clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A redhead teenage girl walks across a warped background of clocks and cogs Image: Butch Mapa, Ellie Wright/Archie Comics

Filed under:

Archie Comics’ first trans character makes her solo debut

A time machine, a half-demon best friend, a warped version of Riverdale... What could go wrong?

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Riverdale’s resident secret girl genius created a time machine that needs demonic energy to power it — so naturally she turns to her best friend, a teen exorcist and half-demon. That’s all in a day’s work for Danni Malloy, the leading character in Strange Science, Archie Horror’s next spooky series. She’s a musician who used to be a teen genius and she would rather not talk about her past. And, oh yeah, she also happens to be Archie’s first trans character.

Now, Danni isn’t a new character, but a reimagined one. When she was introduced in the 1980s, originally in Dilton’s Strange Science, she was the sometimes-girlfriend of Dilton Doiley, Riverdale’s teen genius, and a talented scientist in her own right. But this version of Danni is the star of her own Strange Science, introduced in Archie Horror’s The Cursed Library as Jinx Holliday’s best friend.

Jinx is also reimagined Archie Comics character, rebranded from a mischievous small child into a half-demonic necromancy-practicing teen exorcist — a perfect fit for the Archie Horror world. Danni and Jinx partnered up again in Jinx: A Cursed Life, released earlier this year. Jinx’s big reboot was spearheaded by writer Magdalene Visaggio, who is also behind Strange Science.

“So, the really funky thing about Danni Malloy is that, way back in her first appearances in the original Dilton’s Strange Science mini-series, there’s this running gag that people assume she’s a boy based on her name, even continuing past the point of being corrected,” Visaggio said in a press release. “It starts with Dilton, right off the bat, and never really lets up. It’s a delicious kind of gender anarchy that reads trans as hell now in 2023 in that way that representation-starved desperate trans folk will inevitably find ourselves in everything. To me that’s the fun part: running with it, taking these jokes seriously, turning them into narratives all their own and finding, I dunno, not power but something less practical but just as critical. Self-delight, I guess. Just being a huge nerd and laughing about it.”

In Strange Science, Danni has more or less left her science prodigy days behind, moving from Greendale and Riverdale, and now focusing on her music instead. Still, after a cryptic message from her old pal Dilton, she creates a time machine (powered, of course, by Jinx’s demonic energy). Danni and Jinx end up trapped in a warped version of Riverdale, where they find Dilton, and the three of them must figure out a way to escape. This issue will be the last installment in Visaggio’s Archie Horror run of Jinx and Danni.

Polygon has an exclusive preview of Strange Science below. It will be available on Aug. 16, and is out for pre-order this Friday.

A page from Strange Science, featuring Danni Malloy and Jinx Holliday stepping out from a basement into a warped version of Riverdale. Image: Magdalene Visaggio, Butch Mapa/Archie Comics
A comic page featuring two young women searching the streets of a warped town Image: Magdalene Visaggio, Butch Mapa/Archie Comics
A comic page featuring a strange rock being thrown by a redhead girl to a blonde one Image: Magdalene Visaggio, Butch Mapa/Archie Comics
A comic page featuring more searching by two teenage girls Image: Magdalene Visaggio, Butch Mapa/Archie Comics
A bespectacled teen boy reaches from the dark shadows, scaring two teenage girls Image: Magdalene Visaggio, Butch Mapa/Archie Comics

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon