Archie Comics: Changed Times, Changed Looks, Changed Stories

By Mia Herrera

When I was younger, I’d love to pick and choose from among my big sisters’ shelves, which boasted impressive sets – Baby-sitters Club books, Nancy Drews, Sweet Valley Highs and Archie Comics – all lined up with their spines the same height and their book covers similar colours. Much later, even when the other series ended or went out of print, Archie Comics never went out of style.

Though it’s been years since I’ve last purchased an Archie Comic, it’s still comforting to see the books in their familiar spot by the checkout counters. Recently, I noticed some Archie Comics had new covers. Archie’s Double Digest #200, for example, featured sombre blues and greys and a sad looking Archie on its front cover. “Archie Goodbye Forever” the cover said – a dynamic “new look” story. The cover stopped me in my tracks – Archie… Goodbye… Forever?! Was it the end of Archie Comics? And why did Archie look so sad and… different? Rather than cartoony freckles and large eyes, Archie was drawn realistically.

I purchased the issue without a second thought, wondering if Archie was going out of style. I’d taken Archie’s place on the checkout stand for granted, considering he’d been around for eighty years. After Archie’s Goodbye issue, however, I began paying closer attention to the digest magazines: it seemed almost all of them were coming out with “new look” stories – realistic, angst-ridden and dark. Mr. Andrews is moving out of town, for example, Veronica is fighting Mr. Lodge to protect a local forest, and Moose and Midge break up. Furthermore, Archie’s gang has acquired new habits that weren’t present in the earlier days. Veronica and Betty occasionally say, “Yo”, and one short gag features Veronica telling Betty, “It’s ridiculous! My family can’t afford to take a vacation this week!” and Betty responds (after watching her parents discuss their struggle to pay their bills) by saying, “At today’s prices my family can’t even afford to stay at home!”

The Archie Comic that’s garnering lots of attention these days is “Archie Marries Veronica” – a six-part series in which Archie finally chooses between the cute girl-next-door and the rich and sexy vixen. I recently ordered the series online and received it through snail mail last week. The drawings are hardly up to par with the regular digest magazines (the faces look frighteningly bulbous and distended, for some reason), and the plot is strung weakly along a “step into the future” story line, but the key point remains the same: whether Archie Comics is actually taking a huge step towards marriage or whether they’re stringing along readers before settling back into a regular groove, the producers of Archie Comics are changing the Archie scene.

With the onslaught of “new look” ‘zines and the highly marketed Archie engagement, it seems Archie Comics are stepping up their game and trying to regain readership. At the same time, the comics are beginning to feature the uncertainty of today’s times by working in plots that deal with unemployment, economic downturn, environmental concern, and worry for the future. It’s clear that the comics aren’t featuring the same “happy-go-lucky” Archie of the olden days, where two girls can miraculously stay best friends and date the same boy, and where one-sided characters like Reggie and Jughead are either always hungry or always greedy or always egotistical. The gang is taking on new and different dynamics and is becoming more realistic, not just in appearance, but also in tone. Is this a good or bad thing? I still need to see the end of the Archie Proposal series, but I do know that the changes have at least brought one old reader back to the Archie newsstands.

By Mia Herrera

When I was younger, I’d love to pick and choose from among my big sisters’ shelves, which boasted impressive sets – Baby-sitters Club books, Nancy Drews, Sweet Valley Highs and Archie Comics – all lined up with their spines the same height and their book covers similar colours. Much later, even when the other series ended or went out of print, Archie Comics never went out of style.

Though it’s been years since I’ve last purchased an Archie Comic, it’s still comforting to see the books in their familiar spot by the checkout counters. Recently, I noticed some Archie Comics had new covers. Archie’s Double Digest #200, for example, featured sombre blues and greys and a sad looking Archie on its front cover. “Archie Goodbye Forever” the cover said – a dynamic “new look” story. The cover stopped me in my tracks – Archie… Goodbye… Forever?! Was it the end of Archie Comics? And why did Archie look so sad and… different? Rather than cartoony freckles and large eyes, Archie was drawn realistically.

I purchased the issue without a second thought, wondering if Archie was going out of style. I’d taken Archie’s place on the checkout stand for granted, considering he’d been around for eighty years. After Archie’s Goodbye issue, however, I began paying closer attention to the digest magazines: it seemed almost all of them were coming out with “new look” stories – realistic, angst-ridden and dark. Mr. Andrews is moving out of town, for example, Veronica is fighting Mr. Lodge to protect a local forest, and Moose and Midge break up. Furthermore, Archie’s gang has acquired new habits that weren’t present in the earlier days. Veronica and Betty occasionally say, “Yo”, and one short gag features Veronica telling Betty, “It’s ridiculous! My family can’t afford to take a vacation this week!” and Betty responds (after watching her parents discuss their struggle to pay their bills) by saying, “At today’s prices my family can’t even afford to stay at home!”

The Archie Comic that’s garnering lots of attention these days is “Archie Marries Veronica” – a six-part series in which Archie finally chooses between the cute girl-next-door and the rich and sexy vixen. I recently ordered the series online and received it through snail mail last week. The drawings are hardly up to par with the regular digest magazines (the faces look frighteningly bulbous and distended, for some reason), and the plot is strung weakly along a “step into the future” story line, but the key point remains the same: whether Archie Comics is actually taking a huge step towards marriage or whether they’re stringing along readers before settling back into a regular groove, the producers of Archie Comics are changing the Archie scene.

With the onslaught of “new look” ‘zines and the highly marketed Archie engagement, it seems Archie Comics are stepping up their game and trying to regain readership. At the same time, the comics are beginning to feature the uncertainty of today’s times by working in plots that deal with unemployment, economic downturn, environmental concern, and worry for the future. It’s clear that the comics aren’t featuring the same “happy-go-lucky” Archie of the olden days, where two girls can miraculously stay best friends and date the same boy, and where one-sided characters like Reggie and Jughead are either always hungry or always greedy or always egotistical. The gang is taking on new and different dynamics and is becoming more realistic, not just in appearance, but also in tone. Is this a good or bad thing? I still need to see the end of the Archie Proposal series, but I do know that the changes have at least brought one old reader back to the Archie newsstands.

By Mia Herrera

When I was younger, I’d love to pick and choose from among my big sisters’ shelves, which boasted impressive sets – Baby-sitters Club books, Nancy Drews, Sweet Valley Highs and Archie Comics – all lined up with their spines the same height and their book covers similar colours. Much later, even when the other series ended or went out of print, Archie Comics never went out of style.

Though it’s been years since I’ve last purchased an Archie Comic, it’s still comforting to see the books in their familiar spot by the checkout counters. Recently, I noticed some Archie Comics had new covers. Archie’s Double Digest #200, for example, featured sombre blues and greys and a sad looking Archie on its front cover. “Archie Goodbye Forever” the cover said – a dynamic “new look” story. The cover stopped me in my tracks – Archie… Goodbye… Forever?! Was it the end of Archie Comics? And why did Archie look so sad and… different? Rather than cartoony freckles and large eyes, Archie was drawn realistically.

I purchased the issue without a second thought, wondering if Archie was going out of style. I’d taken Archie’s place on the checkout stand for granted, considering he’d been around for eighty years. After Archie’s Goodbye issue, however, I began paying closer attention to the digest magazines: it seemed almost all of them were coming out with “new look” stories – realistic, angst-ridden and dark. Mr. Andrews is moving out of town, for example, Veronica is fighting Mr. Lodge to protect a local forest, and Moose and Midge break up. Furthermore, Archie’s gang has acquired new habits that weren’t present in the earlier days. Veronica and Betty occasionally say, “Yo”, and one short gag features Veronica telling Betty, “It’s ridiculous! My family can’t afford to take a vacation this week!” and Betty responds (after watching her parents discuss their struggle to pay their bills) by saying, “At today’s prices my family can’t even afford to stay at home!”

The Archie Comic that’s garnering lots of attention these days is “Archie Marries Veronica” – a six-part series in which Archie finally chooses between the cute girl-next-door and the rich and sexy vixen. I recently ordered the series online and received it through snail mail last week. The drawings are hardly up to par with the regular digest magazines (the faces look frighteningly bulbous and distended, for some reason), and the plot is strung weakly along a “step into the future” story line, but the key point remains the same: whether Archie Comics is actually taking a huge step towards marriage or whether they’re stringing along readers before settling back into a regular groove, the producers of Archie Comics are changing the Archie scene.

With the onslaught of “new look” ‘zines and the highly marketed Archie engagement, it seems Archie Comics are stepping up their game and trying to regain readership. At the same time, the comics are beginning to feature the uncertainty of today’s times by working in plots that deal with unemployment, economic downturn, environmental concern, and worry for the future. It’s clear that the comics aren’t featuring the same “happy-go-lucky” Archie of the olden days, where two girls can miraculously stay best friends and date the same boy, and where one-sided characters like Reggie and Jughead are either always hungry or always greedy or always egotistical. The gang is taking on new and different dynamics and is becoming more realistic, not just in appearance, but also in tone. Is this a good or bad thing? I still need to see the end of the Archie Proposal series, but I do know that the changes have at least brought one old reader back to the Archie newsstands.

By Mia Herrera

When I was younger, I’d love to pick and choose from among my big sisters’ shelves, which boasted impressive sets – Baby-sitters Club books, Nancy Drews, Sweet Valley Highs and Archie Comics – all lined up with their spines the same height and their book covers similar colours. Much later, even when the other series ended or went out of print, Archie Comics never went out of style.

Though it’s been years since I’ve last purchased an Archie Comic, it’s still comforting to see the books in their familiar spot by the checkout counters. Recently, I noticed some Archie Comics had new covers. Archie’s Double Digest #200, for example, featured sombre blues and greys and a sad looking Archie on its front cover. “Archie Goodbye Forever” the cover said – a dynamic “new look” story. The cover stopped me in my tracks – Archie… Goodbye… Forever?! Was it the end of Archie Comics? And why did Archie look so sad and… different? Rather than cartoony freckles and large eyes, Archie was drawn realistically.

I purchased the issue without a second thought, wondering if Archie was going out of style. I’d taken Archie’s place on the checkout stand for granted, considering he’d been around for eighty years. After Archie’s Goodbye issue, however, I began paying closer attention to the digest magazines: it seemed almost all of them were coming out with “new look” stories – realistic, angst-ridden and dark. Mr. Andrews is moving out of town, for example, Veronica is fighting Mr. Lodge to protect a local forest, and Moose and Midge break up. Furthermore, Archie’s gang has acquired new habits that weren’t present in the earlier days. Veronica and Betty occasionally say, “Yo”, and one short gag features Veronica telling Betty, “It’s ridiculous! My family can’t afford to take a vacation this week!” and Betty responds (after watching her parents discuss their struggle to pay their bills) by saying, “At today’s prices my family can’t even afford to stay at home!”

The Archie Comic that’s garnering lots of attention these days is “Archie Marries Veronica” – a six-part series in which Archie finally chooses between the cute girl-next-door and the rich and sexy vixen. I recently ordered the series online and received it through snail mail last week. The drawings are hardly up to par with the regular digest magazines (the faces look frighteningly bulbous and distended, for some reason), and the plot is strung weakly along a “step into the future” story line, but the key point remains the same: whether Archie Comics is actually taking a huge step towards marriage or whether they’re stringing along readers before settling back into a regular groove, the producers of Archie Comics are changing the Archie scene.

With the onslaught of “new look” ‘zines and the highly marketed Archie engagement, it seems Archie Comics are stepping up their game and trying to regain readership. At the same time, the comics are beginning to feature the uncertainty of today’s times by working in plots that deal with unemployment, economic downturn, environmental concern, and worry for the future. It’s clear that the comics aren’t featuring the same “happy-go-lucky” Archie of the olden days, where two girls can miraculously stay best friends and date the same boy, and where one-sided characters like Reggie and Jughead are either always hungry or always greedy or always egotistical. The gang is taking on new and different dynamics and is becoming more realistic, not just in appearance, but also in tone. Is this a good or bad thing? I still need to see the end of the Archie Proposal series, but I do know that the changes have at least brought one old reader back to the Archie newsstands.

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