A carrot-coloured vision in her orange top, Nancy Silberkleit, the force behind Archie comics, breezes in the room for a tête-à-tête with HT. “I like to dress in orange to match Archie’s signature red hair,” she says.
Diving straight to the question that plagues the comic’s fans all across the globe, Betty Cooper or Veronica Lodge, who will triumph as the ginger-haired, freckled teen’s love interest? She says: “Archie may never decide and I think it’s better that way. They may just remain what they have been for decades — a love triangle... Though there will be other flitting in and out of Archie’s life such as Valerie from Josie and the pussycats, Cheryl Blossom and the likes.”
In India for the second time to address an educational conference in the Capital, the daughter-in-law of one of the founders of the comic, Louis Silberkleit and the co-CEO of the company, says that fans can expect Archie romancing a desi beauty too. “We already have an Indian character in the comic, Raj Patel and yes, why not? It’s a good idea to have an Indian girlfriend for Archie and experiment with Indian clothing too.”
And since Bollywood can never be too far behind when India is in the picture, comic in this case, she says, “I heard about a comic that showed Archie and the gang in Bollywood. It’s an interesting theme and I’m going to be relaying my love for this country to my editors so that we can include more Indian settings especially Bollywood.”
Ask her about her favourite character and pat comes the reply, “Mr Lodge. He is like a business role model for me. I like to think that my company is also like the Lodge enterprises,” she says. She also seems elated to be the first woman executive from the company to visit the country and also about the next plotline for the Riverdale gang.
Fond of cracking clever oneliners, she says, “Comics are like a bowl of candies. We try to present social messages in an entertaining wrapper. A plot based on plastic recycling in Rwanda is in the pipeline next.”