Splitting the World into Pre and Post Tragedy in Archie 21

by Ryan Mogge

Archie 21

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When something awful happens, priorities immediately change. Trivial pursuits are rendered meaningless when real loss is pending. Memories can be categorized as “before” and “after.” In Archie 21, Mark Waid and Pete Woods build toward one such loss by showing several characters in their “before” mode. Continue reading

Archie 18

Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Archie 18, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: There is an art to making conversation. If you deny this then you clearly have never tried to talk to me over the phone. When I attempt a conversation over the ol’ horn I feel like one of those poor dogs forced into booties. It feels unnatural and stilted and it’s not uncommon to endure long, awkward periods of silence. In person I’m better, but still not great, so I’ve come to appreciate those people who can make conversation. My experiences have taught me that talking truly is an art form where flow is supremely important. The same can be said for comics, where conversations and narratives alike need to flow easily. Archie 18 is a lesson on the importance of conversational and narrative flow, just perhaps not in the way it intended.

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Archie 15

archie-15

Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Archie 15, originally released December 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Part of the problem with “doing the right thing” is that it’s usually the harder option, and quite often has no obvious reward outside of simply knowing that you’re in the right. For example, we see corrupt bankers and politicians steal from millions and never face any consequences, while those who try to bring their crimes to light are fired, arrested, or simply ignored. It’s easy to see why some people decide that morality doesn’t matter, but for many of us that simply isn’t an option: doing the right thing is too important to give up. Archie 15 finds the Riverdale Gang taking the high road in a few different ways, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee them victory, or even happiness. Continue reading

Betty & Veronica 1

betty and veronica 1

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Betty & Veronica 1, originally released July 20th, 2016.

“Whoever wins, we lose.”

Tagline, Alien Vs. Predator

Patrick: There’s something comforting about the premise of a horror movie mash-up. Like, what the hell else would you expect when you put Freddie and Jason in the same room? They’re gonna try to kill each other, duh. Same deal with the Alien and the Predator. They fight and die and it’s awesome. Until, inevitably, it isn’t. At some point, the kids are going to team up with Jason or a Predator is going to befriend a scientist or something dumb like that. As long as the monsters are true to themselves, any “Versus” scenario can be a ton of fun. Adam Hughes’ Betty & Veronica is a “Versus” story in everything but name, so any assessment of the first issue comes down to the question: does he stay true to the fundamental nature of his monsters? Depends on what you think that nature is. Continue reading

Archie 9

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Archie 9, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Ryan: This last week, I helped my mother clean out her garage. To be fair, most of my help came in the form of going through boxes of my childhood things and deciding what was to go to Goodwill. There was an Archie Comics digest in almost every box. At this point, I’ve probably read more pages of Archie than any other book. I also found a Burger King Toy with Veronica in a convertible and my Gumby-style Betty doll. There was no Archie figurine in my things. That’s for a simple reason; I think he’s kind of a jerk. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, but he has never been my favorite. I love the rivalry/friendship between Betty and Veronica, but the love triangle element was never that interesting to me. Mainly because his unwillingness to choose between Betty and Veronica made him a compassion-free cad and turned them into doormats. Mark Waid and Veronica Fish present my favorite version of Archie, because they treat him and every other character in the story with empathy and humanity. In Archie 9, both the central conflict and the love triangle develop in a world where everyone is doing their best and there are no villains. Continue reading

Afterlife With Archie 9

afterlife with archie 9

Today, Taylor and Ryan M. are discussing Afterlife With Archie 9, originally released May 25th, 2016.

Taylor: At the beginning of Afterlife With Archie, Reggie says, “everyone is the hero of their own life story.” This is an old saying that certainly has some truth to it; the world as any individual conceives it, necessarily revolves around themselves. This is a powerful idea and it speaks to the nature of how persuasive solipsistic thinking can be. However, after stating this, Reggie imagines himself saving the day by leading some horses back to the survivors of the Riverdale zombie outbreak. The message seems to be that not only are we the center of our own stories, but we are also always the good guy in our personal narrative. But Reggie doesn’t see himself as the good guy in his own life story, he sees himself as the bad guy.

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Archie 6

Alternating Currents: Archie 6, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Archie 6, originally released February 17th, 2016.

Drew: My biggest frustration in dealing with teens is their lack of perspective. That’s probably my biggest frustration in dealing with adults, too, but teens are notorious for blowing things out of proportion. That tendency is exactly what makes teen dramas so volatile — everything is high-stakes for teens — but it’s easy for that volatility to alienate adult readers who know this could all be resolved if any of the characters just sat down to talk with one another. It’s important, then, to occasionally re-ground the stakes in a teen drama, giving readers of any age a relatable touchstone in between the more elaborate flights of fancy. That’s exactly what we get in Archie 6, as a miniature health emergency reminds everyone of what’s really important. Continue reading

Jughead 3

Today, Ryan and Spencer are discussing Jughead 3, originally released December 30th, 2015.

Ryan M.: My name lends itself to nicknames. Since both my first and last names are easily shorted and morphed, I’ve never had the sort of nickname that doesn’t sound like my name. In middle school, I tried to get people to call me “R Money” but as we all know, you can’t give yourself a nickname. Jughead Jones does not go by a derivative of his birth name, so when the first page of Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson’s Jughead 3 ends with someone calling him Forsythe, you can tell things are not right in Riverdale. Continue reading

Archie 3

archie 3

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Archie 3, originally released September 30th, 2015.

Patrick: David Fincher’s adaptation of Fight Club surpasses the original Chuck Palahniuk novel in a lot of ways — chief among them is Fincher’s stylish filmmaking. Fincher is so cool behind the camera, and the gulf between the drudgery of the narrator’s everyday existence and the idyllic (if chaotic) world that Tyler Durden offers is wide enough to made Durden’s obviously bad ideas sound like great ones. That’s a tool that Palahniuk didn’t really have at his disposal — Tyler’s ideas seem much more ridiculous on the page without that veneer of cool to legitimize them. My favorite way that Fincher improves on Palahniuk’s story is in the meeting between the narrator and Tyler — up until this point, the audience is inundated with Edward Norton’s voice over, and an almost oppressive score from the Chemical Brothers. The film is also largely an extended montage until we meet Tyler, and the pacing of the scenes quicken right up to the point that they wind up next to each other on a plane. But the action, the narration, and the score all come to a screeching halt the second Tyler opens his mouth. He represents freedom from all the neurosis the narrator has been filling our head with since the moment the movie started. Tyler — both in the life of the narrator and in the film — is the ultimate disruptor. Archie 3 pulls a very similar trick, but who has the force of personality to be Archie’s Tyler Durden? Why, Veronica Lodge, of course. Continue reading

Archie 2

archie 2

Today, Spencer and (Guest Writer) Ryan Mogge are discussing Archie 2, originally released August 19th, 2015.

Spencer: First issues are meant to sell a title to new readers. The creative team is putting their finest foot forward, introducing their characters, world, and the conflicts and themes they wish to explore, but the one thing first issues aren’t great at is showing how the creative team is going to tell their story from month to month. It often takes a few issues for readers to start to get a handle on a series’ format, and that’s very much the case with Archie. Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ first issue wow-ed readers with its gorgeous, modern reinterpretation of Riverdale, but it’s issue 2 that gives us a clearer picture of just what kind of stories we can expect each month. Continue reading