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Monday, March 12, 2012 

Jon Goldwater sugarcoats and boasts about politicizing Archie

The Huffington Post interviewed the CEO of the Archie comics publisher, Jon Goldwater, who predictably is just so proud and full of himself about all the sales through controversy tactics they've stooped to:
Bryan Young: What was more surprising to you, the proposed boycott over Kevin Keller's marriage? Or the fan response to the boycott?

Jon Goldwater: To be honest, we weren't really surprised by either. We knew that, at some point, one of these organizations was going to set their sites on Kevin, a character that's gotten so much positive attention and love from our readers and the world. Thankfully, the fans spoke out in the best way possible - by buying the book. Life With Archie #16 has sold out, and that's the best, most direct response to those saying Kevin shouldn't exist.

As I've said everywhere I can - Kevin is here to stay. He's a part of Riverdale and is the most important character we've introduced in Archie Comics since Archie first appeared. We are committed to a diverse, welcoming and current Riverdale. To create a world for Archie that is retroactive, disconnected from reality and unrealistic would be unfair to our readers. Archie and his friends live in today, not in someone's idea of what was or in a world that is not inclusive or welcoming to everyone.
Now isn't that a bit rich given that to date, I have no knowledge of whether they've ever added any cast members of Bulgarian, Danish, Ghanian, Armenian, and Peruvian backgrounds to the Archie world. That aside, it's not Kevin himself who's a problem, it's whether they're willing to address the question of if his beliefs and lifestyle are a positive influence that is.

And his boastful claim that the issue sold out is undermined by the fact that no sales figures have been given for the gazillionth time. But those copies that have been bought, it looks like they've been bought only for profiteering on Amazon. Not many are going to go out of their way to spend globs of money on something that'll more likely end up in the bargain bin years later, and certainly not in these financially challenged times.
BY: With the upcoming Occupy Wall Street issue, it seems like you have a very easy set of characters that can play in that world. What do you hope people will get by reading Archie's take on the protests and the level of unfairness Occupy represents? How will Reggie deal with that?

JG: Talking about the Occupy movement just seemed like such a natural fit for Archie. His entire life has been about choosing between two people! But seriously - like I said earlier - Riverdale is a city in the world today. The Occupy movement has affected the entire country and really made us all think about our financial systems and what we'd like changed or not changed. That's reflected in the story by writer Alex Segura and artist Gisele. It's still very much an Archie story, mind you. Jughead jokes about food and Reggie pokes fun at Archie, etc. But it brings the characters into contact with something that people in most of our major cities see every day.

As for Reggie...well, it seems to me his choice is an obvious one! But read the issue. It's got a few fun surprises. We think people will be pleasantly surprised. It's not preachy, but it shows both sides fairly and with all the elements of a classic Archie story.
Sure, I'll bet it's not preachy. Why wouldn't I be surprised if Reggie, sometimes depicted as a big spender himself, maybe second to Mr. Lodge, were depicted as a capitalist-siding baddie here? Goldwater predictably keeps vague and fails to be clear what he means about the financial systems. And he doesn't know just how right he is that the Occupy movement, as discussed before, has affected the country in some of the worst ways possible, doing little more than making life difficult for everyone, even for Obama's own supporters.
BY: Never more than in the last few years has it seemed that Archie has been in the news getting out in front of social issues, what changed at Archie? Or has it always been this way and I hadn't noticed?

JG: No, there's definitely been a shift. For a while there, before I came in as Co-CEO about three years ago, Archie was very much living in the past. We were resting on our laurels and kind of fading into a kind of retro, nostalgia brand. When I got to Archie my first mandate was to talk to the staff and creators and say "Change things up. Try new things. Be bold. Be daring. Be creative." If there was an idea I felt was out of line or too crazy, I'd nix it. But for the most part, people like Dan Parent came to me with excellent ideas and suggestions. Kevin Keller is a perfect example of that. I don't think you would have seen the previous regime publish Kevin.
Well that's because they may have understood better than Goldwater that it could alienate the family audiences I thought they sought.
BY: What is Archie doing to get their books in front of more kids? I know because of these issues, I added Archie to my comics hold for my kids because I feel it's good to see these positive messages... If anything, I'd love to see more of these things in the book.

JG: Great question. Our mantra, day in and day out, is "Archie is everywhere." That means digitally, in print and beyond. Our Archie Comics app has been downloaded close to 4 million times and we're on every tablet and device you can imagien, we've seen our bookstore sales spike considerably since we partnered with Random House and we continue to make inroads via the newsstand and comic shop markets. Archie's here to stay, and we'll continue to explore ways to get books in front of anyone who's interested in reading about Archie and his friends.
Soon enough, Archie may not be everywhere, as parents who pick up on this news stop buying Archie for their children, because they may find the depiction of Keller objectionable and a poor, misleading example, and the fluff-coated rendition of the Occupy movement insulting to the intellect too. It could be that if Archie is available in supermarkets, it may not be much longer as less people may buy them. That's what happens when overdoses of politically charged storytelling clog everything up and make it less enjoyable for anyone. The OWS movement is running out of money (H/T: Pajamas Media), and if the Archie staff keeps up their politicized nonsense, they too could end up losing considerable revenue.

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I agree. You know things are bad when they start politicizing Archie, like I said in an earlier post. It makes me wonder if they're turning it into the "Degrassi" (a terrible Canadian teen drama where social issues from a far-left perspective are basically shoved down your throat; my sister used to watch it quite a bit) of the comic book world. I really wish there was a decent alternative to the stuff they have today.

Carl

Condescending little snit. He's going the Marvel Way, positioning the company firmly to one side instead of just doing what they've traditionally done best.

And anybody who doesn't like it is backwards and mean and should be hauled off to to reeducation camps in the tolerant-according-to-popular-myth People's Republic of San Fran. Nyah nyah!

Shock gimmicks usually run into the law of diminishing returns after awhile, as Joe Q has learned.

I noticed Dark Horse was reprinting old Archie books. Never been into that stuff, but I might pick some up along the way.

How sad that such a moronic dolt should have the same last name as one of the 20th Century's great conservatives (and, IMHO, a man who would have made a far better president than LBJ, the man who had to be America's first redneck president), Barry Goldwater.

"Shock gimmicks usually run into the law of diminishing returns after awhile, as Joe Q has learned."

That's funny. Joe Quesada learning something. Archie used to be a comic free of these social/political statements, making available to everyone of every social/political persuasion. I would think not isolating one viewpoint would lead to more readers and more sales.

Then this is a mindset who think more taxes and not more taxpayers equals more revenue so I'm not that surprised. The agenda comes first.

Plus I'm sure Goldwater's father and namesake (one of the three founders of archie comics) would be appalled if he saw what his son was doing his company, perverting it beyond recognition. Archie was "stuck in the past" when the younger Goldwater took over? So I suppose he views decent storytelling and values as being "stuck in the past" and the Occupy nonsense and Kevin Keller as being "creative" storytelling? It's terrible storytelling, and very uncreative at that. His attitude reminds me of Quesada, and something he said a few years ago, "If we told stories that just kept the status quo, I'd be out of a job and we wouldn't be here today."

Carl

I grew up getting Archie comics from the supermarket once in a while as a nice diversion. Several years ago, it became obvious that it was a dead series when I picked up a copy and it turned out to be an anti-capitalist greenie weenie issue.

This latest development is not a surprise. These people will pervert anything good into a political rag.

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