- Posted by Johanna on May 27, 2006 at 7:10 pm
- Category: Archie Comics
These days, I wind up enjoying Jughead stories more than those of the other Archie cast, even though he’s my least favorite character of those who have their own titles. Somehow, I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I don’t get as involved when he’s portrayed in a negative light or “out of character”.
Plus, in his good stories, he’s less typical than the others. He’s not generic teenager; he’s a greedy, lazy iconoclast who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks and, at least in the older stories, isn’t afraid to tell people off when they need the talking to. He’s also imaginative and creative.
The new story that leads off this digest, by Bill Golliher, Fernando Ruiz, and Al Nickerson, is rather stupid. Mom is upset that Jughead has so much food trash in his room that she bans him from eating there. Jughead’s life is disrupted, and only advice from Reggie saves the day because when he falsely compliments Mom, she believes him. Eddie Haskell types are only amusing when everyone sees through them, and having Mom suckered by Reggie’s sucking up leaves an unpleasant taste.
In the next story, Jughead demonstrates that he’s capable of restraining his appetite, but only for a good enough cause: the possibility of more and better goodies later on. There’s something paradoxical about that, another fun aspect of Jughead’s personality.
A reprint from an older era demonstrates great cartooning as it wordlessly shows Jughead cleverly finding money in an unexpected way. I wish more of the stories from decades past were included. It seems like only relatively modern stories are picked these days, I’m guessing because the outdated fashions give older pieces away. Or maybe it’s that the talented craftsmen who worked on the characters up until the 70s show up the new guys.
After more stories about Jughead being led around by his appetite, there’s an outdated Jellybean tale about Pokemon cards and lots of standard Archie hijinks. The section of Little Jughead stories demonstrates more imagination in its adventure and comedy tales. Reggie gets his comeuppance in a 70s story (with Jughead on only one page) about the rewards of good hard work and the way ego leads to one’s downfall. It’s almost a fable in its structure and way it contrasts punishment and virtue.
There’s more mediocrity than gems in this digest, but it’s thick enough that it still feels worthwhile. I especially liked the short piece in which Jughead meets his dream girl, an Army brat with a similarly odd taste in headwear who moves out of town too quickly.
This anniversary issue is nothing special … unless you consider trying to turn a generic pop duo into characters unusual. I’m tired of hearing about the Veronicas, and they’ve only appeared a couple of times. You’d think that between the Archies and the Pussycats, it would be easy to tell a story about the excitement of the music industry, but instead, Dan Parent gives us a generic story in which pop-eyed, flat-faced Archie characters try to find the missing Veronicas while being misled by an evil manager. It’s very cartoony, and that’s not a compliment.
The swap to the “manga style” Josie and Pussycats is disconcerting, since it looks so much more modern than the rest of the book, even though it’s manga in surface style only. Artist Chris Lie needs to work on his consistency, since some of these figures and faces look outright grotesque. Storywise, their battle of the bands has a more modern twist that pleasantly surprised me, and writer Tania del Rio does a good job of handling a large cast such that everyone gets a small focus.