Dec 13, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 657: Archie Giant Series Magazine #605, January 1990
Yes, yes, I know I said I would move on to another Christmas title today, but I'm lazy and forgot. Figured it was best to be honest about it.
I've been thinking lately about the recent very successful reboot of the Archie properties. I haven't been reading them, though I really ought to since they've got a number of my current favourite creators working for them. Afterlife and Chilling Adventures are amazing. I have to admit I railed against the reboot initially. To me, that artwork up there, these kinds of stories, that is what Archie is. But then I realized that that's what Archie's been for an awfully long time. Despite the shift that I've talked about of these characters becoming far too perfect to be teenagers, the stories are predictable, short, and generally morally-directed. And have been for decades. The trouble is, teenagers themselves, and those who grew up reading Archie Comics, have changed much more than the Riverdale Gang has. Hence, the reboot.
That said, I feel like this company has, for a long while now, been quite proactive in offering interesting and diverse stories and casts. Not only have they introduced new characters that increase the diversity of their stories, but they've managed to keep those characters as continuing concerns, rather than having them disappear after a story or two. Perhaps the reboot is less about rebranding, and more about recognizing that the North American teenager no longer sees themself like the above artwork - they're more connected to the world, more open to diversity, and in many ways blind to the differences that are apparent in the older Archie comics, even though those differences are really only apparent through their absence.
Also, in this issue, there are magical Christmas brownies. And not the kind that make you want to listen to Pink Floyd.