, Nancy Silberkleit, Co-CEO at Archie Comic Publications, Inc. is no stranger to Pune. The woman who is frequently in town talks about the Archie Renaissance and her tryst with the city.
What draws Archie to India?
I feel it’s the common values we all share. Archie Andrews is an ambassador to the world because we all speak his language, kindness and caring for one another. Riverdale is a very special community where people really care about each other and share meaningful friendships. This speaks to many of our Indian fans.
Having an Indian family in Riverdale is something our Indian readers love while it gives other readers greater insight into Indian culture.
Archie Comics Double Digest #278 is “From India, with Love” where Raj needs help with a movie he’s making, so Archie travels with him to India! I have been lucky enough to have visited India a number of times and I continue to bring back my experiences within the country.
Tell us about your fondest memories of Pune.
I’ve been fortunate to be present in town when your festivals are in full swing! Holi the Festival of colors and Ganesh festival really stand out for me. My background is in art education so I appreciate the use of color for an insight into Indian culture.
What does Nancy bring to the table for Archie comics today?
With a background in teaching, I’m motivated by the combination of comics and learning. I coined the quote “Comic Books + Children = Reading, Knowledge, Confidence and Creativity.”
For many children, Archie comic books are their first introduction to regular reading. This is such as huge honour and privilege and one we don’t take lightly at all.
What does Juggie fancy in Indian cuisine? Also, what do you love to gorge on when in Pune?
Oh, Jughead loves grilling! So Tandoori style grilled chicken on a stick is perfect for him.
For me, it’s Shrewsbury biscuits from Kayani bakery!
An Archie character you are partial to?
It has always been Hiram Lodge. I love business and I’m inspired by his ability to focus and also take chances. He makes me laugh when he chases Archie away!
Later on I came to appreciate his daughter, Veronica Lodge more. I say she has the CIA- confidence, intelligence and allure! I can learn from that as well.
Lately, Archie Comics is experimenting with radical themes be it zombies or menacing aliens. So how does Riverdale the prime-time drama fit into the Archie Renaissance? Why depict a mysterious and dystopian Riverdale?
Archie Comics is blessed with a vast audience that spans over 76 years and counting! Such a diverse fan base means not everything appeals to everyone.
What is happening in the life of 16 year old has no semblance to that of an 8-year-old. So if we are going to stay relevant to both we need to provide content that is relevant to both of them. For many teenagers, the world can be a mysterious and dystopian place.
Is an ‘Archie visits Pune’ on the cards?
As you can imagine there are many cities in the world that would like Archie to visit so you will have to wait and see.