- Posted by Johanna on April 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm
- Category: Archie Comics
- PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Books; $49.99 US
It’s always a thrill to see this site’s recommendations quoted on a graphic novel, as is the case with this latest volume of classic Archie comic reprints, which cites my previous review of volumes 1 and 2.
Volume 5 reprints Archie Comics #15–#18 and the Archie stories from Pep Comics #54–#56, both from 1945 and 1946. That last issue, Pep #56, is historically significant, since it marked the publisher’s name change from MLJ Magazines to Archie Comic Publications. Also different in this book is how much of the art is done by Bill Vigoda instead of Bob Montana.
Readers likely won’t notice, though, since the cast has that old-fashioned humorous approach we’ve seen throughout these early issues. Even though they’re wearing out-of-date looks, many of the situations are familiar: Archie stumbles all over himself at a costume party. Veronica teases him (and the readers) with some sexy outfits. Archie tries out for a sports team, tries to get a band for the dance, or adopts a monkey. (That one’s a little weird.) Reggie uses ventriloquism to get Archie in trouble. Archie wants to date the new girl in town or runs for class president.
What’s a bit more unusual is the presence of a couple of stories that aren’t focused exclusively on the teens. One early story shows Archie’s dad as a hypochondriac, while another sends him golfing (with Archie as idiotic caddie). The stories about the girls have them often competing, but it’s not always over Archie. Instead, they sometimes battle over who can meet a visiting star or baking a cake.
Other tales are poignant reminders of the time, with one story featuring Archie trying to cope with a blackout. Another has him try to sell using a horse and cart to Veronica by talking about how patriotic it was not to use gas. Overall, the humor here is very similar to modern-day Archie (without as much romance), but the look is very much of its time, with more exaggerated takes on the characters.
The book includes the fashion pages (which at this time were ads for patterns readers could order through the mail), puzzle pages, text stories, and Archie-related ads. (The publisher provided a review copy.)