December 22nd 2011 marked the 70th year of Archie Andrew’s first tryst with our world. Yes, on December 22nd December 1941, Mr. Andrews came into our life for the first time and till date has remained a memorable and invincible part of our lives. Needless to say that every other teen has had his share of Archie and his gang in the town of Riverdale, USA.
Interesting to note that Archie Andrews, a regular accident prone, lovable 17 year old and his friends Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and the others were created by publisher/editor John L. Goldwater and Bob Montana, basing them on real life people they had met. Goldwater had hoped to appeal the fans of Andy Hardy movies of 1940s and 1950s starring actor Mickey Rooney when he introduced Archie Comics
The concept of Archie was derived by Goldwater by bringing to light the life of a normal ordinary person to which the readers from various walks of life could relate to. It was “America’s newest boyfriend”, “America’s average teenager”, Archie Andrews. One by one the infamous characters of the ‘Archie brand’ was introduced to the world starting with Betty Copper as the quintessential best girlfriend or the girl next door and Veronica Lodge as the posh and rich girl friend. We saw the character of Jughead Jones as the best friend with an insatiable appetite for all kinds of junk food, yet somehow he always managed to remain stick thin. His obsession with food went to such great heights that he would name his pet dog as ‘Hotdog’. Hotdog is also a regular character in the comic series.
Archie found a prankster and competition in snooty Reggie Mantle, both of them competing to gain the attention from ‘Ms. Cynosure of all eyes’, Veronica Lodge. Mr Weatherbee, Ms. Grundy as the principal and the professor of Riverdale High where this bunch of kids attend school. Moose as the jock who was definitely unbeatable in the department of brawn but beatable easily by a child in the department of brains! Ironically, Moose always finds a best friend in Dilton Doiley, a child prodigy with an indigenous gift of gray matter, the local scientist of Riverdale. Over the years, we have seen Mr. Lodge, the father of Veronica and the local multi-millionaire sometimes warming up to the gang but most of the times disturbed and annoyed with Archie’s clumsiness.
Living across the oceans in India, far away from the Archie’s home abode in USA, teen years were fun getting submerged in Riverdale and the antics of all the lovable characters. The world sketched by Victor Bloom and created by Goldwater itself felt so real that when fourteen years or so later I moved to USA and while driving through Bronx, NY passed an affluent neighborhood called Riverdale, surreal feeling just passed me by and it felt as though any minute, I would have a tete-a-tete with my favorite boys and girls. Archie Comic Publication has their head office in the little town of Mamaroneck in New York.
As years have passed by, Archie Comics have seen a substantial change to stay current with the times. To cite an example of which, is the introduction of an openly gay character called Kevin Keller which has met with substantial popularity. Beloved history teacher, Ms. Grundy meets her death and Archie Andrews get married. But the stories of Riverdale will never cease to die as it is almost like a tradition of passing it through generations. For example, my father, an ardent fan of Archies introduced me to the world of AA and I did the same to my sister. Between us, we have a plethora of a collection of Archie comics and digest and with many friends I know, it is the same story. As far as I know, most of you readers are reading this line as you are an Archie fan and can relate to what you are reading. 🙂
To the love for the world of Archie- may you never cease to entertain us and engulf us in the antics of yours and your friends. Cheers!
We welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org