Archie Gets Drafted
I was stunned when I found this story, cover-featured in Everything’s Archie #16, dated October 1971. I had no idea that Archie had tackled anything so timely. It didn’t turn out as all as I expected, either. And look, there’s more than one black guy in Riverdale!
The splash page repeats the cover with the addition of this caption:
The story you are about to read, is a story with a message for everyone! It is about the feelings and beliefs of many young men who are being drafted into the armed services of our country today, but in this particular case, it happens to be Archie and his buddies…
Remember that by the time we get to the ending.
I’ve skipped a page where Archie, Jughead, and Reggie are coming out of the Army Induction Center making jokes about whether Juggie will get enough to eat in the Army. Then we meet Clyde.
Notice that draft protesters are scraggly, unkempt, and angry. He uses slang, while Archie is clean-cut and well-spoken. (Reggie spends the whole time looking clueless, with his eyes wide and mouth open.) Archie doesn’t want to be drafted, but he’s going to do the right thing.
There’s another page of Reggie saying Archie’s right and Clyde calling them brainwashed. Here’s Archie’s philosophy:
We don’t believe our country RIGHT or WRONG! But we do know that two WRONGS don’t make a RIGHT!
Apparently any protest is “violent” and “wild” and “senseless rioting” in Archie’s world. (Way to push to the extremes and avoid admitting the grey area.) There’s yet more discussion, with Archie saying you can make your voice heard without violence, which ends with Reggie saying this “rap” is “getting a little heavy” and the guys parting friends. We never see Clyde again.
After ads for Dawn dolls holding a beauty pageant and a dance party (Dawn had lots of friends! I count ten dolls in that ad) we cut to the Sunday park peace rally, where the Archies are playing.
Good for Archie, standing up for free speech, even if he is a bit optimistic and ducks the key issue of the story. Although at this point, I’m not sure if it’s whether guys should submit to the draft or whether protesting is bad.
I don’t think he really means “protesting against education” but lack of education or maybe unequal education. With that summation, he could be a politician!
Wanna hear the song? KC ripped it from vinyl, since it’s not available on CD. He says it’s widely acknowledged to be one of the worst Archie songs because it’s so mawkish.
It was a 1971 single from Sunshine, The Archies‘ fourth album. Apparently, the single went to #1 in South Africa, which is bizarre, since it combines a crappy spoken word geography lesson (in which U.S. states are listed along with countries) with sanctimonious “why can’t we all get along” lyrics. And I don’t hear any tambourine or keyboards in it, so I don’t know what the girls were playing.
So, remember the opening, that promised to explore what Archie felt about being drafted? It turned into a music ad, ducking the premise with an exhortation to the reader to “go to your local record store to look for Archie albums!” Interesting that they don’t say “buy”, just see if they’re there.