Given that the Sunday ARCHIEs are what got me all hot 'n bothered when I was a young comics upstart this book does come in handy. And even with the awkwardness of the earliest entries, these full pagers do show the Bob Montana spirit of the strip which never did translate to the comic book pages that well. True, there's no Mr. Lodge getting locked outta his heated swimming pool and entered as an ice sculpture at a winter carnival here, nor does Archie create his own "smell-o-vision" to impress Veronica with while Jughead provides the odors from the kitchen. However, you can see the development in artist Montana's humor rhythm even in his earliest efforts, and perhaps the at-times stiltedness does lend a bit of forties ambiance that got vamoosed from the comics page by the seventies which really makes this edition pay off big bucks in the har-har department.
An' yeah, maybe some of these just ain't as high-larious as the ones from the Montana's creative height in the fifties and sixties, but only a postmodern jerkoff'd disagree that these are loads better'n the typical portrayals of teenage goofdom that were being pushed on us by elders who actually thought those years were our greatest when all they were was a period between a childhood of insecurities and an adulthood of utter despair. Bob Montana might not have captured this as well as the writers for LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, but he sure did a pretty close approximation that's for sure!
Personal faves include the ones where Archie gets roped into working for a summer stock company in order to get free tickets to a play, accidentally hangs himself while portraying Nathan Hale on a parade float, and swan dives into a swimming pool filled with lime jello. And tell me, could you see anybody in today's Sunday supplement getting into such an anarchistic uproar as this? Heck, even the once-outre DENNIS THE MENACE seems de-balled in comparison next to these early ARCHIE examples which only proves that even at his worst Montana was better than no-talents like Jerry Scott and whoever it is that does DILBERT as their best (as if they've ever been at it!).