If any of you readers are like me, you didn’t know there was anything more to Archie Andrews and his pals in Riverdale than the grocery store digests and the books advertised in those. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that Archie was heading in a whole new direction…and he was taking the gang with him! At first, I was not pleased to hear that Archie would no longer be that lovable cartooned dork, but would instead be portrayed as handsome and realistic. I saw the cover and immediately saw a resemblance to Sean Berdy, but hey, that’s just me. When I delved into the comic I found a few points really irked me.
The “Lipstick Incident,” which has yet to be explained, has caused Betty and Archie to *not so serious gasp* break up. Now seriously, anyone who has read even one digest knows that Archie is forever locked in a love triangle between Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper, who are also ironically best friends. But in this particular storyline, Veronica isn’t even in the picture yet. This bothers me because I distinctly remember reading Archie digests with stories of the gang as small children and they were all together then too. But here, Veronica is not yet a member of the love triangle and Archie and Betty are somewhat on the outs with one another. They haven’t talked at all since they broke up and the weirder part is that neither of them blames the other; blame used to fall pretty heavily on our red-headed friend whenever something happened.
Not too far into the story, Betty and Archie’s friends all find a way to get their names in the Homecoming royalty ballot. And who should intervene but Jughead Jones, the famous hamburger-hoarding food addict of Riverdale. Being Pop Tate’s best customer of all time is not Juggie’s only talent. This boy is clever and he finds a way to not only throw the ballot, but put Archie and Betty in spots where neither of them can avoid the other, saying it was better to simply remind them of what they were missing than to force them back together. It is mentioned once in the comic that the rich Lodge family will be moving into town shortly, but Archie dismisses the idea whilst thinking about Betty. But the readers are reminded as Archie walks home from the dance by a large billboard with the ever-angry Mr. Lodge, Veronica’s father, peering down in distaste at the reader, and perhaps even at Archie.
If you were in love with the older styles of art used to tell about Archie and his friends, this new artwork may confuse you, or even cause some discomfort. But so far, I am head over heels and eating my words about not liking it. I am rather excited to see where it goes from here, and I encourage readers to give this new Archie a chance.
The new Archie #1 is now available.