Life With Archie #9
Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Norm Breyfogle (Veronica), Andrew Pepoy (Betty)
This issue of “Life With Archie” sees a few changes quietly introduced. First of all, the “Jinx” stories have now been moved out of the magazine, supposedly to Archie’s website. However, a search of Archie’s site failed to turn up the latest installment (or any installments) of Jinx’s comic. Secondly, “Life With Archie”‘s production has been reduced from being a monthly magazine to coming out only 10 times a year, which might explain why it felt like this issue took such a long time to come out. I’m wondering if both changes were cost-cutting measures of some sort. Hope “Jinx” sticks around in some form (even online)…
Anyway, onto the stories. In “Veronica,” Archie and Veronica continue to sort out the stress working for Mr. Lodge (yup, still evil) is placing on their marriage. Meanwhile, Betty and Nancy revel in their newfound jobs, with Betty’s older sister Polly paying a visit. (In regular Archie stories, Betty has two older twentysomething siblings, Polly and Chic; Polly works as a TV reporter in San Francisco. Both siblings usually appeared as teenagers in the “Little Archie” setting.) Reggie continues enjoying his new job (while worrying about his trial), Ethel is encountered about former beau Fred (and even drops brief mention of her teenaged obsession with Jughead), and Jason Blossom adheres to the demands of Mr. Lodge.
Over in “Betty,” Archie runs into problems as a new teacher (namely, that he doesn’t have much experience *as* one, compared to Betty). Jughead continues to work hard at franchising the Chocklit Shoppe, though not enjoying the business side of things. Meanwhile, Moose struggles to figure out what’s going wrong with the school’s infrastructure (while keeping control of his temper), Veronica’s ordered by her father to go to Europe (who also sends Jason Blossom to do further dirty work), and new Riverdale High cafeteria lady Bella Beazley continues to come on to Archie. (Bella’s the recently-introduced daughter of Miss Beazley, Riverdale High’s cafeteria lady; Bella’s shtick: she’s beautiful, but is an awful cook, even compared to her mother.
For “Veronica,” I never expected to hear the name “Grand Theft Auto” mentioned in an Archie comic. Though I suppose “innuendo,” used on the next page, isn’t a word I usually expect to see in its pages, either.
For “Betty,” seeing Bella play homewrecker via going after Archie (even as a married man) makes me guess she’s this setting’s Cheryl Blossom stand-in (the real Cheryl, in at least one of these futures, is a washed-up actress waiting tables out in Los Angeles, per the original Archie wedding storyline). I suppose it keeps with the more “mature” take of this setting, though I wonder what kids reading it will make of this, or if they’ll just ignore it and move on to…
Filler material: This month, it’s various factoids and features dedicated to Lady Gaga, along with Josie and the Pussycats being compared to Gaga (which amused me: “Lady Gaga constantly dazzles…her fans…certain never to disappoint. Josie and the Pussycats shot 16 music videos in outer space. Case closed.” Heh…). There’s also horoscopes given by Josie (my horoscope apparently came true, per the recent trip to Seattle), various puzzles (reprinted from various digest comics), and a splash page of Betty imagining herself as singer Taylor Swift and Reggie imagining himself as someone named Taylor Lautner (a brief Google search shows he’s of those “Twilight” actors). The back of the magazine hypes the upcoming Kevin Keller miniseries, with a shot of a variant cover (showing Kevin in Archie’s Golden Age/early Silver Age bow-tie wardrobe, and the gang also dressed in their 50s/60s-era fashions). The variant cover ironically has a parody of the Comics Code symbol (which recently has bit the dust).