Archie Comic Publications Incorporated celebrated its 80-year anniversary back in 2019. The publishing house starts printing superhero comics but it isn’t very long. The titular series starring the redhead Casanova makes its debut in 1941.
Archie was an overnight success. He quickly was a fan-favorite character. Originally the company is the MLF Magazines, but after the success of Archie Comics, they change their name. They devote all of their efforts to chronicling the lives of the teenagers at Riverdale High.
Over the decades we’ve gotten acquainted with quite a few of Archie’s friends and associates outside of his core crew. You got Josie and The Pussycats and Sabrina The Teenage Witch for starters. Outside of the comics, we get TV Shows, Movies, and a real-world band that manages to score a number-one single. The Archie Universe is actually a lot more expansive than you probably realize.
There’s a momentous success of the CW’s Riverdale live-action Archie spin-off television series. It is a whole new generation is now hooked on Archie and friends. So, it’s worth taking a look back in time at how Archie become this incredibly enduring franchise. While we’re at it, we’re going to look at some of the most obscure and interesting chapters in Archie’s past.
To get started, let’s take a look at the character that inspired a little bit of a moral panic when she first hit the scene.
Cheryl Blossom Was Originally Deemed too Sexy
The Archie Comics have always strived to be fairly clean and family-friendly. That’s precisely why Cheryl Blossom was abruptly written out of the comics back in 1985. The voluptuous Redhead was just much too sexy from a comic series geared towards kids – or at least that’s how some concerned parents saw things. Archie Comic’s decided to take heed of the concerns so as to not lose out on any sales but instead of abandoning her as a character they simply put her on the back burner.
She made her return back to the pages of the comics in 1994 and when she showed up back on the scene Archie tried his best to hide her return from Betty and Veronica. Apparently, he didn’t want to have to decide whose affection to reciprocate. It was already hard enough dealing with Betty and Veronica. Throwing Cheryl back in the mix made things that much more confusing to the poor guy.
Crossovers Are King
Especially in recent times, crossovers have been a frequent fixture of the Archie comics. In 2010 for example, Archie got to meet Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in an issue entitled Campaign Pain. Archie has also linked up with the classic rock band KISS, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Punisher, The cast of Glee, and even Sharknado.
In the Sharknado issue, Archie is featured on the cover wearing a tattered shirt and triumphantly holding a chainsaw ala Army of Darkness as a tornado of sharks swirls in the background.
Archie Met Jesus
Back in 1973, Al Hartley, one of the Archie Artists decided that he wanted to do a series of Christian comics based upon the characters in the Archie comics. He had become a born-again Christian about five years before and felt compelled to use his art and love for Archie to spread the gospel.
He managed to convince his boss John Goldwater to license the characters over to Spire Comics – a popular Christian comic company – and 19 comics were produced featuring Archie and the gang exploring the message of the Bible.
In one issue, a Hippie gets converted to the Christian path and opens a Christian bookstore because the Riverdale High School stopped teaching the Bible. Jesus is presented as some kind of surfer dude at the beach who lives in his van.. It’s pretty remarkable.
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Make sure you keep watching to learn who the gay Archie character was and just what’s going on with Jughead’s love life.
Archie Was Based Upon Another Character
Archie Andrews was loosely based upon Andy Hardy. He was a young man about Archie’s age who was played by Mickey Rooney in the film series that was distributed by MGM from 1937 to 1946. Granted the two fictional characters aren’t exactly the same, but they follow a similar plot. Andy is popular with both the Betties and the Veronicas of his own small town and is constantly struggling to choose who he wants to go steady with.
Only One Issue Was Ever Reprinted
In 2010, Kevin Keller was introduced to the series in Veronica issue Number 202. He is the first gay character to be featured in the Archie universe. The issue sold out so quickly that the company decided that it was best to reprint another lot of copies. Archie Comics had never reprinted an issue of their comics until this point.
In the Life Of Archie comic series, Archie actually ended up giving his life to save Kevin – who wound up becoming a senator – from getting shot. What a hero!
Archie Can Get Pretty Dark
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debuted in 2014. Fans probably are familiar with the Netflix spin-off series that ran for 2 seasons from 2019 to 2020.
That spooky series was actually inspired by the success of another dark Archie comic. Afterlife With Archie was published in 2013 and followed an alternate-universe plot where Riverdale was infested with zombies. Unfortunately Jughead had also been infected with the zombie virus.
It was actually the first Archie comic to be written specifically with a mature audience in mind.
Archie Had A Radio Show
The Adventures of Archie Andrews radio show was syndicated from 1943 to 1953 from NBC. The show started off each episode with a nasally-voiced Jughead urging Archie to ree-lax. Strangely the show featured Archie’s Mom and Dad more often than himself.
Some of the plot lines in the show were pretty weak as well. In one episode, Archie struggles to pick out an outfit for a date with Veronica, in another episode Archie’s dad wallpapers a room and in another Archie goes shopping to find the perfect hammock.
The Monkee’s Turned Down Sugar, Sugar So It Went To The Archies
Don Kirshner, producer for the Monkee’s was originally offered the track but he turned it down. The band was tired of doing youthful songs like that and they wanted more artistic control of their music. Mike Nesmith got so angry at Kirshner for suggesting that they do the song that he punched a hole through a wall and told him that it should have been his face.
Instead of putting up with the moody band members of The Monkees, Kirshner decided to create The Archie’s to perform the song. He formed the band out of the teenage characters from The Archie Show. Sugar, Sugar went on to become the number one chart-topping hit of 1969.
Archie Animated Shows Always Fair Poorly
Sure, live action shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Riverdale have been pretty successful over the years but for some reason every attempt at producing an animated series has failed. The Archie Show premiered in 1969 but was canceled a year later. The New Archie’s likewise was met with lackluster viewership.
In the 80s, Archie’s Weird Mysteries featured the gang taking on monsters and villains in a very similar manner to Scooby-Doo and company. A new animated series called ‘It’s Archie’ was planned for 2013 but never aired. Apparently, Archie cartoons just aren’t meant to be.
There Was An Archie Made-For-TV Movie
To Riverdale and Back Again was broadcast on NBC in 1990. The storyline follows Archie returning to Riverdale High for his 15-year reunion. Archie has since become a successful lawyer and is all set to get married to his fiancee Pam. At the reunion, he is forced to choose once again between Veronica, Betty or his fiancee.
The movie was met with pretty poor reviews and received a dismal Nielson ranking of 51. Originally the film was intended to be a pilot for a potential series but plans for the show were scrapped after the cool reception.
Archie Comics published a comic adaptation of the TV film to coincide with it’s release. The comic was reviewed with a much warmer reception than it’s film counterpart.
Archie Was Once A Superhero Named Captain Pureheart
Spoiler Alert: Archie Andrews makes for one lousy superhero.
Back in 1966, Archie was transformed into a Superman inspired superhero equipped with the ability to fly with his trusty jet-boosters and the power of super-strength. Reggie of course is his arch-enemy and goes by the name Evilheart. Another villain that Captain Pureheart has to clash with is The Ice Cube. Betty and Jughead are Captain Purehearts sidekicks and go by the names Superteen and Captain Hero respectively. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Captain Pureheart was nixed after only 6 issues because of poor sales.
There Are Archie Young Adult Fiction Books
A few years ago Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty came out. It was written by Tania Del Rio and was written from the first-person point of view of Betty. Throughout the comic series, Betty always kept a personal diary so this book was like an intimate peek into her mind and life. Much of the book is filled with drawings that Betty supposedly drew and the art style was basically plagiarized from the similarly titled young adult hit Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Tania del Rio has also written quite a few Sabrina The Teenage Witch manga and comic books.
Jughead Jones Is Asexual
No that doesn’t mean that he reproduces by budding or something like that, but it does mean that he has no interest in sexual relationships. He’s traditionally been more into cheeseburgers than he has been into romance.
For years fans had suspected something of this nature but it was officially confirmed in 2016 in the Jughead reboot comic series. The revelation that Jughead is canonically asexual was met with praise and acclaim. Many people expressed their support of the bold move and noted that fiction and media franchises hardly ever touch on asexuality and what it really means.
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