Red Circle Comics was an imprint used by Archie Comics Publications, Inc. to publish non-Archie characters, especially their superheroes, in the 1970s and '80s.
==Phase 1: 1970s==
The Red Circle Comics line was first used to publish Chilling Adventures in Sorcery in October, 1973. This title was originally Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as told by Sabrina with its first 2 issues. With the 3rd it was renamed and published under the Red Circle Comics line. With issue 6 it was renamed Red Circle Sorcery and lasted until issue 11 (Feb, 1975). A series called Super Cops would publish one issue in July 1974. Shortly thereafter, Mad House (a retitle of Mad House Glads) would also be published under the Red Circle Comics line starting with issue 95 (Sept, 1974). This would end after #97 (Jan, 1975), when the title reverted back to being a standard Archie humor title.
In 1978 and 1979, Archie published 2 digests collecting their superhero materials from the 60s. The first was titled Archie's Super Hero Special. The second issue was titled Archie's Super Hero Comic Digest Magazine, and is notable for publishing the previously unpublished revamp of the Black Hood done by Gray Morrow and Neal Adams. There was nothing on their covers to indicate they were Red Circle titles; only the interior indicia indicated the publisher.
- Main article: List of Archie Comics imprint publications#Red Circle Line
==Phase 2: 1980s==
In the 1980s, Archie would make a more concerted effort to reuse their superheroes. The first appearance was actually in JC Comics's JCP Features #1, in Dec of 1981, which reprinted the new Black Hood materials that appeared in Archie Super Hero Comic Digest Magazine #2. In March 1983, the first issue of Mighty Crusaders appeared, which led to many new titles under the Red Circle Comics banner. With the February 1984 issues, this line had been renamed the "Archie Adventure Series." By September of 1985, the entire line had been cancelled. The next attempt at using the characters would have been the promised "Spectrum" line, but that line never came out because the changes to the characters were considered too radical by Archie Comics' management. Archie's super-heroes were later leased to DC Comics for use in its short-lived Impact line. Since then, there have been only occasional appearances in Archie titles, probably to preserve their ownership.
- Main article: List of Archie Comics imprint publications#Archie Adventure Series 2
* Black Hood II (nephew of original Black Hood)
* The Comet
* The Fly
* The Fox II (son of original Fox)
* Hangman II (son of original Hangman)
* The Jaguar
* Mr. Justice
* Lancelot Strong: Shield II (soon killed off)
* Shield III (son of original Shield)
* Steel Sterling
* The Web II (son of the original)
Red Circle was also used as a cover logo from the mid-Thirties until 1957 for Martin Goodman's line of pulp magazines, some of the paperbacks his company produced and also for some comics. Goodman also published Timely Comics, the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. Titles published under the "Red Circle Magazines" heading included My Romance (1948), the second issue of which included an 'open letter' from Marvel forewarning readers of the attention of critics such as Fredric Wertham, and reminding them to be diligent.<ref>"'Marvel Comic Group' Open letter" in My Romance (Red Circle Magazines Corp. <small>(Marvel/Timely)</small>, Nov. 1948), p. 31</ref> Other titles published as "Red Circle Magazines" included Comic Capers, a funny animal title, Hedy Devine Comics and Snafu.
Beyond the similar name, the "Red Circle" branded comics and publications from Archie and Timely/Marvel are in no way related.
==Licensing by DC==
Recently the entire catalogue of characters created by Red Circle have been licensed for use by DC Comics. The original plan was to introduce them into the DC Universe through the series The Brave and the Bold in stories written by J. Michael Straczynski.<ref>JMS Gets Brave & Bold with Archie Gang, Comic Book Resources, October 30, 2008</ref> However, this plan changed and, with the same writer attached, they appeared in Red Circle, a series of one-shots which lead into two ongoing Shield and Web titles. The characters are being incorporated into the regular DC Universe as planned.<ref>20 Answers and 1 Question With Dan DiDio: Holiday Surprise, Newsarama, December 24, 2008</ref><ref>JMS Circles the DC Universe in Red, Comic Book Resources, March 26, 2009</ref>
*Red Circle Heroes
*Mighty Crusaders Network
*International Superhero entry on Archie Comics superheroes