If you’re ever suffering from a case of fan malaise, find the nearest comics/sci-fi/fantasy/anime convention and go. You won’t regret it.
As Megacon reminded me, there’s nothing quite like a con to reconnect a person with the joys of fandom. Spending a few days surrounded by happy people in costumes and talking to the creators who make Wednesdays special are two things that deserve spots on your bucket list.
Some highlights and observations: Continue reading
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal: The Last of the Innocent has been described as the most messed up “Archie” reimagining ever published, and that assessment is catnip for readers who frequent Riverdale. But this widely praised arc, trade Vol. 6 in the Criminal noir series, is much more than an exercise in taking beloved archetypes to hell. Brubaker and Phillips have crafted a harrowing portrait of unhappy adulthood and the longing for youth’s fleeting golden moments. Continue reading
Life with Archie, the best soap opera in comics, has grabbed readers’ attention with storylines about unhappy marriages and separations, untimely deaths (Mrs. Grundy!) and characters ravaged by disease (Cheryl Blossom!). But there was at least one happy occasion in Riverdale in 2012 with war veteran Kevin Keller’s marriage to his boyfriend, Clay, in issue #16. It’s yet another example how Archie Comics has modernized, and fans have embraced the publisher’s first gay character since he arrived in 2010. Writer Paul Kupperberg handled the story just right, matter-of-factly showing Kevin and Clay as two people a loving relationship. I propose a toast.
You could argue that every Wednesday is a holiday for those of us who get a weekly comic book fix. We play Santa Claus to ourselves, merrily leaving the LCS with a fresh stack and maybe a few … unplanned purchases that prompt our significant others to ask what the hell is up with these weird charges on our credit card statements.
But don’t we all have a few special items in mind that would bring joy to
ourselves others? Because this is the season for giving, we’ve prepared our second annual G3 Gift Guide to inspire you and your loved ones. Continue reading
Remember that time Archie and Betty checked into a motel cabin far from Riverdale, shed their clothes and spent a memorable night together in front of a crackling fire? And then Betty’s dad showed up in a rage just as Archie was putting his clothes back on, subjecting them to a lengthy diatribe about values and his daughter’s compromised honor? No? Then you’ve clearly missed the best story ever printed in an Archie comic. Continue reading
Betty and Veronica who?
It takes quite a romance to make a love triangle that’s more than 70 years old seem irrelevant. But that’s precisely what happened when Archie and Josie and the Pussycats guitarist Valerie rocked each other’s world in 2010, making headlines as Archie Comics’ first interracial romance, ever. Continue reading
This just in: Life With Archie is friggin’ awesome. Yes, I know the series is no longer new, but no matter how many times I read it, I’m surprised by just how juicy it is. Seeing Riverdale’s former teens as grownups who are grappling with real-life drama is fascinating. LWA has become the comic book version of the TV soap you don’t want to miss. Continue reading
I’ve loved Archie for many, many years. Click here to see my CNN.com Geek Out! essay on why the Riverdale crew deserves respect.
About two years ago, my son, now 11, popped the “What does ‘gay’ mean?” question. I answered plainly, and he made a little face. Not in an “I’m Pat Robertson way” but a “Gee, that’s … odd” way. We had a brief talk about it not being odd at all, and then — shiny object! — he went right back to his beloved PSP.
What does this have to do with comics? After introducing Kevin Keller last year, Archie Comics has given Riverdale’s first openly gay character his own series, which hit shelves last week. It’s a typically cute, zany Archie story about pie-eating contests and parade floats. It’s also about Kevin’s coming-out experience, and writer/artist Dan Parent handles it with humor and sensitivity. Continue reading
I hadn’t intended to write about anything Archie-related again so soon, but when my friend Craig sent me this link, well, it had to happen. Canadian sketch comedy group The Cross Eyed Bear, with the help of donors from the Vancouver film industry, put together a brilliant, live-action movie trailer that imagines the Archie gang as live fast, die young types. Imagine Less than Zero plus Skins plus Archie’s Digest, and you’ve got the R-rated parody gem simply titled Riverdale. Reggie does coke, Jughead reveals his crush on Archie with disastrous results, and Moose is in a murderous rage over a Midge-Chuck hookup. It’s as genius as it is disturbing. You’ll never look at Dilton quite the same way again. I would totally pay money to see this fully-realized movie.
Veronica Lodge has the sassy, rich vixen role on lock most of the time, but whenever bombshell Cheryl Blossom sashays into Riverdale, it is Game Over. Even worse for Miss Lodge’s considerable ego, Cheryl knows she is hot with her red hair, dangerous curves, and short skirts — and she flaunts her assets with no apology. It’s quite a feat to make Betty and Veronica look plain.
Loving Betty (and I do) is politically correct, but Cheryl is really my favorite Archie Comics female character. She’s a brash bad girl, and something about that always appealed to me as a reserved type who wore Keds instead of Candie’s (the “fast girl” shoes of the late ’70s and early ’80s).
Plenty went over my head when I was in elementary school, but looking back, I’m struck by what a sexual character Cheryl is in the relatively tame Archie universe. I mean, in her very first comics appearance, she comes thisclose to taking off the top half of her tiny bikini on a public beach — just for kicks! This sends poor Betty into a hyperventilating panic. Continue reading
I’m out and proud about my longtime affection for Archie Comics, and I really don’t care that it’s the geek equivalent of loving “Facts of Life” reruns. Deal with it!
Anyway, it’s worth noting that those classic characters continue to be a source of inspiration for illustrators everywhere. When I saw Stuart Immonen’s stylish, modern take on Betty and Veronica below, I decided that he should draw every B&V comic book from here on out:
The Immonen piece sent me on a hunt for other alternative/updated tributes to the first ladies of Riverdale, and while some were a little scary, quite a few were fantastic. I loved Luis Escobar’s drawing below, which strongly suggests that Mary Jane Watson is going to give Veronica Lodge the beatdown while Betty and Gwen Stacy look on.
Another standout was Mike Wieringo’s interpretation. There’s a hard edge to it, and a whole lot going on with their facial expressions and body language. A whole lot.
Al Rio, who makes everything look sexy, created a semi-naughty homage to the frenemies that tiptoes right up to the line without going over it. It’s a cheeky drawing for sure, one that reflects a lot of reader fantasies we aren’t going get into here.
You really have to be a longtime Archie fan to appreciate how big of a deal this is, because as societal progress goes, interracial romance is so 1980. But Archie kissing Josie and the Pussycats’ Valerie — on the front of the book, no less — is a leap forward for the more leisurely paced Riverdale. There was more smooching and canoodling within, and even Betty and Veronica declared that the two seemed to be in love. Later in the year, Veronica flipped for the new boy in town, cutie pie Kevin Keller. Unfortunately for Ronnie, Kevin’s gay, and openly so. Kevin proved to be such a popular character that he’s returning this year in his own mini-series. Yay, progress!