Friday, May 20, 2011

Archie Archives! I Don't Get It!

Time to lighten things up a little... or is it?

ARCHIE ARCHIVE SERIES Vol. 1 (Dark Horse): So now even the venerable Archie franchise is getting the super deluxe hardcover treatment. I suppose I risk the denunciation of Archie fans everywhere, but I have read several dozen Archie comics during my comics-loving life and can't remember ever cracking even a smile over a single story. Clearly I just don't have the "Archie gene", since these characters have been around since the 40's and continue to be published today. So I preface my comments by saying "I just don't get it." And after flipping through this book? I still don't. At the very beginning Archie was more of a dick (who insisted everyone call him "Chick") and there was a hint of Tex Avery-ish anarchy at play, but I find the artwork dull to ugly and the stories completely predictable and tedious. Whoa, new lifeguard Archie slips on a banana peel rushing to a rescue and crashes through a canoe! Archie accidentally splashes mud on Reggie and Reggie gets mad! Perhaps time has not been kind and this was knee-slapping hilarity back in the day, and/or sex-starved youngsters were into the occasional cheese-cake of Betty and Veronica. (Veronica is actually topless, albeit in shadow, in one panel, which was hot stuff back in the day.) The unfortunate racist blips are a product of the times so I won't hold that against them. But I'm afraid someone will have to explain the simple pleasures of Archie because, like opera and country, it's not for moi.