Interview: Writer J. Torres on Archie Comics’ JINX

Li’l Jinx was introduced to Archie readers in 1947, created by Joe Edwards. Since the 40s she has remained a child; an adorable tomboy who is full of opinions, trickery, and spirit. Now, in 2012, Archie has recast Jinx as a lovable teenager, whose spunky attitude keeps her confident even in the toughest stage of life: high school.

Here, Graphicly’s Becky Jewell interviews J. Torres, the writer of the all-new Jinx.

You've come a long way, Jinxy!

Graphicly – Jinx is one of Archie’s oldest characters, yet she has long been always one of the youngest Archie characters. How did you and the folks at Archie decide to let Li’l Jinx grow up at last?

J. Torres – I think Jon Goldwater came up with the idea to bring back Jinx as a teenager and he tasked my editor Suzannah Rowntree with putting together a pitch. Suzannah and Mike Peleritto then assembled the creative team, including me.

Graphicly – In the new Jinx book, the high school atmosphere has a bit of grit to it. Every character has a quirk, a touch of awkwardness. How do you and the artists work together to envision these convincing characters?

J.T. – I can’t really speak for Rick, but for me a lot of the characterization comes from the original character as they appear in the classic comics. I just age them up and modernize and make them “act” in a way that I think is a logical and fun progression from the source material. Some of that quirk and awkwardness comes from people I know, people I went to school with, etc. So, it’s partly based on reality and my own experiences growing up as well.

Graphicly – High school life in this series is a bit rough for Jinx. Jinx is strong-minded and independent, yet she is pressured, and even bullied, to ‘fit in’. How do you, as a writer, confront serious issues, yet allow the story to be ultimately empowering?

J.T. – I approach most things in life with a sense of humor, and that goes for my writing, and that goes for Jinx. The original comics were gag strips, situational comedies, so I’m just trying to continue in that vein, albeit more contemporary and hopefully interesting to today’s readers. Jinx is one of those characters that usually ends up on top regardless of the situation, how she got there, and how long it takes her to get out. Wonder Woman will always beat the bad guys, Nancy Drew always solves the mystery, and Jinx will always end up “winning” somehow.

Graphicly – Do you think that the audience for Jinx might first encounter her story on digital platforms like Graphicly? Are comics changing and growing just like Li’l Jinx?

J.T. – I know people who first encountered Jinx on their iPads. Then there are those who remember her from Archie Digests, but now read her story online. Then there’s me. I still buy comics in print, but ever since comics have gone digital (whether it’s CD Rom, on the Internet, or via downloads) I’ve been consuming even more comics, especially older material I might not be able to find in a store because it’s out of print, or new material I’m not quite sure I want to read but I’m willing to “taste test” for a dollar or so a download.

Graphicly – What lies in the future for Jinx? Can you give us any teasers?

J.T. – I can’t really go into any story detail yet, but I think it’s safe to say that each story arc will take place over the course of a semester at school. The first one took place in the first semester of Jinx’s freshman year, and the second will take place in the last term of that year. So two arcs for every year of high school.

You can grab the first three issues of Jinx on Graphicly today!