I have to admit, I was never particularly fascinated by Archie comics. And yet, they were practically a staple of family vacations when I was a kid. I’d somehow end up with one and it would amuse me for a short time while we were in the car. It was probably because my parents were well versed in Archie and knew that it was perfectly harmless reading material… plus, it’s widely available practically everywhere. Seriously, go anywhere in the US that sells magazines and try to find a place that doesn’t stock Archie on the rack. (seriously, do it. And then send me pics for proof. I don’t believe you. #picsoritdidnthappen) Almost everyone, at some point, has read and Archie comic or is at least familiar enough with the characters to tell you everything you need to know. Not much has changed over the years. Sure, there have been some upgrades here and there, but nothing major.
Queue first reboot of the series in 75 years. Did you realize Archie has been around that long, because I sure didn’t! So, let’s talk about it. It’s written by Mark Waid (Superman: Birthright) and Fiona Staples (Saga) is responsible for the art. Those are some powerful names attached to Archie, which should be reason alone to pick it up. We start off in Riverdale and find out, through Archie’s 4th wall breaking, that him and Betty have split up over “the great lipstick incident.” No other details were given other than Archie didn’t cheat and they have no hard feelings for one another. They’ve apparently been together since they were 5 and a break up is devastating for everyone in the school… you know, because if they can fall apart, then so can anything. Naturally, everyone run to Jughead and insists that he does something to bring them back together. For those unfamiliar, Jughead is Archie’s food-addicted, crown-wearing friend. He’s kind of a weirdo, but in a lovable way, who sets up a plan to get them back together. When his plan (intentionally) fails, he tells everyone that it’s wrong to force the two back together and that it has to happen naturally. Pretty basic stuff.
What really shines is the art direction of this comic. It’s pretty great. The characters all have an updated look and everything feels fairly modern. What’s so great about our cultural trend now is that everything seems to be relevant. There’s a great mashup of 50s and 60s apparel blending in seamlessly with 80s/90s/00s, so nothing feels automatically dated. I think that’s what I really like about it. Archie comes across as something harmless and familiar, while still managing to feel fresh and new through clever writing.
I will say this though, if a harmless nostalgic trip isn’t what you’re looking for, then move elsewhere. This is really aimed at a younger audience; the one that still epitomizes high school and sees it as the most important part of their life. It’ll be completely relateable for anyone with teenagers that want to get into comics. I’ll read just about anything, so what do I care?
It’s cute and quirky, fun and light-hearted. Check it out!
Oh yeah, that’s why I got this cover again