Archie Comics for September 2007

Halloween — what a perfect time for Sabrina the Teenage Witch #88 (even though it came out last month). The kids are setting up for a holiday party, and they’re excited because Halloween is the time witches are allowed to use their magic in the open.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch #88 cover
Sabrina the Teenage Witch #88

Both Sabrina and her best friend Llandra used to date Shinji. That means that their suspicions about his new girlfriend Hemlock aren’t being listened to, even though they’ve seen her doing suspicious things. Meanwhile, Sabrina’s magic-using friends are leery of her growing relationship with Harvey, who now knows their secrets. We even check in on Amy, whose crush on Harvey makes her resent Sabrina.

All of these plots come to a head when Hemlock tattles to Sabrina’s aunt, who has to put her duties ahead of her love for her niece. Status quo is reestablished, but in a very dramatic, highly involving way. I greatly admire Tania del Rio’s skill in keeping everything moving, with small revelations each issue building to a much larger plotline. It’s a great example of how to keep serial comics interesting.

Archie & Friends #113 cover
Archie & Friends #113

In contrast, there’s Archie & Friends #113. It’s yet another unbelievable “Betty drives NASCAR” story, only this time, they nod at how ridiculously dangerous this would be. And for a story set at a raceway, the characters don’t seem to do much of anything for the first half but talk.

Once Betty finally gets in the car, she takes the lead briefly before crashing. Ambulances roll, the car bursts into flames, but Betty walks away and even hops herself into the ambulance for her checkup. End panel: Mr. Lodge (racecar sponsor) thinking, “I’m not so sure there’ll be a next time! If anything were to happen to Betty, I could never live with myself!!”

You’re two stories too late, buster, and I would love it if there weren’t any more racing stories. They’re much too pedestrian, capturing none of the actual excitement of the sport. And while I understand Archie Comics not wanting to do anything too scary or gross, having Betty almost skip away from her flaming crash is irresponsible.

There’s also a story where Chuck turns Nancy’s goth friends into characters at Monster High, which seems to leave us with the message that subcultures don’t care how you satirize or make fun of them as long as you talk about them. (Not sure how accurate that is). There’s also one where Principal Weatherbee keeps losing school bells.

Little Archie: The House That Wouldnt Move cover
Little Archie:
The House That Wouldn’t Move

Let’s go back to Halloween. For the holiday, the publisher offered an ashcan (half-sized comic) that could be purchased in bundles to give away to trick-or-treaters. Sadly, Little Archie: The House That Wouldn’t Move looks like it fell through a time warp. It’s done in classic Little Archie style, just like they did back in the 1950s. I’m not sure how many 5-year-olds would appreciate or even like it.

The story also states that ghosts are real, which won’t play well with many neighborhood parents. We’ll stick to giving away our leftover Johnny DC titles.

(Complimentary copies for this review were provided by the publisher.)


3 Responses to “Archie Comics for September 2007”

  1. Kiki Says:

    I so agree with you on the latest issue of Sabrina. One of the girls who is following the series here in the library handed the issue in this morning with the comment “I cried. And I so don’t like Sabrina’s aunt right now.” That’s when you know the story is working. Based on the cover alone I have a waiting list for it. Hopefully Archie will keep letting Tania del Rio doing what she’s doing for a long time.

  2. Squashua Says:

    Glad to see the concept of giving comics is getting some independent love here. I’m wondering if you’d like to promote it as a greater concept. I’ve created

    http://www.comicspace.com/comics4halloween/

    the sole purpose of which is to collect and distribute information on giving comic books to kids for Halloween. There are links to tips for obtaining books and giving them out (bargain with your retailer for buying in bulk from the quarter bin, offer to name-drop the store to parents, print out and get the Top Ten Reasons flyer into stores, etc.)

    I have no secret agenda here; just want to see people give comics to kids for Halloween, and I certainly could use the help promoting it. Thanks!

  3. Archie Comics for February 2008 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Archie and Chuck try to get photos of movie stars visiting Riverdale, and Betty again drives in a stock car race. After pages of hearing how dangerous it is (the sensible reaction when confronted with the idea of [...]

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