In the nearly two years since its orgy of bad special effects, scenery chewing and dubious plot points was first foisted on an unsuspecting public, Syfy’s Sharknado already has spawned a line of boxer shorts, jewelry, Halloween costumes, drinkware, car decals, holiday stockings, video games and a survival guide (How To Survive A Sharknado And Other Natural Disasters, Random House).
And now, a comic book: Archie Vs. Sharknado.
Seems that while the latest shark-infested tornado was cutting a swath of death and destruction down the East Coast, terrorizing Washingtonians already dealing with the horror of POTUS Mark Cuban and the knowledge that Ann Coulter is one terrifying Cuban heartbeat away from the Oval Office, Sharknado 3 made a stop in the sleepy Northeast town of Riverdale. There, it made life a perfect hell for Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the gang just as they think they’re going to kick back and enjoy a few months of sun and naps.
Written by Sharknado trilogy director Anthony C. Ferrante, with art by Archie’s Dan Parent (who insists he’s Sharknado’s biggest fan), Syfy and Archie Comics have announced that the “shark-tacular” (we couldn’t stop them) 48-page comic issue will be released in comic shops, and digitally, the same day Syfy unveils Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! That’s Wednesday, July 22.
It’s a first comic book treatment for Sharknado, but far from the first crossover of Archie and company, who have a long tradition of interacting with other properties. Archie Vs. Predator came out this week, Archie Meets Kiss in 2011, and then there was Archie Meets Glee in 2013, in which a portal opens up and the two high schools interacted, with hilarity ensuing. Parent did the art for Glee and Kiss crossovers too.
“The Sharknado franchise has soared in popularity due partly to the variety of great celebrities, who bravely encounter this unnatural menace,” Syfy Ventures VP Jeff Li said. “Sharknado survivors come in all forms. It’s only natural that Archie and the gang will get a chance to save their town from flying sharks.”
The stop in Riverdale won’t be seen in the Syfy telecast. Sharknado 3 will cause mass destruction in our nation’s capital before roaring down the Eastern Seaboard to Orlando, where the sharks will do battle with Jerry Springer, NSYNC singer Chris Kirkpatrick and WWE star Chris Jericho. The third iteration of the improbable hit stars Ian Ziering as Fin, Tara Reid as April and Cassie Scerbo as Nova. Joining them will be David Hasselhoff as Fin’s father and Bo Derek as April’s mother.
The Sharknado phenomenon began in July 2013, when an average of 1.4 million people viewed the unveiling of Sharknado — mostly journalists and celebrities who tweeted like maniacs throughout the broadcast. Many of the 312 million or so people in the country who had not watched the Sharknado premiere heard about it through social, or old-school, media: The ecological nightmare caused by global warming triggers a freak weather system that results in a mega tornado chock-a-block with angry sharks who sail through the air attacking innocent children and blondes, and causing to be uttered such lines as, “They took my grandfather, so I really hate sharks.” The movie culminated in a mano-a-sharko scene, in which hero Ziering was swallowed by a flying shark but, happily, happened to have his chainsaw with him at the time. He sawed his way out, alsorescuing the distressed damsel who’d earlier been consumed whole by the same shark.
The celebrity-studded social media frenzy that took place while the movie was premiering included Mia Farrow, who tweeted a photo of herself with Philip Roth, with whom she said she was watching Sharknado. Roth might not have appreciated the gag, because the photo – actually taken at a dinner party days earlier – vanished at some point. Greg Berlanti contributed the somewhat un-original gag, “Somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling at a junior executive for not coming up with #Sharknado first.” Damon Lindelof observed, “This movie is such a ripoff of The Bicycle Thief.” Wil Wheaton warned: “You fools! You foolish fools! We should have taken global warning seriously and now there’s Sharknado!”
Naturally, some celebrities made it about themselves: “Oh Goddamn it, now I want to see it too and then I’m gonna want to quit this business…again!” tweeted Michael Chiklis, for example. Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, and Patton Oswalt also threw in their 2 cents worth, and even the American Red Cross weighed in.