Archie (Comic Review)

ArchieFaceI’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people hear “Archie comics” and dismiss it as kid’s stuff. I say that, because that’s exactly what I did. But I’m here to tell ya, this book is fantastic for fans of any age. If it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have kept reading it. What’s more, there was a time, way back when, that comics were actually written with the express intention of being read by kids. That Mark Waid (The Flash, Daredevil), Fiona Staples (Saga), Veronica Fish (Pirates of Mars), and the fine folks over at Archie Comics are making a such an all-around great book, which just so happens to be great for kids to read, is a win for children comic fans, it’s a win for adult comic fans, and frankly it’s a win for the comic industry.

Mark Waid brings top notch talent as the writer. This is quite a departure from his standard super hero M.O., the town of Riverdale is not at risk of being utterly annihilated, none of the characters wear capes, but the quality of his scripts are as solid as ever. Fiona Staples and Veronica Fish  bring an aesthetic so well suited for the book. It’s zany, colorful, and animated, but not over the top. The style is immediately more modern than the cartoony art of Archie’s past, but at no point does the art take itself too seriously, it’s always fun.

For Archie fans of yesteryear, fear not. I tend to die a little inside every time I hear one of my beloved childhood properties is being remade. Almost without fail, they fall short of their original counterpart. Almost. Archie appears to be an exception. It has all the familiar elements of the original Archie books, so long time fans will feel right at home. Archie and his pal Jughead navigate the intricacies of teenage life. Becky and Veronica deal with the drama of romantic competition. Everything that made Archie work before is still there, and is being handled with care.

Archie might sound run of the mill. It’s the story of a teenage boy dealing with dating, school, cars, and hobbies. This seemingly mundane subject matter is actually one of the strengths of the book. The plot is casually relatable, and it’s just so endearing. If, like me, you’re one of the many millions of people who went to high school, there’s a good chance you’ll just get swept away with Archie.

At the time of writing Archie is only six issues in, which makes it easy for people to catch up on. I would recommend doing so, because each issue builds upon the last. This new iteration of Archie takes place in the modern day. It’s not an out of touch story about suburban America in the 40’s. If it had been, I probably wouldn’t have kept reading it. It also starts from the beginning, a reboot in the truest form, which is nice, since I never really got in to Archie books, even as a youth. If this book had just kept on going were the others left off, with over half a century of background material, I probably wouldn’t have kept reading it. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of reasons one might not pick this book up, based upon assumptions, but once you just go ahead and pick it up, you might just realize all of those reasons are suddenly distant memories. If you’re like me, you’ll be too busy waiting for the next issue to remember why you hadn’t been reading the series in the first place.

As a bonus, Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck) and Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) are supporting Archie with their own Jughead tie in comic. The humor of Zdarsky is perfectly suited for a character like Jughead, and while there are only a few issues out so far, they’ve been a lot of fun, and compliment the main Archie books nicely.

Considering the quality of both the writing and art work, plus the perk of occasionally getting a Jughead book on the side, I give Archie 5 out of 5 milkshakes.



2 Responses to “Archie (Comic Review)”

  1. Gregg

    I never thought much of Archie, other than it had been around forever, until I went to my first San Diego Comic-Con. Despite what I thought, I found there to be a undeniable respect within the comic book industry for Archie. Archie, Veronica, Jughead, etc., are all anchors amidst cartoon balloon word world. Whereas Washington DC has statues of Presidents, somewhere in comic book world, where Batman and Wolverine roam, is a statue of Archie.

  2. Shohan

    I dig the new art style!