Thursday, July 23, 2015

Archie: Reloaded

Those of you that know me really well, know the affection that I have for Archie Comics. I have read them since I was 9 years old and I still read them today in my mid-40's. Countless numbers of comics, digests, and double digests were purchased during my formative years.  Comics back then were cheap, but not having any money, I still had to do chores or something extra to get my mom or my grandmother to spend that $1 or $2 to get me my Archie fix.  There was no allowance in my house( or any other black child on my block)  In fact, if I had ever asked for an allowance, I am pretty sure their response woulda been exactly like this.

 Something about Archie and the entire Riverdale gang has always spoken to me for some reason.  It certainly isn't for its diversity- especially in the 80's when I got hooked on the books.  Chuck Clayton, and his dad and Nancy were pretty much all there was for Riverdale.  Its certainly not because it was cool to read Archie's.  I remember hiding the books from my friends when they would come over so I would not get teased or beat up.

This is purposely misleading

I think Archie, for me at least, represents comfort and reliability.  I can always rely on Archie to be girl crazy, and for Jughead to like burgers, and for Betty and Veronica to be fighting over Archie.  Its probably why during times of stress and turmoil in my life, I always turn to Archie.  And I have been there for it all- crossovers with the Punisher, for the marriage to Betty and Veronica, and to his tragic death in that universe.  I have read long enough to see Chuck get his own book, to introducing their first gay character and gay marriage, to the Zombie versions of the Riverdale Gang.  Hell, I am currently reading the Archie V Predator series and its review will probably be the next thing I write about!   Like I said, I been all in.

So when I heard about the new relaunch and redesign of the characters, you would think I would still be all in.  But I wasn't.  I paused, probably more than I thought I would.  Even though I have been with these characters for countless hours and countless books, and countless relaunches, the essence of the characters was always still there.  This new book, was a much more drastic re-imagination of the characters and when I first saw it, I didn't like it and I went on quite a few Archie related blogs to voice my opinion( ChuckClaytonsDad is my handle).

But like I said, I turn to Archie when things are bad for me emotionally( not going to overshare here, tho) so I gave this new book a try. 
First off the design is what strikes you, there is very little of the Archie we know and love in there, but not much!

Secondly, Archie breaks the 4th wall whenever he is not talking to his friends( ala Deadpool) which is sort of  a different take and twist on the book and the character.  This happens in the old books a little, but in this book, he breaks the 4th wall the entire time speaking to you, the reader.  Not sure if this is a one time thing or a precedent for the book.

But beyond that, the book is very true to the tone and characters of Riverdale  Without giving too much away, Betty and Archie have been friends/going out since Kindergarten and something has happened to break them up.  Its referred to as the "lipstick incident".  Archie, speaking directly to you, lets you into his world at Riverdale High and at his home in a very lighthearted way, but also speaking of his inner turmoil about the break up.  His friends, led by Jughead , of course, attempt to get the couple back together( referred to as Bettchie- Clever) at the Homecoming Dance by stuffing the ballot box so they would be King and Queen and dance together to see how much they mean to each other.  This is a total Archie story and could've been told anytime from 1960- today.  Of course it goes wrong and does not work out.  We do get to see Archie on stage performing which is another aspect that stays strong for his character.

I know reading this, you think Veronica is behind the lipstick incident... but she is not and does not even make it into the 1st issue of this book.  But she is out there, looming! And will be coming very soon by looking at the last page of the book.

So as much as I tried to fight it,  I'm #teamArchie again. I liked the restart and even though I know this is part time and is never going to take over the Archie that I grew up with, I am willing to give this new/old guy a chance! Other re-imaginations are on the way and I am sure I will wind up buying them to give them a chance, as well.  What can I say... I'm a sucker for the town of Riverdale!

-The Producer

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