Anybody here knows the gang from Riverdale? Remember one of the original ladies man, Archie Andrews? How 'bout the always-hungry Jughead Jones? These women, we're certain you've met before: Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, from the hit comic book series, Archie. Life before gadgets was fun, thanks to this paperback classic that we grew up with. Nineties kids, represent!
That's why it was a thrill to learn that a Filipina artist was chosen to illustrate the cover of the relaunched Betty and Veronica #1. Pinoy pride, indeed!
Meet freelance illustrator and University of Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts and Design alumna Rian Gonzales.
...and her adorable drawing:
Gonzales, known as rianbowart on DeviantArt, finally got to live out her dream when she was asked to do one of the 24 variant cover arts for her favorite comic book, which will be out in stores this July.
"I like the new series (the Waid and Staples/Wu book) so much that I drew Betty, Veronica, and Archie in my style," said the 23-year-old. "I posted it on my Twitter and I was surprised to see Fiona Staples (Canadian comic book artist) commented on it! Shortly after, I received a mail from my online store with a subject: 'Riverdale Greetings.' I had to double-check and make sure that it wasn't wrongly sent! That was Jonathan Betancourt, director of book operations and sales for Archie Comics, who told me they were planning to reboot Betty and Veronica and thought that my art was perfect for it."
She added, "I initially made three studies for the editors to choose from for the cover and they picked the one I liked the least! It was Mike Pellerito, Archie Comics president, who chose it. As I was working on it, I realized why they picked it! It has a more interesting layout and it showed a lot of the characters."
The opportunity was extra special because she has been a huge fan of Archie since she was a child.
"Archie comics was a big part of my childhood," Gonzales shared. "To see them change throughout the years was such a pleasure. When I found out about the reboot, I was sure I'd already be following the series! I even got more interested when I found out that one of my art idols will be illustrating the interiors for it!"
Other artists tapped to draw Betty and Veronica's variant cover art were Cliff Chiang (New 52 Wonder Woman, Green Arrow/Black Canary), Francesco Francavilla (Detective Comics Black Mirror arc), and Chip Zdarsky (co-creator of Sex Criminals).
Rian will be signing copies of the first issue at Comic Odyssey in Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City (1 to 4 p.m., July 23) and at Filbar's UP Town Center in Diliman, Quezon City (2 to 6 p.m., July 24). She will also participate in the AsiaPOP Comicon next month and the INK at 25 exhibit sometime in September at the Ayala Museum.
In the meantime, check out some of her amazing artwork below: