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Archie and Riverdale
Archie is set in the fictional small town of Riverdale. The state or even the general location of the town is unspecified.
The New York Times postulated that "the cartoonist Bob Montana inked the original likenesses of Archie and his pals and plopped them in an idyllic Midwestern community named Riverdale because Mr. Goldwater, a New Yorker, had fond memories of time spent in Hiawatha, Kansas."
For the comics' 60th anniversary in 2002, several geographical and historical hints to the location of Riverdale were printed in every digest issue.
Initially, MLJ started out publishing humor and adventure strips in anthology comic books as was the standard, but quickly added superheroes in their first title's second issue, Blue Ribbon Comics #2, with Bob Phantom. In January 1940, Pep Comics debuted featuring the Shield, America's first patriotic comic book hero, by writer and managing editor Harry Shorten and artist Irv Novick. MLJ's Golden Age heroes also included the Black Hood, who also appeared in pulp magazines and a radio show; and The Wizard, who shared a title with the Shield.
Later revivals of the MLJ superheroes occurred under a number of imprints: Archie Adventure Series, Mighty Comics, Red Circle Comics and one aborted attempt, Spectrum Comics. Archies Publications then licensed them out to DC Comics in the 1990s for Impact Comics universe imprint then again in 2008 for a DC Universe integrated Red Circle line.
Archie's Silver Age relaunch of its superheroes under the Archie Adventure Series imprint and then the Mighty Comics imprint began with a new version of the Shield and two new characters the Jaguar and the Fly. In the mid-1960s with the Silver Age of Comics, Archie switched the heroes to a new imprint, "Mighty Comics Group", with the revival of all the MLJ heroes done as Marvel parodies with "the campy humor of the Batman TV show." This imprint shift soon brought the company its first super hero team book similar to Marvel's Avengers with the Mighty Crusaders. This imprint ended in 1967.
With the conversion of Archie's Red Circle Comics from horror to superheroes in the 1980s, the Mighty Crusaders, Black Hood, the Comet, the Fly and two version of the Shields had their own titles.
Archie planned to publish superheroes again in the late 1980s with an imprint called Spectrum Comics, featuring a number of high-profile talents, including Steve Englehart, Jim Valentino, Marv Wolfman, Michael Bair, Kelley Jones, and Rob Liefeld. Planned Spectrum titles included The Fly, The Fox, Hangman, Jaguar, Mister Justice, and The Shield. Ultimately, Archie cancelled Spectrum Comics before publishing a single issue.
In 2012, Archie Comics relaunched its superhero imprint, Red Circle Comics, as an all-digital line under a subscription model with back issues archive access starting with New Crusader.
In 2015, Archie Comics rebranded its superhero imprint under the new title, Dark Circle Comics. It was launched in February with The Black Hood followed by the launch of The Fox in April with The Shield and The Hangman to follow in September and November.