Before anyone becomes horribly disturbed, this is not a yaoi title. I just gave in to a fit of sentimental whatsit. I’ve been doing that, lately. I also bought People magazine’s tribute to Farrah Fawcett. I loved “Charlie’s Angels” when I was little. I collected pictures of Farrah, and I recognized every one of the ’70s pictures in the magazine. Reading this magazine was a very emotional experience. Cathartic. I’m feeling a little verklempt, just thinking about it.
So, when I was at the comics rack at Borders the other day, desperately pawing through it to try and find something suitable for my young son, I paused dramatically at the Archie titles. Because I loved Archie comics when I was little, too. Even more than Farrah. So, overwhelmed with nostalgia, I picked up Archie’s Double Dip, evidently a Very Special Issue (the 200th, according to the excitable little yellow burst on the cover). I was curious about this, and alarmed. Because apparently, Archie Comics Online and Its Affiliated Companies have decided Archie needs a Dynamic New Look. The classic Dan Decarlo look, degraded as it has become, is apparently just too distinctive. Archie is being mainstreamed.
It’s just the cover and the first story. It isn’t a no-going-back kind of thing; I imagine they’ll dump it as a failed experiment if people hate it. Or they’ll usher everything into the Borg collective, if people love it. Hard as that is to contemplate. Because, good grief, look at this. Here’s the second page.
The artist is Norm Breyfogle, and I’m thinking he should have maybe turned down this gig. I’m not intimately familiar with his work, but he’s done a lot of Batman, and let us just say he seems much more comfortable with the pointy ears and the swishy capes. That’s Betty’s dad in the middle panel, apparently having an epileptic seizure. It’s as if drawing the drama of dad stealing some cake is so ordinary we’re maybe overcompensating a little. I love this ad, too.
Betty: “Is this really goodbye forever?”
Archie: “Holy shit, is that a centipede on the ceiling? It’s enormous!”
What the hell happened to Archie’s chin? And Betty looks like a sex doll with the head put on askew. Is this what the kids are into, these days?
I realize it’s a desperate attempt to sell more comics, by any means necessary, and not a dark plot to indoctrinate girls into the ugly that is mainstream comics art. At least, I assume that’s the case. I guess if it is a dark plot, that’s actually kind of cool, although I sort of hope it doesn’t work.