- Posted by Johanna on March 21, 2009 at 10:45 pm
- Category: Archie Comics
It’s education through entertainment, as Betty teaches Archie how to run a mini-marathon (six miles). The story is incredibly simple: they train, they run, they win… because one of the lessons is how everyone who completes the race is a winner. The appeal is in the tips, which range from “get the right pair of running shoes to avoid injury” to “it feels really good to work hard and accomplish something”. I get the feeling that the writer maybe wanted a reason to write off his costs for participating in a marathon, but it’s still a readable piece that’s a bit different (and more meaningful) than the usual Archie story. Good choice for anyone who wants to share the joy of running with a young relative, too.
Of the two backups, the first relies on a bit of a twist, in which Veronica outwits Archie by giving him exactly what he wants. It’s clever, which can be rare in this series. The other concept is shop-worn. It’s one of those “kids take care of eggs to learn how hard child-raising is” premises. (Does any school actually do that? I’ve never known of one outside of TV shows.) The message is that “boys are too irresponsible to be left with a kid”, or maybe it’s just Archie that we’re meant to think is incompetent. A key question — what happened to the egg — is left unanswered. End result: unsatisfying.
Betty & Veronica #240
It’s another girl fight, once again over Archie, but at least this one has amusing dialogue. Betty chews out Veronica for stealing Archie as a date for “the opening of the new ice rink”. Veronica responds, “Tough tofu! If you can’t keep him, you don’t deserve him! Them’s the rules, honey chile!” Not only is this funny to hear, but it’s the return of old-school rich-bitch society dame Ronnie, someone we don’t often see in these more harmonious days.
Unfortunately, Ronnie needs Betty after she blows her off, so the rest of the story is Veronica begging for her attention, which is not nearly as entertaining. After that, the plot sort of dribbles off without fulfilling any of its promise or premises.
Then comes a fashion-based tale that ends too early — more development would have made a better read — and a magical flea market trip that runs too long (as well as having Betty be uncharacteristically gullible). The last story features Veronica’s new car, an economical hybrid. (The perils of having to consider production time; once gas prices dropped, hybrid sales declined and now everyone’s forgotten to be angry about having to economize on gas. Wait a few months, though.) Veronica brags stupidly about pointless cutbacks, but instead of learning any meaningful lesson, the story ends with yet another “why’d she get the date with Archie?” sequence.
Archie’s Double Digest #196
Jughead teaches Archie how to avoid insomnia and sleep any time, any where … by visualizing a magic pillow. Sleep deprivation is a real problem for teenagers, but this is a superficial treatment that could have been so much more. Plus, there’s one panel where Betty looks like someone’s sliced half her face off and twisted her neck to compensate.
The next story, where Archie’s Granddad tells the kids how they entertained themselves in his day, is a touching reflection on how some things never change, no matter the technology involved. The following reprint, about Betty disguising herself with wigs to make Archie think he’s hallucinating, makes no sense in a world where the only difference between Betty and Veronica is their hair color. Not to mention that the art isn’t quite up to the tasks requested of it in drawing the different looks.
I did like the piece where Archie drives chemistry professor Flutesnoot crazy, because it’s all just a well-constructed setup to get the boy to say, “If I knew what’s what, I’d be racing turtles” and have it work in context. And I’m fully behind the idea of the story about the value of modern libraries. Historically, there’s a hoot in which the local disco is closing down, so they go roller skating to forget their troubles. I bet you see where this is going: they invent roller boogie disco. There’s also another time capsule one where Archie has an electronic pet. Made me wonder where my Tamogotchi got to.