Spinning the wheel of trades has us landing on Archie Comics today and the new Archie Volume 1 by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish more specifically. I used to see the Archie Digests at the grocery store and wonder to myself, "who's buying those?" They seemed kind of like dinosaurs on the comic shelves. Then things started to change. Afterlife With Archie started getting a lot of attention and the horror version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Then came the announcement of a new Archie series and the ball was rolling. Now there are reboots of Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Josie & the Pussy Cats… even Reggie Mantle got his own series. But let's look at that first Archie collection.
Archie Andrews and all the folks of Riverdale got a modern-day reimaging at the hands of Waid and Staples. The teen feel more like what you'd see in any highschool across the country. Archie plays the guitar, Betty plays baseball and works on cars, Veronica was on a reality show and picks guys her father will hate. Everything has a fresh, modern take even though they're dealing with the same things kids in high school have been dealing with for decades. Even Jughead has gone from being the weird guy with the crown hat to a bit of an avant garde.
Staples did the art for the first three issues, Annie Wu did issue four and Veronica Fish drew five and six.
Even the classic love triangle that has been a regular part of the comics has been given a polish. Betty is a tom boy, a bit socially awkward, and life long friend with Archie. The two have recently broken up for a silly reason and enter Veronica. She's new in town and glamorous. She's attracted to Archie partly because he irritates her father. And while she is mostly a snob, her and Betty begin to find common ground and become friends. The rest of the cast has been treated well too. Characters like Jughead and Reggie have gotten a bit more realistic and new characters have been introduced that bring more diversity to Riverdale.
It's a good, fun series that will appeal to both new readers and existing fans. It would be a good gift for long time Archie readers who haven't tried the book yet, younger readers, readers who want something other than super powers and guns. Also, it's a great jumping on point for anyone who wants to read up on the characters before the debut of the new CW series Riverdale next year. From every indication, the television series will be a bit darker… maybe a lot darker… but the comic is still very much a fun read.