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Posts Tagged ‘Archie’

Archie’s Double Digest #203

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

November 7, 2009

Archie’s Double Digest #203 (Archie Comics)
By Melanie J. Morgan, Norm Breyfogle, and others

Archie Comics is reportedly going to retire the “new look” experiment after the next story runs in Pals ‘n Gals Double Digest, which I personally think is a shame. There have been some interesting stories told in this format, and this one isn’t too bad. As the Andrews search for a new house in Martinsville, Archie accidentally lets it slip to his father that he doesn’t want to move away from Riverdale. As the Andrews sit down for an important family meeting at a hauntingly familiar diner, the rest of the gang back in Riverdale decide to throw the Andrews the greatest going-away party of all time. The end of this story is somewhat predictable — not only do we get the expected result, but it comes about pretty much exactly as we would have expected. The scene in the “Bizarro Pop Tate’s” diner is funny, though, and helps elevate the story a bit. The rest of the digest, as usual, is full of short stories from Archie’s 60-plus year deep catalogue, and as always, they’re of varying quality. We do get a nice little block of Little Archie stories, which speaks to the child in me quite strongly. Overall, it’s a fun little book and a solid, if not shocking, way to end the “Goodbye Forever” story.
Rating: 8/10

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Archie’s Classic Christmas Stories Vol. 1

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

December 23, 2011

Compilation Editor: Paul Castiglia
Publisher:
Archie Comics

Archie Comics routinely reprints their classic stories in their digest format, but it’s nice to see that they give some of their stories a more permanent home as well. This paperback from 2002 collects several Christmas stories from over the years. Unfortunately, there are no credits provided, which isn’t that big a surprise as a lot of those old stories never ran with credits at all.

Along the way se wee a lot of the classic Archie tropes – his clashes with Mr. Lodge as he tries to get in good with his girlfriend’s family, for example. We see Archie and Reggie get in trouble trying to play Santa Claus, and we even see the first two appearances of Jingles, one of Santa’s helpers who has become an almost-annual visitor to Riverdale over the years.

Some of the stories do tend to repeat themselves, however. There are no less than three stories about Reggie trying to use the Christmas season as an excuse to make time with Big Moose’s girl, Midge, and two of those are focused on Moose’s lack of understanding of how Mistletoe works. It wasn’t such a big deal when the comics were originally produces, I suppose, coming out years apart from one another. Seeing them in the same collection does kind of drive home the idea that Archie has a history of recycling ideas. Fortunately, they’ve gotten a lot better about that in recent years, doing some new things and bringing in new characters and situations to spice up life in Riverdale. I hear tell there’s a new Archie Christmas paperback available this year. I haven’t been able to find a copy yet, but if I can get one by next Christmas, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on that one with you.

Rating: 8/10

Archie #602

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

October 24, 2009

Archie #602 (Archie Comics)
By Michael Uslan and Stan Goldberg

Archie and Veronica announce the impending birth of their child to a bevy of friends and family. Everyone’s got their own reaction, from soon-to-be godmother Betty to substitute lamaze partner Jughead, and when the little bundles of joy finally arrive, things couldn’t be better for Archie Andrews. Or could they? At the beginning of this story, Michael Uslan set up what appeared to be the big mama-jama reset button of all time. At the end of this issue, it turns out that it wasn’t a reset button, but a device that plays out here, in the middle of the story. I think Archie Comics may have jumped the gun on the publicity for this storyline, as we see here that the whole point of this was not to marry Archie off to Veronica, but to explore possible futures. I’m definitely interested to see what happens next, but I think that guy who sold off his Archie #1 out of protest may have acted a little too rashly.
Rating: 8/10

Archie 3000 #14

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

December 11, 2011

Title: Oh, Christmas Transporter, Oh Christmas Transporter and other stories

Writers: Dan Parent, Paul Castiglia, Bill Golliher
Pencils:
Dan Parent, Bill Golliher
Inks:
Jon D’Agostino, Pat Kennedy
Colorist:
Barry Grossman
Letterer:
Bill Yoshida
Cover Artist:
Dan Parent
Editor:
Scott Fulop
Publisher:
Archie Comics

While Archie Comics, much to their credit, is doing some really interesting things with their comic books in the here and now, in the early 1990s they were trying a lot of fun things as well: new characters, new concepts, and new twists on their formula. None of them really stuck, but for people of my age who were reading Archie at the time, there’s a nostalgia factor here that makes me glad I can still find copies of stuff like Archie 3000 in the ether.

This issue of the title which re-cast Archie and company a millennia in the future is their Christmas special. Archie (the 3000 version) and the gang are knee-deep in Christmas shopping, which in the year 3000 seems to be done exclusively via the Home Shoppin’ Teleportation Network. (Boy, if they could have foreseen the Internet, huh?) Even Santa Claus uses teleportation these days, something which frustrates the parents of Riverdale, who evidently are old enough to remember the days when he delivered presents by hand. Whether this means that teleportation technology is still relatively recent in the year 3000 or that advances in medical technology have allowed the parents to live for hundreds of years is never really made clear. Anyway, when an atmospheric disturbance knocks out the whole planetwide teleportation network, both Archie and Santa Claus will have to do Christmas old-school. The book is fun, but like so many visions of the future, when you look back on it a few years down the line, it seems terribly, hysterically quaint.

Very few Archie Comics have just one story, though, so let’s look at the back-up features, non-Christmasy they may be. In “Squirm Assignment,” Archie and Dilton have a big sociology assignment due for school, and Archie makes do with a Dict-o-Text, a device that is intended to help focus one’s mind and structure a report, but runs the risk of just creating the entire presentation if you let your mind run away with it. I’m pretty sure you can guess where this is going. The story was funny, in a “Jetsons” kind of way, and led up to a good punchline.

And in “Teleportation Troubles,” Archie gets himself into classic trouble when he has dates with both Betty and Veronica at the same time. This being the year 3000, though, when travel is evidently much cheaper, the dates are actually on opposite sides of the continent. With a little help from Dilton, Archie tries to teleport back and forth between the two, with again, predictable results. Not a bad story, but pretty standard – you could do a contemporary Archie story with Dilton building a teleportation device and have the same effect, and it would be more impressive since we hadn’t read another story based entirely around teleportation eight pages earlier.

I do still have a fondness for this old series, though, and for the others of its era: Jughead’s Time Police, Archie’s R/C Racers, Faculty Funnies, Dilton’s Strange Science, Explorers of the Unknown… there were some gems there. It’s a shame that we don’t see their like anymore.

Rating: 7/10

Betty and Veronica (1987 Series) #231

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

November 17 2007

Betty and Veronica #231 (Archie Comics)
By George Gladir, Mike Pellowski, Kathleen Webb & Jeff Shultz

The Archie gang gives us a quartet of Christmas-themed stories this month, all with fine art by Jeff Shultz, with different writers passing the stories back and forth. George Gladir takes the lead with “The Shoppers,” in which the girls have finished their online Christmas shopping only to discover at the last minute that they’ve forgotten to get a present for Jughead’s sister, Jellybean. With no time left to log on, the girls risk life and limb at the mall. Mike Pellowski‘s “Santa Shortage” is a really cute story featuring the girls trying to find a last-minute replacement Santa Claus for a charity event, and wind up with more than they bargained for. Kathleen Webb‘s “Are You Sure?” is the only non-Christmas story in the book, and also the weakest. Veronica announces Betty that she and Archie have gotten married, sending Betty into a panic with a sort of cliched ending. Webb redeems herslef with “Pretty is as Pretty Does,” though in which Veronica tries to explain her overboard makeup style to her best friend, and lets a big secret slip to the readers. This is a nice issue, fun for people who like to overload on Christmas comics. Y’know, people like me.
Rating: 8/10

Archie #601

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

October 24, 2009

Archie #601 (Archie Comics)
By Michael Uslan & Stan Goldberg

The wedding of Archie and Veronica hits Riverdale by storm. The marriage of Riverdale’s most famous socialite brings in visitors, ties up traffic, and arrests all the activity in the small town — except for a heart-to-heart between Betty and Veronica. Uslan’s writing improves this issue. Although he already had a strong grasp on who the characters are, his dialogue is considerably better, except for a rather schmaltzy speech by Jughead at the wedding. Okay, it’s a wedding, so you expect some schmaltz, but this is enough that it feels out of character. Anyway, the focus on Archie and Veronica continues, but the side characters aren’t ignored either. Reggie gets a nice moment, and there’s a nice bit with the faculty of Riverdale High. The reset button set up last issue is still there, and Uslan deftly sidesteps any less than family friendly moments one would normally associate with a wedding storyline (the bachelor party, for instance), but the story is getting better.
Rating: 7/10

Archie’s Dougle Digest #201

September 25, 2011 1 comment

August 29, 2009

Archie’s Double Digest #201 (Archie Comics)
By Melanie J. Morgan, Norm Breyfogle, and others

Word begins to spread across Riverdale that Archie’s father has been transferred and the Andrews clan will soon be moving away. In this second part of the story, we see how Archie’s friends react to the news that he’ll be gone forever. In most cases, the reaction is just what you expect, although Morgan throws us a nice little curve ball with Reggie. Meanwhile, a subplot begins involving Archie, Betty and Jughead discovering that one of their childhood picnic spots has become a polluted dumping ground, prompting them to begin considering cleanup options. I’m not entirely sure where this subplot is headed — in a story of this nature, it pretty much has to link to the main plot, but I’m not really sure how that’s going to work. Norm Breyfogle‘s artwork is surprisingly well-suited to the Archie kids. They’re all recognizable without being beholden to the classic house style of the comics. The rest of the Double Digest is filled with a wealth of comics from the past several decades, including some nice Little Archie stories, a gender-swapped Tarzan riff, and a look at the Archie crew in the year 2085 (no doubt 100 years from the original publication of that story). Some of the stories, as always, are better than others. The main tale is pretty good, though.
Rating: 7/10