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Sunday, August 02, 2015 

A fawning column about the relaunched Archie

Here's a fluff-coated column on Arcamax by the propagandist Andrew Smith about the new rendition of Archie:
There's a new Archie in town, but in all the ways that matter he's still the guy you've always known.
Nope, he hasn't been for years now. And he became less so after the last decade ended.
On July 8, Archie Comics launched a new "Archie" #1, replacing the previous "Archie" title that had run continually since 1943. (The previous title ended on issue #666, which is worth a chuckle.) That's a pretty big deal, and Archie celebrated it with more than 20 variant covers drawn by some of the industry's biggest names.
Really? When they spend so much money on variant covers, you know it's more for the quick bucks they see on the speculator market than the story inside.
But the new "Archie" is more than just a numbering change. To update their flagship character for the 21st century, Archie Comics turned to two popular veterans: writer Mark Waid, who has penned just about every superhero at one time or another, and artist Fiona Staples, currently winning one award after another for the hit sci-fi series "Saga."

And they knocked it out of the park.
Sure, I'll bet they did. I'll bet the ball bounced over the batter and into the hands of the umpire behind. Sometimes I gotta wonder if Waid is the kind of writer who's only got a handful of stuff worth reading.
Page one of "Archie" #1 gives us our new, modern-looking star. That first look tells us all we need to know: This freckle-faced kid dresses in typical teenage fashion (Sloppy Casual), carries a guitar and has a cowlick that won't quit. Really, it's hard not to like him right away.
Umm, what's the exact story like? Because if specific politics find their way in via Waid, then it'll be hard to like the storytelling on offer, and we'll have to feel sorry for the elder Goldwater's creations being hijacked by the new, politically correct staff now running the publisher. Then, when quoting an afterword by Waid, this comes up:
"First, when you strip away all the artifacts of nostalgia like hand-carved slingshots and 'taffy stands' and the idea that any kid would willingly nickname himself 'Chick,' that Andrews kid is actually pretty likeable. Certainly sympathetic; his relationship with the opposite sex starts the same way everyone's does, 1941 or 2015 -- by doing something stupid trying to make an impression. [...]
Since we're on this subject, is the Kevin Keller character still featured in this reboot, and, is he still depicted as gay? Funny a man who allegedly supports LGBT propaganda (which he may have contradicted later on) brings that up, because gays might be willing to nickname themselves that, if that's what he thinks. They say here Waid's allegedly a historian, but if so, he doesn't seem to know there was once an inker at Marvel named Chic Stone, who worked with Jack Kirby. And what about the Blondie cartoonist Chic Young? So it may not be that outdated a name at all. And the comment about stupidity is an ironic allusion to the publisher's very own mistakes of recent.
Of course, one might wonder why Archie Comics is doing this at all. They haven't said, but is there any doubt the answer is money? The regular Archie titles -- "Archie," "Betty & Veronica," etc. -- generally sell fewer copies than "Mega Man" and "Sonic the Hedgehog," two videogame properties Archie Comics picked up a few years back.

And it's easy to see why the Archie line isn't overly popular with today's audiences. The Archie books have been using a house style based on the work of artist Dan DeCarlo for more than 50 years. It's very pretty -- but so is the music of Frank Sinatra, and try to sell that to Millennials!
Oh, putting down the work of decent men like deCarlo and Sinatra, is he? Wow, talk about delegitimizing the hard work of people whose morals were better than his! In other words, cartoony designs are just outmoded, worthless concepts, and once again, we're being told today's entire audience cannot get into fantasy; only "realism". With all the sci-fi movies that are succeeding, comic movies included, I don't buy this facade for a second. It's nothing more than propaganda intended to push the notion that fantasy no longer clicks with anybody, nor escapism.
And, at least at first, the strategy appears to be working. Not only are tongues (and word processors) wagging about Archie Comics, but the first issue of the new series sold out at the distributor level before the issue went on sale. That doesn't mean it will be especially hard to find -- that depends on your local shop, and how many they ordered -- but it does mean that the initial print run sold out and the book will go back to press. A second print run, with a new cover by Staples, will arrive Aug. 12.
Yes, the distributor level, not the general consumership. It's funny how they manage to convince these store owners to buy so much when it may not work well in the long run, and all sells to the same people, not newcomers. The use of a variant cover should be another giveaway just how lacking in faith they are.
So, just as in 1968, "Everything's Archie" again. And it's the same guy you always loved. Just with a better haircut.
I thought Archie began in 1940? And this column throughly ignores some of the questionable politics of the past few years, and whether they're keeping on with it in this new rendition. Those questions aren't answered, and that doesn't help a bit.

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Middling performance is middling performance no matter what the outside shape looks like, in short, Archie will never get out of last place no matter if the art looks cartoony or realistic.


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