Podzilla 1985

Monday, July 14, 2014

Archie - The Most Controversial Comic of All Time?

I talked about this a bit on my Facebook, but the more I think about it the more I feel the need to rant a bit. I never, ever, ever thought I would write an article on Archie.

Here we go.

Reading Lindsey's article on Barbie (right here!) got me thinking about classic characters, and there aren't many who are as beloved as good old Archie.

I mean, I guess he's beloved. I've honestly never cared much for the series, but I respect the fact that they dragged out a simple love triangle into a two hundred years story line. The fact that the guy is still going after four hundred and twenty (snicker) years is a testament to how important your grandparents are to comic sales today.

Well, meemaw and peepaw, I've got some bad news. Actually, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, even if the picture is of Archie.

No, you're not "tripping," and that isn't fan art from the same kind of people that turn My Little Pony into sexy horse women. Archie dies in his comic "Life with Archie."



Maybe I'm just out of the loop when it comes to comics, but I never expected the Archie comic to feature a character dying from a gunshot. I expected that maybe he would waste his gym membership or catch something from Veronica, but I don't think anyone saw this coming.

This issue will go down as the most controversial comic of all time.

And it's not just that he dies from a bullet that makes this controversial. No, there are plenty of ways in which Archie could theoretically die from a gunshot that would be considered a normal occurrence. 

  • Showing off his pistol twirling skills
  • Filming a movie where the blank misfires
  • Drug deal gone wrong
  • Bank robbery gone wrong
  • Walking in on Oscar Pistorius
  • Hunting with Dick Cheney
  • Rap music
No, the most awkward part of this story, which I still can't believe this is a story, is that Archie dies protecting his gay senator friend, who has taken a stance against guns after his husband (a black man!) is shot, from an obsessed nut.

So, for those of you keeping track at home, we have all American Archie, a gay man, politics, guns, and firearms related death all rolled into one neat little package that is just begging for attention.

Well, you've got it. You sonsofbitches, you got my goddamn attention for your little political statement. You happy?

Of course, they'll tell you that this isn't a statement on the kind of hot button issues that you would NEVER EXPECT FROM AN ARCHIE COMIC. 

Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater says that “He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.” 

Yes, apparently in all the years that I haven't read Archie comics, he went from a squeaky clean with two hot babes inexplicably chasing after him, to a paragon of virtue for the new wave of progression in the United States.

I've only read a handful of his comics, but never have I read them to get a better understanding of the political climate of the America.

The headlines all over the internet say in giant letters that Archie will die saving his gay best friend. I have a problem with that. I think I'm comfortable in saying that I'm an activist for gay rights. I believe that all men truly are created equal, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or creed. I take offense to the fact that it's not enough for Archie to save his best friend, we have to point out the fact that he's saving his gay friend.

And I ask you, why?

Does being gay make this Kevin Keller a more important character than that of just being Archie's best friend? Emphasizing someones differences does not make them equal. In a better world the headline would simply read that Archie is going to die saving his best friend. THAT is what epitomizes the best of us, and the fact that his best friend is gay should have absolutely no impact on that.

I'm sure the press will be all over this, causing fires wherever they can with both gay rights activists and pro-gun advocates. The creators and publishers of Archie comics will draw more attention to their characters, and what could have been a poignant and reflective end on a long running series will become a circus tent hanging over the heads of the passionate people of America that love to be heard. 

I've read others that say it's a sorrowful end for one of comics longest running characters, but I say it's just a pathetic one. I've never been an Archie fan, but he deserves better than to be a political pawn written out in a way that can only tug on heart strings and Nielsen ratings.

So long Archie, may you rest in peace. Or, at least, until they reboot you.
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