I have been walking around with the new Archie comics sticking out of my book-bag, folded up in my purse, and tucked into other textbooks used as a bookmark. I lived, I breathed, and I let Archie shadow over me this semester; trying to find the right way to portray this shiny and new edition of Archie.
Was I excited when I saw the familiar redhead sitting on the shelf at Paper Heroes? I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t squeal. Having spent my previous semester, in History of Comics, focused on classic Archie, my curiosity got the best of me and I bought it.
I wasn’t worried since Archie was one of the only timeless comics that could keep up with the ever-changing culture and society. I, however, was concerned about tackling such an important comic for my blog, and if I could do it justice. I decided to discuss the intertextuality from the old and classic Archie comics, and explain how it both hindered and advanced my reading of modern-day Archie.
If you were deprived as a child and did not expose yourself to Archie, don’t worry it is extremely beginner-friendly. If anything, I would almost recommend that it be strictly for beginners, especially if you are the type of reader that sits grumpily as you compare the book to the movie. I, unfortunately, am this type of reader.
We follow some familiar faces, such as Betty and Jughead, with the introduction of new classmates. I was immediately saddened at the start, seeing that Archie and Betty’s love never stood a chance even without the interjection of Veronica.
I was always rooting for Betty; she never stood a chance against Veronica but she always tried, and always managed to stay in the “friend-zone”. As a veteran reader of Archie, of course I am directly affected by this breakup; I have an emotional investment and previously formed bond with these characters. A newbie, wouldn’t be so quick to react at this situation. The breakup would only spark something in a new reader, should he too be going through a breakup – adding a personal outlook and reflection into the characters.
When the gang attempts to bring these two back together through typical shenanigans, the veteran team Bechie in me hops right on board.
The comparison to the classic version is amplified with the editors adding a snippet of Pep Comics #22, the first ever Archie comic. Here is where Archie, or “Chick”, is seen risking his life to impress the girl next door, Betty Cooper, and it comforts the old reader. I couldn’t help but wonder if new and young readers would even bother reverting back to the old sketching after spending so much time with the polished version. It makes all the difference towards character development and to gain a better understanding of whom the original Archie is: clumsy, awkward, and completely wholesome. This is the difficulty in reading a newer version of a favourite comic, the comparison; though, it does have its perks.
Other than the annoying nitpicking at minor details, it was exciting as a reader of Archie to see the continued character traits that the new writers kept up. I will use Jughead as example. You immediately recognize him by the crown on his head, or you come to know that this is his trademark. This moment of gossip is key to knowing Jughead; he is not one to get involved as he really isn’t the “lovey-dovey” type of character for anything other than FOOD. It is interesting to see this trait carry over to the new version of Jughead; his friends continue to bribe him with food, knowing that he cannot resist “scrumptious, homemade desserts”! He proves to be Archie’s best friend, through and through, especially at the end.
(NO, I will not spoil the ending for those of you who have not read it).
I will, however, finally mention the clue for Veronica’s arrival that would not jump out at anyone but an avid reader of Archie. The walking by the giant Billboard of “Lodge Industries” indicates exactly what will come: they will transform Riverdale, and we know that the new-girl in town will steal our Archie’s heart.
Her arrival is different from the classic version as well, but I won’t dwell on that much more…