- Posted by Johanna on July 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm
- Category: Archie Comics
The last two Archie Comic issues are quite interesting, in that their stories are less complete tales and more frameworks that they can hang as many character mentions as possible on.
This week’s Archie #657 is a beach party issue written by Tom DeFalco with pencils by Pat & Tim Kennedy and inks by Rich Koslowski. Archie keeps falling down while trying to windsurf, while mentions are blatantly made of the Madhouse Glads band, Wilbur, Bingo, their girlfriends Laurie Lake and Samantha Smythe, and the Didit Brothers. (Who are the Glads, a connection I didn’t realize until KC explained it to me. And isn’t it interesting the girls are introduced with last names and their boyfriends aren’t?) Some of these are pretty obscure, although the main antagonist is Cheryl Blossom, back to being a scheming vixen.
Last week’s Betty & Veronica #271 is even more of a catalog, and its cover even features a few additional logos, emphasizing the guest stars. It’s also written by Tom DeFalco, with pencils by Fernando Ruin and inks by Bob Smith.
In it, Veronica’s mother Hermione is feeling insecure, since her old friend, a famous designer, is coming to town and staging a fashion show. Ms. Lodge says she feels “so plain and insignificant in comparison”. This is a very odd emotion for a fabulously wealthy woman who’s proud of herself, her husband, and her daughter to have, particularly since the fashion show is just an excuse to list off most every female Archie character.
We start, of course, with model Katy Keene and her supporting cast. Josie and the Pussycats are playing for the show, accompanied by Alexandra and her cat Sebastian. She’s back to having magical powers, it seems. Ginger Snapp wants to become a model. Sabrina the Teenage Witch pops in, as does Midge, Ginger Lopez, Cricket O’Dell, Trula Twyst, Nancy Woods, and a whole bunch more, half of whom I’ve never heard of. It’s something of an odd reading experience, with a whole page of full names used as though they’re significant although we have no idea who they are.
Overall, the message is one of friendship being important and being able to solve problems when your friends come through for you. Then again, friendship isn’t such a chore if the favor you’re asked to do is wear glamorous clothes and have people applaud you.
So, speculating on why Archie Comics would want to do this, two reasons immediately come to mind:
* Intellectual property maintenance. Trademarks, as on character names, can be lost if they’re not maintained, so dumping a whole bunch of characters into these stories allow the company to show that they’re still interested in using all of them.
* Sample giveaways. With an increasing push towards getting more Hollywood attention for the cast and publications, issues like these are great to give to producers and other licensing decision-makers. They can be used as a kind of catalog for them to select characters they might be interested in developing for other media or products.