Total Nerd

Archie Comics That Prove Archie Is Smarter Than You Think 

Jacob Shelton
Updated October 13, 2018 422 votes 173 voters 8.5k views 22 items

To most comic readers, Archie is one of the vanilla characters to ever grace the comic book rack. In fact, when Archie made his first appearance in 1941 that was the whole point: to have a character that squares could relate to, taking their minds off of World War II and the atrocities that followed. But as time moved on and new authors began to work for the Archie Publishing Company, the stories began to change from tales of a wholesome American town to an almost unintelligible pastiche of superhero crossovers, topical issues, rock bands that formed out of nowhere, and even zombies. If you’ve never read the series, and you’re wondering, “What are Archie comics about?” The answer is nothing. And kind of everything.

It was probably never anyone’s intention to make Archie Comics smart, at least not until the late '80s - and even then the Archie writers had to be covert about what they were doing. It wasn’t until around 2010 when they began to fully let their freak flags fly. The began to tackle issues like gay marriage and gender dysphoria, along with stories where Sabrina the Teenage Witch brings Jughead’s dog back to life. And then they would reset the whole thing and start over again, just because they felt like it. Not only is this some of the most interesting storytelling in the history of comic books, but it proves that Archie is a lot of smarter than you think.

Vote up the issues you think prove that Archie Comics are smarter than they let on, and if you have a favorite story about the Riverdale Gang, let us know!
Veronica #202
Veronica #202 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Archie Comics That Prove Archie Is Smarter Than You Think
Photo: Archie Comics
In the groundbreaking albeit horribly titled "Isn't It Bromantic," readers are introduced to not only one of the first new Archie characters in years, but also the first openly gay character in Archie history - Kevin Keller. Rather than have Kevin live the tortured life that awaits most gay characters, he's instantly cool and totally bros down with Jughead over their shared love of food. The fact the Archie Comics folks skip all the hubbub about having a gay character and go straight to the shenanigans shows that they're one of the most forward-thinking publishers in modern comics. 
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Archie Meets the Punisher
Archie Meets the Punishe... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Archie Comics That Prove Archie Is Smarter Than You Think
Photo: Archie Comics
This comic either falls under the category of "So Stupid It's Brilliant," or "So Smart It Looks Dumb." Either way, it's inarguably a bold choice for a comic book about squeaky clean mid-century teen drama. Not only does this comic throw caution to the wind by having an insane vigilante hunting an Archie lookalike (which puts Archie in the Punisher's line of fire), but it also presupposes that Gotham and Riverdale are in the same comic book universe

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Afterlife with Archie
Afterlife with Archie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Archie Comics That Prove Archie Is Smarter Than You Think
Photo: Archie Comics
Afterlife with Archie could very easily feel like a cheap ploy to squeeze some bucks out of the corpse of the zombie resurgence. But this still-running series manages to juggle multiple compelling storylines about a zombie apocalypse, witchcraft, and the inevitability of death in a way that makes you forget all about Archie's polite beginnings
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Life with Archie #36
Life with Archie #36 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Archie Comics That Prove Archie Is Smarter Than You Think
Photo: Archie Comics

In the Archie Comics Multiverse, or the ACM for short, the red headed everyteen has done pretty much everything, and in issue 36 of Life With Archie, he's murdered while taking a bullet for his friend/newly elected Senator Kevin Kellar, who at the time was the series' lone gay character. 

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