Even as a little kid in the 1970s, I thought the Archie comics were really low-brow. I never actually bought any of them, but I’d thumb through them on the magazine rack, and they all seemed so hare-brained. The characters themselves were completely one-dimensional:
- Archie, the good son, honest, popular, but an innocent dork;
- Betty, the hot blonde who was inexplicably attracted to Archie. She seemed more wholesome and sweet-natured than……
- Veronica, the hot brunette, who likewise was attracted to Archie (even in my prepubescent years, I think the vague notion of menage-a-trois was planted in my head, and I’m surely not the only one)
- Jughead, the not-that-bright friend of Archie’s with a bizarre eating disorder in which he was ravenous and yet stayed rail-thin;
- Reggie, who was kind of a prick and, even though more rugged-looking, always seemed like the second choice for the aforementioned hot babes
There were other characters, of course, like the token ugly girl, Big Ethel, and Mr. Weatherby, the bald, fat principal, and so on.
I haven’t exactly been keeping on top of Archie and the gang for the past forty years, but it turns out that they are no longer stuck in the motif of 1950s America. Like there’s this little hallway exchange, for example:
Yup……..Archie is verbally updating his chances of getting laid by taking into account the homosexual population at his high school while simultaneously declaring the unspoken truth that all the rest of us have known for decades: the Jughead’s nude body is completely featureless.
Of course, the nature of Riverdale seems to have totally changed. Back in the day, everyone was basically a WASP, and in spite of being pursued by two supermodels all the time, Archie engaged solely in wholesome activities, carnal opportunities be damned:
In sharp contrast to this, Riverdale is now (a) multi-ethnic; (b) has gay people (c) celebrated the marriage of a biracial gay couple. I offer Exhibit A:
Given the lengths the publisher went to be inclusive, I’m surprised one of them isn’t in a wheelchair (although, as a military man, the chap on the right still has that opportunity ahead of him).
Just to really go over the top, Archie dies…………..by taking a bullet for a gay dude. It appears his two love interests still haven’t given up laying claim to Archie’s body:
I am quite plainly behind the times. The only silver lining to Archie’s death is that I no longer have to worry why there is a permanent pound sign (#) on the side of his head.