Thursday, April 03, 2008

Archie Versus Sanity

Archie Comics have spent the last sixty-whatever years cranking out tale after tale after tale of Archie and the Riverdale gang living their unchanging lives, endlessly attending Riverdale High, and generally doing the same 'ol shit they've been doing for centuries now. That's not to say they never get adventurous. Some of their more obscure spinoffs and licenses teeter on the very edge of madness.

Case in point: the Spire line of Archie Christian Comics. I've read several of these via the childhood friend I've mentioned before, and they are koo-koo. Whereas Archie and the gang never mentioned religion in the regular comics, in these, it's all they talk about. Well, via ham-handed parables, anyway. Add the overly effusive art of Al Harley, and these are downright surreal.

Of course, Archie has walked on the spandex side, as Pureheart the Powerful, an apparently popular subseries that started during the '60's camp craze and continues to this day:

I'm not sure why fad-chasing Archie Comics would want to rip off DC's perennially unpopular Challengers of the Unknown, but the evidence speaks for itself:

Then there are a few for which I words. Super-Mister Weatherbee? The RC Dominator?? On the other hand, a gratuitous Abe Lincoln cameo is always welcome:

Finally, Archie and Jughead's strangest journey ever, the advent of middle Age. I saw "To Riverdale and Back Again" when it was on TV originally, and the main thing I remember was a whiny, nebbish of a divorced Jughead. It was pretty weird.

All covers culled from the Grand Comic Database.


Patrick said...

Is that Byrne art on the Return to Riverdale book? Sure looks like

Brian Hughes said...

Byrne did the cover and Gene Colan did the interior art.

Anonymous said...

Gene colan!?!??! Did Archie fight a vampire?

Harvey Jerkwater said...

I need to find my face. For it has just been ROCKED OFF!

"Jughead's Time Police?" "Archie 3000?" The faculty of Riverdale High in super-costumes? "Archie's All-Canadian Digest?"

Oh hell yes. A thousand million times yes.

Dumma said...

The only time I ever read Archie was during it's 3000 era, so to me is the regular Archie is the weird one

Anthony Strand said...

Jughead's Time Police is all kinds of rad.

It's basically Doctor Who, starring Archie's hot female descendant as The Doctor and Jughead as her companion.

Peter Lynn said...

You know what's insane? The Rocky Mountains behind the CN Tower. What's going on there?

SanctumSanctorumComix said...

I... must... buy

John Byrne cover?
Gene Colan interiors?

My mind. It is BLOWN!


Ivan W. said...

Wow, I've been cruising this site after being linked to your Black Bomber article, and wow... This article takes me back. Since Archie Comics were pretty big in the UAE at the time, I was into ALL of these weird variations. 3000, Time Police, Jughead's Diner, that surreal Jughead series that had him all punked-out and riding a skateboard, all were eaten up by me and a few of my friends. Thanks for bringing these collection of spinoffs back into the light.

Now I can only hope they're all collected...

And I must ask, what do you think of the latest Archie Comics experiment? If you haven't seen it yet, it's drawn in a more realistic style (like the old Marvel Romance series) and have an ongoing arc which are separate from the normal Archie comics.