I just picked up Archie #1, from Mark Waid and Fiona Staples... and it was pretty terrific, I thought. I don't want to spoil it now, but most of what we recognize as Archie (storywise, not stylewise) is there, or right around the corner. Archie & Betty are a long-time couple suddenly on the outs, Jughead's his best friend, Reggie is a jerk, etc. There's a more diverse cast here at the ground floor than previously, which is a good thing. I'll be very happy to read more of this... it's a lot of fun. 

Anyone else pick it up?

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Awesome -- glad to hear it! 

I did, and read it right away. Loved it. I loved the subtle way they kind of toyed with the storytelling.

My sort-of review is in this week's Comics Guide. Short answer: home run.
Cap, I looked but I'm not finding it. Am I looking in the wrong spot?

I'll pick up an Archie comic every once in a while, but only as a novelty (Archie vs. the Punisher, etc.). The only Archies I ever read as a kid were in the dentist's office or at someone else's house or something like that. I have several collections of the older material, but other than that I have never truly liked Archie comics.

Having said that, I bought and read the new Archie #1 yesterday and absolutely loved it!

I'll likely continue to read it, for a few more issues at least.

It's in the first "reply" of the July 8 Guide. (Start at the first page, not with the last reply.) With all the new titles and variant covers from Marvel and DC, the guides have been running long lately. I'm experimenting with a new style to try and keep the Guides to a single take, which I'll introduce this week or next. Should make scrolling easier, and maybe funner too.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

Cap, I looked but I'm not finding it. Am I looking in the wrong spot?

This is an excellent analysis. I've got an upcoming column on Archie #1 -- mind if I quote you?

Alexandra Kitty said:

Gee, maybe I could be a little more specific here without spoiling it! It was an extremely promising first issue. Waid is both the safe and inspired choice – in a way, Archie is the Nightwing of Riverdale and I cannot imagine anyone else to launch something this subtly bold. Staples art is wonderful as well as nuanced, and also is a simultaneously bold and obvious pick.

Archie Comics has been taking a series of strategically daring steps in the last ten years. I am not talking about the Sabrina Manga, for instance, but the very methodical and sensible introduction of the latest wave of characters – all fit into the Archie vibe, but the wave is very diverse with every character having distinctive and endearing personalities. They didn’t just do a huge ethno-dump thoughtlessly and then shrug their shoulders and confuse audience sensory overload with apathy. Then they did Life with Archie before Afterlife With Archie. They launched the Kevin Keller comic and did it right. They transformed Chuck from bland obligatory minority representative to aspiring comic book artist and fan (Yay!), finally giving him purpose – and, more importantly, with characters such as aspiring director Raj, these aren’t just teens – these are teens with dreams who think about their futures and then actively take the initiative. They were doing it all very smartly and now the pay-off is right on the horizon. They needed a good and engaging writer to launch this latest gambit, and Waid is the one who could pull it off, and not just because he has a following – he has vision and it’s a good pick.

I am cautiously optimistic and excited for this new direction. They have done it before, but then rested on their laurels for decades when it clicked with the style and the cast. Their old fluidity is back and that is very reassuring for the industry. I am a big Archie aficionado and it was the first comic book I was introduced to as a bratty four-year old.

I hope they significantly expand their base because they seem committed to putting out good stories that speak to more than one demographic – whenever the uninitiated ask me about what comics to read, I always point them to Archie – the only thing holding them back is that most people don’t associate them with having grown up kind of stories, and that is a shame. They have grown up and have many refreshing gems coming out these days. I just hope they do not become addicted to pushing boundaries for a quick circulation fix, or else they are going to paint themselves in the same corner DC Comics perpetually does.

If this book is the kick-off of their latest phase, there is a lot of promise for this company – and there is much to be enthusiastic about for comic book fans. They diversified their cast long before Marvel did, and DC is still woefully and infuriatingly behind. They may not be superhero tales, but it is well worth reading the Waid/Staples book. I will be following this one for certain, and kudos for them getting this far. My only gripe was their Kickstarter campaign – but if they keep up this quality and people who read it are *public* about their support, they won’t need it.



Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Awesome -- glad to hear it! 

Apologies, Cap! I kept looking for "Archie Comics" at the beginning of the first post.

Agreed on Kevin Keller--I can see people getting offended, but I think this is still a very realistic take on the character.

Well done analysis, Kitty! I wish I had taken enough care while reading the issue (the first time) to write about it so well.

I read this while working at my LCS on Saturday after all of the positivity about it,  AND I just don't get it, man. I won't say I hated it, but I also wouldn't say I liked it. Like the original gang I found Jughead the only interesting character. I just can't give a rip about these kids. To be honest I didn't give a rip about them when I was younger either. Just not a series for me. Glad everyone else is enjoying it though.

It probably does help if you have some pre-existing affection for the characters, Trav. I read Archies in middle school, with Jughead the last one I dropped.

One thing I forgot to mention in my review was Archie addressing the audience at beginning and end. That harkens back to at least The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, so it's a convention I have pre-existing affection for as well.

Funny you should mention the addressing of the audience, Cap. I got a very Saved By the Bell vibe from that part.

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