Archie Creates Alternate Universe Marriage Line

Archie Comics sent out a press release announcing that they would be creating two new titles in July: The Married Life: Archie Loves Betty and The Married Life: Archie Loves Veronica.

So the imaginary Archie marriage storylines must have sold well! The titles are each described as “an entirely new ongoing series with endless possibilities in its creative evolution, both in terms of its visual aesthetics and its more literary approach to storytelling.” I’m not sure what Archie thinks makes a comic literary; more words?

It’s clear that this is a strategy departure for Archie comics. They’ve run alternate universes in the past — Archie 3000 springs to mind, and Wikipedia has a whole list of them — but they’ve been gags, putting the same characters in the future or the prehistoric past.

Treating the characters as adults in ongoing stories sets up an alternative for readers from the high school hijinks. They can choose to read about the girl they want most to end up with Archie, or read both to see how different choices affect him. Again, from the press release, “the two new ongoing titles are a testament to Archie Comics’ ability to distinguish its relevance to our everyday lives time and time again.” I think “distinguish” wasn’t quite the right word there, but the point is good. There is a significant portion of Archie readership who are adults and read for the nostalgia value (much as is true of superhero comic readership). This kind of story might be more attractive to them, playing “what if” with the older characters on a continuing basis.


19 Responses to “Archie Creates Alternate Universe Marriage Line”

  1. Rich Says:

    Looks like all of Veronica’s money can’t buy Archie happiness…

  2. Johanna Says:

    I know! Isn’t that sad? Betty, on the other hand, appears to be demonstrating “all you need is love”.

  3. Bob Says:

    So, how long before Mephisto shows up in each title and offers Archie a deal in exchange for his marriage?

  4. Tommy Raiko Says:

    Archie’s face on the Veronica cover is so sad, so inconsolably melancholy, so bereft of hope, so downright depressing that I cannot see myself being in any way moved to read the story promised by that illustration.

    If I wanna be depressed about some guy’s life, I’ll reread Rabbit Run or something; I don’t think that’s what I turn to Archie Comics for.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Yikes! I guess that illustrates how important a good cover is. And Bob, you made me laugh.

  6. Diana Green Says:

    Quick thoughts:
    1. re the Betty cover: New York? I can’t see Archie leaving Riverdale!
    2. I suspect that sales spiked just a tad for the marriage crossovers and they want to keep the ball rolling.
    3. We just covered the early 70s in my comics history class and my students were amazed that Archie was the largest selling book of the year for ’72! Today’s sales figures are less than 10% of those days.

  7. Johanna Says:

    I always thought of Riverdale as one of those New York state suburbs, where the dads commuted to NY city. So I guess the move didn’t disturb me.

    A comic history class? Sounds wonderful. Where are you taking that? And where’d you get the sales figures?

  8. Todd Munson Says:

    We really enjoyed the Betty future — more so than the Veronica version, or even the Betty-Veronica present that resumed after the marriage serial ended. In fact, I’m tempted to drop Archie in favor of the new title.

  9. Johanna Says:

    I think the Betty story benefited by being second in the series — it got past the shock value of the concept and was able to go into a bit more depth.

  10. James Schee Says:

    Gotta say I was basically ignoring the whole thing as they sounded so unimportant. Yet now I’m genuinely curious since it seems that there might be some heart to the whole thing.

    The Loves Veronica cover actually has me intrigued, it takes conflict to make good stories after all. So seeing why Archie who is usually so happy go lucky having some difficulty might be something interesting.

  11. Johanna Says:

    If they’re carrying on straight from the stories, then Archie is unhappy because Mr. Lodge gave him a high-powered job he’s not ready for. And of course, “money can’t buy happiness” is a long-popular idea in American entertainment. Even though it sure helps.

  12. Kiki Says:

    Do we know who will be writing and drawing these stories? The press release doesn’t mention any names. I’m really curious as to who will be handling it and whether it will be a different team for each book or rotating teams. Is Archie bringing in someone new to handle the writing and art? Or will it be a familiar name getting the chance to stretch their creative muscles?

  13. Hsifeng Says:

    Johanna Says:

    “I know! Isn’t that sad? Betty, on the other hand, appears to be demonstrating ‘all you need is love’.”

    The Veronica cover seems to be demonstrating “money can’t buy happiness” and debunking “all you need is love” at the same time. They’ve got both the love (see title) and the money (see picture). Something is still wrong, and which of many possibilities is it? I wonder how many people will pick up that issue to find out the answer.

    As for the Betty cover, just how much does it demonstrate “all you need is love”? We see the couple happily standing in front of the bridge, not happily living under it, so maybe it’s closer to “all you need is love and money for the rent and…”?

  14. Johanna Says:

    Kiki, good catch. That’s typical of Archie, although when they first launched the “new look” approach, they did id those creators. Now you’ve got me curious too.

    Hsifeng, I was using my knowledge of the Betty marriage stories so far to read into the cover. You’re right that that’s not necessarily justified. They do look much happier there, though.

  15. MNM Says:

    Hsifeng, the covers are just continuing the themes of the marriage arcs.

    The Veronica one put money over love in importance. I mean Archies dad’s comment on the marriage is that Archie made a good investment for his future when he used the graduation gift money they gave him to buy Veronica a ring, Archie is shown to be uncomfortable in the rich life, from the tuxes they have to wear when getting married, to the beach house, to the job etc.. and even asks Veronica near the end if they are only happy because of the money. See how miserable Archie looks as he trudges back down memory lane at the end of that part.

    Compare that to the Betty arc where love is shown to be the main factor. Archies dad’s comment this time is extoling the virtues of marrying for love not money, archies dislike of the “high life” is shown to be matched by betty when she quits her job and they move back to riverdale because they want to be happy, this is repeatedly shown when Archie states how he didnt want the rich life with Veronica and is happy he chose Betty instead. And compare how happy he looked going down memory lane this time, after the Betty marriage.

    It’s not to say he didnt love Veronica in that arc, but I felt it went out of it’s way to say that, regardless, it was wrong to marry Veronica, while it was right to marry Betty.

    And these covers seem to be continuing the message, betty=love=right, veronica=money=unhappy Archie.

    Now personally I dont mind as I prefer the Archie/Betty stuff, but not everyone does and I can see that being a point of concern if this trend is continued.

  16. buzz Says:

    Y’know, there oughta be a third one where he and Jughead are roomies after college…

  17. Johanna Says:

    Bwa ha ha! I’d read that one, too.

  18. Life With Archie Combines Marriage Stories » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Archie Comics announced that they were launching two new titles to follow the alternate universe Archie marriage stories, one each for Betty and Veronica. Now, they’ve changed their mind — the two storylines, [...]

  19. Joelle Says:

    I’m happy to see these covers with Archie miserable with Veronica and happy with Betty. After reading the two marriage stories I was thoroughly disappointed in the “Betty Marries Archie” story. Was it really necessary to have Archie choose her as second best yet again for something as serious as marriage? It appeared that the only reason Archie marries Betty is because he tries proposing to Veronica but gets interrupted by her and realizes her lifestyle is too different than his own so he chooses Betty as a consolation prize. Veronica got her happy ending and Betty should have had hers too. Plus she deserved it WAY more after the way Archie has treated her all these years. Disapointing indeed.

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