The setup for today’s Archie is a bit contrived — why is Dilton, a fairly marginal member of the Archie gang, hanging around reading the newspaper in whatever venue is providing this private snuggle couch for Archie and Veronica? — but turns into an effective character piece. Of course poor socially awkward Dilton would immediately latch onto this dubious teleportation article — it combines his two loves, science and the idea of getting as far away from Riverdale and everyone in it as quickly as the laws of physics will allows. Meanwhile, Archie, in the midst of a love haze that he hopes will never end, is vaguely aware that his life is peaking at this precise moment and adulthood and the outside world hold nothing for him but disappointment. And yet it’s Dilton who looks at the happy couple with sadness all over his face: no matter how much he knows intellectually that his future is bright, emotionally he feels like high school will last forever, and the prospect of escape seems like the most unlikely science fiction.
(In other news: having an extra joke in the first panel was definitely a thing in these late ’90s/early ’00s Archie reruns; usually the gags are pretty execrable, but I deem Archie’s “I bet they’re beaming!” a solid pun.)
Gil Thorp, 1/28/14
Meanwhile, this plot where everyone wants to have sex with Wynn Wiley’s sister … is still happening, I guess! In today’s action, Wynn gets mad about it and punches someone in the face in the middle of the basketball game. Wait, did I say “action”? I meant “action that took place off-panel but was helpfully described for us,” more specifically. I understand the artistic choices being made here: Why show us a shocking act of violence in the middle of a high school basketball game when we could look at this referee with a weird little beard instead? That beard is what you get when you think, “I want to have a little mustache right under my nose, but it’s still ‘too soon’ because of Hitler or whatever! But what if … I moved that mustache … below my mouth? Hitler didn’t have a mustache on his chin, did he? Ref, you’re a genius!”
The Olympics are only few short weeks away, and the syndicated newspaper comics are here to drum up excitement! Just think, when you’re watching the world’s greatest athletes cross-country skiing their way to glory … over many hours … wait, does anyone watch cross-country skiing? Sounds boring. Almost as boring as shoveling. Should shoveling be a Winter Olympic event? Anyway, Jughead doesn’t like manual labor, ha ha!
You know what’s not boring? The newer extreeeeeeme Olympic sports, like the snowboarding half-pipe and such! Check out Heathcliff, who’s pushing the envelope of radical by using a fish as his board, just like he uses a fish as equipment for all sports! For some reason! HEATHCLIFF! EXTREEEEEEMEEEE
Meanwhile, Francis is trying to kill his heavyset friend? I guess? Not sure what other interpretation to go with here. I do think it’s convenient for everyone to be carrying boxes labelled SKATES to let us know that this is a skating-themed joke (about trying to kill your friend), as otherwise I’d have had an even harder time with it.
Today’s Archie is a fascinating look at the ways in which our lives are structured by the financial and emotional transactions we conduct with one another. Archie and Veronica both recognize the significance of his offer to perform unpaid labor on her behalf — even though, in her case, the only people who are being helped in practice by his gallantry are the Lodge family retainers, who presumably draw their salary no matter how much work they do on any given day. And yet generous and specific gestures aren’t the only components of an intimate life; there’s also the intangible qualities of just spending time together, as Reggie understands, to his benefit. In fact, this scenario immediately made me curious: does Reggie have the upper hand in reading this situation because he, like Veronica, is part of Riverdale’s leisured class? A quick search on Google proved that I wasn’t the only one wondering:
According to Comic Vine, Reggie is “medium rich,” a formulation that I find refreshingly frank. Reggie’s family probably refers to themselves as “upper middle class.” Let’s all support Comic Vine in its quest to establish a new, more honest vocabulary for America’s economic structure!
Judge Parker, 1/19/14
Speaking of rich people, here’s Judge Parker Senior fooling around with a deadly boa constrictor. “Ha ha, I’m a best-selling author, pillar of the community, and multimillionaire! This snake wouldn’t dare strangle me!”
Funky Winkerbean, 1/19/14
I can’t remember the details at the moment, but that park bench has Special Significance to Les and Dead Lisa — I think he proposed there, or she told him she had cancer there, or all of the above? It’s depressing, whatever it is, obviously. The question: is the bench Les’s permanent phone background wallpaper, which would explain why Cayla looks so emotionally numb in panel four, or does it just appear when Summer calls, which would explain why she’s so full of rage and frustration that she can’t fully explain?