Thursday, July 10, 2014


That ARCHIE ANDREWS radio show Bill sent me sure put me in the mood for some fresh comic strip reads, and you can bet that I sure was glad that I didn't have to wait a good three years for this 'un to turn up on my doorstep!

Heading into the mid-sixties, ARCHIE is still sparking on all cylinders what with Bob Montana's whacked out sense of humor (and ability to take the best cornballus jokes and add a refreshing twist to 'em) as well as keen artwork which always did put the standard ARCHIE comic book artists to shame what with the fine inking and liberal use of alla that glued-on checks and shading which always lent the strip a certain quality you just don't see anymore. 'n best of all you certainly don't see such feminine pulchritude being paraded about like you do when Betty and Veronica (as only Montana can draw 'em) show up in their bikinis at times even exposing a belly button or two---one look at them and you'll know why Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem got on the Women's Lib shrew patrol making the world safe for millions of bowzers out there!

Nice time-warp between the standard teenage age ARCHIE hijinx and the soon-to-come late-sixties upheaval, what with the strips here almost exact carbon copies of the ones Montana had been cranking out for a good two decades by already. Lotsa good gaggers here too including some neat mid-sixties mop top ones that certainly fit in with the teenage high energy point of view, not to mention a certain one on page thirty that'll really get both Bill Shute and Brad Kohler laughing their hi-q heads off. One thing about ARCHIE you can't say about today's strips is that it really was tuned into the mid-Amerigan doof-thud existence that seems to have been taken over by brain-dead philosophies and puerile propaganda that you're still seeing even this late in history when people frankly should know better!

Unfortunately the book's forward is, like many of these ARCHIE collections o'er the years, a little too apologetic about the whitebread wholesomeness of the entire Archie Series corporation with a tone that almost says that "HEY, WE'RE REALLY HIP ONLY WE CAN'T BE TOO HIP ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS". Perhaps this was all done in order to deflect a whole lotta criticism for MLJ head John Goldwater's help in the creation of the Comics Code Authority, but if you ask me it only makes the Archie line's "squareness" (which wasn't anything that we felt offensive or anything) seem even more obvious! Hey, if Archie and the gang started dealing in storylines regarding every breed of social/political injustice it would have seen tres out of place, almost as bad as if Nancy and Aunt Fritzi started discussing all of those disgusting scabs on Sluggo's head, and frankly do we need any more social relevance and modern day boredom reflected in our funny pages the way they are now? I should say not, Glenda!

But one interesting turdbit did happen to find its way into this schpiel, and that was in the portion which mentioned how rock 'n roll music was shaping the musical vocab with the bright and spiffy new sounds of everyone from the Iron Butterfly and Jefferson Airplane to the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, and "Lou Reed's Velvet Underground"!!! The inclusion of the last bunch really did perk my Uncle Martin antennas up, especially when you consider just how VERBOTEN anything remotely high energy or punky was edited out of the musical vocabulary with a Stalin-like efficiency once the hippoids got into political power way back in the mid-seventies. I mean, who in a million years woulda thought that the preface to an ARCHIE collection would even mention the Velvets, even in passing? Back in the old days that woulda been cause for celebration and in many ways it still is (even if they were lumped in with a bunch of mostly tired old turdburgers) and hey, listening to the Velvets really went along smoothly while reading this batch of strips too! You should try it, or at least try something in a similar vein which does mesh well with the suburban teenage gags being presented for your ranch house entertainment!

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