Friday, November 13, 2009

The Matchmakers

Adapted from It's First Love, Jughead Jones, a YA novel written by Michael Pellowski and John Goldwater and published in 1991, The Matchmakers is the second entry in Archie Comics' New Look Series. These books update the perennially teenage characters for today. The plot of the story involves a scheme to pair Jughead (the "fifth wheel") with Sandy Sanchez, a smart, athletic, and goal-oriented classmate. Betty and Veronica do this by getting them to compete as partners in a coed school competition. Hi-jinks ensue as the whole gang is engaged in the games and the coupling they set up seems to have worked too well.

Melanie J. Morgan provided the script for this volume, and she has scripted all of the New Look books thus far. Joe Staton and Al Milgrom provided the art. They are both comic book artists who have been in the industry for decades. Staton is probably best known for drawing superhero comics like Green Lantern and his creation E-Man as well as his current work on Scooby-Doo comic books. Milgrom is best known for his work on Firestorm, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man, and West Coast Avengers. Their artwork portrays a more realistic version of the characters instead of the classic cartoon version originated by Bob Montana and Dan DeCarlo.

The Archie New Look books have grabbed a fair share of news attention for the make-overs of classic characters, but the reviews on the books themselves are mixed. Some are positive, such as this one by Penny Kenny. Others comment on the cluelessness of the story-telling especially in regards to the unrealistic portrayals of teenagers' actions, as described here by Johanna Draper Carlson, and on the dramatic character changes and clunky plot, as described by Brian Cronin. The news coverage or new art style may have given a boost to sales though, as more New Look stories continue to appear.

Archie Comics has multiple previews of the story here (scroll down to see them).

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