I have a very understanding wife. I buy quite a few archival reprint collections, yet very seldom (if ever) am I called upon to justify my purchases, yet to my surprise, that very thing happened when I came home with the first volume of Archie: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics 1946-1948. “Why did you buy that?” she demanded to know. I was taken aback by the question, I must admit. I mean, why wouldn’t I buy it? If there’s one thing I enjoy more than comic books, it’s comic strips, and Bob Montana’s Archie is one of the best humor strips of its day.

In his introduction to the volume, Greg Goldstein put it best: “Peruse the strips in this book and you will see a kinetic energy that’s rarely been matched before or since in humor strips. Montana’s Archie dailies, often overstuffed with animated characters bursting at the panel edges, are the antithesis of today’s simplistic ‘talking head’ approach to the gag strip.” For my own part, I would describe the artwork in this volume as a synthesis of Dick Moores’ Gasoline Alley and Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, perhaps leaning a bit more toward Capp’s early style with “cartoony” main characters, realistic backgrounds and supporting characters, and voluptuous women (or in this case, young girls).

But my wife was having none of it. I assured her that these newspaper comics aren’t like the comic books she remembers from her girlhood, but I couldn’t deny that many of the stories concerned “a stupid boy who can’t make up his mind.” She’s a big fan of Gasoline Alley (Frank King’s) and Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie, but I could not convince her to give them a try. I’m not even allowed to leave the book sitting out unless I cover up Archie’s face on the cover. I know plenty of people who don’t particularly care for Archie comics, but until now I have never come across anyone who loathed them to that degree.

But don’t listen to her, listen to me.

Whether you are a fan of comic strips in general or Archie in particular, I recommend this book to you.

Views: 143

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Tracy seems to take a very hard line with certain fictional characters.
I read Archie comics as a kid, but stopped reading them around the time I got into superheroes in a big way. What changed my mind about them was a series of posts on the Uncle Cheeks site that showed me they could actually be pretty funny. I can't say I pick the new issues up, but I appreciate Archie material now. I think I like the comics stories more than the newspaper strip, but I did run into a good Sunday the other day. (The one with the candies and mice.)
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Tracy seems to take a very hard line with certain fictional characters.

Tell me about it!

Luke Blanchard said:
I think I like the comics stories more than the newspaper strip...

The only times I ever read Archie comic books read as a kid were visits to the dentist’s office (that’s pretty much all he had except “funny animal” comics). I remember the Archie comic strip from when I was growing up as being fairly tepid, but I don’t know who was doing it at that time.
It's funny you bring this up. As you may or may not remember, I work for a newspaper and I mostly run the newspaper's kids site (Junior Dispatch).
So just the other day I contacted the syndicate that distributes the "Archie" comic strip to get a price quote on running the strip online only. ($11 a week, by the way.)
I figured its gentle gag-a-day style is suited for young pre-teen kids.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure we can afford it based on the return we get, although my ideal situation would be to run four or five daily cartoon strips on the site.
I was continuing to work my way through this volume over the weekend, and in one sequence, Archie gets a job as a movie usher. All his friends want him to let them in free, and hilarity ensues. At one point, though, Betty asks him how he likes working at there and Archie replies, “It’s a real butthole job.” I read it three times, and gave it to Tracy to verify, too. The lettering doesn’t appear to be altered in any way. Is that some kind of ‘40s slang that means something other than what I think it means?
I'm loving this book. It is very Al Capp and, as a young kid, I checked the Li'l Abner collection out of the local library almost as often as I did the Batman - 30s to 70s book. Betty really takes some knocks in those early days...but she made a great football player.

Reply to Discussion



No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.









© 2020   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service