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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Giving A Makeover To a 74-Year-Old Teenager

The year 2015 has been what I like to call "the year of changes".  And, so far, I've been holding on for the ride the last month and a half as I prepare to make some huge moves in my life.  And I'll be perfectly honest with you, the direction has not always been easy, but I'm more or less willing to handle whatever comes my way.

That being said, I'm having a hard time with this one.

Okay, so you guys know that I'm a fan of Archie comics.  I have been since I was five years old.  I probably will continue to be one until I am 105 - if I am lucky enough to see the year 2086, that is.

And, over the course of Archie's seventy-four years in the publishing business, the company has gone through at least 74 different interpretations of what Archie and his pals and gals are like.  But regardless of how they have changed over the last three-quarters of a century, one thing that has always remained constant is the light, fluffy cartoonish look that Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Reggie have had.

Well, until now, that is.

The flagship Archie title that has been in publication since 1942 is about to run its FINAL issue.  Issue #666 is slated to be the final one.

(Um...anyone else find it weird that they would choose to end the title at number 666?  Isn't that the death number, or devil number?)

But then again, I suppose that it is only fitting.

Now, does this mean that after issue #666 is released in May that there will be no more Archie comics ever?  Nope.

You see, the Archie title will restart back at issue #1 with a brand new look.  Have a sneak preview.

So, not only are the characters getting a brand new look that is supposed to look more realistic, but apparently the whole series is getting rebooted and the origins of each of the characters will be changing completely.

And, I'm not sure that I'm ready for that to happen.

After being a fan of the series for 28 years, I've seen a lot happen to the comic books and the characters, and while some changes were received better than others, there was always the constant that we could go back and see classic Archie stories whenever we wanted because we knew that they were still being drawn.

I just don't like the idea of fixing things that weren't broken, and I hope that this idea isn't too jarring.  I suppose that I'll have to wait until I see the change for myself.  My subscription to Archie was supposed to end at #670, so maybe I'll get the first four issues of the new Archie title after #666 is published.

Again, some changes have been well received.  The current "Afterlife With Archie" series which is basically Archie comics meets "The Walking Dead" has been critically acclaimed, and after reading the first seven issues of the series, I am officially hooked. 

I also was hooked on the "Life With Archie" series of 2010 which showed an adult Archie getting married to either Betty or Veronica.  Even when they killed off Archie at the end of the series, I still wasn't bummed out about it, because Archie continued to live on in the digests and double digests.

(I should note that the digests are NOT changing.  They will, as far as I know, continue the classic Archie style.)

Now, this doesn't mean that I've been gung-ho about all of Archie's changes over the years.  The "New Look" that appeared in digests between 2007 and 2010 had mixed reviews, but I didn't mind it too much.

Jughead may be my favourite character, but his spin-off series "Jughead's Diner" was one of the worst titles ever seen in the Archie universe.

(Though I did like Jughead's Time Police.)

The idea to bring on an openly gay character in the Archie universe was a controversial topic for months, but I think it's safe to say that Kevin Keller has found his place in Riverdale and is here to stay.

The New Archies showed Archie and his friends in junior high.  The cartoon series was laughably bad, but the comics themselves were great.

As for the New Little Archie in 1991?  No.  Just no.

I don't know about this new Archie.  I'll just have to keep my eyes open and reserve judgment until I see it for myself.

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