Jughead #170

Although he’s not my favorite character from the company, the stories in Jughead’s title are far and away the more creative and well-done in any of the Archie titles.

This issue opens with a premise anyone with historical comic knowledge will get a kick out of: Jughead’s lost his voice, and Dilton can help. The genius has invented a yellow nightshirt that shows the wearer’s thoughts as words on the front. Yes, it’s an homage to the original comic strip, the Yellow Kid.

There’s an awful lot of entertainment in this simple six-page story as Jug’s new communication style leads to accidents, misunderstandings, and jealousy. The layouts are directly simple, mostly a six-panel grid, but with occasional differently shaped panels to keep things interesting. The characters are on-model and expressive but not flat or looking like third-generation copies. Most importantly, the art and text work together, with both important to the story’s understanding and enjoyment.

The second piece features a parody of modern art in the person of the Great Crispo, who considers Jughead’s appetite a work of art. The next story is about a twistedly clever idea: Jughead decides to franchise himself. On the basic level, it’s funny just to see everyone acting like a lazy glutton; with more thought, it’s a meditation on the nature of identity and what makes someone unique. It’s unfortunately believable that kids would want to purchase a pre-made set of characteristics, since getting commerce involved gives them more of a feeling of approval and belonging.

The last story is an example of my favorite type of Jughead tale, one where he uses his unique imagination and creativity, helped by a large helping of luck, to solve a difficult problem.

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