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11 Surprising Facts About Archie Comics

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Ever think while reading Archie comics, "I wonder how Archie dies"? No? Well too bad, because you're going to find out. In issue #36 of "Life With Archie," a series that looks into Archie's future, post-high school days, the character will be killed off. Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater tells CNN, "Archie dies as he lived—heroically. He dies saving the life of a friend."

Even though this is the end of Archie, it won't be the end of Archie—the main, non-"Life With Archie" series will continue to follow Archie and his Riverdale pals. This brief foray into the future is just one of the many things our hero has had to face since his creation in 1941.

1. Archie was inspired by a 1930s teenage heartthrob

Publicity photo of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland for film Love Finds Andy Hardy, public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Archie was based—in part, at least—on the Andy Hardy movie series, starring Mickey Rooney. When Andy Hardy isn’t rejecting girl-next-door Betsy Booth (Betsy/Betty, get it?), he’s dating a slew of Veronica-like girlfriends that include Lana Turner, Donna Reed, and Ann Rutherford. Like Archie, Andy is an average guy who somehow attracts girls who are way out of his league—and thus the Archie universe’s gender dynamics were formed.

2. Archie Andrews was on the radio

From 1943 to 1953, The Adventures of Archie Andrews radio show played primarily on NBC. The show’s intro featured a squeaky-voiced Jughead saying, “Aw relax, Archie, ree-lax!” Oddly, this show for preteens often featured Archie’s parents more than Archie himself. Sample plots include “Archie Gets Dressed for a Date With Veronica,” “Mr. Andrews Wallpapers a Room,” and “Buying a Hammock.”

3. When the Monkees refused "Sugar, Sugar," it went to The Archies

Supposedly, when producer Don Kirshner offered the Monkees “Sugar, Sugar” (which songwriter Jeff Barry denies happened), they refused it, demanding artistic control and a more mature sound. The situation grew so heated, Mike Nesmith put his fist through a wall, saying, “That could have been your face.” So Kirshner went on to create The Archies—formed by the teenagers on TV's The Archie Showa band that couldn’t talk back or hit things. It was the number one song of 1969.

4. Archie was a superhero named Captain Pureheart

Courtesy of Dial B for Blog

In 1966, Archie became Captain Pureheart, a Superman-like character with powerful strength and the ability to fly using "jet-boosters.” Along with Betty, aka Superteen, and Jughead as Captain Hero, Captain Pureheart battled villains like The Ice Cube and Evilheart (i.e. Reggie) using super bad breath, exploding bubble gum, and the power of a pure heart. Not surprisingly, Captain Pureheart was canceled from lack of sales.

5. Archie’s Christian comics existed

Courtesy of Comics Alliance 

In 1973, an artist for Archie Comics named Al Hartley got permission to use the characters in a series published by Spire Christian Comics. In the 49 issues that followed, Archie and friends undergo evangelical hijinks that include converting a hippie to Christianity; convincing a reporter of the importance of prayer; and demonstrating what happens when schools stop teaching the Bible in an Old West town. (It’s okay: They open a Christian bookstore.)

6. Archie cartoons never do that well

There have been six animated Archie TV shows since 1969, ranging in style and theme. The Archie Show was straight from the comic books. The New Archies tried to update the animation to please kids from the 1980s. Archie's Weird Mysteries took on B-movie monsters like mummies and a 50-foot Veronica. Not one show lasted more than a year. Let’s hope the newest animated show, It’s Archie, will fare better.

7. There was an Archie TV movie? Of course there was. 

Archie: To Riverdale And Back Again aired on NBC in 1990. In it, Archie (played by Christopher Rich) goes to his 15-year high school reunion and runs into the gang, now live-action adults. The movie is impressive in its thorough depiction of Riverdale—Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead even perform a song similar to “Sugar, Sugar.” But will Archie finally pick between Betty and Veronica, or stay with his fiancée?

8. Kevin Keller, the gay Archie character, made history

Courtesy of Kevin Keller Facebook

In 2010, Archie comics introduced its first gay character, Kevin Keller, in Veronica 202. The issue promptly sold out, and Archie Comics ordered its first reprint ever in its 72-year history. Clearly, the character struck a nerve. Archie Comics then gave Kevin his own series in 2011, making him the first gay male with a solo series in mainstream comics. Kevin is also going to become a superhero called The Equalizer as part of his ongoing storyline this May.

9. Archie is branching out into Young Adult books

This summer, Archie is entering the young adult market—or Betty is, at least. Diary Of A Girl Next Door: Betty by Tania del Rio will be from her point of view. Betty has always kept a diary, so she seems like a natural choice. The book is a combination of first-person text and illustrations that Betty “drew,” much in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

10. Afterlife With Archie takes on adult horror

Courtesy of Afterlife with Archie Facebook

Afterlife With Archie is a mature horror comic where Riverdale is overrun with zombies. Hot Dog is killed by a car, so Jughead begs Sabrina to bring him back to life. When she does, zombie Hot Dog bites Jughead, who then turns into a zombie, and the terror escalates from there. Afterlife With Archie has been selling well and is getting good reviews. There are even rumors of a movie. It seems that Archie's afterlives never end.

11. Archie Gets a 'Girls' Makeover

In 2015, Lena Dunham will write a four-part series for Archie Comics. According to Entertainment Weekly, the story will "follow Archie and the gang when they run into a new reality show filming in Riverdale."

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Disney/Marvel Studios
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Marvel vs. DC: This Map Shows Each State’s Favorite Comic Universe
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Which comic book company is the best: Marvel or DC? This is a perennial argument on middle-school playgrounds and Reddit threads, but this map, courtesy of USDish.com, might just give us a definitive answer. The information here is broken down by state, using information provided by Google Trends to give us a clear winner of not only the most popular comic book company but also the most popular individual hero in each state (let’s show a little respect to Indiana for championing the Martian Manhunter).

According to the map, Marvel is the most popular publisher in 37 states, with DC trailing behind at eight, and five additional states coming to a 50/50 stalemate. The totals weren’t a blowout, though. In certain states like Mississippi, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, the favored company only won by a point. And just because a state searches Google for a specific publisher the most doesn’t mean an individual character from the opposing team isn’t its favorite—Hawaii is listed as favoring Marvel overall, yet they love Aquaman on his own. Same with DC-loving Maryland showing Black Panther some love (helps to have a big movie coming out). Take a look at some of the most notable state preferences below:

So how did Marvel amass so many states when there are just as many DC TV shows and movies out there? Well, according to Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate program in social media, the answer lies in the depth at the House of Ideas.

“While Superman and Batman may be dominant characters,” Selepak said in a statement, “the DC Universe offers few other well-known heroes and villains and when these other characters are presented to the audience in film and on TV, they often are less than well-received.” This is opposed to Marvel, which launches new heroes on the big and small screen seemingly every year.

Does this map tell the whole story? That’s up for debate. When it comes to comics sold, DC and Marvel are always in a close battle: In January 2018, DC had six of the 10 best-selling comics of the month, placing four of the top five. Marvel, meanwhile, had three, while Image Comics had one with The Walking Dead. In terms of overall retail market share, though, Marvel eked out DC 34.3 percent to 33.8 percent.

This is a battle that's been raging since the 1960s, and for an industry that thrives on a never-ending fight between good and evil, we shouldn't expect the Marvel vs. DC debate to be settled anytime soon.

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DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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entertainment
The Dark Knight Is Returning to Theaters, Just Ahead of 10th Anniversary
DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Believe it or not, July 18 will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of The Dark Knight, the second entry in Christopher Nolan’s game-changing superhero movie trilogy. To mark the occasion, Showcase Cinemas—the movie theater chain behind the Cinema de Lux experience—is bringing the movie back to select theaters on the east coast for limited screenings on February 8 and February 11, /Film reports.

Many people consider The Dark Knight the best film in the Batman franchise (Tim Burton and LEGO-fied movies included). The film currently holds a 94 percent “fresh” rating with both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the highest-rated movie in the Batman universe.

Much of the film’s acclaim came from Heath Ledger’s brilliant turn as The Joker—a role that won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar (making him the only actor to win that award posthumously). Even Michael Caine, who plays Bruce Wayne’s ever-dutiful butler and BFF Alfred, admitted that he wasn’t sold on the idea of bringing The Joker back into Batman’s cinematic universe, after the character was so ably played by Jack Nicholson in Burton’s 1989 film, until he found out Ledger would be taking the role.

“You don’t try and top Jack,” was Caine’s original thought. But when Nolan informed the actor that he was casting Ledger, that changed things. “I thought: ‘Now that’s the one guy that could do it!’ My confidence came back,” Caine told Empire Magazine.

To find out if The Dark Knight is playing at a theater near you, visit Showcase Cinemas’s website. If it’s not, don’t despair: With the official anniversary still six months away, other theaters are bound to have the same idea.

[h/t: /Film]

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