I’m already in love with this comic based solely on the cover. It features Archie Andrews how we know him best: looking totally lovesick! Reggie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are also pictured below Archie. In this reprint of the 1945 comics, Archie and friends look like the characters of Grease with a splash of I Love Lucy, and even a bit of Mad Men. It feels just like you would think a 1945 comic would, with random sewing patterns mixed between the pages of the story, games and puzzles, and pushes to buy bail bonds. I appreciate that these things were not lost in the modern reprint. It has a vintage vibe that transports you back in time while reading.
When I first started reading Archie comics, Archie and friends looked a lot different. Even from story to story, the looks change slightly with each new artist taking on the characters. Sometimes, Archie has giant buck teeth and a goofy grin, and other times he is slightly less awkward looking, but always adorable. The signifiers are still there, his red hair and freckled face that have remained over 70 years of Archie comics. I think Betty and Veronica have changed the most over time. They look wise beyond their high school years here, more like pin up girls than the girl next door.
The stories are stand-alone episodes with Archie getting into some sort of shenanigans every time. Mistaken identity, monkey business, and always some sort of miscommunication. The comedy ranges from Three Stooges-esque slapstick comedy between Archie and Jughead to ridiculous scenarios with a monkey, baking a cake all wrong, or the consequences of making wishes on a lucky coin. Somehow for Archie, it always works out in the end, though!
This reprint was a very enjoyable read. You could pick up anywhere in the comic and immediately become invested in the story. I read it slowly and even skipped around a bit reading out of order, and still enjoyed every page and every new adventure Archie found himself in. This is the 5th volume that has been re-released, and I can’t wait for the rest to come out. Brendan Wright put it perfectly in his introduction to this volume: “Archie is bigger than comics. Archie is for everyone.” Everyone has a story about reading Archie comics. What is yours?