- Posted by Johanna on June 20, 2010 at 11:55 am
- Category: Archie Comics
- CREDITS: script by Craig Boldman; pencils by Rex Lindsey; inks by Jim Amash
- PUBLISHER: Archie Comics; $2.99 US
I noticed with this issue that Archie Comics has made a major change — only one of the issues I read this month, Betty #186, had multiple stories. That used to be standard, that each issue had 3-4 short pieces with the characters. This month, almost everything’s longer. (Not necessarily with that much more content, though — I’m not talking about Betty & Veronica #247 because it was a “getting ready for the prom” story, and I found much of it very predictable, all about “who’s Archie going to take” and “who’s getting which dress”. I’ve seen all of it done before in many more short Archie stories, but then, I read a lot of these comics.) Also, the paper has gone from newsprint-like to a shinier, glossier finish.
Jughead #201 shows what can be done with the extended length. Here, the story’s all about volunteering, but writer Craig Boldman uses the expanded space to throw in some wonderful concepts. Professor Flutesnoot is attempting to organize the kids, so there’s room for some flashbacks of some of his other ideas gone wrong. I adored his Flying Pig Festival, where Rex Lindsey draws balloons and helicopters and a catapult with the most adorable basket of little stuffed (I assume) porkers beside it. There’s even one pig model with a cape on it and a shield on his chest! The pages overall are busy and colorful, which makes them very involving. The layouts are standard, but the panels themselves might have curved or angled borders, which allows for varied pages and more interest from the reader.
The underlying moral of the story is more ambitious than I usually give Archie comics credit for. Jughead points out to the gang how ridiculous the Professor’s ideas have been in the past. Only this time, he’s got a really good one — to encourage student volunteers to help the community — but no one wants to participate because Jughead has discouraged them from following a “crackpot”. They’ve lost their faith in their teacher and have become jaded. So Jughead has to set an example to help them believe again and get them to help out.
That’s a story I could really identify with. It’s a good idea to be somewhat suspicious of every volunteer movement that comes along, but you don’t want to let that realism get in the way of doing good things. Plus, Jughead’s drawn doing things in his usual funny, idiosyncratic way. I also love the way Boldman isn’t afraid of teaching kids new words and expanding their vocabularies, instead of talking down to them. Someone dropped the ball on “liaison”, though — they left out the second i.
Jughead #201 is best of the two months from Archie! (The publisher provided a review copy.)