Here's a thing that never was: The Riverdale Chronicles, which I proposed to Archie Comics in 2011. Conceived as a companion title to the Archie: The Married Life book I was then writing, the idea was to tell story arcs set throughout the history of Riverdale. I wrote the script for a first issue, set during the Revolutionary War...
...And started making notes for future stories, but, like many Archie proposals, the idea went nowhere in the end. The image up top is by Tod Smith, my one-time collaborator on Vigilante and Peacemaker at DC Comics, who was also working for Archie at the time. Below—followed by more historically based concept art, this batch by Jason Armstrong—are my notes for the never realized...
THE RIVERDALE CHRONICLES
1752: Young Thomas MacAndrews arrives in New York from Scotland, accompanied by his faithful servant, Forsythe Jones. Thomas’ family had sent him to the New World to seek out new opportunities to expand the family fortune, a large chunk of which he carries with him in the form of gold in a great locked chest.
Archibald, b. 1760, joins Washington’s Army in 1776
Chronicling the history of Riverdale – and America – through the eyes of the two extraordinary families who helped shape it, the Andrews and the Lodges. We’ll also see the eternal love between the sons of the Andrews family and the women of the Lodge family, always circling one another but never connecting (something or someone always got in the way)…until Archie and Veronica:
#1 1781: Silversmith and farmer Thomas Andrews, recently arrived in America from England, settles on the banks of the Dale River, the first settlers in the area. Clears the land, starts building a home, marries, he and his wife carve a farm out of the land, etc. Others begin to settle around them, including Peter Lodge, the third Lord of Sniffington, who is given a tremendous parcel of land by the King on the opposite side of the River. A rivalry grows between the two families as they both expand their broods and their respective wealth. By 1776, they are the two most powerful men in the town that has grown up around their estates and now their rivalry extends to the coming Revolution and War of Independence! The War of Independence isn’t going well: the Andrews have lost everything, their land taken over by Lodge by Royal Decree. Thomas Andrews and his two oldest sons, Thomas Jr. and Frederick, have gone off to fight for their land and their country; Lodge remains at home, a British loyalist. And, caught between the two families like Romeo and Juliet, are young Archibald Andrews and Veronica Lodge, Lodge’s oldest daughter. The young lovers know that whichever side wins the war, their love is doomed, so they run off together, headed for Canada and a new life of their own. They wander right into the path of danger and both sides (including both fathers) stop fighting long enough to rescue the young lovers, enemies Andrews and Lodge bonding over their concern for their children. At wars end, the Lodges lose everything, and the Andrews are given the land in reward for their service to the new nation. Mr. Andrews gives a plot of land back to the Lodge, who takes it but, because of his wounded pride at having to accept the hand-out he keeps young lovers apart by their differences in social status.
#2 1848: California Gold Rush. The Andrews have experienced a reversal in fortunes and, over the decades, have lost most of their land, much of it picked up by the Lodges as their fortunes improved. Archibald’s grandson, Archie III, decides to risk everything and leave his family (and Lodge’s daughter, Victoria) to join the Gold Rush. Lodge, who owns the town General Store on top of the land, decides to capitalize on the Rush and goes West to open a General Store for the miners. In the ensuing adventures the two men have, it is believed Andrews is killed (he’s not) and, upon receiving word of this back home, Victoria is crushed. By the time Andrews is able to return, a couple years later, Victoria is married to his one-time rival, Ronald Mantle.
#3 Civil War: The Lodges, though not slave owners, are staunch believers in States rights and, reluctantly, must side with the Confederacy, again placing a barrier between Andrews and the Lodge Girl. In aftermath of war, Archie saves Riverdale from being absorbed by neighboring town and instead remains the dominant municipality.
#4 1900: Roosevelt’s Anti-trust efforts, Andrews is young U.S. Attorney prosecuting Veronica’s father for anti-trust; Reggie ancestor works for Lodge. Andrews success leads to a promotion and his move to Washington D.C., separating him from his love, who her father has forbidden to see. She is about to defy him, running away to join him, but loses her money and finds herself helpless in the real world and flees back home to daddy…while “Archie” waits for her at D.C.’s Union Station in the snow…
#5 1930s - 1940s: Arthur Andrews (Fred’s father, Archie’s grandfather) does a George Bailey and saves Riverdale from economic manipulations of Hiram Lodge’s father, then onto World War II, do a typical Archie story, with Fred in the role…until Fred is drafted! Hiram Lodge is also stationed there, and his uncle is the C.O. of Camp Riverdale (the Andrews have been in the D.C. area since 1900 and he just happened to be sent there for training).
6 Contemporary: Fred and Mary Andrews move back to Riverdale, bringing L’il Archie, L’il Veronica and Li’l Betty in proximity.
Framing sequence ?
Dilton Doiley, Time Master
Dilton travels multiverse, encountering endless possibilities of the lives of Archie and the gang