Handmade Archie Comics Character Reference Book

Oliver is a big Archie Comics fan: every week he and Catherine trek over to Lightning Bolt Comics and pickup a selection of whatever is new (and there’s a surprising variety of “new” in the Archie universe, even today).

Yesterday morning Oliver told me excitedly that he’d found Wikipedia entries for all of the Archie characters, and sensing a teachable moment, as well as a way of indulging my recent obsession, I resolved that Saturday’s father-and-son project would be to make an Archie character reference book.

Here’s how we did it.

First we visited each Archie characters’ Wikipedia page (here’s Archie’s) and grabbed the picture of the character (like this one for Archie) and dragged them to the desktop of my Mac.

Next, we loaded up OmniGraffle an excellent Mac application for creating things like book pages, set the page size (File | Page Setup) to “Index card 3x5 in.” and the page orientation to “Portrait.” We then laid out each page, dragging in the characters one by one and changing the text for their names.

Index Card in OmniGraffle

We printed out each page on 3” by 5” index cards from Staples on the HP PSC 2355 inkjet printer in my office. Forty-five minutes later, we had a nice collection of characters ready for binding together into a book:

Characters on Cards

Next we stacked the cards together, in order of importance to the franchise (as selected by Oliver; Archie came first, and there was some discussion about whether Betty or Veronica should come next and it ultimately fell to me to pick Betty), spread some regular everyday white glue (Martha Stewart brand, only because it was the cheapest, purchased at Michaels) over the top edge and clamped the resulting stack to dry with binder clips:

Gluing the Book

Glued and Clamped

We waited a few hours for the glue to dry and used the wait to go for lunch and to pop up to The Scrapbook Studio to buy some cover stock (they’re super-friendly there, and their prices for card stock are cheaper than Michaels).

Following the process outlined by Hamish MacDonald in his Perfect Binding episode of DIY Book we cut, scored and folded a piece of purple card stock around the stack of index cards, glued, and clamped again with binder clips to dry:

Clamped Cover

An hour later, we had a real book, ready for action:


Hamish MacDonald's picture
Hamish MacDonald on April 10, 2011 - 19:30 Permalink

The book looks great! Man, the things I would have done as a kid if I’d known it was possible to make books. That’s a real gift to give a kid.

On the subject of Archie, did the publishers scrapped that gawdawful notion of ditching their iconic illustration style for a more “realistic” one? (Oh, the crimes that occur here in The Reboot Age.)

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on April 10, 2011 - 23:36 Permalink

What a great project.
And pleased to see O. also favours sans-serif fonts