Youtube // SiteNumberFive
Youtube // SiteNumberFive

11 Surprising Facts About Archie Comics

Youtube // SiteNumberFive
Youtube // SiteNumberFive

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."

arrow
Comics
A Canadian Man Set a Guinness World Record for Most Marvel Comic Tattoos

Here’s something to Marvel at: A 36-year-old man from Alberta, Canada just set a Guinness World Record for having the highest number of Marvel comic tattoos on his body, Nerdist reports.

Rick Scolamiero, of Edmonton, boasts 31 Marvel tattoos in total and is inked from his neck down to his feet. What started out as a plan to get a sleeve (full arm tattoo) of his favorite Marvel characters quickly morphed into a full-body makeover.

"I fell in love with the artist’s work and wanted to continue to see what else we could come up with regarding tattoos,” Scolamiero told Guinness World Records. “I have been a Marvel comic lover since I was small and growing up we didn’t have much but I always had my Marvel comics and Marvel trading cards. They actually got me through some tough times so the idea of having them on my body forever just really appealed to me."

Wolverine and Spider-Man can be seen on his forearms, the Guardians of the Galaxy trail down his left calf, and LEGO versions of Daredevil and Deadpool adorn his ankles, to name but a few designs. Scolamiero didn’t want to leave any superheroes behind, so he had them inked onto his, well, behind. His left and right buttocks feature depictions of Spider-Man 2099 (a futuristic version of the original) and Vision (from The Avengers), respectively.

He even got Marvel comic artist Stan Lee’s autograph tattooed onto his wrist. In total, he attended one tattoo session per month for the past seven years and endured 350 hours under the needle. Now that’s dedication.

Check out the video below to see Scolamiero show off his tats.

[h/t Nerdist]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Andrews McMeel
arrow
Lists
10 Things You Might Not Know About Pearls Before Swine
Andrews McMeel
Andrews McMeel

Since its quiet debut online in 2001, Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis’s strip about an anthropomorphic and acerbic band of animals trading barbs and cultural commentary, has become one of the bigger success stories in modern-day cartooning. Take a look at a few things you might not have realized about the strip’s history, including its origins and why the notoriously reclusive Bill Watterson once paid it an illustrated visit.

1. STEPHAN PASTIS STARTED OUT AS A CARTOONING LAWYER.

Before he committed to cartooning as a profession, Stephan Pastis studied to become an attorney. The San Marino, California native practiced in the field of insurance defense from 1993 to 2002, representing insurance companies who were being sued by policyholders. At night, he would draw and send samples to syndicates. “When you’re in law school, you think you’re going to be a lawyer like Oliver Wendell Holmes, arguing esoteric points of law,” he told Cartoonician.com in 2014. “But in truth, what you do is, you get in petty fights with other lawyers about who served whom and when, and how well you can bury someone in discovery, and keep someone in deposition for hours.”

2. CHARLES SCHULZ ENCOURAGED HIM.

Hearing that Peanuts creator Charles Schulz stopped in for breakfast every morning at a Santa Rosa ice skating rink, Pastis staked out the arena in 1996 in the hopes of soliciting some advice from the legendary cartoonist. Schulz graciously invited him to sit down and gave him some input on The Infirm, a legal comedy Pastis was working on at the time. The meeting emboldened Pastis, who took to reading Dilbert collections to try and evaluate why successful strips worked. Focusing more on two misanthropic animal characters, Rat and Pig, Pastis started circulating samples of Pearls Before Swine in 1999. (The title comes from a Bible verse, Matthew 7:6: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.”)

3. A SALES GUY ALMOST KILLED THE STRIP.

After honing his skills, Pastis’s Pearls drew the attention of several syndicates. One of them, United, offered a “trial” run where they would verify he could turn in strips on a consistent basis before going out to newspapers. After that phase, Pastis expected to start appearing in print. But one salesman at the syndicate changed that with just one word. Pearls, he said, “sucks.” Fearing the strip wouldn’t catch on, United let Pastis shop the strip around in 2000 before calling him back and offering to put the strip on their website to see if readers responded. They did. Bolstered by an endorsement from Dilbert creator Scott Adams, Pearls wound up in newspapers in 2002. Eight months after its debut, Pastis quit practicing law for good.

4. IT MIGHT BE THE DON RICKLES OF COMIC STRIPS.

In 2006, Pastis drew some criticism for poking fun at the comparatively mundane strips Baby Blues and Zits, as well as the highly homogenized Family Circus. Some fans of those strips wrote in to complain, but the targets of his ribbing didn’t take things so seriously. Bil Keane of Family Circus requested to see the strips mocking Jeffy and company—Pastis depicted them as profanity-spewing alcoholics—while Baby Blues referenced Pearls by having the kids in the strip play with a toy crocodile, a nod to his acerbic crocodile characters.

5. HE UPSET CATHY GUISEWITE.

One of Pastis's repeated targets has been Cathy, the laconic strip about a harried single woman that ran through 2010. On his blog, Pastis recalled a phone conversation he had with Cathy creator Cathy Guisewite in which he called to inform her he wanted to depict her playing naked Twister in the strip. An appalled Guisewite insisted he withhold it from publication. Later, Pastis won a National Cartoonists Society award for Best Comic Strip, an honor presented by Guisewite during the ceremony. Pastis feared some reprisal, but Guisewite just said she was proud of his accomplishment.

6. ONE STRIP ABOUT ISIS WAS WITHHELD FROM PRINT.

In 2016, Pastis depicted the character of Pig on the phone with his sister and trying to correct her grammar from using “me” to “I.” His insistence leads to screaming, "I, sis!” into the receiver, with the National Security Agency subsequently hauling him away. His syndicate refused to run the strip, citing concerns people would be upset if a terrorist attack happened to unfold in the days or weeks surrounding publication.

7. BILL WATTERSON MADE HIS RETURN TO COMICS IN THE STRIP.

After finishing his 10-year run on Calvin and Hobbes in 1995, cartoonist Bill Watterson largely stepped away from the public eye. He ended his extended sabbatical from comics in 2014, covertly stepping in as a guest artist for Pearls. Watterson was a fan of Pastis’s work and got in touch via a mutual friend. Watterson wound up doing three daily strips, leaving readers to wonder why the Pearls style was suddenly hewing so closely to Watterson’s, before Pastis broke the news. Once the story was out, the strips blew out a server on Universal’s Uclick site.

8. PASTIS IS A CHARACTER IN THE STRIP.

While Pastis has said that the character of Rat exhibits some of his humor, he has been known to frequently insert himself into the strip. This can confuse some readers, as in the case when the illustrated Pastis divorced his wife, Staci, within the narrative of the comic. That led people to believe the cartoonist was really getting a divorce. (He wasn’t.)

9. YOU CAN BUY PLUSH PEARLS CHARACTERS.

In 2009, Pastis and Universal struck a deal with plush toy manufacturer Aurora for a line of stuffed Pearls Before Swine characters, including Pig, Rat, and a Croc. Pastis joked that the three-dimensional products would help him “draw the back-view” of his cast when he needs a visual reference.

10. IT GOT AN ENDORSEMENT FROM A CONVICTED MURDERER.

In 2010, Pastis was somewhat horrified to read that a man awaiting trial for a double homicide in Utah wrote in to a local newspaper to chastise the prosecution and offer his view of the offending circumstances. At the end, in a weird non-sequitur, he implored the paper to “bring back Pearls Before Swines [sic] and Garfield.” The defendant, Jeremy Valdes, pled guilty in 2015 and was ordered to serve two life sentences.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios