Enjoying Riverdale? It’s a beautifully messed up reimagining of everything Archie done so well you swear it was done on accident. But if you’re like me a prefer a reboot more quirky and fun, look no further than the Waid and Staples Archie run that blew up the nerd world a few years back. Today, however, I am not going to be reviewing any of the main Archie comics since I want to read a bit more of it before getting started though I will say that I have greatly enjoyed what I’ve ingested so far. Instead, I want to talk about the first issue of my favorite Archie gang member’s series: the perfectly poised and insatiably hungry freak that is Forsythe Pendleton Jones lll aka Jughead. Whenever my little sister got Archie comics, I would always steal them (because I’m a terrible brother) and skip all of the drama for some classic Jughead fun. He took everything on the chin and played a perfect foil for the redheaded harlot that couldn’t make up his mind on anything. When the Archie comics rebooted, I was happy with how they portrayed the crowned glutton and was intrigued with how the solo series by Zdarsky and Henderson would play out.
This first issue doesn’t have much to it. Jughead spends all night playing a video game where he literally kills everyone before heading to school without a wink of sleep. The crowned clown walks by Betty’s protest without signing her sheet and starts butting heads with a new principal in a manner of minutes. Just a typical day for good ol’Jughead. But after discovering that the meal plan will change under the new leadership, he realizes that action must be taken! And it, of course, involves cheeseburgers. Many, MANY cheeseburgers. And a Game of Thrones parody. What a gloriously weird time.
Unlike Archie who tries to please everyone, Jughead is well known for his absolute bluntness and distance from others, which is on full display right from the get go. One moment that stuck out is how he told Betty, a life long friend, how stupid her charity work to save their childhood hangout (forest) without batting an eye (though I don’t think he blinks at all). On top of that, he’s also kind of lazy as we see him do nothing but spend all night beating a video game and eating mountains of food without gaining an ounce of fat. Jughead may seem like an unlikable character, but is quite charming and enduring in the right situation. When all is said and done, he does care about his friends and will use his strangely intelligent mindset to solve problems without breaking a sweat. In this particular series, I think we also see him more developed as a three dimensional character (thanks to all of the creators of both series fleshing him out in their own ways) that feels like someone we’d actually know despite some of the more cartoonish moments we see him in. I’d like to think that John L. Goldwater and artist Bob Montana (the creators of Archie and gang) are smiling down from the great big comic publisher in the sky as their burger devouring freak continues to entertain audiences more than 70 years after his creation.
How would I go about describing the humor for this series? It’s very Edgar Wright-eqsue in the manner that it is equally high energy yet subtle when it needs to be. If one joke doesn’t work for you, ten more will pop up before you can utter “Eat a cheeseburger already, damn it”. Chip Zdarsky, the writer, has a very unique sense of humor that grows on you quickly while Erica Henderson‘s art does a great job of bringing these jokes alive. She also manages to add a few moments of her own in as well with her perfectly energetic and clean art style. If you want more from these creators, check out Henderson’s Squirrel Girl and Zdarsky’s Howard The Duck runs.
Read Jughead. If he isn’t your cup of tea, then try any of the other Archie series. They are all, apparently, really good. I can definitely recommend Archie along with the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series (though I must note that it is really messed up. Like, sacrificing teenagers to Satan messed up.I mean, if you’re a Satanist I guess you won’t mind it as much, just saying. Anyway, moving on…) Jughead is awesome and I hope that you are able to see his appeal by the end of this first issue. What do you guys think? Do you have any good Archie recommendations? Give us all some comments below and we’ll see what you all have to say.
I’ve been Superguy and you’ve all been pretty cool. Now go out there and eat a cheeseburger and wear a tasteful crown. Just make sure you do it with your eyes closed while wearing a t shirt with a giant “S” on the front.