As a kid, I was as likely to beg my mom to buy me an Archie Comic as a candy bar in the checkout line. She would buy them even when I didn’t ask and then I’d have to wait for her to finish to wrest each new double digest from her. More than once, I contemplated sending away for the fan club advertised in the back pages. I loved the whole crew. Archie. Betty. Midge and Moose. Rare appearances by Valerie! I loved the stories where Betty and Veronica would ditch their rivalry for friendship.
When it came out that Archie was being rebooted, I was not on board. I haven’t read the comic in years–Cheryl Blossom and Kevin something-or-other are unknown to me. The new CW show is actually what convinced me to give it a shot. The show is very clearly NOT the Archie I want to see, and I wanted to know if it took its inspiration from the rebooted comic.
I am relieved to find that is not the case. Mark Waid’s rebooted Archie is exactly what someone like me would want. Waid updates the characters while retaining the innocence and fun that have long been a hallmark of the series. Archie drives a junker. Veronica is a snob. Betty is the loyal girl-next-door. Jughead stashes food in his locker. Reggie is a massive tool. Moose is still dim. No CW-style update here, and it’s amazing. What Waid *has* done is create a narrative and character depth that the old pulp comics never seemed to have.
Volume 1 picks up at the beginning of sophomore/junior year. Childhood sweethearts Betty and Archie broke up over the summer for unknown reasons and it’s thrown the social order of Riverdale High into disarray. Sounds like the perfect time for Veronica Lodge to make her entrance…
Despite the fact that I enjoyed this, I don’t know how to sell you on this book. I have a long history with Archie, and what I loved most about this is that Waid’s skillful update of characters I’ve known most of my life. But Archie isn’t big plots or big stories. It’s not social commentary (or, at least, this volume isn’t). I feel like this is a book for fans and friends of the series.