And Then I Read: ARCHIE ’55 #1

Image © Archie Comics. Written by Brian Augustyn & Mark Waid, art by Tom Grummett, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by Jack Morellli, this cover by Aaron Lopresti.

I like the idea of this series, putting the Archie characters into a time and place where interesting things are happening. In this case, that’s the birth of rock and roll music, 1955. Archie, Reggie and Jughead have a band that plays the dull music required for school dances, but break out with a hot rock number like the ones they’re hearing on the radio. That gets them fired from the gig, but gains the interest of a local rock DJ, if they can manage to record something he can play. The story ties in to the blues music being played on the other side of town by artists of color, which Archie goes to hear with a friend, and Veronica Lodge’s father might take a financial interest.

I have two problems with the way this story is presented. First, by making the characters look more realistic and modern, they lose the feel of Archie for me. I understand this is the trend for a lot of recent Archie material, and I’m sure it’s fine for new fans, but it doesn’t seem like Archie Comics to this reader.

Second, a lot of song lyrics are on display as Archie and others play their music, but they are songs I’ve never heard, and I think all made up for this comic (I could be wrong). That only works for me when I either know the song and can fill in the melody in my head, or if, as in a song parody, the melody is a given. I don’t see any easy way to solve this in a comic unless you include a link to the actual songs or something. And the lyrics here, while perhaps much like early rock, are not brilliant poetry.

A for effort, nothing wrong with the art or writing, but not to my taste.

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