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!
Life with Archie #36
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.
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.
Jughead's Time Police
Follow along if you can: After receiving a magical beanie that allows him to travel through time, Jughead is recruited by a 29th century agency (the titular Time Police) to help stop time paradoxes while fighting the sorceress Morgan Le Fay. Admit it, if this were a Doctor Who storyline you'd be drooling right now. By the end of the six-issue series, Jughead meets alternate versions of himself, dates one of Archie's descendants from the future, and discusses the real-life probabilities of a multiverse. Somehow this short-lived series didn't receive an Eisner Award.
Archie vs. Predator
For about five years, if your comic wasn't in the middle of a crossover with the characters from Predator, you were doing something wrong. Seriously, there are so many Predator crossovers that it would have been stupid for Archie not to have a run-in with the interstellar hunter. One of the most interesting things about this crossover is that the Riverdale gang never fully becomes immersed in the Predator's world, but rather the Predator's violence is co-opted and almost rendered wholesome.