ARCHIE Comics: The OG Riverdale

Oh, sweet Riverdale. After some thorough and very legit research in one of the many group chats I’m a part of, it seems generally agreed that the series is crap. My friends argue that the storyline just doesn’t interest them, and some problematic actors aren’t helping its case. I can’t argue with that. What I can argue with, though, is that Riverdale isn’t inherently bad. The series might be, yes (though I think this is most definitely up for debate), but the series was in fact based on a comic book-universe that is most definitely worth the read.

I bought ARCHIE: Vol. 1 two weeks ago, after a friend and I had read the giveaway Riverdale comic that was available on Free Comic Book Day. We loved it, so we decided to check out more of the universe. After some superficial googling, ARCHIE seemed like the proper starters’ choice: it’s the modern reboot of the original 75-year-old Archie comics. Because, no, Riverdale isn’t just a recent phenomenon: the comics this series is based on, is already over 75 years old. Frankly, it’s not easy to reboot a character that’s already that old – but the authors and illustrators did a magnificent job at it. From the very first panel of the book, Archie captured us entirely.

Anyone who has seen at least the first few episodes of Riverdale knows that it’s a drama-series, leaving little to no space for some light-hearted humour. The ARCHIE comics are the complete opposite of that. The nearly psychotic drama is still a significant part of it, but it only plays in the background. What is pushed to the front is a clumsy Archie, a constantly hungry Jughead, a Betty who doesn’t know what she wants, a Veronica already ready to defy her father on everything, and the hilarious dynamics between the four of them. The way the makers of the ARCHIE-series are capable of somehow managing to let the darker stuff lurk in the background and still have the comic books come off as a comedy, is exactly why I love ARCHIE so much.

Besides that, I’ve never been much of a comic book girl, to be fair. Fantasy or superhero comics never really managed to capture me, with the occasional exceptions. I think part of that is most definitely to blame on the fact that most of these universes have gotten so complex that I no longer find any joy in reading up on them. I gave up most of Marvel and DC because there was no way I’d understand every single one of their characters. With the Archie Comics universe this is different: everything is built upon their four major characters, and it’s still pretty easy to catch up on them. There’s no magic or superheroes involved – it’s just simple, ordinary characters living drama-filled lives.

My friend and I will definitely keep up with the universe from now on. I’ll be buying Vol. 3 as soon as I can, and who knows – maybe another update will follow soon.

  • L. Parole

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