Archie and the Riverdale Gang Come to Mumbai
This year, Archie, Betty, Veronica and friends leave their mythical suburbia of Riverdale — originally based on the Bronx’s upscale Riverdale neighborhood — to go to India, a country in which the comic book’s sunny, 1950s outlook still sells.Indian American Raj Patel’s character was introduced four years ago to add interracial drama to the mix. Now, Patel is being used to push the brand to new frontiers.In double digest number nine, on stands now, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and a reluctant Reggie, take a very long flight to Mumbai.In the “Archie” comic, notorious glutton Jughead replaces his pizzas with samosas and vindaloo; Veronica and Betty drape some saris and alternate these with lehengas; Archie remains fairly confused, but this time in a kurta.They all absolutely love Bollywood. And find everything about Mumbai “amazing.”The Hindi film industry is, in fact, the reason they arrive in the country.Their Indian friend Raj Patel loves Bollywood and has been making amateur films. One of these, called “Love Hate Triangle,” is uploaded online and becomes a sensation.After film producer Kunal Desai seeks out Patel to direct a film, Patel asks the Riverdale residents come to India.Written by Tania Del Rio, the film’s plot within the comic is a love triangle — a theme as natural to “Archie” as it is to Bollywood — which takes the stakes of the long-running Archie-Betty-Veronica saga up a notch, bringing in a fictional marriage scenario.Though for the current edition the characters stay in Mumbai, there are in fact plans to have them travel all over India.Twelve titles will be published here in 2011 by Variety Book Depot and distributed by EuroBooks, a leading publisher of children’s books in India. The cost will be Rs 30 per book.Archie Comics plans to launch 36 titles in India by 2012 and is considering Hindi and Malayalam translations. Talks are also on to release the comics digitally in India.