Is Rivervale Actually A Comic Book Version Of 'Riverdale'?

- Riverdale -
Is Rivervale Actually A Comic Book Version Of 'Riverdale'?

The exact nature of Riverdale's five-episode event series has yet to be revealed — and fans have plenty of theories. Could the town of Rivervale, which is somehow even darker and more macabre than the "small town with pep," be a figment of Archie's imagination? Could it be a collection of short stories written by Jughead, or a parallel universe ushered in by Sabrina Spellman?

We can only hope that the show's fifth episode of Season 6, "The Jughead Paradox," will tell us. Yet with new images from the event series finale revealing the Riverdale characters looking a lot more like how they do in the pages of Archie Comics than they do the TV series, it may be time to speculate on a new theory: Could the events of Rivervale take place within the pages of a comic book?

Images: The CW

Long before we saw images of Betty, Veronica, and Archie sucking down a single milkshake at Pop's, there were some small clues that Riverdale was heading in a comic book direction. In the first episode of the Rivervale event series, Archie helps Jughead and Tabitha move into their new place, and muses that he's surprised by how many comic books Jughead has. Jughead simply replies that he "contains multitudes" — an interesting turn of phrase, considering that each episode seemingly takes place outside of any real continuity, which suggests that maybe there's a new version of Jughead in each story.

And the fact that each episode is a standalone story may also contribute to the comic book theory. Archie Comics has its own continuity, but it also will branch off and release comics (or series of comics) that stand mostly on its own. For example, a 2014 issue of Life With Archie shows Archie dying as he attempts to protect the life of Senator Kevin Keller — but Archie's heroic stance doesn't actually change anything for the rest of the comic run, as this story takes place in an alternate universe. Maybe that's how Riverdale's "Rivervale" episodes are able to take these big swings, including killing off Archie: In the end, it will all be revealed as stories from a comic book.

There's more specific beats that hint Rivervale may be a comic as well. Cheryl wasn't a witch in the original Riverdale timeline, nor was she friends with Sabrina Spellman. However, in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic book, written by Aguirre-Sacasa, Riverdale characters — including Betty and Veronica — are canonically witches, and do know Sabrina. While not exactly the same plot line, the fact that Sabrina crosses over into the world of Riverdale could hint that the show is borrowing elements from the comics — because it is one.

Another big clue? The fact that Pop Tate sells his soul to the devil on Riverdale, which is something he does in a spin-off Riverdale comic.

If Riverdale is doing a comic book event, however, there needs to be some sort of reason why we're watching it play out. Given that Jughead is the narrator of all this action, it's possible that he's writing a comic book after his whole Mothman novel failed to take off. After all, the town of Riverdale was always his greatest inspiration — why wouldn't it be in a new medium?

Of course, this is just pure speculation — but hopefully, the next episode of the Rivervale event finally gives us the answers we've been burning for.

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