As mentioned in THIS PREVIOUS POST, I was taken aback by the sight of this on my last comic shop visit, and just HAD TO TAKE ONE out of sheer curiosity!
Having read it 24 hours before formulating this post, and with a full day to digest the contents, I'm still not sure what to think...
Here's what greets us on Page One:
And, just for the sake of spits and giggles, here's page one of what many of us might view as a traditional Archie comic - ARCHIE # 188 (Cover date: February, 1969).
And, here's the cover of that issue.
The obvious curiosity factor aside, the key draw for me was the uncharacteristic choice of writer Mark Waid for this series!
Mark Waid was one of my favorite writers of "mainstream superhero comics", with an historic run on FLASH, and great runs on FANTASTIC FOUR and JLA to name a few... but Archie? How (and WHAT) would he do?
Well, I think he did okay, delivering a curious "genre-hybrid" that may not exist anywhere outside of the realm of creator-produced independent comics.
But, whatever that may mean - and I'm still not sure I know -- Waid and artist Fiona Staples did an ambitious job of re-imagining Archie and friends for a new generation.
Check that cover. He's even got that sullen slacker look that would have been unimaginable in the wholesome, All-American years past.
To the story, we lean that Archie and Betty have been sweethearts since forever...
And that they just broke up over an event neither wishes to discuss...
But appears to be a VERY BIG DEAL to everyone around them - including Kevin Keller, Maria and Shiela. I do not recognize the latter two from my (admittedly limited) knowledge of Archie lore. Did they exist prior to this series, or where they just created for Kevin to play off of?
And how about Jughead, NOT giving in to the temptation of food!
Reggie's also here, and Veronica would seem to be looming in the next issue.
|Such drama, Kevin!|
If anyone really stands out, it's Kevin who steals the show!
There's not much more to say as, with so many modern mainstream comics, we're only given a little snippet of the story.
|Kinda like getting this "head", without a "body" attached!|
I can say this for however much story we got... It's neither "funny" nor "adventurous", the two things I look for most in a comic book, but I kinda liked it anyway. At least enough to sample the next issue before making a final determination.
If anything, I liken it to the feeling I recall having when watching an episode of BEVERLY HILLS 90210. Not very high on my "favorites list", but something you sure don't see in mainstream comic books everyday in 2015.
Still, ya gotta love any comic with an Angus Young reference!
The book is rounded-out by a one-page text, written by Mark Waid, discussing his "first issue" and Archie's first ever appearance in PEP COMICS # 22 (1941).
And a reprint of that very same first appearance of Archie! For some, that alone may be worth the price of the issue!
There are also 21 variant covers! I'd call that a tad excessive.
|Click to Enlarge!|
I took the one that had "Comics and Rock-and-Roll"!
There's also an ad for a new JUGHEAD series.
Finally, as a veteran of the Silver Age, where things looked like this...
I could never imagine I'd see the day where ARCHIE looked like THIS...
...And JIMMY OLSEN (Archie's unknown twin brother) looked like THIS. (from BIZARRO # 2, Cover Date: September, 2015 )
...We live in strange (or "Bizarro") times!
I'm curious to see exactly how long this, admittedly intriguing, experiment will last before America's favorite teen is reverted to the friendly and familiar face we see on those ubiquitous Digest Comics at supermarket checkouts.
As with many of the "Permanent Changes" put forth by Marvel and DC Comics since the 1980s, I've just been around too long to believe this will last for the long haul! ...Remember these?
What say you?
Let's have your thoughts in the Comments Section!