Arche, from Greek: beginning, origin or first cause; power, sovereignty, domination.
It all began when my friend Miriam received a present from her sister (in the fall of 1991) of a pair of super-hero-ish shoes, brand Arche. She asked me to draw a thank you note, which I did. And, according to Greek, what a beginning! It led to a number of appearances in my mini-comic series Ten Minute Cartoons. And, eventually, to her own series. Originally titled The New Adventures of Arche-Lady and Astro-Boy, it was shortened with #51 to The Adventures of Arche-Lady. There were also 10 annual specials titled The Arche-Lady SPECIAL.
The series proper ended late 2000, but a spin-off series featuring her former side-kick Astro-Boy ran in 2001-2002, and the last special was in 2001, commemorating the heroine’s 10th anniversary.
It struck me late last year that 2011 is the 20th anniversary. I couldn’t let it go unnoticed! I decided to compile the original series into two 500-page volumes. I scanned, and scanned, and scanned. Then inspiration hit to create an all-new special.
It was going along at a good clip, until I became embroiled in a kitchen renovation, and was hired to write and draw an excerpt of Wuthering Heights. So, I slowed to a crawl. Further, my comics pals who graciously agreed to color the stories became embroiled in other work, too.
Here we are, December, with no jumbo compilations in sight. However, a B&W Arche-Lady SPECIAL #11 is on its way!
To prepare you, I thought it best to tell you a little about the lady herself.
My point of inspiration is my dear friend Miriam. Her shtick is to say horribly mean and conceited things, pretty much to me only. Then we laugh and laugh. She kills me. That mean and conceited brass is Arche-Lady’s leading characteristic. She never wears the same costume twice. She never shows cleavage.
She has no super-powers per se. Thought her “keen wit, concentrated righteousness, and super savoir-faire” gets her out of lots of scrapes. Often, her presence alone is enough to halt crime. It has been revealed that she was a quadruple major in university; hence she graduated second in her class. She is extraordinarily brilliant, though doesn’t spend much time creating gadgets. The only invention of note is the amazing Arche-Mobile.
Arche-Lady comes from a long line of super-heroes; her father was once known as Wing-Tip Man, and her mother was Saddle-Shoe Sally. They turned over their vast fortune, crime lab, and family mansion to her when she came of crime-fighting age. They turned up once in a while during the series, but mostly cruise around the globe in their luxury yacht. In her secret identity, she is a world famous accordionist. Her true name has never been revealed in the series.
At the conclusion of the 100 issue series, Arche-Lady slipped into an “ageless coma” after being exposed to Cosmic Devil radiation. In 2006, when I first thought to compile the material, I wrote an intro and conclusion which adjusted people’s perception of what became of her dog, Dog-Matic, and also pulled her out of her coma. Basically, the Arche-Lady SPECIAL #11 picks up from there.
The special includes two solo shorties, one which heavily features her former side-kick Astro-Boy, and one that heavily features her former Teen Auxiliary. It launches at least 4 new sub-plots, which may or may not ever be resolved (in true Arche-fashion).
TOMORROW: the allies