Tales From Riverdale Digest #36

I’m highlighting this particular digest because it was an overall good read. Lots of variety in the stories chosen and some appropriate winter weirdness.

The new story is an oddball science fiction piece in which Summer Madison, a visitor from the future, geeks out over meeting all these “important historical figures” she’s learned about. Her goal is to meet the one person important to their future, but she goofs up and bails before they, or we, learn who she’s talking about. All we know is that he’s a he (because she says “his friends” at one point). With her klutziness and jumping into situations without thinking them through, she could easily be an Archie descendant.

It’s a survey story — here’s character, they do a panel bit, now here’s another character, they get two lines to establish their hook, etc. I’m not sure what the point was, other than to reassure the cast, and by extension, the reader, that something about these characters will be significant, but Summer’s enthusiasm was contagious.

Speaking of time travel, the next story is one of those I adore seeing: it’s an obvious period piece in which Archie’s parents worry about a potential visitor who thinks Mom doesn’t keep a clean enough house. The language, the attitudes, the look, all scream several decades ago (to the eye watching for it) and I was thrilled to enjoy it. I especially loved the idea of dressing up when you expect visitors to drop in one evening. The bodies and expressions are drawn with verve, and the exaggerated actions and feelings add to the humor. Very nicely done, and still quite funny.

There’s also a clever take on a guardian angel by making him a jinx, a story where a midnight showing of a cult film turns into a historical fantasy about girl pirates, and a lesson about not making fun of unusual names. I even liked the Weird Mysteries reprint, a strange piece where Jack Frost decides to show Riverdale he’s someone to be feared, not laughed at. He and his sister, the Wind-Jill Factor, put the freeze on the town until Archie and friends get the help of the sunny Spring Thaw to defeat them.

It’s a showcase for lots of jokes about being cold or frozen, but it’s creative, and surprisingly similar to A Miser Brothers’ Christmas in some ways. I also found the way that the “thermal armor” matches the look of Robot Monster, resembling gorilla suits with space helmets, a hoot.

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