Aug 23, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 545: Archie Giant Series Magazine #553, September 1985
Well, it's a world full of food, obviously.
Jughead attempts the noirish detective in the first story, hot on the trail of a saboteur at a candy factory. He's assisted by Hot Dog, whose asides are not as funny as they're probably supposed to be. I think I prefer Hot Dog when he's more dog, and less hairy Jughead. Though, having read Afterlife with Archie, this first story involving the pair was slightly bittersweet. Borges wrote a wonderful piece on Kafka that's in Labyrinths, in which he discusses the way that Kafka's work resonates backward through literary time in some ways, so that we can discuss a piece of writing as "Kafkaesque" even though it might have been written long before Kafka. Certain other works have this kind of recursive quality, and Afterlife is certainly one. Having read it, can we ever read any other Archie comics in the same way?
There's an excellent, partially-silent Jughead adventure, reminiscent in some ways of the "Dipsy Doodles" that peppered his titles through the 70s, and a single page that's definitely a Samm Schwartz page, the artist who defined the character in a lot of ways in the middle of the 20th century.
I begin to feel, however, that this series might actually be a clearing house title for stories that just weren't deemed good enough for the characters' regular titles. They've been mediocre so far. One expects, in a comic with 3 or 4 stories, some mediocrity, but also some moments that transcend mediocrity. So far, transcendence has been elusive. But I live in hope.