Comic goes tragic: What jughead decided to make Archie a political tool?

So, Death with Archie? Life Without Archie?

You’ve heard about this, right? In the latest edition of the comic book Life with Archie, an adult Archie Andrews is gunned down by an unknown assassin. Archie takes the fatal bullet intended for one of his friends, a gay senator working to strengthen gun-control laws in the fictional town of Riverdale.

I’m surprised the writers didn’t work in immigration or a spotted owl in there somewhere.

“I THINK RIVERDALE is a place where everyone should feel welcome and safe,” explained Archie Comics Publisher Jon Goldwater. “From my point of view, I’m proud of the stance we’ve taken here, and I don’t think it’s overtly political on any level.”

Not overtly political? Are we talking about the same comic?

It’s not even the liberal tone of the story that bugs me. It’s hijacking an innocuous American icon to shill a political viewpoint.

It’s been a long time since I’ve last read a comic book. But I still remember why I used to read comic books – escapism. If I want to explore other people’s political opinions, believe me, I know where to find them. But as someone who’s read an Archie comic or two over the years, I never found myself wondering what Jughead thought about climate change or a flat tax.

I’m not really against edgy or controversial cartoon content, either. Sometimes a shake-up can be interesting, like what Marvel Comics announced this past week. The Norse god Thor has been on Marvel pages since 1962. Now the company has announced that, from here on out, Thor would be a woman. My 10-year-old daughter saw early renderings of the new Thor and promptly proclaimed, “That is very cool!”

A day later Marvel disclosed that the next Captain America would be black. Could a transgender Incredible Hulk be too far behind?

DARK CARTOON CONTENT already has been around for decades. Did you know that Mickey Mouse’s newspaper comic strip in the 1930s included a story in which Mickey and his pals battled opium smugglers? And a 1930 storyline focused on Mickey’s many attempts to (gulp) commit suicide.

Archie has been around since 1941. I understand that longtime entertainment franchises periodically have to breathe new life into aging characters. Archie sharing a chocolate malt with Betty and Veronica can move a narrative only so far. It’s a fair move to thrust Archie into the 21st century. There’s even a zombie-themed imprint called Afterlife with Archie.

But this? Must we drag politics into everything? With the unlimited directions Archie’s story can go, does he really need a political agenda? And were Archie readers even crying out to give him one? If you want guidance on political thought, you should neither want nor need to crack open an Archie comic.

It’s been said that all art is political. Sure, if you’re determined to view it that way. One person might simply see a still-life painting of a bowl of fruit. Another person looking at the same painting might fume over capitalist oppression against migrant fruit-pickers.

I CAN IMAGINE what might come next. Can we expect a Richie Rich comic book featuring grubby protesters railing against wealth inequality while camped outside Richie’s mansion? Will Scrooge McDuck team up with the Koch brothers? Will we be treated to the Scooby-Doo gang’s viewpoint on Obamacare?

I’m not asking that Archie become forever dull. But he doesn’t deserve to be molded into some partisan political cartoon.

Comments (13) Add comment
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OJP
7777
Points
OJP 07/20/14 - 12:38 am
3
6
When will jugheads get over the fact that gay people exist?

Seriously. No matter how hard you stomp your feet, gay people will still be your fellow Americans. Get over it and move on.

habersham100
177
Points
habersham100 07/20/14 - 03:50 am
8
1
Comic books and moving on...

While I admit that "gay" people DO exist, I also admit that whether or not all individuals choose to make public or not their sexual preferences, I believe there is a time and a place for everything, and - in this situation anyway - there is a simple solution: Don't buy the comic book. Profit speaks much louder than words...

myfather15
57229
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 06:21 am
8
3
OJP

Really?? Is EVERY issue about gay people, to you?

Of course gay people exist; and the overwhelming majority of American's live with and get along with them fine, including myself. I have several friends who are gay. I know, I know; you believe that ANY disagreement with their lifestyle is bigotted, and not fully supporting gay marriage is discrimination!! Because that's about all you've got, to brand people with!! Anyone who disagrees with people like you, are branded as homophobes, bigots and so forth!!

It doesn't matter in the least is a person has NEVER harmed or harassed a gay person; if they don't support gay marriage, they're bigots!! Right?

Again; who is the bigot that discriminates against them, not allowing them to have biological children together?? That darn NATURE, is so bigotted; we should just do away with it!!

And this has absolutely nothing to do with health issues; which prevent hetrosexual couples from having children. A gay couple in perfect health, can NOT have children which possesss BOTH their DNA's. Who should we be protesting over this atrocity???

hoptoad
21846
Points
hoptoad 07/20/14 - 07:09 am
9
0
I have no problem with gay

I have no problem with gay people, having family members, friends and had co-workers who are gay.

However, other than holding hands, I don't think PDAs are necessary even for heterosexual couples. I just don't see the need to continually insert sexual preference into every form of media or entertainment.

jimmymac
48001
Points
jimmymac 07/20/14 - 07:51 am
0
0
habersham100
Unpublished

You are so right. Hollyweird and their media cohorts are doing everything they can to push their preferences on America. It's time to hit them where it hurts and that's the pocket book. I saw that movie attendance is way down this year so maybe folks are tired of supporting the trash being passed off as entertainment.

Dixieman
17543
Points
Dixieman 07/20/14 - 08:54 am
5
3
Mr. Hotchkiss:

I agree with your column, but have you taken a look at the AC's coverage of things like Gay Pride parade in Augusta? Your own paper is complicit in this arrogant nonsense. Here's a comment I posted right after reading the AC's coverage of the recent gay pride thing under the caption "Okay, did everyone get the memo on covering this event?":
-------------------------------------
1. Reporting of the event should only interview and report only one side of the story. No opponents of this event should be interviewed and their points of view should not be reported, despite being based on thousands of years of human experience, scientific principles, honored traditions, and sincere religious beliefs held by a large majority of the American people.
2. If you observe any negative behavior by, or hear any negative speech from, the LGBT people at this event, leave it out of the story!
3. Write in a calm, supportive tone about those participating. Write nothing to suggest there is anything abnormal about their "lifestyle".
4. People opposed to this event may not be said to "disagree" or just "oppose" what it stands for out of sincere principles or beliefs. They must be said to "hate" or "fear" homosexuals and be "bigots".
5. Christians who say they "love the sinner but hate the sin" are not to be listened to or quoted. (We have not come up with a good rebuttal to this line yet, so the temporary guidance is to just ignore it until we come up with a witty, sarcastic response.)
6. Photos may show people hugging or smiling but not actually kissing or groping. This is to make the medicine go down smoother among the ignorant CSRA population. Be patient. Couple more years and we can run the tonguing photos after the less-enlightened peasants have been warmed up.
7. Oh, yeah -- dogs. We need LOTS of photos of dogs at the Gay Pride events with their gay owners. Subliminal message: "Hey, we're just nice people with dogs, kind of like you!"
8. Remember, tolerance is the key virtue in our coverage and any comments posted here. Therefore, in order to promote tolerance we will NOT tolerate anyone who disagrees with these guidelines!
9. Replies to my comments above which are posted here must follow the same guidelines.
Remember -- there is only ONE SIDE to this story!
---------------------------
I think your paper might be contributing to the problem.

dichotomy
37608
Points
dichotomy 07/20/14 - 09:02 am
4
3
Hey...it's the liberal

Hey...it's the liberal Democrats. In order to reach their audience they have to do it in the publications that most of their voters read.

Darby
29443
Points
Darby 07/20/14 - 11:56 am
5
1
"Not overtly political? Are we talking about

the same comic?"

.
Are we even talking the same universe?

ralphinga
1878
Points
ralphinga 07/20/14 - 12:13 pm
4
2
I could write an Archie episode

It's the one where Archie pulls out a Glock, and stops the would be assasin, who is the Senators jealous ex-lover. Fortunately, Archie got a concealed carry permit in the previous issue. Veronica bought him the Glock as an anniversary present and she has illegal aliens from Alpha Centauri working on her estate. She is the publisher of a left wing blog called Huffinger Post and is a vegetarian. I could go on but I don't want to give the plot away.

Darby
29443
Points
Darby 07/20/14 - 06:07 pm
4
0
Good one Ralph....

And to you Joe, "Comic goes tragic: What jughead decided to make Archie a political tool?"

.
I love it when some makes a point with a good turn of phrase. From my point of view, you could have stopped writing right there.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 07/20/14 - 06:29 pm
0
2
People still read Archie comix??
Unpublished

Seriously? Haha. Man, talk about a non-story. Say it ain't so, Joe.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 07/20/14 - 06:36 pm
0
2
I read that ...
Unpublished

Beetle Bailey came out as gay but was allowed to remain in the military due to the repeal of the don't ask don't policy. I thought Sgt. Snorkel and Gen. Halftrack's heads would explode. Compelling stuff. Yet so topical.

blues550
380
Points
blues550 07/20/14 - 06:55 pm
0
0
WWBW
Unpublished

The whole editorial page comes down to WWBW. What Would Billy Write. These are not opinionists, they are simply mouthpieces for their boss..and not very good ones at that.

corgimom
38702
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 08:54 pm
1
3
It's about expanding their

It's about expanding their market and reversing declining sales. We all used to read comic books when we were kids. Now hardly any kids do (because now they are expensive.)

They aren't written for kids any more, they are written for adults, who buy most of them.

If you don't like it, don't buy them.

It's as simple as that.

Or don't you believe that a private business has the right to do what it pleases, and has the right to do strategic changes to increase their profits and revenues?

corgimom
38702
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 09:03 pm
0
4
Dixieman, now apply what you

Dixieman, now apply what you wrote to the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Does the AC publish stories from the people who are against it?

I bet there's a lot of Baptists, Mormons, and others that don't much like a parade for a holiday that is mostly about getting drunk. And there are people that sincerely believe that drinking to excess is wrong, and that it's wrong to do it in public, and that has nothing to do with their religious beliefs.

Do they do a story about the people that are revoltingly drunk?

Do they do a story about how families with children have to deal with those drunks, and explain to them why drunks at a parade are using obscene and disgusting language?

Do they do a story about the people that feel they can't take their families to that parade, because they don't wish to expose their children to a gaggle of drunks?

Billy Morris' friends are the grand marshals of the parade, and it's put on by the Irish-American Society, of which he is a member. Do you think that might play a part in their coverage of the event?

Nobody is supposed to be against the event. The people that live on Broad St are never interviewed to see how they feel, because even if they disagreed, nobody would care, they'd still have the parade anyway.

People at the parade are shown smiling and laughing, but pictures aren't shown of people staggering, vomiting, and groping each other, not to mention the ones who are trying to pick a fight with people because they are so drunk that they have lost all their sense. I have seen all that.

And you know why that coverage isn't reported for either event? Because they bring in HUGE amounts of dollars to Augusta business owners, and because of that, you will never, ever see a negative remark.

corgimom
38702
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 09:13 pm
1
4
myfather, millions of people

myfather, millions of people in the US have stepchildren. Thousands of people in the US are adoptive parents.

Who cares if their children have their DNA or not? Who would think such an odd thing, and who would disrespect stepparents and adoptive parents with such an outlandish idea?

Myfather, decent people know that you don't have to share DNA with a child to love them with all of your heart and to be a loving, devoted, concerned parent.

And it's very sad that you don't know that.

I thought that "blood relative" crap disappeared years ago. I guess not, not for some. To suggest that two people can't love or parent a child because their child doesn't have both of their DNA is just plain WRONG.

corgimom
38702
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 10:09 pm
0
3
The person most likely to buy

The person most likely to buy comic books are male, between 20-25, single, likes technology.

And men outnumber female readers by about a 90/10 split. That was the demographics in 2008, and they haven't changed much since then.

It's not about a "viewpoint", it's to gain more readers and sell more comic books. That's what they are in business to do.

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