Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Classics - Archie #217

It's always fun to track down an old issue of Archie and see how the world's oldest teen holds up in different eras.

This issue was printed in 1972, at a time when Archie and I were about the same age (give or take a few years). I must say, he's holding up much better than yours truly.

Anyway, the clothes look vaguely familiar, though I don't remember the girls all wearing mini-skirts in high school (I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that). Durn dress codes!

The biggest laugh in this issue came from the title of the opening story: "The Gay Blades." It's all about the janitor, Mr. Svenson, raging against the teens at school for tracking water and slush all over the halls. The solution is absurd but cute.

After a couple of (frankly lame) one-page gags, the second story places Archie in the challenging role of delivering a package to Veronica despite a blizzard. You'll see that ending coming a mile away.

The third story is all about the teens discovering a new way to eat ice cream. Also a silly one. Perhaps this was the inspiration for Ben and Jerry's?

The final story is the best of the bunch, as Mr. Weatherbee tries a different approach to getting Archie to school on time.

Look, this is the kind of stuff that's been the meat-and-potatos for the Archie series for decades without end - take a bunch of likable characters, lavish on some wonderful comic art (in a Dan DeCarlo style, even if he doesn't do the actual art), add some fluffy humor, a couple of genuine laughs, the latest fashions, a little romance, and you've got a winning formula.

Some of the Archie comics are better than others - this one's just an average example (needed more Betty) - but it's a light bit of entertainment that any young reader would enjoy.

Even geezers like your pal Chuck can appreciate it for being a slice of Americana - dependable, fun and reliably entertaining.

Grade: B-


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