After thirty-three years languishing in the dustbin of Archie Comics history, the former co-star of Dilton’s Strange Science, Danni Malloy, is finally set to return to Riverdale – and thanks to a forthcoming ‘update’ to her character from writer Magdalene Visaggio, she’ll be doing so as a transgender woman rather than a biological one.
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Spanning a brief five-issue run between 1989-1990, Dilton’s Strange Science detailed the ‘sci-fi’ exploits of Riverdale’s resident nerd, Dilton Doiley, whose fantastic adventures included accidentally being shrunk to microscopic size ala Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and putting a stop to the evil plans of alien impersonator.
Accompanying him in his adventures was Danni, a quick-witted and red-headed teenager who not only had a head for science, but also a romantic eye for Dilton himself.
However, after Archie Comics closed the book on Dilton’s Strange Science, so too did they abandon Danni to the annals of time.
That was, until May 15th, when the publisher revealed via Gizmodo’s io9 outlet that Danni would be making her modern era debut in the upcoming Strange Science issue of their currently ongoing Chilling Adventures anthology.
A series of one-shots which explore the more paranormal activities occurring around Riverdale – and more often than not around one Sabrina Spellman – Danni’s issue of the series will see her reimagined not only as the best friend of Archie Comics’ modern version of Lil’ Jinx, but also as a transgender woman.
Speaking to io9 about the upcoming change, Visaggio asserted, “I’ve been wanting to make this happen for a long time, and it’s really cool to see it finally come to fruition.”
“I never wanted Danni’s trans identity to be gimmicky, or for her to feel like she was only created to be trans,” explained the writer, who herself is also a transwoman. “So, I’d like to apologize for sneaking her over the line like this.”
“I wanted you to have a chance to fall in love with her for who she is, not what she is,” she continued. ” I’m honored I got to make it happen, and I’m grateful to Archie for never, not even once, pushing back on my insistence on making their books a little bit more queer. I hope Danni finds a good home at Archie with supportive writers and artists helping to keep her alive for years to come.”
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In his own statement, issue artist Butch Mapa likewise beamed, “I already felt so honored to be doing this one-shot, and that was before I learned what the story is about.”
“Magdalene is one of the more important voices in writing today, and I’m thrilled to join her for this chapter in her ongoing story with Danni and Jinx,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of [the issue’s colorist] Ellie Wright’s work, and am excited to see her wonderful hues over my lines. And of course, the living legend that is [letterer] Jack Morelli completes this amazing group of collaborators I’m blessed with. Magdalene wrote a story that is vital and poignant and brilliant at the same time, while also being a fantastic piece of horror/sci-fi. Expect lots of weirdness, emotion, action, and character.”
Offering her own thoughts, Archie Comics’ senior director of editorial Jamie L. Rotante opined, “Strange Science is one of, if not the, most important one-shots we’ve released to date. It also showcases how versatile horror can be, as it deftly blends sci-fi with horror and tells a beautiful, poignant tale about confronting the past. That’s all thanks to writer Magdalene Visaggio, who had the idea to have Danni Malloy tell her own story about her transition.”
“We just needed to figure out the best way to make it fit, and a callback to her character’s classic origins mixed with the new horror surroundings she’s been re-introduced in just made the most sense,” recalled Rotante. “I think it’s clear to anyone reading this that there is a ton of passion and heart in this story, which was demonstrated on every script page. Every comic Mags has worked on so far has been my favorite, but this one really stuck with me, and I think it will for everyone who reads it. Butch Mapa delighted us with his work on a horror short in last year’s Happy Horror Days one-shot, and not only is his work both gorgeous and grotesque (when the script calls for the latter, of course), but he puts an incredible amount of care into every detail and design he creates.”
“I’m so proud of this book, but moreover, it’s an honor to help bring this beautiful story to life,” she ultimately affirmed. “I’m consistently awed by the amazing talent I have the opportunity to work with.”
Chillling Adventures Presents…Strange Science is on track to beam onto shelves on August 16th.