Week of Geek: Not your Grandparents Archie Andrews

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Wassup Geeklings?

So the first promo for the CW’s new show Riverdale came out this week.  That’s the live-action series based on Archie comics coming out next year.  You remember?  Those Archie Comics.

Anyhoo, here it is…

Huh… if you read Archie as a kid, you wouldn’t really expect this would you?  Apparently there’s a murder mystery and a bunch of family drama and whatnot (typical CW show).  What it is, though, is pretty indicative of how far Archie and the gang have come and just how much they have changed over the years.

You know, there was a time when Archie Andrews looked like this…

Yep, that’s our pal Archie from one of his earliest comics… even back then waffling about who he wanted to be with, Betty or Veronica.

Archie Andrews first made his debut all the way back in 1941!  For those you like me, who aren’t great with doing math in their heads, that’s 75 years ago!  World War II was going on back then!  He’s been in print pretty much this whole time, doing wacky ‘teen’ stuff like dating, getting jobs, riding a jalopy (that’s a car, btw) and hanging with friends.  He’s kept this up for decades, even releasing music singles and the odd TV show during that time, and there’s no end in sight.

And surprisingly, it’s worked well over seven plus decades.  One of the best of things about Archie and his friends is that they are pretty adaptable.  You can put them in just about any time frame, any situation, and it would still, somehow, make sense.  You have a group of teens doing teen things, and as long as the characters keep certain personality traits (Archie’s your all-around-boy, Veronica is rich, Betty is wholesome, Reggie is a jerk, Jughead likes to eat and slack off, etc), then you can use the characters in just about any type of fiction.  And I do mean any type.

For instance, no one was quite sure what to make of it when Archie was plunked down in the zombie apocalypse.

That was Afterlife with Archie.  The set up, basically, is that Sabrina the Teenage Witch unwittingly starts the spread of the zombie plague through Riverdale and those who don’t end up infected have to fight their way out.  I’ve written a little about it before, and I’ll say again; though it’s been advertised as a parody, it is surprisingly serious.  I cried, and I’m not ashamed to say it.  There’s loss, guilt, genuine scares, messed up things with pets and parents, and just… yowza!  Not at all what you’d expect from an Archie Comic.

Afterlife is part of the new Archie Horror comic line (this probably goes without saying, but anything from there is NOT for kids; Teen +).  Another series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is also part of that line.

In that one you’ve got Sabrina navigating her family, high school and her coven in the 1960s.  Oh, and she and her ‘aunties’ and the rest of the coven are full-blown satanists.  And there’s a villain called ‘Madam Satan’.  This comic doesn’t mess around either.  I’m currently reading volume one, and as freaky as it is, it’s really good.

Again, Archie is adaptable.  Another good example is Archie: The Married Life, which is a soap-opera esque series that explores two different alternate futures; one where Archie marries Betty and one where he marries Veronica, and all of the grown-up issues that come with those decisions (he never will pick one, will he?)

But if you want to revisit Riverdale without all the horror and adulty stuff, I’d suggest The New Riverdale.

This was a reboot from last year that’s been very popular, and I can see why.  The artwork is great, the writing is sharp, it’s fully modern and it’s fun.  Give it a shot.

While there are plenty of links above for print items you can place on hold, there are a lot of digital copies of these new series on Hoopla, so tell you computer or tablet to stop goofing around and download today!

Any thoughts on which direction Archie should go next?  Post away in the comments, and until next time, End of Line.

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