Archie Comics Are Cool!
OK, OK. but I didn't KNOW that! The only Archie comic I ever bought before last month was 'Archie Meets The Punisher', and the last time I read an 'ordinary' Archie comic I was less than 10 years old. I've gravitated to the same things in graphic novels that I do in non-graphic novels: sci-fi, superheroes, sex, something to smile about, and story, not necessarily in that order, but mostly in that order. I guess now I can add another 'S' to the list: soap opera.
SPACE opera, sure, THAT I knew I liked. But it turns out there's an Archie comic for my specific tastes: Archie, now with parallel universes!
It is fitting that my lovely wife led me to this discovery: she hoped I would buy the wedding issues 'Archie In- Will You Marry Me?'. In case, like me, you live under a rock with your fingers in your ears, it's the story line in which Archie travels up Riverdale's Memory Lane, exploring two roads diverging in Yellow Wood, visiting his futures in five years: one as Veronica's husband, one as Betty's. At the end he strolled back to his perpetual teenage life.
But those futures STILL exist.
(In the sense that everything that can be imagined exists. Not in the sense that Archie is a true living entity in OUR dimension. I'm not talking crazy. Unless you've met him or something...)
'Life With Archie: The Married Life #1' by Michael Uslan, pencilled by Norm Breyfogle (both big Batman fans, I see) continues the parallel tales of married early twenties Archies alpha & beta (or perhaps Ronnieverse and Bettyverse?). Ronnieverse Archie has a lot going for him, but selling out for a job at father-in-law Lodge's semi-malevolent company may have cost him his old friend Jughead. Bettyverse Archie is living on love and his wife's paycheck in New York City, struggling to get noticed as a musician.
I'm fascinated (and a little surprised that I care at all) that the supporting Ronnieverse characters have skewed toward a career focus, (Moose is running for Mayor on a Green Platform) and the supporting Bettyverse characters have skewed toward matters of the heart (Principal Weatherbee is engaged to Miss Grundy).
I was more fascinated and (a little incensed!) that Ronnieverse Mr. Lodge plans to buy Yellow Wood, while Bettyverse Mr. Lodge plans to buy ARCHIE back for his jilted daughter! DA DA DAAAAAAA!
Finally, the discovery that intrepid young nerd Dilton Doiley can pass between the parallel worlds, and the tempting implication throughout each story that there are many more than these two worlds.
Aliens? Superheroes? Spies & pirates? Everything from Little Archie to Archie 3000 awaits in an Archie multiverse...
My co-workers have assured me that this is NOT news. Archie's a caveman now? Sure, that's ALWAYS been a thing.
Me? I'm seeing INFINITE possibility on a limited palette. Along with the knowledge of something I already knew: Marriage IS a wonderful thing! Thank you, comic book!
What will happen next to these silly and wonderful super-powerless young married characters with their similitude of life? I actually give a crap! That's more than Joe Quesada could manage with recent Spider-Man. Uslan and crew offer me, maybe for the first time in living memory, TWO young married comic book couples with something to live for, something to lose, the smell of success and the simulation of change and progress. Suck it, Marvel!
Here's to the ordinary! So to speak. The new one goes on sale next week, by the by. That's four bucks that won't be putting a pulled pork sandwich in Joey Q!