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Friday, February 24, 2012 

Alex Segura's lethargic take on his Occupy allegory in Archie

Alex Segura, who's writing the Occupy Riverdale story in Archie comics, gave an interview to CBR, and predictably, he remains superficial about the seriousness of the real life issue he's alluding to:
Robot 6: Can you give me an idea of the storyline?

Alex Segura: Sure! It all starts while Archie and Jughead are walking to school — they come across a protest at Perkins Park, lead by new student Andy Martinez. Andy and his fellow Occupy Riverdale protesters have set up shop in the park to decry the current financial system, similar to the current Occupy movements across the country and the world. You see a lot of the classic characters choosing sides and Archie’s kind of stuck in the middle. When your friends are divided, what side do you take? It’s relevant and important stuff, but told in a very Archie way.
Uh uh. That's not why or what OWS are protesting. They're attacking the stockbrokers and businessmen whom they accuse of "stealing" their money, this despite how they seem capable of affording iPhones and even rooms in hotels. And telling this in an Archie way only trivializes the seriousness of the darker issues taking place in the movement, which is exactly why such a political topic simply doesn't belong in Archie - it only gives an airbrushed picture of everything, as will surely be the case.
Robot 6: Have you consulted with any members of the Occupy movement in writing this story?

Alex Segura: I have a friend who actually started his own, small Occupy movement in his suburban town, so it was nice to pick his brain and get a sense of the issues and goals of the movement, around the time I was pitching for the assignment. I also consider myself a bit of a political junkie, so I keep tabs on a lot of what the Occupy movement puts out there. I’m by no means an expert, nor should this issue imply that. I’ve taken the general aspects of the movement and integrated them into Riverdale to create a fun, entertaining and—hopefully—informative Archie comic.

Robot 6: Have you visited Occupy Wall Street yourself?

Alex Segura: I’ve been down there, yeah, but I haven’t spent a significant amount of time talking to Occupy Wall Street, beyond keeping up with them through the news and their own channels, like Twitter and their newspaper.
Well then clearly, he hasn't done any research nor does he intend to, and their news rag isn't going to tell anything much. Reading this doesn't make me form a very high opinion of Segura at all.
Robot 6: Will this be in the regular Archie continuity, and if so, how familiar do you think the audience will be with the Occupy movement?

Alex Segura: Yup, this is a regular issue of Archie.

I don’t imagine everyone who picks it up will know the ins and outs of the Occupy movement, but you don’t have to. This issue isn’t preachy, not does it take sides. It brings characters we know and love face-to-face with something a lot of Americans and people around the world are facing or discussing, and we see how it affects them. At the end of the day, it’s an Archie comic, so all the things readers expect are there: humor, entertaining characters and Jughead being hungry. If you have no interest in politics but still want a fun Archie story, this serves that purpose as well.
But there's nothing fun about a movement that's already degenerated into cursing and inciting against police, and vandalism in Oakland and Portland. All of which will obviously not occur in the story, but that's just the problem - it only paints a dishonest picture and insults the intellect. And I don't buy for one second his claim the story isn't preachy, and if it's not willing to take a clear side, that only makes it worse by using moral equivalence as a cover. Segura is clearly quite lost in direction.

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It doesn't have to be totally one- sided to be preachy; the simple fact that it's being brought up and certain characters being identified with these people is bad enough. So it's gonna be half in favor instead of all. Big deal. Why bring it up to begin with?

You know, I never understood this whole 99% stuff. Various Occupy groups have attacked churches (stealing a laptop and pissing inside the church), police, businessmen and conservatives. Now who's the 1 percent again? At least they could be honest and say 'We are the 99% of San Francisco.' At least then it'd be honest marketing.

And what is up with that art? Do they really look like that today?
Why is Opie Taylor on the cover? Has Jughead been doing meth?

Does this mean we'll get to see Jughead crapping on a cop car (which is the perfect metaphor for the, uh, "movement")? Oh, does this mean Archie will be raping Veronica, because she isn't part of the dreader 1%?

Gee, all the great story ideas from this, I'm amazed they didn't do it sooner....

Okay, I'll go cry in the corner, now.

Oh, chill out. If Archie can survive the Punisher, Riverdale can survive Occupy.*

*Yes, I do own that particular edition of "Archie". Yes, I realize I've just outed myself as the nerdiest of comics nerds.

Does Archie meeting the Ninja Turtles count as nerd-dom? If so, I have that issue, and I also have it bad. Heh.

On the other hand, if Marvel had the insight, imagine Punisher vs. OWS. It would write itself.

The Occupy movement is a joke. I love how they ramble on and on about how the "crooks" on Wall Street "stole" from them; no one stole anything from anyone. These people earned their money by working for it. Hard work is something the Occupy people cannot grasp; they have this sense of self-entitlement, that everyone owes them everything. I'm one of the few people my age (having been born in 1990) that sees the Occupy movement for what it really is.

Carl

I do appreciate your writing in this topic.




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