Wow, this took a long time to get out.
Those who still inhabit retrojunk, this is davidyck here.
About several years ago I wrote an article entitled "remember Archie comics". In its entirety, the article in its basic form basically just stated the evolution of Archie comics over the years and introduced the main characters.
Surprisingly the article received some positive feedback, and a little after the article was released, a retrojunk user sent me a letter asking for an sequel. The idea did seem interesting, and shortly after, I began working on it.
However after a while, the shallowness of the article I was writing on at the moment began to bother me, and upon reading the previous Archie article, I was dismayed at how simple it all really was.
I erased the entire article, and I then decided that I would start the entire article all over again, of which this time around, I would focus on not the Archie universe (okay, maybe a little bit) but that mostly I would focus on what Archie comics have been for me as a person.
Thus, this article may get a bit autobiographical. Im sorry for those who may be dismayed by this.
I dedicate this article to a MissALibra86, who without her PM, I would have never got this project done. I certainly hope that you can enjoy this article, and I am indeed certainly sorry for its delay ( I will explain why its delayed in a moment)
ARCHIE COMICS AND THIER IMPACT ON MY LIFE
I am a 19 year old male nearing his 20s currently living in north America. I grew up, I guess in an average home and I never really had to worry about financial problems and such in our home.
I was born in 1991, and I grew up playing with action figures and watching cartoons like animanics and ducktales. I guess I was an average child. one thing I did notice about myself eventually was a certain shyness I possessed, and I started school fearful. I have to say I was a bit of a loner in school and I always felt uncomfortable around other people.
School as you can guess then was a challenge for me, and as I'm pretty sure every kid thinks, I always thought my school was the worst school there ever was. I always enjoyed playing on the schools metal jungle gym until the school board eventually decided that it was too unsafe for children to play on it, and they replaced it with a plastic, less fun jungle gym.
And they as well deemed that we were forbidden to run on it.
As a kid, that bothered me a whole lot, because at recess, I disliked playing with other children, and instead spent my time playing on playground equipment, of which now I was forbidden to do so.
Another reason I disliked our school was a certain rule that was enforced upon us children during my senior year at the school. At grade 5, the school board decided that children from kindergarten to grade 4 were forbidden to interact with kids grade 5 to 8. This took a large toll on me, as at grade 5 all of my friends were in grade 2. I felt much more comfortable with them and got along better with them than I did with the other grade 5's, who often mocked and teased me.
So, you can see I was forced to spend my time by myself. My, aren't I a whiner?
It was here I finally decided that if the school insisted I be alone at recess, I might as well spend it doing something I enjoyed.
That is, reading.
Ive always enjoyed reading, seeing as I had learned to do it at age 5 and found that the world I saw in books was far more enchanting and fascinating than the world I saw in front of me. At very young I took out such books like the berenstien bears and dr Seuss books.
However, after a while, I began to move onto chapter books and books that I had to spend more than one sitting on.
Around grade 4, I discovered Archie.
Apparently some of the teachers had old Archie comic books that lay around and decided to give them to the library. There were 100s of them at the school library.
The world of Archie struck me as an incredible one that entranced me. I devoured each story and quickly became attached to all of the characters.
I soon developed my own feelings toward all of the characters. jughead quickly became my favorite think he is the most interesting character in the Archie universe. Jughead is made quite clear to be the eater and sleeper stereotype of the group, but I think jughead goes much further than that. In dan decarlo's stories and Stan goldbergs stories it is made clear that jughead is quite intelligent and able to thwart all of reggies schemes without ever opening an eye.
I looked up to jughead as a role model and looked to everything he did as a sort of rulebook for life. Jughead will always remain one of my favorite cartoon characters, as despite his appearance and constant being made fun of, he as proved himself much more intelligent that his classmates. This is exactly what I wanted to be. After constantly being called stupid and an idiot at recess, I would always rush to a jughead story in an an Archie issue and pore over it lovingly, often with tears in my eyes. The teacher often had to tell me to put the book away, and sometimes confiscated it from me.
Reading these, its obvious, that jughead is a bizarre person, but as a kid I loved that because I can behave just as bizarre sometimes.
Archie was the main character or is at least, was. Archie has always stood as the bumbling female attracting klutz, and while that made for humorous stories, as a kid, I did not really sympathize a whole lot with that.
For me as a kid, in the Archie universe these were the only 2 characters that existed. Everyone else there was just there to attend to these 2 characters and make their stories go on. Betty and veronica were just there for Archie to have a love interest and for jughead to complain about the dualities of the female gender.
And to a child who still possessed the thought that all girls were bearers of cooties, jughead looked positively heroic.
And then there's Reggie. I did not know what to think of him. We are always seeing him portrayed as the absolute poster boy of a jerk, but occasional stories would show he had a light side to him too.
As a kid I could never figure him out. he was even more two-sided than veronica was, and he was just confusing.
The world of Archie was loaded to the brim with secondary characters. Archie had parents, jughead had parents. Veronica had a dad (I almost never saw her mother). Apparently Betty had a sister somewhere. And there were moose (the dumb jock) dilton (the school genius) mr weatherbee (the stern headmaster) as well as many other characters that looking back now, all seem to be modeled after a certain stereotype.
It did not matter then though. The characters in that world came off as more real to me than the people of this world did.
I continued to read Archie comics throughout my entire grade school career. I took out 2 every time our class went to the library, where Archie comics were just as read at home. my brother and sister devoured them too, and I found my mother was getting cought up in the misadventures of the group as well.
By grade 8 at my grade school I no longer even went outside at recess. I would hide out in the library and read and reread my favorite stories.
By about half-way through my grade 8 year the school board made a decision that affected me again. The school decided that Archie comics were deemed not suitable reading material, and over 2 weeks, the dozens of Archie comics in the library were thrown out
This affected me drastically. Archie comics, although they were not the only thing I ever read in the library, they were certainly a large part of my life and around here I found myself hating the school.
Half a year later, I graduated from that school and moved onto high school. I figured that I should probably move onto more substantial reading material, and thus, Archie dropped out of my life.
last year, my mother died of brain cancer. She had been fighting with it for 4 years. and this created a huge rift in my life. Looking back, I think my mother had been my greatest friend in life, and we became quite close in her final year. We talked about our childhoods, and Archie sometimes made his way into the conversation. We both enjoyed the fascinating world that Archie lived in, and we both expressed dismay at the changes he was currently going through.
In January of 2010 my mother died. This delayed any work I did anywhere, and this explains why this sequel to my first Archie article is so far behind.
After the funeral, I found myself digging through some of the old things that we enjoyed together. There was a movie that she had bought at a yard sale and had intended for us to watch together, but put it away and forgot about it. I found it and thought about how we never got a chance to view it.
For the first time since I started high school ( ive graduated now and looking forward to college) I have also started leafing through some of the old Archie comics I purchased at the grocery store during my childhood. there are a lot of memories there, and every time I open one, I think about a certain event that occurred to me.
Recently ive begun buying Archie comics again. I don't buy any new additions, because the world of Archie is changing so much nowadays it is all so disturbing. This is a part of my childhood they are screwing around with.
As a kid, I thought Archie would forever be stuck with choosing either Betty or veronica. Now, I see issues of Archie getting married to one of them.
The style of Archie (specifically, the Dan decarlo style) is changing as well. While I am glad they have decided not to stick entirely with the manga style (shudder) I am still appalled they could have ever thought of changing the style to something that is just a current fad.
As a great cartoonist once said, there is comfort in familiarity. In a world that is constantly changing and going down the tubes, its a comfort to look and see a world where nothing will ever change. While terrorist bombers continually threaten the safety of our country, its great to visit a place where the worst thing that can happen is to miss your date with Betty. While the countries financial state is crumbling underneath us, its a pleasant surprise to see Archie constantly worry about his pal jughead having had too much to eat.
The other day I took a double-digest issue of Archie from 1989 and compared its amount of pages with an issue from 2009. The 1989 edition had 140 individual pages, while the 2009 edition only had 80.
The 1989 edition as well only had about 10 pages of ads. The 2009 edition had about around 35 (that's almost half of the entire issue!!!)
I really don't wish to complain and sound whineful of the shrinking of Archie comics over the years, but one does have to admit the state of Archie has really gone down. Are writers of Archie lazier nowadays? Or is the world just so different from the one that Archie started in that Archie no longer fits in?
Its a depressing thought. Where is the world headed?
I think the amount of advertisements in an issue is also in a way symbolism of how commercialized our society has become. Today it is impossible to avoid the media which is constantly throwing unpleasant images and videos at us in order for us to purchase something we did not need in the first place or make us feel inadequate as ourselves.
I guess this is nothing new, but never has it become so "in your face" as it has today.
This, in a way, I guess would show us why we as people are gravitated towards nostalgia or in this case, retrojunk. Retrojunk is a safe-haven amongst an ever-turning world, a place where a person can head to see that the world was, at least at one point, been a simpler and much more enjoyable place to live in.
I'm rereading a lot of my article, and I find it embarrassing how personal ive got at times during the writing of this. But I cant help it, I guess. Archie means a lot to me, and it means a lot more to people who don't like to admit it.
Archie has affected me as a person nowadays as well. I do enjoy writing fiction (which is something I like to think im pretty good at) and I also enjoy drawing cartoon strips, something which I'm not very good at, but I still enjoy.
Anyway, this article is kind of complete now. Its very personal, and I would like to ask the reader to go easy, there is sensitive ground here. Anyway, it was a pleasure to write this, and I look forward to reading what you have to say.