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Sunday, February 16, 2014 

Archie's status has never been worse

The Nashua Telegraph gushed over Archie Comics' politically correct output, and start off by saying:
There was a time when Archie Comics was famous for being rigidly conservative. Now it’s gaining a reputation for being the most experimental comics publisher in America.

Most of the company’s progressive efforts aren’t obvious to the casual observer. It has aggressively entered the digital comics market, for example, with its own app and other innovations. It’s quietly pursuing projects for its library of characters in television and movies, which won’t be obvious until they come to fruition.
"Conservative"? All they were doing in the past was marketing to the readers who mattered most, the children and teens, and not trying to turn off parents who consider homosexuality and revolting violence a bad example for their kids. Is that a bad thing? Most of their progressive tactics have become pretty noticeable these past few years, so I do believe they should quit saying they aren't.
Another headline-buster was the advent in 2010 of Kevin Keller, Riverdale’s first openly gay character. Despite threats by some venues to stop selling Archie Comics, the publisher forged ahead. The furor eventually died down, and Keller is now one of the most popular members of the Archie gang – and the star of his own book.
I searched on ICV2's newest chart, and I can't find any trace of his book anywhere, so quit the lies, please. How can he be one of the most "popular" if his book isn't going through the sales roof?

They proceed to sugarcoat the horror thriller title they're publishing called Afterlife with Archie:
So what else could Archie Comics do with its characters that would shock us? Well, how about kill them?

Not all at once of course. Instead, we’re watching the gang struggle to survive in that suddenly popular genre, the zombie apocalypse.

“Afterlife with Archie” – you have to give points for the pun – launched several months ago with the most shocking Archie storyline I’ve ever read (or imagined). In the first issue, Jughead’s canine buddy, Hot Dog, was run over by a car. Desperate to bring his pal back to life, Juggie turned to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who did her best to restore Hot Dog – with horrible results.

That’s right, Hot Dog returned as a zombie. And promptly bit Jughead. And all zombie fans know what comes next …

By issue No. 4, Jughead had half-eaten another major character and infected half the town – including some long-running characters. Archie and the remaining regulars took refuge in Lodge Mansion, with its many high-tech defenses. But the infection had already found its way inside …

Creeped out yet? Good! Because this is a horror title, and you’re supposed to be creeped out. And being creeped out can be fun, even if – maybe especially if – the people being threatened in the horror story are characters you’ve been invested in since middle school (which, in my case, is a considerable amount of time).
Sorry, but that defense is pathetic. Being scared might work. But being creeped out can be a very bad thing, and so can shock tactics, especially when the story provokes no thought at all. And thought provision is not what modern horror tales do. All Archie's publishers are doing is alienating anybody who once admired their output. In fact, ask anyone in real life who's been victim of crime rampant in the big cities, and they'll tell you it's not fun at all, so why should it be any different with fiction?
All this from a company that for many years almost single-handedly kept alive the much-loathed Comics Code of America, which for decades reduced all American comics to an almost preschool level.
What a dishonest joke. By the 70s, the Comics Code was shifting, and more mature material was being produced, but with intelligence, something badly lacking in today's mainstream offerings. Any serious restrictions it put on comics lasted less than 2 decades (1954-71).
From romance to superhero to horror, everything really is Archie – and it’s darn good.
Not true, and the worst thing about this puff piece is the ignorance of the terrible turf war going on behind the scenes at Archie publications. For all we know, it's probably had a bad impact on them by now, since their flagship titles barely register on the sales radar. With that kind of fiasco back in the offices, no wonder Archie comics have never been worse off.

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I never thought of Archie comics as "rigidly conservative," whatever that means. They did not comment on specific political issues one way or the other, afair. Or, if "conservative" means traditional and old-fashioned, then I would say that Archie comics were aimed at a younger audience than most DC and Marvel comics, and thus it was appropriate for them to avoid violence, sex, and complex topics. And why do mainstream media articles about comics always end up so gushy? Every rehashed marketing ploy is hailed as a brilliant innovation. Are they so ignorant about the subject that they don't recognize old recycled plot devices? Or is it that they are afraid to criticize, because they might come off looking like blue-nosed prudes, or like rubes who don't appreciate Great Art?

"Almost preschool?" That's ridiculous. I assume that, judging by that comment, the Nashua Telegraph writer doesn't want people of all ages to enjoy comics? And Avi's right; back in the 1970s and 1980s, they did a much better job at handling mature issues than they do now.

Love the demonizing of the Code, there, and repeal it and see what happens?

Again, I quote John O'Sullivan before NRO effectively neutered him: "anything that isn't directly right-wing will be left-wing over time." Archie is of no exception. I only care, as their Mega Man and Sonic titles need the love.

As for what happened to Hot Dog, that's just sick. Or to semi-quote Kevin Meaney, "that's just wrong!"

Crazy stuff.

As far as sales, everyone knows Archie is being kept alive almost exclusively by its video game adaptations. One reason why I won't let my kids by new issues of Sonic. Don't subsidize what you wish would go away.

Their Mega man and Sonic comics have been decent, as was new Crusaders. But overall, I hate the PC nonsense they've foisted on the Archie titles in recent years. And say this as someone who's never been a big fan of Archie.

And shocker: the article in question was written by moonbat Andrew "Captain Comics" Smith, the ultimate comics industry brownnoser.

"All this from a company that for many years almost single-handedly kept alive the much-loathed Comics Code of America, which for decades reduced all American comics to an almost preschool level."

All this coming from a guy who's writing an article about Archie Zombies in Pet Sematary Land. This is the single most cretinous, insane thing I've heard from a modern comic fan in the last, hm, ten minutes or so. Yeah, that Lee/Kirby/Ditko/Englehart/Infantino/Kane/Thomas stuff was like, so preschool.

"are characters you’ve been invested in since middle school (which, in my case, is a considerable amount of time"

Why'd you keep reading them after preschool?

Funny how they abandon the Code, and a couple decades later the only big supporters they have left are a bunch of middle-aged creepers.

And no, I'm not trying to call this guy a 'creeper.' I don't know a dang thing about him.

But when you look around you at a comic convention, either at a big chunk of the attendees or the stuff on the tables...

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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