Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I practically drooled when I found this old issue.
You know how you have some comics that are beaten up because you loved them and read them until they fell apart? Yeah, this isn't one of those.
Sweet Rao, I saw this cover, and thought it was going to be fricking hilarious. I'm afraid, not so much. In fact, the Space Archie story is the second story in the issue, and I couldn't tell you way.

I'm not the hugest Archie fan: I can remember reading occasional issues as a kid, and that's about it. And since I'm old, back then Archie wasn't the only younger-reader comic on the spinner rack: for me, Archie comics were in the same vein as Richie Rich, Donald Duck, Sad Sack, or Dennis the Menace; so I probably didn't get as many Archies as a lot of you. Which means, I'm don't know if this sort of story was common for the more-dramatic themed Life with Archie or not.

I also don't have the same unconditional love for Archie comics that I do for, say, old Star Wars comics, or Warlord, or even Man-Wolf.
Alarms are going off? Maybe it's because Archie's your friggin' captain.
Much like a 70's variety show, the regular Archie characters are cast in different roles in this story. Their starship low on 'regurge fluid,' Archie and Jughead set out for a local settlement, and find it done up in a western motif.
It all seems so familiar...like a Star Trek episode....
Unless time travel's your whole thing, like Dr. Who or something, there has got to be a moratorium on this 'alien culture based on old Earth era,' routine. Star Trek reruns have been on lately, and I know it turns up at least three times off the top of my head. Anyway, everything's all westerny but with ray guns and androids and crap.

After witnessing a double-disintegration in a shootout, Archie and Jughead get to the stables and check out the hover-horses. Then, they hear the clamor of "Maverick McClintock bringing in his herd!" Not cattle: "Like the song says---long little doggies!"
Between this panel and the Indians, seems they were bound and determined to get their money's worth out of the colorist this month.
Aside from the terrible, terrible pun; I remember racking my eight-year-old skull trying to figure out why the ever-living hell you would build those. Archie and Jughead wisely decide to bail out, and run straight into the "savages."
Offensive to native Americans and sci-fi fans alike!
Jughead sends the Indians the wrong way, saving the day and the townspeople and so on. A grateful mayor offers Jughead the sheriff's job, which he seriously considers. For a second.
How do I keep finding these comics that end like 80's sitcoms?
And there's a little nightmare fuel for you today. Pretty sure Mad beat them to that one. That joke couldn't have possibly been new in 1979, and it's not aged well.

Oh, and the first story in this issue is even more unbelievable: in "Stranded in the Storm!" Betty and Veronica are trapped at the Lodges' mountain cabin during, you guessed it, a surprise snowstorm. While Arch and Jughead, against all common sense, set out on cross-country skis from the Lodge mansion to rescue the girls; a pair of looters invade the cabin and force the girls to...
Geez, even at age 8 I suspected something worse could happen.  Thanks for protecting my fragile child brain, Comics Code.
...cook for them. The horror, the horror.

Anyway, the boys outwit one of the looters, but are saved by...Veronica?
I could definitely see Veronica absentmindedly abusing her domestic staff, sure, but this? Veronica clubs down a potential assailant: believable. Veronica cooks something that smells good to Jughead: impossible. You might as well have Dillon win a fight or Reggie help an orphan or Moose drown puppies: it's just out of character. I could buy Betty administering justice and making a helluva dinner afterwards, but sadly she doesn't get much to do in this one. Yes, I like Betty better. Shut up.

All panels and cover from Life with Archie #204. Sadly, no credits were given, but there was a statement of ownership. "Total paid circulation: Actual no. of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 128,004." That's sold, with 160,719 returned, since this was pre-Direct Market and they printed over a quarter of a million copies per issue. If I'm reading that and June's sale numbers from the Beat, this would have been a top ten book, just behind the fifth issue of Dark Tower: the Gunslinger Born.

Holy hell, I have to go lie down now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is Jughead disturbed by what he saw...

Or what he did?