Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bad Boy Trouble

The first in the Archie "New Look" series, Bad Boy Trouble was originally published in Betty & Veronica's Double Digest as a serial. The story was taken from a 1991 Michael Pellowski YA novel Bad News Boyfriend. The plot follows the Riverdale gang as they encounter a new arrival in town, Nick St. Clair.

Nick is a stereotypical bad seed. He wears a soul patch, rides a motorcycle, and has a thing for blondes. Even though he repeatedly tries to woo Betty, he switches gears when Veronica shows interest in him and he finds out she is loaded. Veronica turns her back on her friends and family even when confronted with Nick's bad behavior. They get together and hatch a plot to get her to see just how much of a mistake she is making.

This tale attempts to make the Archie characters more realistic. They have more extreme reactions to each other, and perhaps there is more strain to their relationships than in stories past. Nevertheless, there is still a sitcom-type feel to the story, and no one will be surprised to find the status quo returns in the end.

This attempt to update the Archie characters is scripted by Melanie Morgan and drawn by Steven Butler and Al Milgrom. Morgan scripts the New Look stories and does not appear to have other comics credits. Butler has drawn a number of comics over the past three decades and was the designer behind this new look. An interview here tells more about his work on the redesign. Milgrom has a huge list of credits as a comics creator, available here.

The "New Look" Archie stories have been received in a mixed manner. Some fans, such as John Brownlee, simply do not like the "horrible" new look. Others, such as Penny Kenny, think that the story is well done. These stories have drawn more attention to the Archie comics than any time in the past couple decades. Perhaps this new direction will lead to a perpetuation of the characters for future readers.

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