Archie Comics for May 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the regular Archie comics, so please forgive me for being a little behind.

Archie & Friends #119

Archie & Friends #119 cover

The gang is engaging on a World Tour in this title, and this issue is part 3 of the ongoing storyline (although that doesn’t matter much if you haven’t seen previous chapters, since there’s lots of recap). After London and Madrid, they’re now in Nairobi. (I have to say, I never went to a school that set up around-the-world excursions for students. I’m jealous.) There’s an ongoing “bad guys want something they think the Archie gang has” chase plot that reminded me of a 1960s movie. In this installment, Archie and Jughead are kidnapped by smugglers and have to escape.

Which is something of a shame, since I was actually hoping for more travelogue. I’d like to learn more about this part of the world, but much of what I read was a generic desert adventure that could as well be happening in Arizona. I missed having someone explain to me what makes Nairobi unique. What are the local foods? Pastimes? Industries? The artist draws local color well, but it’s not labeled or elaborated on for the reader. Educate me! Don’t waste the setting!

Betty Veronica Spectacular #83 cover

Betty & Veronica Spectacular #83

It’s a special summer fun issue, and they do a great job of pulling together everything that makes a perfect (fictional) summer. After a cute boys vs. girls fight over the local swimming hole (where Cheryl makes everything worse), there are beach tips and scrapbooks of flashback memories. The distinctive look of this title, moving away from a traditional comic to art-driven features and full pages, is attractive, too.

Veronica #188

Veronica #188 cover

I wasn’t that thrilled with the lead story, which revolves around Cheryl copying Veronica’s prom dress, but I did find it interesting to note that the story starts when the three girls all ask Archie to the prom at the same time. I kind of expected Veronica to figure out how to get Archie to ask her, not to just blurt out the invite, but I guess that would be considered an older-fashioned kind of story these days. Archie’s answer is also very modern: he can’t pick one, so he decides to “dance and hang out with all three”. In other words, a group date. The girls immediately acquiesce, which I didn’t expect. The plot then, instead of becoming “how do I get Archie to pick me”, devolves to the aforementioned wardrobe issues.

I’m not sure what to think of this character these days. I don’t miss the incredibly self-centered earlier version, but they seem to have taken away her negative characteristics without adding many positives. (And what pluses she does have are weaker copies of Betty’s.) I’m wondering if maybe, in these days of a poor economy, she has potential in emphasizing the wish-fulfillment aspects of her life.

Betty & Veronica #235 cover

Betty & Veronica #235

Alternately, they could take this approach. Veronica, after a fight with her parents, decides to move out and make it on her own. This is a classic plot, which reminded me of some of the great heiress-learns-a-lesson comedies of the 30s, told with energy and emotion. Veronica has passion, misguided, yes, but it makes her more interesting to read about than usual. The book-length story helps too, with more space providing more room for twists. This is the kind of teen soap opera with happy ending the characters are well suited for.

Similar Posts: Archie Gets Married! § Archie Comics for June 2008 § Archie Comics for May 2009 § Bad Boy Trouble: The Prequel § Archie Gets Unexpected Artists to Do Variant Covers


8 Responses to “Archie Comics for May 2008”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Cool! Anychance of covering some of the digests soon? I’ve been wanting to talk with someone about the recent Jughead “modern art” two parter.

  2. Kiki Says:

    I second the idea of a discussion on the “modern art” Jughead look. The girls at my school call it the “Zombie look.” They think the story is great, they just don’t like the looks of it.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I keep hitting the window wrong for the digest coverage to be timely, unfortunately. But feel free to discuss!

    I found it amusing that, since Joe Staton is doing this art, they switched from calling it “realistic” to “new look”.

  4. James Schee Says:

    Hmm for me the story was odd, because I’d never see Jughead as someone who was nervous around women.

    I never really went with the “he’s gay” approach, but it seemed to me that he was fairly comfortable around women, He just was not romantically interested in any of the ones we had seen to this point.

    So this 2 parter where he’s suddenly nervous around Betty even was a little odd. Heck at times in the past it always seemed like Betty and he were great friends who she could confide in about Archie.

  5. Johanna Says:

    If you read the digests, with all their reprints, things go back and forth a lot with Jughead. Sometimes he does seem interested, but it always reads as weird to me. I agree with you, I don’t get a gay vibe, just a completely uninterested. Which is a nice contrast to everyone else being date-crazy.

  6. Kiki Says:

    I’ll agree the nervousness around Betty was odd. I’ve always thought Jughead had got past the whole thinking of girls as strange creatures meant only for dating thing and gone straight into the girls are people mode.

    The one thing I’ve really enjoyed about them printing the “new look” story is that they’re publishing the Twyla stories as backups in the digests. That relationship is fun to watch – at least in the stories I’ve seen so far – it has a bit of a Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night vibe to it.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Trula Twyst (did I get that right?) is a hoot, because she’s so smart and so far ahead of everyone else.

  8. Archie Comics for June 2008 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] gang’s world tour concludes with trips to Rome and Switzerland. Now, I know Archie comics aren’t the place to [...]

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