Monday, November 9, 2009

Dear Jon,

Dear Jon,

Congrats again on all the great work you guys have done with the "Proposal" story. You keep getting more and more press, and it is almost universally positive.

I really like how "The Road Not Taken" has become a central theme, as evidenced by this Library of Congress article:

I wonder though, should you maybe be taking some of the lessons Archie will learn from the story and the poem and apply them to yourself and the company?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Right now you are very actively looking down the road that will take Archie and the gang to Hollywood. Fair enough, that's where the money is. It doesn't take a genius to see the myriad of possibilities for Archie based entertainment. The path is clear, to a point. The undergrowth on this path hides a great danger, one that you really shouldn't underestimate.

The Hollywood road will lead to the erosion of the heart and values that make Archie, well Archie. I know, you guys are strong and will be the exception to the cliché. You won't be. This path will only end in tears, Jon.

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

The other path is just as fair Jon, and fewer have taken it. It used to called "the high road", back in the days when society valued a person's character and morals more than their net worth. You know, back in the days when your family started Archie.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Oh, this is key. You don't have to rush to Hollywood. I guarantee you they will always welcome the Riverdale contingent. To them you are an unexploited brand with an insanely high recognition factor. You have the power here! Don't be blinded by flashy parties, wanton starlets and the snake-oil pitches of the producers.

Keep the first path for another day, Jon. It will always be there. As more and more remakes are put into production (An A-Team movie? Really?) and the TV networks fall further and further behind their competition your brand simply gains value. You guys are the prom queen, but just because you have the pick of anyone you want doesn't mean you have to let someone feel you up.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This really is a pivotal point for Archie comics, don't fool yourself. I get it: you want to parlay all the recent success and media attention into new avenues of exposure and revenue. Fine. I'm just begging you to use your imagination. Engage with artists and creators, not executives and agents. Movies and TV aren't the only games in town, they're just the flashiest and most approachable.

By the way, I have a great idea for an Archie stage musical if you ever want to hear it.

Great success comes from risk, courage and originality. I hope years from now you can sit back, sigh, and talk about when you first started running the company. Talk about how you had a choice of direction to take Archie in, and you chose to take the one less traveled by.

It will make all the difference.

With great respect,