Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Clash of the Archie Comics titans

The comic book world of Archie,set in the small town of Riverdale,was considered a bastion of good natured wholeness as iconic as the Andy Griffith show or Happy Days,where the biggest problem was who would get an invite to the high school dance by the title hero,Betty or Veronica?

However,there has been a recent rift behind the scenes of the comic book company that created it which reflects upon a dramatic shift in the viewpoint of the residents of Riverdale and their growing connection to our reality. A legal battle is currently being waged between the two corporate heads of the Archie Comics company(which is still a family owned business,a rarity in publishing circles these days)that is rift with allegations of employee harassment,defamation and a hostile work environment.

At this time,mediation is under way to settle who is in active control of the company and there are hopes that this fight won't be too costly. Otherwise,the sales of Archie Comics may be a real possibility and could change the future of all of the titles in it's possession. Sounds like a far cry from those carefree days of yesteryear,especially for long time fans of the series(I'm more of a Josie and the Pussycats girl myself but still I sympathize there):

Without getting into all of the he said/she said details,the one thing that convinced me about this entire situation being more than just a power struggle was that a major bone of contention is the updating of the world in which Archie and friends live in. Particularly,the addition of a gay character named Kevin Keller who was first introduced in a Veronica comic and has become a popular draw,with the issue where Kevin gets married selling out at retailers in strong numbers.

Other changes in the Archie series have been opposed as well,including story lines that imagined what if scenarios for Archie to marry either Betty or Veronica but this one says a lot about the mind set of the forces arrayed against it inhouse,in my opinion. Kevin Keller being a part of Archie's world has made the comic more accessible to a new audience and shown growth amongst characters that were in danger of turning into stale cliches that no longer had any pop culture relevance. Saving Archie from rejection by the next generation sounds like a smart and savvy decision to me:

While some may fear that any major changes to the fictional status quo could tear down the elements that made it so endearing in the first place,the hard truth is that in order to keep any series going,you need to ratchet things up a notch so that the plots stay interesting for the reader as well be relatable to all concerned.

This can be done without destroying the original structure of the piece. Actually,it can improve things quite a bit. Think of it as renovating a house;to keep what you love best about the building,some of the worn out fixtures have to be replaced,along with newer ones worked in to steady the foundation.

If you do it right,the former glory can shine brighter than before,not to mention make way for new residents to appreciate and enjoy such rich structure:

With any luck,this rift at Archie Comics will soon be mended and in favor of expanding the appeal of the comics to all audiences. Holding back promising new developments will only doom the series and deprive readers of a charming comic that showcases a positive version of life amongst teens. Dwelling in denial is a pointless exercise that gets you nowhere fast and that would be a shame for that to happen to Archie and the Riverdale gang:

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