Sunday, December 15, 2013

Archie in "Will You Marry Me?"

First up in Catching Up With Archie Week is marriage. For this book, writer Michael Uslan, probably the first person to teach an accredited college course on comic books and also the producer of the 1989 Batman movie, tells a landmark story. After decades of asking which character Archie would end up with in the end, Betty or Veronica, the answer was finally revealed: Both of them!
Now that is bad timing on Betty's part!
Archie is into PDA apparently. Plus, all his friends are just too psyched. Except Ronnie, of course.
This collection contains a six issue span, with three issues each devoted to two alternate futures, one where Archie asks Veronica to marry him and another where he asks Betty. There are common features to both. The entire teenage cast goes to the same university and stays completely in touch with each other. In each, the woman says yes. The couples get married in what seem to be the happiest of circumstances ever. And in the end, they have two children, a boy and a girl naturally, and both favor their parents and, remarkably, are named Little Archie and Little Veronica/Betty. Creepy.
And now we return to Archie's Very WASPy Christmas...
Aside from the cookie cutter heteronormativity and over-the-top ecstasy about the weddings from everyone in Riverdale, I found a couple parts interesting, mostly the interactions between ancillary characters. Seeing how Archie finally stood up to Mr. Lodge was novel, and seeing who Jughead ended up marrying was interesting, but the only real bits of substance came from exploring how Betty and Veronica dealt with each other after Archie had popped the question. Apart from those bright spots, I found this book to be incredibly treacly and self-serving.
Everybody is just SO HAPPY.
Another aspect that struck me about the book was how sketchy and loose the artwork seemed in places. For a book that is rather monumental, I thought that long-tenured artists Stan Goldberg and Bob Smith's figures look a bit wonky and off-model in places.

This book is available here for purchase.

Tomorrow, I will be talking about the series that follows this cheesefest, The Married Life, and I hope things get better...

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