More announcements that came out this year's NEW YORK COMIC-CON that was that first reported by the NEW YORK TIMES was that ARCHIE COMICS will revive it's old MLJ/RED CIRCLE COMICS Superheroes in Spring 2012.THE NEW CRUSADERS by writer IAN FLYNN and artist BEN BATES will be a part of a NETFLIX-like online subscription service offered by ARCHIE COMICS and iVERSE MEDIA, offering an original 6-page weekly stories and access to an vast comic book archive.
The NEW CRUSADERS picks up years after of the MIGHTY CRUSADERS defeated their greatest enemy, the BRAIN EMPEROR, settling down and rising their kids in the town of RED CIRCLE. But the BRAIN EMPEROR returns for revenge, destroying the entire town, with only a few kids and a grumpy old man surviving by taking refuge underneath the town in a secret facility. The kids learn of their superheroic legacies and that the grumpy old man was once known as the superhero THE SHIELD, who takes it upon himself to train that next generation of superheroes. The NEW CRUSADERS' line-up from ARCHIE's teaser poster shows a an older SHIELD, newer versions of THE JAGUAR, STEEL STERLING, FLY-GIRL, THE COMET, THE WEB, & FIREBALL with plans to feature other characters like the BLACK HOOD & THE FOX down the line.
|Pep Comics #1|
|Founders of MLJ/Archie Comics|
|Simon and Kirby|
|Double Life of Private Strong|
|Pulp Hero Doc Savage|
|Actin Comics #242|
|Advs. of the Fly #1|
|Silver Spider art by C.C. Beck|
|Whiz Comics #4 starring Capt. Marvel|
|Simon's New Shieldmaster|
|The Jaguar #1|
|The Fly #9|
|Archie Comics' The Shadow #1|
|Archie Comics' The Shadow #2|
|Mighty Crusaders #6|
|Chilling Advs. in Sorcery #1|
|Red Circle Sorcery #8|
|Black Hood by Gary Morrow|
|Black Hood by Neal Adams|
|Archie's Super Hero Digest #2|
|Mighty Crusaders Vol.2, #1|
|Intro Buckler's Darkling|
The RED CIRCLE COMICS line would go to include such titles as:
|The Fly #1, cover by Jim Steranko|
|The Black Hood #2|
|Lancelot Strong, the Shield #1|
|Steel Sterling #4|
|The Comet #1|
|Blue Ribbon Comics Vol.2, #2|
|The Original Shield #3|
|Remco's The Comet|
|The Mighty Crusaders vs. the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents|
|Blue Ribbon Comics Vol.2, #12|
|Thunder Bunny #1|
|Blue Ribbon Comics Vol.2, #13|
|Katy Keene Special #1|
|Katy Keen Special #6|
~ "The initial idea of Watchmen—and this is nothing like what Watchmen turned out to be—was it was very simple: Wouldn't it be nice if I had an entire line, a universe, a continuity, a world full of super-heroes—preferably from some line that has been discontinued and no longer publishing—whom I could then just treat in a different way. You have to remember this was very soon after I'd done some similar stuff, if you like, with Marvelman, where I'd used a pre-existing character, and applied a grimmer, perhaps more realistic kind of world view to that character and the milieu he existed in. So I'd just started thinking about using the MLJ characters—the Archie super-heroes—just because they weren't being published at that time, and for all I knew, they might've been up for grabs. The initial concept would've had the 1960s-'70s rather lame version of the Shield being found dead in the harbor, and then you'd probably have various other characters, including Jack Kirby's Private Strong, being drafted back in, and a murder mystery unfolding. I suppose I was just thinking, "That'd be a good way to start a comic book: have a famous super-hero found dead." As the mystery unraveled, we would be lead deeper and deeper into the real heart of this super-hero's world, and show a reality that was very different to the general public image of the super-hero. So, that was the idea".
So with release of such ground breaking works like ALAN MOORE & DAVE GIBBONS' WATCHMEN and FRANK MILLER's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS in 1986, the "grim & gritty" superheroes became very popular, so the idea of revamping ARCHIE's superheroes came up again. This time it would be publish under the SPECTRUM COMICS label with whole new concepts created for them, and only the names kept.
|Spectrum Promo Fly art by Mike Blair|
|Spectrum Promo art by Dave Dorman|
THE SHIELD would be drawn by then newcomer ROB LIEFELD.
|Shadowhawk by Valentino|
|The Hangman by Jones|
Then ARCHIE COMICS took an offer from DC COMICS to license their superheroes which was looking to create a line that would be aimed at a younger audience and more reader friendly. So DC COMICS created the IMPACT COMICS imprint with books available mainly though newsstands.
|Impact Comics logo|
THE LEGEND OF THE SHIELD (July 1991) by writer-artist GRANT MIEHM . A sort of combination of GOLDEN AGE & SILVER AGE SHIELDS, US soldier wearing an indestructible armored suit.
THE COMET (July 1991) by writer MARK WAID and artist TOM LYLE.
THE FLY (August 1991) by writer LEN STRAZEWSKI and artist MIKE PAROBECK. Sticking to SINON & KIRBY's original idea of the young boy magically turning into adult superhero.
THE JAGUAR (AUGUST 1991) by writer WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS and artist DAVID ANTOINE WILLIAMS. Now a mousy female University student who transforms into a muscular "were-cat" heroine.
THE WEB (September 1991), also by writer LEN STRAZEWSKI, with art by TOM ARTIS. STRAZEWKI transformed THE WEB into a top-secret Government Agency with a number a "WEB" agents.
THE BLACK HOOD (December 1991) by writer MARK WHEATLEY and artist RICK BURCHETT followed soon after having IMPACT's version of THE PUNISHER/THE VIGILANTE appearing in various IMPACT COMICS' titles. In that very first issue WHEATLEY had the main character killed off and a new BLACK HOOD replacing him in issue 2.
DC would publish a IMPACT COMICS WINTER SPECIAL one-shot which tease a possible teaming of all IMPACT Superheroes which would lead to an new series.
THE CRUSADERS (May 1992) by writer-editor BRIAN AUGUSTYN and artist RAGS MORALES, IMPACT COMICS' superheroes now officially join forces as a superhero team.
|The Crucible #6|
THE AMERICAN SHIELD, written by MARK WAID & BRIAN AUGUSTYN, art by STEVE CARRO & DERYL SKELTON.
MARK OF THE BLACK HOOD by writer BRIAN AUGUSTYN & artist CHUCK WOJTKIEWITCZ.
WRATH OF THE COMET by writer MARK WAID & legendary X-MEN artist DAVE COCKRUM.
STEEL STERLING, a new shape changing superhero that would've be introduced during THE CRUCIBLE would appear as back-up feature would appear in each of the books as well by writer PAUL KUPPERBERG & artist GENE HA. But DC decided to cancel the whole thing by the time issue 3 of THE CRUCIBLE it the shelves. WAID already written the first issues of the new line and all artists turned in finished pages. DC did keep the licence for a number of years for some reason, but did not renewal it when the option came up, thus reverting back to ARCHIE COMICS who did nothing with them for 16 years.
|DC Promo Art for Red Circle|
THE RED CIRCLE: THE HANGMAN, art by TOM DERENICK & BILL SIENKIEWICZ
THE RED CIRCLE: INFERNO, art by GREG SCOTT
THE RED CIRCLE: THE WEB, art by ROGER ROBINSON & HILARY BARTA
THE RED CIRCLE: THE SHIELD, art by SCOTT McDANIEL & ANDY OWENS
After these one-shots, STRACZYNSKI left these characters to handle DC's main franchises SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN, leaving the 2 spin-off on-going series to others.
THE SHIELD by writer ERIC TRAUTMANNN (CHECKMATE) and artist MARCO RUDY (FINAL CRISIS), featuring a INFERNO back-up series by writer BRANDON JERWA (G.I. JOE) and artist GREG SCOTT (GOTHAM CENTRAL).
THE WEB by writer-director ANGELA ROBINSON (D.E.B.S.) and artist ROGER ROBINSON (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS), featuring a HANGMAN back-up series by writer JOHN ROZUM (DETECTIVE COMICS) and artist TOM DERENICK (REIGN IN HELL)
|Green Arrow & Black Canary #20|
|The Hangman, The Jaguar, & The Black Hood|
|The Mighty Crusaders Special|
This prepared for THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS series by writers TRAUTMANN & JERWA, and artist JULIAN LOPEZ (SUPERMAN; ADVENTURE COMICS).
|The Crusaders #1, Pages 4 & 5|
Now with ARCHIE COMICS returning with THE NEW CRUSADERS, they hope to cut costs by only featuring them in digital format online. I wish them luck in this new venture. Makes me think the only reason they are releasing this characters is to keep the copyright on hope that some Hollywood movie produce might see them and make a movie about them. Why spend the money & time putting out "real" comics right?