Sep 3, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 556: Archie Giant Series Magazine #482, June 1979

The covers I post of a lot of comics are not indicative of the actual comics I'm reading. I think I mentioned about a Black Lightning comic last year that the copy I have is worn and discoloured from years of reading. My copy of this particular Archie Giant Series is much the same. It's beat up and creased, and I was pretty sure it was missing some middle pages, though according to the GCD entry, all the stories are there. I'll reiterate what I said about the Black Lightning comic - there's something wonderful about the idea that so many different hands have touched this comic, have read the stories, that the comic has sat on a bedroom floor gathering dust, or under a bed, or has been relegated to a cottage somewhere to read, year after year, as the people who visit it get older. Archie, Betty, Veronica, they all stay the same age.

That said, it's gotta be time to move on from the Archie comics. I'm getting cranky with them. Why, can anyone tell me, in the girls versus boys game that's going on on that cover, are the girls wearing bathing caps and the boys wearing helmets?

The stories in this issue are a very strange mixed bag. The first is a science fiction story in which Betty takes control of a spaceship and proceeds to mercilessly kill an entire fleet of invading aliens. It's a bit on the violent side, even for one of these genre-fiction inspired Archie stories. I can't imagine any version of Betty being quite so bloodthirsty (though Afterlife with Archie is likely to prove me wrong!). "The Manhunters," an oddly-titled tale, is pretty typical Archie fare, though the last couple of panels give us a rare glimpse at some bonding between Veronica and Jughead, and a punchline to the story that returns us to the first joke in the piece in a nice, circular fashion. And "The New Image" offers us a Veronica Lodge with permed hair. Her effort to change her look ends with her face-down in a fountain, perhaps a pointed commentary on what would happen to the comics if things changed too much. There's something to that, but my brain's in a very tired place today.


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