The Archies Greatest Hits

Ever since the Monkees had a hit TV show, the trials and tribulations of teens who wanna be in a rock band have entertained us. (Just watch the Disney Channel for the latest incarnations.) The Archies Greatest Hits continues that theme by collecting a variety of stories about the best-known non-existent teen group ever. (The Archies only exist because of the Monkees, actually, because svengali Don Kirshner got tired of real-life people talking back to him and realized that cartoons wouldn’t do that.)

The Archies Greatest Hits cover
The Archies Greatest Hits
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Unfortunately, I can’t tell you when the stories were published (although judging by the content and art styles, they range from the 1960s to today), nor can I tell you who wrote or drew them, because the Archie company didn’t see fit to include that information. The young audience who’ll be most entertained by these stories won’t care, anyway. They’ll still find it entertaining to see Archie and his friends face the challenges of a wannabe musician.

At times, the band includes Archie, Reggie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica; elsewhere, it’s just the three boys, in matching shirts with double rows of buttons. Story topics range from the mundane — how do you find a place to rehearse loud rock music without disturbing someone? should they change the band name? — to the heart-warming, emphasizing how music temporarily takes us away from our problems. The band might fight crime, figuring out who’s robbing the discotheque that hired them, or have wacky adventures trying to sneak into a hotel room to meet a producer. Several times, they can’t keep their equipment in good repair, with drums particularly vulnerable to accidents. And of course, every musician wants to figure out how to be discovered and become famous.

A particular favorite of mine is the story where Betty’s mom agrees to let them use her living room because they’re smart enough to sing her a song about how great she is. It’s so transparently adolescent, but the anonymous artist’s use of expression captures the characters’ feelings perfectly. The one where the Archies go to California to visit the Filmation Studios, makers of their cartoon, is oddly twisty in its levels of reality, especially the way people keep having accidents because they don’t think the Archies are real.

There is one extra, a foreword by Ron Dante, the singer and musician who was the voice of Archie on records, including the #1 hit “Sugar, Sugar”. His energy and enthusiasm makes him a wonderful ambassador for the characters and their music.


6 Responses to “The Archies Greatest Hits”

  1. Tammy Says:

    This makes my heart go “bang shang-a-lang”.

  2. jdh417 Says:

    Johanna, did you like it?

  3. Dave Says:

    Speaking of the Monkees and Kirshner, just this morning I watched a Monkees show on the Biography channel (DVR’d sometime in the last few days) that appeared to be relatively recent, judging from the looks of the participants. At any rate, there was a lot of material presented that I had not seen/heard before. As usual, Mike was nowhere to be seen, but Mickey, Davey and Peter were on it, as well as either Tommy Boyce or Bobby Hart (I forget which) and a few other folks. They spun it the opposite way, basically claiming they forced Kirshner out. Matter of perspective, I suppose. I do recall reading somewhere (here?) that the last straw was “Sugar, Sugar” – that Kirshner presented it to the group and they refused to record it.

  4. Johanna Says:

    JDH: Yes, I did. It was a fun light read, and I was surprised by how many different things they did with the formula.

    Dave: I think I know the special you’re talking about. It was neat to see people talking relatively frankly about it all. And yeah, I think both parties (Kirschner and the boys) were happier apart.

  5. Archie MP3s Downloads Plus Some Extra » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] promote The Archies Greatest Hits comic collection, Archie Comics has posted 15 MP3s of Archies music. While “Sugar, [...]

  6. IDW Includes Archie in Classic Library of American Comics Line » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] paperback editions”. Although Archie has published their own collections of both old and newer material, this project is taking a definite historical approach. Under the agreement, IDW will [...]




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