Archie Andrews, everyone's favorite, freckled denizen of Riverdale, will die a hero's death in an upcoming issue of Life With Archie, as he sacrifices his life to save a friend's, the CBC reports.
The story will help conclude the Life With Archie series, which publisher Archie Comics relaunched in 2010 to follow the lives of Archie, his love interests Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, best friend Jughead Jones and frenemy Reggie Mantle after they've graduated from high school and college.
"We've been building up to this moment since we launched Life With Archie five years ago and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie's life as an adult had to also show his final moment," publisher Jon Goldwater said in a statement.
Archie will die in issue Number 36, which is set for release this July. The subsequent installment will jump ahead a year and examine how Betty, Veronica, Jughead and Reggie have dealt with the death of their friend. Archie has been a comic-book fixture since his introduction in Pep Comics in 1941.
"This story is going to inspire a wide range of reactions because we all feel so close to Archie," Goldwater added. "Fans will laugh, cry, jump off the edge of their seats and hopefully understand why this comic will go down as one of the most important moments in Archie's entire history. It's the biggest story we've ever done, and we're supremely proud of it."
Though tragic, tackling Archie's death is fitting for the comic series, which in recent years has dealt with more contemporary and mature issues, like introducing its first gay character in 2010. Last month Archie Comics' Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tapped Girls star/writer/creator and Archie fan, Lena Dunham, to pen a four-part story that will be published in 2015. Though he wouldn't divulge plot details, Aguirre-Sacasa said the story is "very contemporary" and set in the Archie continuity, adding, "It's a classic Archie story, with a definitely unique, Lena spin."