Thursday, March 21, 2019


Like Bill Shute, every so often I get hold of one of those Archie digests that always seem to make their way to some used book store or flea market table. I'll buy one if only to see what the heck's been goin' on in Riverdale ever since the days I pretty much stopped buying Archies when I turned 'round fourteen. Of course nowadays there ain't much for me to digest 'r enjoy with these things, what with the entire Archie Comics Group having veered from squeaky clean wholesomeness to squeaky clean SJW cause-orientation, but even the more recent digests have been reprinting the older Archie tales that still had a shard of snide humor and great art so picking one up does serve its purpose. Naturally there is nothing in these books as great as the original Bob Montana-helmed comic strip was, but  what we usually get is good enough for a spiritual early-seventies suburban slob such as I.

Fortunately Archie Comics weren't as Socio-Political pious in 1981 as they are today, so the stories to be found herein ain't as disgusting as what the average trader's gonna be in store for (although the fairly recent Archie free publicity headline grabber regarding Jughead being asexual really is big ruse...after all, we've known that for years!). There is that dinginess of well-scrubbed all-Amerigan wholesome entertainment for adolescent girls to contend with, but thankfully the old style was still prevailing at this time so when you see ads with pictures of unicorns and rainbows in 'em just disregard 'em because like hey, the product may be old but the audience (other'n us aging suburban slobs) is jailbait!

As I've said MANY A TIME (like a good two weeks ago), I tend to ignore Harry Lucey's work which I felt had none of the vim and verve of Montana's, though the guy's summer beach stories are always fine if only because it's so nice to see the female form decked out without the belly blobs and tattoos you see on a whole load of what used to pass for ladies inna past! Of course most of these newer sagas have little of the plot twists or funny surprises that you'd find in the classic old stories, but I guess that if you've limited your audience to the slumber party set you gotta dispense with that old fashioned slapstick crazed out humor! Girls always found that stuff ikky anyway...

In all, it's what you'd expect outta some battered Archie digest flea market find that was published almost forty years back, but I sure coulda used more of those innovative Dan De Carlo late-sixties comics that had those funny generation gap jokes and commentaries regarding the young set who these comics were (in part) aimed at! Well, those would be better'n than the late-seventies one where Archie and Chuck (the "Token Negro" who was introduced to the strip in the earlier portion of that decade in order for the Archie line to look "relevant" and "up to date") scare a little runaway boy back to his mother by scaring the bejabbers outta the precocious jerk who woulda done society a service by skedaddlin'. And no, they didn't threaten to rape him like those hardened criminals did on that SCARED STRAIGHT-inspired episode of FAT ALBERT!

Also included are some Li'l Archie sagas taken from the late-sixties/seventies era (not as hotcha as the original, but you'll read 'em while taking a dump) as well as a coupla Li'l Jinxes (why the PRISCILLA'S POP people didn't sue over this one is amazing, but then again Archie Comics never did get called on the carpet over SHRIMPY!) and some post-Montana Archie dailies drawn by none other'n De Carlo which, although looking fine and dandy, just didn't have the same vim and vigor and snideness of the Montana original. But hey, given the fifty pennies you'll dish out for this at your next garage sale romp you'll be feelin' good thinking of what a bargain this digest was. Not only that, but you'll feel great that your purchase has just contributed to some pubescent lass getting her first diaphragm!

1 comment:

top_cat_james said...

Unfortunately, now even the reprints of classic Archie material receive the PC-cleansing treatment. I've purchased a few of the "Archie Comics Presents" line of trade paperback collections that reprint a selection of stories from a particular title.
After being assured in the disclaimers at the beginning that although the stories therein are "less socially sensitive" and "unacceptable" in our oh-so-enlightened times, they will be presented "without alteration". But as you read on, one begins to notice odd occurrences: Tobacco products have been removed from hands and mouths, resulting in bizarre character poses. Certain words have been replaced not only for social concerns, but to provide modern context (A reference to Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts is changed to American Idol (!)). Strangest of all, random background characters are arbitrarily colored brown - even if they're blondes or redheads.
I think I'll continue to hold on to my Archie digests from the Seventies if this is the path the reprint collections are going to take.