Alex Segura and Dean Haspiel Talk Archie Comics and Free Speech!


The Humble Archie Comics Bundle is drawing to a close, and you have only a few hours left to pay what you want for $250 worth of the best Archie Comics! You better hurry — the bundle ends at 11:00 a.m. PST today! But before it does, we’d like to share our recent interviews with Archie creators Alex Segura and Dean Haspiel!

Alex Segura

ArchieMeetsKISS_GNWhen it comes to Archie Comics, Alex Segura is a big deal (no kind of here!) — he’s Senior Vice President of Publicity and Marketing and Editor of Archie’s Red Circle Comics imprint. He also finds time to write some of Archie’s most popular books, including Archie Meets KISS. Somehow, Segura also finds time to be a novelist — he wrote the Miami noir novel Silent City. (We’re not convinced he sleeps.)

Archie Meets KISS is one of the books in the Humble Archie Comics Bundle, so we asked Segura three questions about Archie Comics, his membership in the KISS Army, and free speech…

1. You do it all at Archie Comics — publicity, editorial, and writing are just a few hats you wear. Do you have a favorite hat?

Alex Segura: Oh, I like them all for different reasons. Writing can be very solitary and focused, while publicity is all about interacting with other people and promoting your product. Editorial is fun because you’re literally putting a book together and getting to collaborate with really creative people to tell and create a great story. I enjoy all three for different reasons. Archie’s great because they allow you to not be limited to just one thing — it’s kind of like a start-up in that way. We’re allowed to be creative in not only our assigned roles, but it’s open to change.

2. Archie Meets KISS is one of the collections available in the Humble Archie Comics Bundle. What was your favorite part about working on the crossover and — most importantly — are you a member of the KISS Army?

Alex Segura: I would hope that by writing this book I’ve become a member! I think in terms of writing the book, collaborating with Dan Parent was a highlight. Dan is part of a long Archie tradition of amazing artists — Montana, Lucey, Schwartz, DeCarlo, the list goes on. So, being able to work on a four-issue arc with THE Archie guy of our era. It was unbelievable. The promotional stuff for the book was surreal, too. I mean, Dan and I got to sign comics with Gene and Paul in L.A. Then we signed with Gene at San Diego Comic-Con. Things I never expected to do in my life. It was awesome and bizarre and crazy and great.

3. The Humble Archie Comics Bundle is intended to raise money for charity, including CBLDF, and you’ve been a long-time supporter of CBLDF’s work on behalf of the comics community. Why is protecting free speech important to you?

Alex Segura: The CBLDF’s mission is hugely important — protecting the right of free speech and expression is something of great value that a lot of people take for granted. We live in a world of constant information flow, and that information has become increasingly monitored and filed away. Imagine a world where someone decided you couldn’t read something because it offended their sensibility, however sensitive it might be. It sounds far-fetched, but it isn’t. We have to support the CBLDF and similar organizations to ensure that free speech isn’t trampled or ignored. We can’t assume it’ll always be there or upheld by those who would benefit from subverting it.

Dean Haspiel

FoxyJaneLegit_smSpeaking of not sleeping: Emmy award winner and Eisner and Harvey Award nominee Dean Haspiel created Billy Dogma, illustrated for HBO’s Bored to Death, was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is a Yaddo fellow, writes plays, occasionally teaches comic book storytelling, and co-founded HANG DAI Editions.

Haspiel has written and drawn countless comix, including The Fox: Freak Magnet, one of the books in the Humble Archie Comics Bundle. We asked Haspiel three questions, and you could make an amazing comic book reading list out of his answers…

1. The Humble Archie Comics bundle includes The Fox: Freak Magnet. The Fox has actually been around since the early 1940s, but the character was largely forgotten for several decades, and many fans discovered him through your series. How does your take the character compare to his earliest incarnation?

Dean Haspiel: I’ve only read The Fox stories by Alex Toth in the 1980s, when he was a solo pulp hero from the 1940s. The Fox popped up in a few stories here and there, and I loved his cameo in Siegel and Reinman’s campy seven-issue run of Mighty Crusaders in the mid-1960s. When I was given The Fox, he was the son of the original Fox and moved to Japan, where he got married and had a son and quit the superhero business. When I brought The Fox back to America, to Impact City, I was given a lot of latitude to tell the kind of story I wanted to with Freak Magnet. A story about a superhero with no superpowers, who draws in the bad guys with his job as a photojournalist and wants out. Now that he’s being cornered in Fox Hunt, the next big story, he has no choice but to face his true calling.

TheFox_FreakMagnet2. What influences did you draw from to flesh out your version of The Fox?

Dean Haspiel: Besides Alex Toth, I’ve been looking at Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Steve Ditko’s The Creeper, and Nick Cardy’s Aquaman. There’s a qualified polish and physical finesse to their characterizations that I admire greatly. And, because I’m leaning a little towards a grittier approach in “Fox Hunt,” I’ve been inspired by the graphic pathos of Mike Zeck, Richard Corben, and Frank Quitely, the bold chiaroscuro of Jorge Zaffino and Shawn Martinbrough, and the existential freestyle of Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Josh Bayer. One day I hope to compose a page like Chris Samnee, Javier Pulido, and Alex Nino.

3. The Humble Archie Comics Bundle is intended to raise money for charity, including CBLDF, and you’ve been a long-time supporter of CBLDF’s work on behalf of the comics community. Why is protecting free speech important to you?

Dean Haspiel: Freedom of speech is as critical to my comix as oxygen and water are to my life. Whether it’s Nick Bertozzi drawing Picasso’s penis in The Salon, or Charlie Hebdo drawing controversial images on the covers of their newspaper or, more importantly, whether I like it or not, shouldn’t stop artists from expressing themselves. Hey, I’m a dyed-in-wool horror fan, but when America finally realizes that torture and decapitations make worse emotional impact to our psyche than an exposed nipple or a same-sex kiss on the lips, then America may have finally rid of its old, puritanical leanings and shifted towards a beautiful tomorrow enriched by diversity.

Special thanks to the amazing folks at Archie Comics for providing Haspiel’s sketch of his character Jane Legit, putting on The Fox’s costume.

Support the right to read, and name your price for some amazing Archie comics! Check out the Humble Archie Comics Bundle!