Archie Trends in the 1960s

In response to this reader query on my previous Archie story post:

Was it normal at the time for the Archie books to do such one-off parodies?

my resident Archie expert, KC Carlson, passes along the following:

It appears that a fair amount of Archie stories go “strange” starting around the time of the “Monster Craze” in 1961. Elements of magic (genies, elves, magic mirrors, etc.), visits by alien beings and monsters, odd phenomena (spontaneous shrinking, Midas touch), and just plain WEIRD stuff (Betty & Veronica get a dinosaur for a pet, B&V sell their souls to the Devil, Archie gets sucked into a TV and becomes part of the shows) appear with great frequency.

The “gang as cave-people” stories begin around here as well, and there are occasional one-off stories set in a historical context (Ancient Rome) with no explanation given. Just this weekend, I rediscovered a story where the entire cast is Japanese. (Why?) Plus, on the artistic side, DeCarlo, Lucey, and Schwartz were at their peak, making for a lot of great — and surreal — reading.

I’m having a ball researching this era of Archie — it didn’t last long, only a couple of years — and it’s probably the only thing keeping my interest in comics going right now.

Johanna again. It’s great fun when KC shares the oddest examples with me (to share with you all), and I definitely recommend old Archies as a comfortable favorite.

7 Responses to “Archie Trends in the 1960s”

  1. Buzz Says:

    Hey, don’t forget the Archies-as-spies phase they went through (patterned more after “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” than James Bond). I remember one story where a rival spy kid soaped Pop’s Choklit Shoppe’s windows with explosive soap in an effort to kill everyone inside — now that’s the kinda wholesome entertainment parents want for their kids! ;D

  2. Captain Spaulding Says:

    The “Pals n Gals” Double Digest that came out this week reprints the Ancient Rome story (unless there were two Ancient Rome stories).

  3. Jay Says:

    I love the old Archie comics and would love to find one from my youth. It’s the one where Veronica starts to shrink, finally shrinking out of sight. I’ve been looking for it for years – any help in finding this comic would be really appreciated! Also, any other shrinking theme comics (my favorite)?

  4. Johanna Says:

    That story is in Betty & Veronica #74, February 1962. It’s called “Small Fry”. (Thanks, KC!)

  5. Jay Says:

    Thanks so much!!

  6. Jay Says:

    One more “stump the band” question: Have you heard of an Archie story called “Small Change” featuring Mr. Jing Tingles, also around the same period?

    Thanks for your help, Jay

  7. Mary Warner Says:

    The ancient Rome story was from the mid-to-late 70s. I had that issue when I was a kid. And I know that these strange fantasy stories were done at least into the early 80s– there were several caveman stories at that time. And I remember a weird ‘cowboys in space’ story that appeared around 1979 or ’80.




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