Comic review: Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals #146

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Archie's Pals 'n' Gals #146 cover
“Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals” #146. Art by Dan Parent.

Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest #146

Written by: various
Art by: various

This month is the last issue of this long-running Archie comic title. Originally, “Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals” began publication as a regular comic in 1952 and ran until 1991. In 1992, the comic was replaced by the current double digest version.

I wonder if the datedness of the name “Pals ‘n’ Gals” and the title’s similarity to/being superseded by the more modern-titled “Archie & Friends” in format might be a reason it’s finally being replaced, with an “Archie & Friends Double Digest” starting soon. Archie’s lately been trying to modernize their comics, which would give reason to axe the “Pals ‘n’ Gals” title. The last historical digest/comic to get canceled was “Laugh,” in 2005.

Anyway, this issue starts off with a story about Archie helping the parents of one of the “Gals” (Veronica’s mother) with getting a dog cleanly to a dog show, which turns out as well as one would expect for Archie.

Other items in this issue:

  • Several stories about Coach Cleats and Coach Clayton.
  • Several stories centered around cars/modes of transportation. One such story shows Dilton’s shopping for a new car and the gang giving him various suggestions which car to buy. He rejects all of the suggestions for various logic based reasons. No art credit is given on this story, but the art style looks quite different from other Archie stories I’ve read.
  • A late 90s period piece where Veronica dreams she’s an Ally McBeal-like lawyer. No creepy CGI dancing baby in sight, fortunately.
  • Chuck is featured in one story, where he becomes an assistant to a sleazy modern artist, which goes to his head. He also ropes his friends into being disgruntled helpers. Of course, all is resolved by the end; still, I wonder how Chuck patched things up with Nancy (who’s ready to tear his head off at several points). This story was written in the mid-90s, from Chuck’s sporting of a flattop fade and, oddly for a digest reprint, a newspaper calling the artist a “sham artist of the 90s.” Wonder why they didn’t update the decade for the ’10s (like Archie usually does for digest reprints).
  • Several “Archie 3000” stories (which were written in the early 90s) appear. The first one seems already dated; a futuristic hockey game futuristic-versions-of-Archie’s-parents attend has someone order food that’s “credited to their accounts by computer.” Archie’s parents then hope their seats have TVs, noting “what’s a game without individual instant replay?” DVRs (with “replay last several seconds” features) and debit cards, of course, would pretty much fulfill both of these.
  • A few “Josie and the Pussycats” stories, including a funny one where Josie asks Melody where Valerie is. Cue Josie wasting several pages trying to deal with Melody’s “logic” and not getting a proper answer/growing increasingly irate.
  • Sabrina is also in several stories, all from the pre-sitcom era. In the first story, she gets help from cousin Ambrose at school. The odd thing is, her gym teacher isn’t Coach Kleats or Coach Clayton; however, Mr. Weatherbee is the principal. Stories from the late 90s on seem to make clearer Sabrina not living in the gang’s hometown.

Coming up soon is the first issue of “Archie & Friends Double Digest,” with a multipart storyline as the lead story (something about the gang stuck in a virtual game world). I’m more interested in knowing if the backup stories will be the same as in “Pals ‘n’ Gals” (stories with Josie, Chuck, Sabrina, etc.), per the “& Friends” part of the name.

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