Archie Comics Pop Culture Revival

In a dark and nostalgic entrance to the year of 2017, the Archie Comics have been refreshingly revolutionised and translated to TV. Brought to life, the cartoon version of an all-American world is wrapped up with its adolescent love triangles, retro diner and the cheesiest dimpled-smiles; bound in a tight, secure bow and thrown into a modernised, eerie, frozen-in-time universe, known as Riverdale, where a tragic murder mystery shakes up the lives of our beloved comic book characters like a good, sweet milkshake from Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe.

It’s hard to forget the red-headed heartthrob that was Archie Andrews, the sweet, girl-next-door (literally in Riverdale as Archie’s neighbour) Betty Cooper, the silver-tongued, rich girl Veronica Lodge, and the fiercely lazy and hungry Jughead Jones. They’re kind of the prominent reason as to why the Archie Comics have remained relevant in popular culture for uhh…a whopping 76 years.

However, the characters have been freshly revived on the CW network’s new show (also on demand on Netflix) as the all-rounder high school student that has a dream of being a musician – Archie Andrews, the perfectly imperfect and pure Betty Cooper with an edge, the vivacious, Prada-to-nada Veronica Lodge and the moody, but seemingly talented writer Jughead Jones. These new and improved characters of the original bunch are rapidly growing a dedicated fanbase and cult following, including myself because it’s my new guilty pleasure tv series!

The Rolling Stones said of the show “Whenever possible, the show distorts the details of the original characters, keeping what’s essential about them while sprucing them up – or, more accurately, making them more deliciously sour.” I mean, even the Riverdale parents are entertaining and enticing to watch with messed up, plot drama of their own.

Some of the supporting characters that take place in Riverdale thats names can be fondly remembered from the comics are:

  • Miss Grundy, though she’s a much younger version of the original character that oozes sexual tension with another core character (oooh, *spoiler alert*);
  • Hermione Lodge, mother of Veronica Lodge involved in a financially scandalous twist;
  • Josie and the Pussycats, the catty (no pun intended) best friends with ambition and struggles of their own;
  • Siblings Jason and Cheryl Blossom, a deceased brother with secrets, and a rich, entitled and mourning sister;
  • and finally the 2010 comic-debuted openly gay pal of the high school gang, Kevin Keller, who has a saucy storyline of his own.

There are big hopes for the show – with a season 2 renewal as Deadline reports – and even bigger hopes for the characters as they take a star-studded and newcomer combined list of actors and actresses. I’m jumping for joy that Molly Ringwald (80s star from the well-known John Hughes films, such as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) is playing the role of Archie’s mother. Even 902010 star Luke Perry from the popular TV soap opera is playing Archie’s father. Yes please!

It’s no secret that the Archie Comics dominated popular culture for decades, and the comics are still just an arms-reach from view, which you can read on their app or purchase in news agencies. I myself got my hands on a few of my Grandad’s.

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Collection of Archie Comics, 2017. Source: Madison Agius

What I’ve enjoyed most so far about the show (that seemingly resembles similarities in its plot to Twin Peaks and Dawson’s Creek) and look forward to see more of are the core themes that can be commonly found within coming-of-age shows such as Glee and Pretty Little Liars. Riverdale puts a spin on the themes though, and executive producer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is spot on when he says to E! News “It went from just being a coming of age show to a loss of innocence show…that was also a little bit darker, a little bit moodier, a little bit more noir.” Inside Riverdale, there is a melodramatic focus on the exploration of family dynamics, feminism, race and sexuality that make it addictive to watch.

Now the big question is – does it work? Does Riverdale and its TV-adapted characters do the iconic 76-year-old Archie Comics justice? Watch the trailer or the show and see what you think. Then let me know in the comments below!

[Images by Madison Agius]



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