Ok, so it really didn't take me a while to get through all 1,000 pages of this book. If you're like me, you've been reading Archie for a solid amount of time, and you can probably remember reading a majority of these stories as a kid. Like any other digest, this book is reprints of classic Archie books. The kicker is that it starts off with a story by Harry Lucey, a fan favorite Silver Age artist. Usually the digest and reprint books feature a new Dan Parent story, and while Dan is fantastic in every sense of the word, I'm glad to see a Lucey story lead the book.
This book really shines with showcasing different artists. You have stories from Pat & Tim Kennedy, Fernando Ruiz, Stan Goldberg, Dan Parent, Jeff Schultz, Dan DeCarlo, Rex W. Lindsay, Doug Crane and much more. By having so much variety, you also get a good chunk of vintage Archie stories as well. Classic Archie was never difficult to read. There's no problem a quick 5 page story can't handle. There are a few longer stories thrown in here for basic character development, but nothing Earth shattering.
My favorite story in the book is "Hot Lips". Jughead and Archie are walking home during a blizzard when Jughead spots a young girl lost and buried in some snow.
Quick on his feet, Jughead swoops her up and wraps her in his scarf. Jughead and Archie bring the little girl back home, where her very pretty older sister greets them. Thankful for her sisters safe return, she kisses Jughead on the cheeks and nose.
Jughead doesn't recoil in horror, but is embarrassed by it for the day. I appreciate how writer Frank Doyle shows a softer, caring Jughead in this story. The normally aloof teenager jumps into action to help someone else, but doesn't really want the praise. He was simply doing the right thing. We could all follow Jughead's example.
Frank Doyle keeps this good heart trend up in the story following, "Cold Nose, Warm Heart". Archie happens to come across an older man who is out begging on the streets. Despite that Archie only has $10 left, he still gives it to the man anyway. When he tells Veronica about this later, she insists Archie has been had, and tracks down the old man. They find the old man ready to get into a limo, and just when Archie is about to confront him, Veronica's dad appears! Turns out the old man does this as a hobby–to see if there's any good left in the world. Archie has always exemplified goodness and a pure heart, so it would only make sense for him to help someone out, no questions asked.
The old man does indeed reward Archie by giving him $100. While I don't agree with the notion that you should be rewarded every time you do something good, I do like how it shows that if you put good out, good will come to you.
Which is kind of what Archie's been teaching us for a while, isn't it?
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