Archie Comics Announces ‘Chilling Adventures Presents… The Cult Of That Wilkin Boy’ For April 2023

by Brendan M. Allen

Cult-favorite Archie Comics character Bingo Wilkin is getting a modern revival through a more sinister type of cult in Chilling Adventures Presents… The Cult Of That Wilkin Boy, a one-shot comic from the Archie Horror imprint releasing in April.

In a book-length solo story, horror comics master Cullen Bunn and artist Dan Schoening tell a chilling tale of fame and fandom gone wrong when rock star Bingo is offered a demonic deal he can’t refuse. Of course, it doesn’t go exactly the way crossroads exchanges usually do in traditional folklore.

“Getting to work with Cullen is an honor, as he’s a master of scripting horror,” said Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante, “and Dan’s vivid and detailed work helps accentuate the darkest and most disturbing aspects of Cullen’s writing. I was inspired by cult-based horror movies like Mandy and Midsommar, but Cullen took it to the next level, using musician character Bingo Wilkin to tell a story that’s about the darker sides of fame. This is an unforgettable story that I know will delight all horror fans.”

Bingo first appeared in 1968’s That Wilkin Boy #1, launching a fan-favorite spinoff to the core Archie titles that ran for 14 years. Bingo was the cousin of Riverdale’s Jughead Jones and lived in nearby Midvale, where he led a band called The Bingoes. In the new horror one-shot, Bunn and Schoening take the concept of Bingo as an iconoclastic hipster musician and update it for a terrifying tale of clout-chasing ambition and powerful cults. 

“The story we’re seeing in this book is closely related to the original stories; it starts in pretty much the same place for Bingo and his friends,” Bunn said. “But I wanted to explore what might happen if the story took a dark, infernal turn, so I wove in some classic demonic folklore. What would happen if Bingo got everything he wanted, but he paid a terrible price to get there? The Bingo of this story is quite a departure–an evolution or de-evolution–of the wholesome character of yesteryear, corrupted by fame and power and guilt and jealousy. He’s achieved what he thought was impossible, but his karmic payments are coming due.”

The character’s musical roots have been re-rooted in modern times, as well. “Music plays a big part in the character makeup of Bingo Wilkin, but instead of the classic late ‘60s pop rock aesthetic, we’ve updated him with more of a grunge/alternative rock vibe,” Schoening said. “I pulled visual inspiration from bands like Weezer, Nirvana, Beck, and Green Day. With the touches of horror throughout the tale, I directed my attention towards Harry Clarke’s Faust illustrations and the phantasmic work of Hieronymus Bosch.”

Bingo Wilkin isn’t the first classic Archie character to be revamped with a horrifying twist by Bunn and Schoening. In 2022’s Chilling Adventures of Salem, the duo gave Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s feline familiar Salem his first solo horror adventure, fighting back against an evil magician preying on a town’s lost pets. Both titles recontextualize the legacy humor characters in a fresh way to observe the darker side of human nature.

Cult is a haunting character study, and will relate to so many on a personal level,” Schoening added. “Sometimes the dreams we desire most, especially ones such as fame and fortune, can turn into dreadful nightmares.”

Chilling Adventures Presents… The Cult Of That Wilkin Boy, with an open-to-order variant cover by Robert Hack, inks by Ben Galvan, colors by Matt Herms and lettering by Jack Morelli, releases April 19 in comic shops nationwide and will be available for pre-order in comics shops today. 

 

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