The Betty and Veronica Double Digest was a chance to revisit a childhood love. My first experience with Archie comics was seeing a comic book on a grocery store checkout line rack, and asking my mother to buy it. Probably because I was a noisy little brat and she figured it might keep me busy, she bought it for me, and I found myself lost in Riverdale among the famous characters. My favorites included Forsythe “Jughead” Jones, the boy with the insatiable appetite, much like my own, and Betty Cooper, the crafty girl-next-door, one of the main character’s on-again-off-again girlfriends. I would imagine going to Pop Tate’s “chocklit shoppe” and sitting in a booth surrounded by the gang. I was only about six or seven when I began reading the comics, and I especially loved the Double Digests, because I went through the books so fast, and there are so many extra stories packed into a Double Digest. My favorite issues were Betty and Veronica’s, and luckily, I ran into a compilation of my favorites to review for all you readers!
The stories that center around Betty and Veronica are often the same in plot and sometimes share details of other comics of their books. For those who don’t know about these two ladies, here’s a brief rundown of their personalities: Veronica Lodge is the rich brunette teenage daughter of Hiram Lodge, owner of Lodge Enterprises. She is sharp-witted, although not terribly smart, and sometimes rude with a capital “R.” She always looks impeccable and is always dressed in designer clothing. Full of herself and extremely condescending, Veronica believes she is doing a service by befriending Betty. Betty Cooper is a laid back blonde who plays a lot of sports, has mechanical skills, and kills it in the kitchen. She is known for her kindness, her generosity, and her home-made lunches. Betty puts up with Veronica mainly because she knows that her rude-but-ditzy friend wouldn’t have a single friend without her, just a trail of lovesick boys, which is just another detail that holds the girls together. They are both hopelessly in love with Archie Andrews, the popular carrot-topped football player at Riverdale High, and half the time, if they are not fighting over him, they are scheming against each other to keep one another away from him. Some friendship eh?. Now with a basic understanding of these girls, let me include you on some of their antics. Each character is quite lovable, and most girls might find that they can relate to either one or the other in at least one aspect or more.
The Archie comics we read today have not changed much from what I was introduced to, but a look at the first Archie comics from the 1940s shows drastic difference. Although I have seen flashbacks in the books I have bought over the years, it was not until recently when I was introduced to the new Archie comics that I saw a refreshing change in the art style. Admittedly, I still prefer the familiar cartooned characters I’ve grown to love. Call me unadventurous or any other name for being boring, but I am quite happy with familiarity. You will see a few flashes of older and revised styles in this book via pin-ups and fashion pictures.
As I mentioned, I began reading these books at a very young age, and many of Archie’s readers still are young, as the readers seem to trail off as they grow older because the repetitive plots get tiresome, and the characters are predictable. So why keep reading about Archie and his gang? My opinion is that it holds a certain level of nostalgia. A peek back into a simpler point in life where you had time to sit back and thumb through a comic book. Sure, you may have read the stories before, or maybe you aren’t quite thrilled in the lack of new characters/material. But Archie is heading in a new direction, and you can’t beat the classics. I keep reading because I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with the chocklit shoppe they called home, the parents (and Lodge household servants) keeping the teens grounded, and the teachers keeping their wits about them at Riverdale High. Betty and Veronica were the girls I idolized; I wanted to be rich and beautiful like Veronica, smart and sporty like Betty. I have never grown bored with these comics, and they always reminded me of those happy moments in the car after a trip to the grocery store, curled up in the backseat and getting lost in Riverdale. These girls have many fun adventures with the group, together, and solo.
The Betty and Veronica Double Digest features 160 pages of full-color excitement, centered around Archie, the girls, and all their friends. There are even a few comics of them as kids! There is even a coloring page with a comical scene of Archie and Betty as kids. Of course, Betty and Veronica aren’t the only babes featured in this Double Digest! Sabrina the Teenage Witch makes a couple of appearances, playing tricks and performing magic on her Riverdale friends. Tsk tsk, Sabrina. Haven’t you learned not to meddle in the lives of non-magical people? Pick up your own copy and join the gang as they run about Riverdale and get into all the trouble they can.
Written by: George Gladir
Art by: Jeff Shultz
Cover by: Fernando Ruiz, Bob Smith, and Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale now from Archie Comics