(This is not an original Archie gag – This is an “Original” drawn by this writer )
Archie Andrews –An Obituary
For my generation which grew up when the phrase “disposable income” didn’t exist, paradise definitely existed on earth and it existed in a small town called Riverdale in the good ol’ U.S. of A , the land of milk and honey, where in addition to getting a weekly spending allowance from parents for odd jobs like mowing the lawn and washing the car (a real car – not the unwieldy Ambassador or Fiat from Slobsville), this could be splurged on entertaining outings with friends at the Drive-in Cinema or the bowling alley or hanging out at Pop Tate’s Choklitt Shoppe guzzling exotic items such as hamburgers washed down with ice cream soda (whatever the hell it was – it looked a damned sight more glamorous than the local Panneer Soda).
So it was with some consternation that I read the headline “Archie to die while fighting to save Riverdale High from a gunman”.
The ads showed Archie succumbing to gun shot wounds in the arms of his beloved Betty and Veronica.
I couldn’t for the life of me fathom why the creators would want to do this to us and bump off Archie thereby tearing away a part of our growing up years.
Many of us binged on Archie comics. In addition to wholesome Archie, ‘girl next door’ Betty who pines for Archie, glamorous Veronica – the belle of Riverdale High who never wears the same dress twice, we loved Jughead of the perennially closed eyes and voracious appetite, chuckled over his dread of Big Ethel, laughed uncontrollably at the antics of Big Moose and the depth of his (duh) “dumbness” and his possessiveness of his gal Midge and drooled over the summer editions of the Betty, Veronica capers, shook our heads in wonderment at Reggie Mantle’s narcissism (“have you got one of those cards which says “you are the Only One I Love?”. “Good – I’’ll take twenty of them) and egghead Dilton Doiley.
In today’s complex world of the internet and living in a virtual world, probably Archie had become an anachronism. But then if Sherlock Holmes could bridge the digital divide and become immensely popular in his modern avatar, why not Archie Andrews ?
Archie could probably relocate to India and China and regale a huge smartphone wielding young population and their identification with American pop culture with his travails. Why would they want to destroy an American institution ? After all Archie is right up there with Coca Cola and moms apple pie.
To be fair to the Archie story boardists, they’ve tried to keep the stories relevant to the changes in society. But Archie with his wide eyed innocence and sense of wonder which we found so endearing may be out of sync with today’s kids who seem to have an air that life holds no surprises – “Its written here that Google is working on operating Google Glass solely through thought vibrations so that you can click a photo and even post it on facebook !!” This would elicit a half-bored half-annoyed response “You mean its not been invented yet ?” (Aargh – give me break)
Whatever the Ifs and Buts, Archie is No More – R.I.P Carrot Top (Sob – Sob)