Dec 17, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 661: Archie Giant Series Magazine #618, January 1991

This is a really interesting comic. Ostensibly, there are four stories in this issue, all revolving around interpretations of "Christmas Spirit," much like many of the Archie Christmas comics I've previously read. What's different, however, is that the stories follow on, one from another, even though they're not titled as being parts of a whole. Most multi-part Archie stories will have a "part 1," "part 2" delineation, but not these. However, each story is linked to the previous one by a single line of dialogue, often spoken within the first few panels.

So it's basically a full-length story in an Archie comic disguised as four shorter stories. Which, I think, doesn't happen very often.

I have to say, whenever I read an old Archie comic, I mourn the passing of this style into the newer versions of the characters that are making such a splash in the industry now. I'm honestly a bit surprised that the traditional Archie comics didn't continue alongside the new ones, but then it might have really damaged the introduction of the new style to have the old style still hanging out. Consider the failure of the previous attempt to update the looks of the Riverdale gang from a few years back in the pages of the digests. While there were a number of "new look" stories published, they never took off the same way the current Archie comics have. Much as the traditional style of Archie has a cozy place in the hearts of many, I think, for the characters, it may have become a trap. With the recent relaunches, and the upcoming television series, perhaps we're now seeing these characters move into realms that have been denied them for almost 80 years. But what will Christmas on Riverdale look like? Probably not much like today's comic.


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