Riverdale High’s autistic student Scarlet returns in a new comic with a Royal flavour!

Archie Comics Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit has just launched another of her “Kindness Works Comics” featuring Scarlet, an autistic student at Riverdale High – a project with a royal connection that almost got taken over by recent events surrounding Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.

Archie Royal – Across the Pond with Love” finds the British press pursuing Veronica on a hot tip that she has a connection with “Archie” – which of course she does, but perhaps some wires crossed…

Archie Royal - Across the Pond with Love

 

The new project follows Nancy’s previous Scarlet comic, “Kindness Works”, written by Ray Felix, originally released in 2018 to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

The short story also reminds fans of Nancy’s special projects about Scarlet’s special circumstances as an autistic student, and is a truly international affair, written by Dan Watters, with art by Angeliki Salamaliki, colour by Dheeraj Kumar Mishra, lettered by Andrew Thomas, with a smashing cover from Fernando Ruiz.

As we’ve previously reported, Nancy hopes these special comics can help teach kindness to and inclusion of those on the autism spectrum and others referred to as neurodiverse. Coincidentally, it’s been published in the same week that Chi Chi Izundu reported for BBC News that an estimated one in seven people are neurodivergent in the UK – but this isn’t something that is routinely acknowledged in the workplace.

(Neurodivergence – also known as neurodiversity – is a term many people may not be familiar with. It refers to the community of people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, or have other neurological functions).

Although the “Across the Pond with Love” project has had a few hiccups not of the team’s making, Nancy is delighted with the final result, now available to order from her direct, all part of her work as “an ambassador for kindness” and reaching out to global fans directly.

“For me, comic books are not only a bridge to enable reading but a very important literary experience that instils a love for reading,” says Nancy.

“Dan Watters did a smashing job,” she enthuses. “I like Angeliki Salamaliki’s art and I just love the colours by Dheeraj Kumar Mishra, as well as Fernando’s cover.

“I do hope folks connect to the art Fernando did for the cover a wonderful job in bringing out the landscape of another place on our planet,” she adds. “Andrew who’s from Canada, also did an amazing job on the lettering, too. There was so much information put into a few pages!”

An early stage of the Archie Royal cover by Fernando Ruiz

An early stage of the Archie Royal cover by Fernando Ruiz

An inked page of the Archie Royal comic

An inked page of the Archie Royal comic

Several months in the making, “Across the Pond with Love”, despite its short page count, went through a large number of changes in development – and with Prince Harry and partner Meghan and son Archie now stepping back from royal duties, there was a bit of eleventh hour hair tearing as Nancy made some final tweaks to the comic to reflect current events.

Nancy told downthetubes she has every sympathy for anyone facing family relation tensions – even Royals.

“The love around the Archie name is no longer just Archie Comics but another element that may interest Archie watchers is that Archie Comics has been a family business for 80 years,” she noted. “The foundation of family business come with emotions that can spark problems which might just be one element to the recent Royal news.”

Nancy, who has also created an anti-bullying comic titled “Rise Above”, can certainly empathise with Meghan Markle, who has faced hostility from some quarters of the British media, and others.

When Nancy stepped out of the classroom into her husband’s royal seat and kingdom, she found herself quickly under attack, but has risen above it, remaining focused on her determination to use comics to educate and learn.

Having chatted with her a number of times now, I admire her kindness and compassion to block out the negative and live who you want to be – and not fall into the media frenzy trying to sensationalise false rumours or get caught in others hatred.

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A “Kindness Works” promotional image of Scarlet by Fernando Ruiz

Another lovely and funny “Kindness Work” tale, it’s great to see Scarlet’s latest appearance – let’s hope there are more in the works, because her creator has clearly put a lot of time and effort into developing the character.

“Scarlet is a gentle child who wants to be included in the social circle, and she is often misunderstood,” Nancy has said previously. “She helps all of us to understand that people just want to be treated with respect and kindness.

“We are each unique individuals – but we all want to be included and treated kindly,” she continues. “Much of the problems of bullying and seeing other people as different stems from ignorance; and the antidote is awareness.

“Wouldn’t we live in a better world if we embraced our differences rather than being scared of them?”

• “Archie: Royal – Across the Pond with Love” is available as a PDF through Paypal nancy.archiecomics@gmail.com at $1.99

• Nancy Silberkleit is online at www.nancysilberkleit.com and on Twitter @nancyeduspeaker | Facebook | Instagram

Fernando Ruiz is online at fernandoruizeverybody.com

Follow Dan Watters on Twitter @DanPGWatters

Angeliki Salamaliki is online at monsieur-charlatan.com | Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

• Read our articles on Nancy’s “Kindness Works” comic featuring Scarlet here and here

FURTHER READING

BBC News – 17th January 2020 – Does your company nurture neurodiverse talent?

How do you make your workplace more welcoming to neurodiverse employees, and ensure their talent is nurtured? An estimated one in seven people are neurodivergent in the UK but this isn’t something that is routinely acknowledged in the workplace

Exceptional Individuals is the first employment partnership for #dyslexic and #neurodivergent people, providing in-work support, recruitment and consultancy services. Follow them on Twitter @exceptional_Ind

Buy Archie Comics books and collections from AmazonUK

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Digital Comics News, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, US Comics

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10 replies

  1. “We, who are neurodiverse”? Every single person on Earth is “neurodiverse”, just as every single person on Earth is “ethnic”. Is this just another truth hiding neologism? Whom does it benefit?

  2. “Everyone is neurodiverse; everyone’s brain is different. However, It is important to see diversity in the autistic community, and Scarlet. As a Filipina/Irish teenager she represents that diversity. People may be different, but also have many similarities. People need to be valued for both their differences and similarities.” Jason Harris , Jasonsconnection.org

  3. How is it that everyone now ‘belongs’ to a “community”? Do all right-handed people (by far the largest proportion of people) belong to the right-handed community? Am I a member of the human community? I find it condescending for others to put people into “communities”. People are primarily individuals, not members of any community, sex, race, etc. That they have similarities is surely secondary. I enjoy reading comics because each artist’s work is different – not because he or she is part of the ‘comic community’, if it exists.

  4. People may belong to different communities, as a kind of caucusing solidarity, a sense of engagement, or even just for fun. There are many other reasons.

    Marginalized people, including Autistic people, are often misunderstood, stereotyped, and bullied. Being part of a community of Autistic people does not erase differences within that community, and does not suggest that everyone “eligible” has to join, but rather, creates spaces of strategic thinking in the face of oppression and greater possibilities for inclusion rather than ostracism. A sanctuary can even at times happen, without perfection as a goal or idealization as a path.

    Everyone is neurodiverse, but not everyone is neurodivergent. If the majority of the human population is neurotypical, neurodivergent people are the minority. And, within neurodivergent communities, some but not all people are Autistic.

    Right handedness is not an experience of marginalized life, typically, but, if right handed people formed a club, so what? Left handed people are of course the minority, however, in terms of handedness. Left handed people were often perceived in years gone by as deviant, dangerous, even sinister. Left literally means sinister in the romance languages. Left handed people who were forced to be right handed suffered from depression, at times, as a result. Obviously, depression happens to people, regardless of hand dominance.

    And, not everyone has hands.

  5. I first came across Archie (and his friend Jughead) as Starchie and Bottleneck in Bill Elder’s nineteen fifties parody in Mad Magazine. In one frame, Bottleneck scrutinises Starchie’s haircut and exclaims, “Gee, Starch, howjah get them criss-cross marks on the side of your head?” I see they’re still there! I know for a fact that high-functioning autistic people are stimulating company, and welcome the inclusivity. As to inclusivity, though, judging by the extract here,blacks and Hispanics don’t feature prominently at Riverdale.

    • What also struck me, Brian, is how slim, healthy looking and attractive all the characters look. Hardly representative of any real-life culture. But that is the point of fiction: all the goodies visually perfect; the baddies horrific to look at. Think of so many of the Hollywood stars, and then of Shylock with his hooked nose.

    • Have you actually read Archie Comics, Eric? Because if not, then you should be aware this strip is representative of the series, and for me, Scarlet a smashing addition to the cast. Archie Comics does have a varied cast: but it would be near impossible to cram them all into a three-page strip!

      As for your comments on community and argued lack of it, for me this flies entirely in the face of human nature and I find it quite incredible.

  6. Regarding Archie Comics, I have not read any of them. I felt it reasonable to take what was shown as representative of the output.

    There was a time when a community was a group of people living together with a common culture. Nowadays countless types of people get put into ‘communities’, often without being asked. Hence ‘the gay community’, with gay having had its true meaning denied it by a small minority that dares not speak its name, for fear of its true nature being obvious.

    I fail to see how two people who are hundreds, thousands or even 12,000 miles apart can be members of the same ‘community’; perhaps just because they have the same mental condition. One more distortion of the English language.

    I have three friends who are considered to be autistic, and three more different people I have yet to meet. One of them tells me I am autistic. If so, I feel no commonalities with the three on that score; we are just good friends.

    I winced at reading that “Everyone is neurodiverse, but not everyone is neurodivergent. If the majority of the human population is neurotypical, neurodivergent people are the minority. And, within neurodivergent communities, some but not all people are Autistic.” “neuro” is a medical term relating to the nerves and the nervous system. Latching it onto everyday words such as ‘diverse’ and ‘divergent’ – and using it to describe people with mental abnormalities – is, to me, perverse. Just as with calling manic depressives ‘bipolar’. Magnets are bipolar, planets are bipolar.

    There is a growing refusal to speak plainly; to speak the simple truth. Supposedly not to hurt the feelings of the people so described. During my years of childhood and early twenties with bad acne, I was “spotty”; would “skindivergent” have made me feel better? I doubt it. With his brain, Einstein was a “special needs” person, so were the child prodigy classical music composers. Having “special needs” can mean being supernormal.

    Of course, I could simply be neurotic.

    • I don’t know about neurotic, but it does seem to me that you have certainly chosen to be offensive, if my reading of your comments on gay culture are correct.

      While you have often made some interesting and thought-provoking comments, let me speak plainly: if I am led toward a belief that in making your views known, you also choose to be offensive, I cannot countenance a blanket approval of your comments.

      I am of the general opinion that people are entitled to their opinions, but not when they may be interpreted as bigotry.

      If I have mis-read your peculiarly-worded comments, I apologise, but they are far from “plain” in their wording.

      As for basing your opinion of Archie Comics on the pages presented, surely that would be akin to basing an opinion of Shakespeare on viewing a single scene in one play, or the work of Dickens on one chapter, the entire run of Dan Dare, Batman or Superman on viewing one or two pages. Which seems to me, quite ridiculous.

  7. You picked me up almost exclusively on my saying “gay community” – when I was only using it as an example of what I consider to be a false use of the term ‘community’. While fully accepting that word meanings change with time, my comments were about current uses of words that have little or no connections with their logical meanings. I was also questioning the real purposes behind such changes.

    As you will know, it was Lord Alfred Douglas who coined the expression, “the love that dare not speak its name”, in his poem The Two Loves. It was mentioned in Oscar Wilde’s first trial. By replacing ‘homosexual’ with ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’, I contend homosexuality has become the ‘sexuality that dare not speak its name’. Is that bigotry?

    I cited “gay community” – not “gay culture”, something very different – as an attempt to make out that people up to 12,000 miles apart have some apparent closeness. To me, a community is akin to a geographical neighbourhood; think of Police Community Support Officers.

    I contend that the use of the words ‘straight’, ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in the context of sexuality has the intentional purpose of glossing over the physical natures of all sexualities. As a basically heterosexual male, I strongly object to my being classified sexually as ‘straight’.

    With a long interest in music, stage, film, and literature in general, I used to go to Gaiety theatres; many songs have ‘gaily’ and ‘gay’ in their lyrics; my parents (IDMA old time dance medallists) would dance the Gay Gordons. Now there is a Scottish country dance organisation that includes all sexualities except heterosexuality, by being for “LGBTQI” people only. It operates under the name “The Gay Gordons Edinburgh”. Today that is called ‘cultural (mis)appropriation’. And the use of the letter Q as a sexuality flies in the face of ‘queer’ having been considered a derogatory term for a homosexual.

    Likewise, as a visitor to many of the Greek islands, I often wonder what the true Lesbians – inhabitants of Lesbos – make of the theft of their descriptor to mean female homosexuals. Consider a joke beginning, “A Cretan and a Lesbian walked into a bar….” What if male homosexuals were called manxmen? It would be just as wrong.

    Brian Burden commented on the Riverdale cartoon strips with, “As to inclusivity, though, judging by the extract here, blacks and Hispanics don’t feature prominently at Riverdale”. I brought up the speech bubble language. I would like to see examples of different Archie Comics characters.

    As I said at the start of this discussion, “I enjoy reading comics because each artist’s work is different – not because he or she is part of the ‘comic community’, if it exists”. I have yet to read of the (homogenous) ‘heterosexual community’ or the (homogenous) ‘heterosexual culture’. But I do read that ‘gay’ is in fact just one type of homosexuality; typified by “dress, speech or mannerisms”. Not that any of the men I have known to be homosexuals were overtly so.

    It is frequently said that a real world version of George Orwell’s fictional 1984 dystopian novel’s “Nuspeak” has been created to distort (even corrupt) the English language. I would say that “straight, lesbian, and gay” as sexual terms are prime examples of that.

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