Monday, February 6, 2012
WE AIN’T THE ARCHIES WITHOUT THAT JUGHEAD BEAT
month of my birth. That’s all I know about it.
Looking at the other Archie Comics titles published that month, I
see Archie and his friends hadn’t yet achieved the nigh-complete
dominance they would. The Riverdale gang are on the cover of Laugh
Comics and that’s it for the month. The other four Archie titles
are Sam Hill, Private Eye, which isn’t identified on the cover as
an Archie title, Super Duck, Suzie, and Wilbur.
These days, in addition to about a dozen Archie comics and digests,
Archie Comics also publishes Mega Man and two ongoing Sonic the
Hedgehog titles. They also ramped up their trade paperback library
to great success.
Regular visitors to this blog know of my affection for the Archie
characters and titles. Here’s a quick rundown on the comic books
and digests I’ve read recently...
Veronica #210 [$2.99] completes the four-issue Kevin Keller mini-
series with the best Kevin story yet. In “Taking the Lead,” Kevin
runs for Riverdale High class president. Writer/artist Dan Parent
doesn’t shy away from the undisguised bigotry Kevin faces from his
opponent, who insinuates Kevin is not a real man and whose planted-
in-the-audience supporters try to make it seem that President Kevin
would only focus on gay issues. It’s remarkably gutsy stuff for an
Archie comic book, though I think it’s becoming increasingly clear
that we need to revise our thinking on what Archie comic books can
and do present.
March will see the launch of Kevin Keller’s own series. I expect
Archie will continue to impress us. My request/suggestion is that
Kevin start dating. It’s the logical progression now that Kevin’s
fully a part of his new school.
Lots of other interesting stuff in Archie comic books...
Archie #626 [$2.99] guest-starred football player Michael Strahan
while #627 [$2.99] kicked off a serial starring legendary rock band
Kiss and featuring Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Fun stuff.
Archie & Friends #158 and #159 [$2.99 each] reprint tales from the
spry craze of the 1960s by Frank Doyle with art by Bob White. See
A.R.C.H.I.E. as “The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E” and B.E.T.T.Y. as
“The Girl From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E” battling the sinister schemes of
C.R.U.S.H. If Archie keeps reprinting these stories, I’m gonna need
a lot more periods!
Betty #195 [$2.99] reprints Betty stories by Al Hartley (story and
pencils) and Dan DeCarlo (with an unknown writer) along with a very
funny Sabrina tale by Dick Malmgren with art by DeCarlo and inker
Betty and Veronica #256 and #257 [$2.99 each) offer some surprising
contrasts. “Camp Out Clout” by Tom DeFalco with art by Jeff Shultz
and Jim Amash is camping out the Veronica Lodge way. However, in
#257's book-length tale by Paul Kupperberg, Shultz, and Amash, we
get an adventure in outdoors survival. My pal Paul might well be
getting tired of hearing this, but he’s doing the best writing of
his career for Archie Comics.
Archie’s Pal Jughead #210 [$2.99] features the conclusion of a way
cool storyline in which Jughead has moved from his parents’ house
in the wake of an argument. He’s been living with one friend after
another and his nomadic journey concludes with a stay at the home
of Trula Twist, his arch-frenemy. A hilarious finale by the great
Craig Boldman with art by Rex Lindsey and Jim Amash.
Archie Comics digests continue to deliver great bang for four bucks
a pop. The clean lines and relatively sparse copy of the material
lend themselves to the smaller size. Here are some highlights of
Archie Double Digest #224 has a new story by Kupperberg with art by
Pat Kennedy and Jim Amash. It backs that up with six tales written
by Frank Doyle, my all-time favorite Archie scribe. One of these
drawn by the legendary Harry Lucey and two are Wilbur stories with
art by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick. Also notable in this digest is
a touching Christmas story written and drawn by Bob White.
Archie & Friends Double Digest #10 and #11 lead with Archie and his
pals and gals as super-teens. Issue #10 has Pureheart the Powerful
by Doyle and White. Also featured are stories by Bob Bolling, Chic
Stone, Paul Castiglia and Fernando Ruiz (Archie’s Weird Mysteries),
Samm Schwartz, Stan Goldberg, and others. Issue #11 has Archie as
Captain Pureheart by Doyle with Bill Vigoda and Mario Acquaviva.
In addition to the comic-book stories, the Archie digest also have
two or three Archie Sunday newspaper strips per issue.
Betty and Veronica Double Digest #195 had a new Halloween story by
George Gladir with art by Goldberg and Amash. Other highlights in
the issue were two Ginger reprints, one by Schwartz and the other
by Joe Edwards, and two Sabrina reprints by Gladir and Schwartz and
Malmgren and Lapick. You’ll find more Ginger and Sabrina tales in
#196, along with Katy Keene stories by the legendary Bill Woggon.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more Archie digest
highlights, some reviews of comics from other publishers, and new
entries in the DESIGN A NEW LOGO FOR TONY contest.
© 2012 Tony Isabella