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5 Bonkers Archie Comics Crossovers

Crossovers and team-ups are hallmarks of comics. They’re the basis of The Avengers, but not all team-ups are as logical as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor uniting against a horde of space monsters pouring out of a portal. Some of the most bonkers team-ups and crossovers have involved Archie Andrews and crew. As these five comics illustrate, Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica are versatile enough to go anywhere: from the gritty world of a vigilante to an alternate universe.

1. ‘Archie vs. Predator’

You know it’s not a typical Archie comic when you read a line like this: “I, Betty Cooper, call down jaguar vengeance on nasty old Cheryl Blossom!” Featuring a teenage Predator and traditional-looking Archie art by Fernando Ruiz, this recent series is so warped even Hunter S. Thompson couldn’t have imagined it. If you ever wanted to see beloved Archie characters hunted by an alien beast whose signature move is ripping out the head and spine of his victims in one motion, this is the series for you. Archie Vs. Predator is a little reminiscent of an ongoing Archie mash-up: Afterlife With Archie, which shows what might happen if a zombie apocalypse came to Riverdale. Bonus crossovers: Each issue contains an extra one-page story such as “Sabrina Meets Hellboy” and the even odder “Jughead Meets Mind Mgmt.” (Mind Mgmt is a thinky conspiracy thriller about government agents with mental powers that I cannot recommend enough).

2. ‘Archie Meets Kiss’

Since the Archie-verse is so stable and well-known, it’s a perfect ingredient for virtually any kind of “worlds collide” story—even if one of the worlds involves the most absurd, theatrical band ever: Kiss. This story started as a classic horror tale, as the Riverdale Monster Society decided to start reading out of an old book of spells. How could that go wrong? In addition to summoning real monsters, the somewhat monstrous fellows in Kiss also appear. I won’t spoil which battle is fiercest: Kiss vs. the monsters or Kiss’s wardrobe vs. Veronica’s fashion sense.

3. ‘Archie Meets Glee’

Of all the Archie crossovers, this is the least far-fetched on paper, since it involves the Riverdale teens meeting another bunch of teens. Fortunately, teen cheesiness is not the focus, as this has a surprising sci-fi edge, with science geek Dilton creating a “portal-porter” to the Glee-verse. Alternate universes have been a staple of superhero comics since the sixties, when the Silver Age Flash met the Golden Age Flash—a meeting referenced in this comic. In Archie Meets Glee, writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa embraced multiversal comic-book science by positing the Archieverse and Gleeverse as alternate versions of each other: Archie, Betty, and Veronica’s counterparts are Finn Hudson, Quinn Fabray, and Rachel Berry. As various characters switch universes thanks to a portal-porter accident, the displaced teen heroes struggle to maintain the integrity of the space-time continuum. And you thought love triangles were complicated.

4. ‘Archie Vs. Sharknado’

This one-shot—co-written by Anthony C. Ferrante, director of the Sharknado movies—is set to debut July 22, the same day as Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No. Since Archie & Co. have proven to work well with zombies, portals, vigilantes, alternate universes, and Kiss, a swirling tornado of sharks and campy humor seems like the logical next step.

5. ‘Archie Meets The Punisher’

Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) became a killing machine in Vietnam, then started his own war on criminals after watching his family get mowed down by mobsters. The Punisher has been the perfect foil for superheroes (especially Daredevil and Spider-Man) who follow that pesky “no killing” rule, and he proved an even better foil for the non-crime-fighting, non-spandex-clad Archie. I reckon this 1994 story is still the pinnacle of the bonkers mountain that is Archie crossovers. In Archie Meets The Punisher, Marvel’s murderous vigilante comes to Riverdale with a redhead on his hit list: a redhead who looks a lot like Archie. As they say, hijinks ensue. Like so many superhero battles, the initial battle—in this case, an attempted murder by The Punisher—proves to be a meet-cute for the inevitable team-up. The highlight here is reading The Punisher’s clipped, hardboiled, noir narration in the world of eternal sock hops, milkshakes, and (in the words of Veronica) “Archikins.”

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King Features Syndicate
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Comics
8 Things You Might Not Know About Hi and Lois
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate

A comics page staple for nearly 65 years, Mort Walker and Dik Browne’s Hi and Lois is a celebration of the mundane. Married couple Hiram “Hi” Flagston, wife Lois, and their four children balance work, school, and family dynamics, all of it with few punchlines but plenty of relatable situations. This four-panel ode to suburbia might appear simple, but it still has a rich history involving a beef with The Flintstones, broken noses, and one very important candy bar wrapper.

1. IT’S A SPINOFF OF BEETLE BAILEY.

Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker had been drawing that military-themed strip for four years when a friend of his named Lew Schwartz approached him in 1954 with a new idea: Why not create a strip about a nuclear family? Around the same time, the Korean War was ending, and Walker had sent Beetle home on furlough to visit his sister, Lois. Drawing a line between the two, Walker decided to pursue the suburbia idea using Lois as connective tissue. Hi and Lois was born: The two strips would see their respective characters visit one another over the years.

2. A CANDY BAR HELPED DEFINE THE STRIP’S LOOK.

Already working on Beetle Bailey, Walker decided to limit his work on Hi and Lois to writing. He wanted to collaborate with an artist, and so both he and his syndicate, King Features, went searching for a suitable partner. Walker soon came across ads for both Lipton’s tea and Mounds candy bars that had the same signature: Dik Browne. Coincidentally, a King Features executive named Sylvan Byck saw a strip in Boy’s Life magazine also signed by Browne. The two agreed he was a talent and invited Browne to work on the strip.

3. HI ORIGINALLY HAD A BROKEN NOSE.

As an artist, Walker had plenty of input into the style of Hi and Lois: Browne would later recall that trying to merge his own approach with Walker’s proved difficult. “When you draw a character like Hi, for instance, you immediately set the style for the whole strip,” he said. “You have already dictated what a tree will look like or how a dog will look, just by sketching that one head.” In his earliest incarnation, Hi had a broken, upturned nose to make him seem virile, puffed on a pipe, and wore a vest. Through trial and error, the two artists eventually settled on the softer lines the strip still uses today, an aesthetic some observers refer to as the “Connecticut school style” of cartooning.

4. EDITORS WERE WARY AT FIRST.

When Hi and Lois debuted on October 18, 1954, only 32 papers carried the strip. The reason, Walker later explained, had to do with concerns that he was spreading himself too thin. At the time, cartoonists rarely worked on two strips at once. Between Hi and Lois and Beetle Bailey, there was fear that the quality of one or both would suffer. Editors were also worried that having two artists on one project would dilute the self-expression of both. Walker stuck to his intentions—to make Hi and Lois a strip about the small pleasures of suburban life—and newspapers slowly came on board. By 1956, 131 papers were running the strip.

5. TRIXIE MAY HAVE SAVED THE STRIP.

With readers a little slow to respond to Hi and Lois, Walker had an idea: At the time, it was unusual for characters who don’t normally speak—like Snoopy—to express themselves with thought balloons. Walker decided to have baby Trixie think “out loud,” giving readers insight into her perspective. Shortly after Trixie began having a voice, Hi and Lois took off.

6. CHIP IS THE ONLY CHARACTER TO HAVE AGED.

Like most comic strip casts, the Hi and Lois family has found a way to stop the aging process. Baby Trixie is eternally in diapers; the parents seem to hover around 40 without any wrinkles. But oldest son Chip has been an exception. Roughly eight years old when the strip debuted, he’s currently 16, a nod to Walker's need for a character who can address teenage issues like driving, school, and dating.

7. IT LED TO HAGAR THE HORRIBLE.

Browne might be more well-known for his Hägar the Horrible, a strip about a beleaguered Viking. That strip, which debuted in 1973, was the result of Browne’s sons advising their father that Hi and Lois was really Walker’s brainchild and that Browne should consider a strip that could be a “family business.” By 1985, Hägar was in 1500 newspapers, while Hi and Lois was in 1000. Following Browne’s death in 1989, his son Chris continued the strip.

8. IT ALSO HAD A BONE TO PICK WITH THE FLINTSTONES.

The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera’s modern stone-age family, premiered in primetime in 1960, but not exactly the way the animation studio had intended. Fred and Wilma were initially named Flagstone, not Flintstone, and the series was to be titled Rally ‘Round the Flagstones. But Walker told executives he felt the name was too close to the Flagstons of Hi and Lois fame. Sensing a possible legal issue, they agreed.

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Pop Chart Lab
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entertainment
A Visual History of Captain America’s Shields
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

Captain America has gone through plenty of wardrobe changes since his comic book debut in 1941, but it’s his iconic shield that has had the most makeovers. Over the past eight decades, fans have seen the shield change its shape, color, and even the material from which it’s crafted. For the folks at Pop Chart Lab, the shield’s storied history provided the perfect subject matter for their latest poster.

On this piece, the company teamed with Marvel to give a rundown of 50 of Cap’s shields—from the instantly recognizable to the downright obscure. Here we see his classic Golden Age shield, with its slightly different color scheme, and the different variations from Jack Kirby’s time-traveling Bicentennial Battles book. Then there are entries like the vibranium shield he received from Black Panther in Captain America #342 and an adamantium one made by Tony Stark.

Those different shields just scratch the surface of the deep cuts Pop Chart Lab provides. There are also shields from Captain Americas across Marvel’s numerous alternate universes, like the ones used by the Ultimate Universe Steve Rogers and the android Cap from Earth-725.

Each shield is illustrated to match its comic book counterpart and comes with a description specifying the series it debuted in and which Earth it exists on (the Marvel Universe has thousands of different versions of Earth, after all).

The posters will begin shipping on May 23, and you can pre-order yours now starting at $29 on the Pop Chart Lab website. You can check out a full look at the poster below.

Pop Chart Lab's Captain America shield poster
Pop Chart Lab

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