Archie Americana: Best of the Eighties Book 2

It’s time for another hit of nostalgia with the newest entry in the Archie Americana series of decade-based reprint collections.

The biggest change I noticed this time was that, unlike the previous volume in the series, this book has full creator credits for each story. Bravo, Archie! It’s about time that they recognized those who write and draw these adventures, predictable as they are. (KC pointed out that there’s also the question of records — the publisher may not have credits recorded for work done before the 80s, so identifying the contributors to volumes of earlier decades may not be so easy, unless someone’s willing to research pay amounts or do other detective work.) Almost all of the stories here are written by long-time contributor George Gladir (who is *still* writing for them these days, and congratulations to him for that long-running career). Artists include Dan DeCarlo, Stan Goldberg, and Dan DeCarlo, Jr.

Archie Americana: Best of the Eighties Book 2 cover
Archie Americana:
Best of the Eighties Book 2
Buy this book

Stories for these books are selected based on how trendy they are, and this volume is no exception. The editor seems to seek out tales that revolve around fads or people that will make readers say “oh, yeah, I remember that!” Here, that includes

  • MTV and music videos — several involved the Archies trying to make a video for their band
  • Video games, although here that means arcade-sized machines that take quarters
  • Western clothing
  • Health clubs and working out
  • Early home computers
  • Michael Jackson, in the longest piece, about an evil journalist named Ed Sleeze who wants to get his diary but ends up stymied by the animals in Jackson’s private zoo
  • Rock and wrestling — remember that on Saturday nights?
  • And a couple of parodies: Archie drives the Knight Rider car, here called Kid, and later becomes a Robo-Teen

The plots are often the same: Character discovers fad. Character is excited, until character realizes the down side of the clothing/activity, so the status quo is resolved. There’s a slight alternate version: Character discovers fad. Character thinks it’s stupid, until other character shows an unexpected benefit.

There were two particular moments that really spoke of the era to me. The first was a pinup page, the only one included, that shows five of the guys in “Krazy Knits”, the colorful patterned sweaters of the era. Moose, in particular, is demonstrating the bright hues and graphic patterns of the era, in a fuchsia number with a striped triangle design.

The other was in a story about Archie’s family getting cable television for the first time. They’re all excited that they have “over thirty-nine channels to choose from!” including an all-sports channel, one that’s all music, and one all news. (Only one of each?) They end up bemoaning the lack of commercials, because without them, there’s no time to go to the kitchen or the bathroom. Ah, what long-ago memories that story evoked. And that’s the appeal of this book — timeless teenagers being as trendy as possible, and how funny that is 30 years later.


2 Responses to “Archie Americana: Best of the Eighties Book 2”

  1. December Previews, Snarky Comments and Superhero Comics » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] am very disappointed to see that, with the improvements in creator credits Archie Comics has been making, that there is no name associated with Dark Horse’s Archie [...]

  2. Archie in 2010: Eliminated Single Digests, Took Some Titles Bi-Monthly » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] imprint had six releases, plus an Archie Wedding story was collected in March; there were two new Archie Americana volumes; and a left-over New Look reprint came out. If they’re still planning to put out 24 [...]

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