March 24, 2011

Archie comic reviews: World of Archie Double Digest #5, Veronica #205

Archie comic reviews: World of Archie Double Digest #5, Veronica #205

World of Archie Double Digest #5

Written by: various
Art by: various

This issue of “World of Archie” features a complete reprint of the “Tiny Titans/Little Archie” crossover storyline from last fall. Interesting that it’d be cheaper (at $4) to buy this digest than the individual issues (three issues at $3 each = $9), plus you’d receive extra material to boot.

For newer (reprint) material, the rest of the digest begins with several stories about Mr. Weatherbee and Svenson (the school’s Swedish janitor). We then get the biggest surprise of the issue to me, a reprint of “She’s Josie.” “She’s Josie” (or just “Josie”) was a mid-to-late 60s series about the Archie-type hijinks of Josie and her two best friends, Pepper (a glasses-wearing girl) and Melody (an attractive-but-dim-witted blonde girl). Around 1969/1970, Archie decided to retool the comic to match the then-upcoming “Josie and the Pussycats” TV cartoon, and dropped Pepper (plus a few other supporting characters) while bringing in the more familiar “Pussycats” cast (and making Josie the lead singer in the group).

Of course, none of that in this story… here, we see Josie and her friends try to outwit two criminals in an abandoned house. A story that could’ve been used in the Pussycats setting, I suppose, but here is written more like a traditional Archie story. Interesting to see that Archie’s decided to reprint anything from the pre-Pussycats incarnation of Josie. Maybe they have a story planned someday that explains whatever happened to Pepper; perhaps she’s hanging out with also-vanished Cousin Ambrose, working together on some funny, fourth-wall-breaking dual-comeback plan?

The remaining stories include a tale about some one-shot classmate with telekinetic powers, the Chocklit Shoppe being cast in the part of a movie, and Dilton (rather eagerly) working with Archie at getting back at Reggie.

Veronica #205 coverVeronica #205

Written by: Dan Parent
Art by: Dan Parent

Here’s the long-awaited return of Kevin Keller, Archie’s new gay character that made a splash (in terms of sales and media attention) last year. In this story, we see Veronica and Kevin have become quite close (Kevin even earns a nickname from Ronnie, “Kevvy,” which I guess keeps with “Archiekins” and the less-often-heard “Reggiekins”/”Juggy”, etc.), to the irritation of Betty, who feels like she’s being ignored. Helping set things straight between Betty and Veronica is Jughead.

A pleasant story, plus we learn more about Kevin’s background—his father’s in the military, he’s not interested in musicals (to counter a stereotype), and he has an interest in journalism. I assume this means Kevin could be used in stories revolving around Riverdale High’s school paper, though those stories usually involve Betty (or depending on the story, Reggie) rather than Veronica or Jughead, the two characters Kevin’s mainly been associated with so far. The upcoming miniseries for Kevin should go into more detail about his family and writing interests, as well as (hopefully) any romantic interests—this *is* an Archie comic, after all, so I assume at some point they should show Kevin dating someone. Since dating is a central part of the comic’s plots, it’ll look odd to *not* see Kevin dating. (As for how soon before Kevin gains a boyfriend, Nancy Woods was added to the cast as Chuck’s girlfriend within several years of his introduction, so who knows…)

Archie’s OK with Veronica spending most of her free time with Kevin, though his reasons seem a bit selfish (as Betty notes)—seems more like a motive of Reggie’s to me, anyway.

One odd story point: based on the cover and the opening pages, Veronica’s cell phone has A) no call waiting or caller ID, and B) a limited number of text messages (albeit a high number). Did the Lodges get their cell phones/cell phone plans from a company stuck in 2001 or something?

Tags: Archiecomic reviewscomic tips and recommendationsgayindependent comicsKevin KellerLGBTQLittle ArchieMediaTiny Titanstrivia