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Archie Comics Is Happy And Gay

Wait, what about Jughead?


 

I’ve been asked what I think about Archie Comics’ decision to introduce a gay character. I have to admit that though I am an unabashed Archie Comics buff, my buffery is mostly about the ’50s and ’60s stuff, by the likes of series creator Bob Montana. I don’t follow their recent stuff very much. The company’s art is probably better now than it’s been in a while (except, ironically, their senior artist, Stan Goldberg), but they’ve placed so many restrictions on what they can do and the kind of jokes they can make that it’s impossible for them to be as funny as the “classic” stories of the ’40s through the ’70s (and even the ’80s if Samm Schwartz was wielding the pencil). In fact, that’s one good reason for the company to go in for long soapy story arcs like Archie getting married: since Betty can’t be an insane murderess, and characters can’t take recreational drugs or go into prostitution, then six-page comedy stories aren’t easy to do.

Which is the nice thing about the introduction of this character, that the decision was made not to make it a very special “event” story, but simply bring him in as a traditional comedy twist in a traditional comedy story (girl likes guy, doesn’t realize he’s gay). Obviously, like most of what this company does nowadays, it’s partly done for the sake of getting news coverage — and as you see, it’s working. Archie has belatedly adopted some of the techniques of DC and Marvel: headline-grabbing announcements, big story arcs (including imaginary ones). But it’s also a fairly important step considering that this is just about the only remaining non-superhero comic company. They’re the last “mainstream” U.S. comics that are regularly sold to people who are not comics buffs, and to girls as well as boys, so for them to admit the obvious — that some people are attracted to the same sex, or that people of different races sometimes date each other, is a pretty big deal.

The other question people are asking is “wait, what about Jughead?” Having Jughead be so involved in the story may be their way of saying, no, Jughead’s not gay. And you know what? He’s probably not. Like Sheldon Cooper, he’s asexual.

The most closeted character in Riverdale is probably Reggie, a classic over-compensator whose obsession with Archie frequently turns into an open man-crush. (I can’t find it online, but there’s a story where Reggie becomes attracted to Archie in drag.) And Betty seems to think there’s some tension between her and Veronica:

I should also note that there are rampant signs that the company may already have a bisexual character, Melody, who seems open to the possibilities with both of her friends, Josie and Pepper (progress aside, I never liked Valerie much; bring back Pepper!)

Finally, though this isn’t directly related to the post, it is related to Katie Engelhart’s story from last week’s issue: I should note that this company won’t really have shaken off its past until it deals with the issue of Jughead’s unsavory political affiliations.


 
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Archie Comics Is Happy And Gay

  1. "The other question people are asking is “wait, what about Jughead?…"

    What about Big Ethel? And Mrs. Grundy?

    I'm actually surprised to find out out Archie is still being published.

  2. I had no idea that kids were still reading Archie until last summer at my friends' cottage. Their daughters couldn't get enough of Archie and his pals.

  3. Mon Dieu! A gay character! The next thing Archie Comics will have is a visible minority!

    • hmm nancy and chuck?

  4. I could never understand why Archie chose Veronica over Betty.

  5. Well , I can see a gay story character introduced into the Archie world for an issue or two, but not a regular part of the gang. that would really cure me of reading Archie comics forever. Sort of like that alien guy Adam who drops by once in the while, or Jinx Malloy, that pakistanii guy, usually when the storyline has ethnic overtones they bring in an appropriate minority or character to carry the story. This is how Archie will do it, as theyhave in the past. Like the Black couple Chuck and Nancy, they are part of the gang but you do not see them in all the stories. The real gng is Archie, Jughead, Reggie, Veronica, Betty, Moose, Midge, Dilton. they compriseall the necessary comic releif, the rest are just for story fluidity.

    • I agree with everything you say, except for seeing a gay person coming into the mix…the thing I ask is WHY?
      WHY do you want to kill everything that the Archie comics have been through? For as long as I've been reading this, there has been intention of any gayness of sort, and it's always been dating between a girl and guy…
      If you make a gay character, I will not read these books ever again.

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