Archie 'marriages' collected in die-cut, slip-cased hardback

By Andrew A. Smith

Scripps Howard News Service

 

Jan. 25, 2011 -- Archie Comics has been making a lot of headlines lately, none bigger than the two recent stories of the Riverdale redhead’s “what if” marriages to Betty and Veronica. Somebody at Abrams ComicArts recognized them for their historical importance, and collected them in the gorgeous hardback Archie Marries … ($24.95).

 

These 2010 stories, as most folks know by now, followed Archie Andrews as he traveled up (not down) Memory Lane, exploring what would happen if he married spoiled, gorgeous, filthy rich Veronica Lodge after college or sweet, devoted, wholesome Betty Cooper. The results aren’t necessarily “happily ever after” in either case – and the stories caused an explosion of attention outside Riverdale city limits.

 

“I wanted to let the world know that these comic books are still being published, that Archie is still relevant,” said Michael Uslan, executive producer of the Batman movies, who came up with the idea and wrote the stories, in Archie Marries … . “But what we did not anticipate was the firestorm that erupted in the worldwide media. I’m not just talking about the United States and Canada. I’m talking about Kenya, India, Australia, England. The story just seemed to register with fans everywhere; that was something we never did anticipate.”

 

The issues were “a tremendous boost,” said Archie Editor-in-Chief and Co-publisher Victor Gorelick, who has been with the company for more than 50 years. “In all the years I’ve been at Archie, we’ve never had that much exposure, or that much attention. [Not] even when Archie was on television, when the cartoons came out. This is really big. … We’re getting mail, letters from people who haven’t read Archie in 30 years and they find out Archie’s getting married and they want to know what’s going on.”

 

Author Uslan and editor Gorelick were abetted on Archie Marries … by veteran Archie artist Stan Goldberg (whom Uslan refers to as “a legend”), letterer Jack Morelli, inker Bob Smith, colorist Glenn Whitmore and CEO Jon Goldwater. Archie Marries … contains interviews with all seven, along with other goodies and supplementary material – including a comic book tucked in the back cover reprinting five significant “love triangle” stories from 1949 to 1965. The main part of the book reprints the two wedding stories from Archie #600-605, plus an epilogue from Archie #606, on high-quality, glossy paper.

 

Which is to take nothing from the outside of Archie Marries … . The book is slip-cased, with hearts die-cut from front and back allowing views of the two weddings. Of course, which wedding you consider front or back will be determined by whether you prefer Betty or Veronica. 

 

“I always wanted to show both sides,” Uslan said. “Showing Archie just marrying one of the two would have cheated at least half of every generation of Archie readers.”

 

Meanwhile, Life with Archie magazine, which continues both Archie Marries … stories, is such a success that it will increase to 80 pages. Plus, Gorelick said, Archie will launch a second magazine, Veronica & Betty. That book will follow the girls as they travel from country to country as exchange students, as well as the foreign students who take their place in Riverdale.

 

“You’ll see some new characters, new romances, new hi-jinx,” Gorelick said. “It’ll make things interesting for the regular Archie crew.”

 

Add that to upcoming return of forgotten characters like Jinx and Katy Keene, and one wonders where all this sudden excitement at Archie comes from. Not only did Archie Marries … make headlines, but so did the introduction of Kevin Keller (the first openly gay teen in Riverdale), an interracial romance (between Archie and Valerie) and even Pres. Obama and Sarah Palin visiting Riverdale.

 

Gorelick shrugs the question off.

 

“For over 70 years Archie has been keeping up with the times,” he said. “A lot of the new things that you see are just in keeping with the position of Archie Comics, of keeping current, just like we always keep current with fashion, with what our readers like to watch on TV, see in a movie, what kind of fads … and other things our readers are interested in. … We fall in line with attitudes, and things like that, that’s very important as far as creating a storyline. So when you see the characters we come up with, that’s all part of our Archie Comics credo.”

 

Contact Andrew A. Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal at capncomics@aol.com.

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Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on February 1, 2011 at 9:17pm
Action Comics 484 is the Superman and Lois wedding on Earth-Two.
Comment by Philip Portelli on January 30, 2011 at 5:45pm

You think that they would put out another series where Archie marries Valerie?

Did anyone see the MAD parody where Archie married Jughead? It was so wrong yet explained so much!

Comment by Philip Portelli on January 30, 2011 at 5:43pm

You have to give Alexandra credit for not wanting to be in an Archie/Betty/Veronica situation with Josie and Alan M. Her problem was being so jealous of Josie that she strove to surpass her in things that Josie excelled in, instead of relying on her own strengths. She was clever, strong-willed and brave, to the point of being foolhardy! She just wasn't a good or even passable singer and lacked a sweet and sunny dispostion! I gleamed that by watching the cartoons!

BTW, was Sebastian the cat part of the original comics like Hot Dog?

I wonder in the reality where Archie marries Veronica, did he feel that he had to pick her because he figured Betty was the one strong enough to move on?

Side-Track Time! Does anyone know what was the first mention or reference that the Earth-Two Superman married his Lois?

Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on January 30, 2011 at 3:32pm
Of course, now there is also Val as a love interest for Archie.  Their story was added to in the Archie/Josie collection that hit shops a week or so back.  Even Betty and Veronica had to admit that the relationship with Val seemed deeper and more mature than any of Archie's other flings.  Oh, and Alexandra tries to break them up as well...
Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on January 30, 2011 at 2:52pm
There was a story in What the...?!? that had a parody of Archie where he's married to Veronica. Ronnie's dad cut them off and their lives are, at best, lower middle-class. Then Betty shows up after having been gone for years. She's rich, famous, and has had a boob job. Archie sees that he picked the wrong one years ago. Being a What the...?!? story, it had all the subtlety of a brick to the head.
Comment by Mr. Silver Age on January 30, 2011 at 9:44am

The SA LL and Superman can't really be said to have a relationship, they had plot points. You really have to question what Superman could possibly see in her, given how selfish and arrogant she was--and how often he treated her like a lab experiment or the butt of a joke.

But we were told he would end up with her, so we couldn't question that. Frankly, I think Lana was a way better match (and sexier to boot), but her rap sheet, while shorter, is no different from Lana's. Sally Selwyn was the better choice all the way around.

With Archie, we're not given any hints as to who he ends up with, so it could go either way (at least). But geez, to pick Veronica, he needs to have a Superman-like ability to look beneath the self-centeredness and arrogance and cluelessness. Granted those come to the fore only when they're needed in a story and are often reversed by story's end. But still, why would he NOT marry Betty? She isn't rich?

-- MSA

Comment by George on January 30, 2011 at 2:18am
Oops, I see someone else ID'd Alexandra first. Didn't notice there was a second page to this discussion! (i.e., it's getting late; time to call it a night)
Comment by George on January 30, 2011 at 2:16am

Cap, some guys are attracted to women who are trouble. Hence the appeal of Veronica and the Silver Age Lois, to some guys at least.

 

The "chick who was the sister of the Pussycats' manager": I think her name was Alexandra Cabot.

Comment by Philip Portelli on January 29, 2011 at 11:06pm
Well, the girl who played her in the movie was cute!
Comment by ClarkKent_DC on January 29, 2011 at 10:58pm
Yeah ... for Alexandra, any love directed at Josie meant a shortage of love for her, and she couldn't stand it.

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