Hey! It's KC Carlson!

Hey! It’s KC Carlson!

A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

There have been a bunch of surprisingly great miniseries and one-shots published by Archie Comics in the last month or two. Here’s a look at a few.


Reggie and Me #5

Reggie and Me #5

Reggie and Me was a five-issue miniseries starring “Riverdale’s Friendly, Neighborhood Super-Villain” Reggie Mantle in a story written by Tom DeFalco. While DeFalco is probably best known as being Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief (1987-1994) and for extensively writing for the company for over 20 years (Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), his comic book career actually began at Archie Comics in 1972 as an editorial assistant. During that period, he initiated and developed the Archie Comics digest line — still the company’s most profitable publishing series. He’s also written numerous Archie and Josie and the Pussycats stories. After his Marvel stint, he returned to writing for Archie, most notably some Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. stories and a great parody of Thor (a series which he also previously wrote for Marvel Comics). Art for Reggie and Me is by relative newcomer Sandy Jarrell, who’s also worked on DC Comics Bombshells and Batman ’66.

While Reggie’s played a supporting role in many of the new Archie stories, it’s in Reggie and Me that we learn much more about him (and his Dachshund named Vader, who narrates the story). We discover that due to his massive ego and chip on his shoulder, Reggie has spent a lot of time on his own (plus, his parents are largely involved with their own things). He often spends that time retaliating for perceived slights from his fellow Riverdale peers — most notably, Archie and Moose. In a flashback from when Archie, Betty, and Reggie were kids, we learn that while Reggie was goofing around, he almost nearly killed Archie — yet also notably saved him. But Betty calls him on it.

So, not your typical carefree teenage Archie story from the past. Recently concluded as single issues, Reggie and Me will be collected this October.


Archie Meets Ramones

Archie Meets Ramones

Last October, the Archies mysteriously traveled back in time to meet the Ramones in their 1970s heyday in a great 48-page special written by Alex Segura (who writes Archie stories when he isn’t writing detective novels) and Matthew Rosenberg (Secret Warriors and others). You’ll see their names again here shortly. Art is by Gisèle Lagacé, who has been doing Archie stories for several years now, and is hugely influenced by former Archie artist Dan DeCarlo. (She also has an extensive history with webcomics like Eerie Cuties.)

We don’t see that many time travel adventures in Archie Comics, but this is a great one, as the Archies mysteriously end up in New York City in 1976. They meet the Ramones in front of Max’s Kansas City — a classic hangout of choice for artists and sculptors, which attracted a historic lineup of “underground” musicians including the Velvet Underground (and Lou Reed solo), Marc Bolan, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, the New York Dolls, and others. Plus, Blondie’s Deborah Harry famously worked there as a waitress. Of course, none of these people actually pop up in the comic (except maybe in backgrounds if you know where to look). There’s also a cameo of Vince Lombardi High School from the cult classic 1979 Ramones film Rock ’n’ Roll High School. (Which I’ve seen at least 20 times since its original release. “Do your parents *know* that you’re Ramones?”)

Of course, Joey keeps calling them “The Starchies” as a running gag throughout the issue. The Ramones’ last-minute advice for the Starchies? “Play fast.” Once the Archies get back to their real time, they’re immediately booed off the stage while playing “Sugar Sugar”. Guess which band’s catalog they switch to, to win the crowd back? You guessed it. Betty asks “So are we a punk band now?” and Jughead replies “I hope not. I can’t play that fast all the time!”

Now that’s rock and roll! It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it! I’ll give it a 10, Dick!

Awesome multiple covers exist, all of which are reproduced within the issue itself (much smaller than actual size). Also, this comic will be reprinted in the upcoming Archie Crossover Collection (with other stories like “Kevin Keller Meets George Takei”), scheduled to be released in July.


The Archies

The Archies

Also recently published is the imaginatively titled The Archies One-Shot. It’s 48 pages, written by Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by Joe Eisma. So here’s KC Kasem’s The Archies Top 10 Countdown of cool things about this comic!

10. It’s an origin story, of sorts.

9. The lead cover (of 3) is by Jamie Hernandez and rocks, although I’m also kinda partial to the David Mack Beatles’ Love-inspired variant. Heck, Audrey Mok’s variant is quite striking as well. (And I bet based on something also, although I’m not making the connection yet… Anyone? I’m getting a White Stripes vibe from it.)

8. Archie talks to himself a lot. Foreshadowing some sort of mental breakdown, possibly?

7. The “new” Archie reintroduction of Bingo Wilkin (That Wilkin’ Boy!) as the manager of The Jack Pot, Riverdale’s new, hot music club.

6. Archie in denial. More humorous than intended.

5. Jughead correcting Archie on rock history.

4. “DO YOU WANT TO BE IN AN AWESOME BAND” hand-lettered flyers! And Arch papering Riverdale with ‘em!

3. Archie: “It’s like I’m screaming into the void. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good lyric. I should write that…”

2. Betty: “Need a tambourine player?”

1. Archie destroying the Archies before they’ve begun, by obsessive overthinking and other control issues.


The Archies One-Shot will be collected in The Archies and Other Stories, scheduled for release in October. As will our next selection, directly below.


Big Moose

Big Moose

There’s a cornucopia of Big Moose in this three-story, multiple-creator, 48-page comic. Moose Mason may be one of the least complicated of the Archie cast — or is he? Reading this will certainly give you a new respect for the character as being much more complex (yet still very funny) than just the stereotypical dumb jock lunkhead who dates the prettiest girl in school. (If you’re paying close attention, you may find new reasons here why it may appear that Moose is often big, dumb, and slow-moving. Hopefully without giving anything away — and in the abstract — it might be related to computers and the speed in which they process things.)

Easily both the funniest and most detailed character study so far in the new Archie comic book universe. While this is so much better than the old stereotyped Moose Mason, it’s still essentially the Moose we know and love. (I suspect Mark Waid’s sneaky uncredited input here, as it’s somewhat well known — if you pay attention — that Moose is Mark’s favorite Archie character.) It may take a while, but based on this one-shot, I hope he gets his own series. (Unless that’s a little bit too much for the big guy.)


Little Archie

Little Archie

I’m hoping today’s fans (and especially us older fans) of Little Archie are appreciating Art Baltazar and Franco’s modern take on the characters. I’m concerned because I know of the great love that many of the original Little Archie fans have for the work of creators like Bob Bolling and Dexter Taylor, making them protective of the cultish title. (Hugely popular to those who remember it, but apparently not popular enough for any kind of archival reprinting of these childhood classics. Many of the earliest issues of Little Archie are impossible to find — at any price! And I’ve tried!) For many children of the 1950s and ‘60s, these Little Archie stories (especially the iconic ones by Bolling) were the classical literature of their childhood.

It would be tough to live up to that kind of pedigree, and Art and Franco are certainly up to the challenge — but instead the duo have chosen a completely different path. One more absurdist — as well as downright wacky — and it works equally as well. Perhaps even better than the classics, given their modern slant on everyday life

Little Sabrina

Little Sabrina

The first appearance of Little Archie as drawn by now-regular artists Art Baltazar and Franco first appears in Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1-3 (2010 DC). (At least I think this is the first. Little Archie stuff is notoriously difficult to research for some reason… I also think that this series has never been collected, possibly because of the co-publishing agreements.) A Little Archie (and his pals) one-shot was recently published by Archie in May 2017 and will apparently be followed up by individual comics starring Little Josie and the Pussycats and Little Sabrina later this year. Then, all three will be collected in December as the 136-page Little Archie by Art & Franco, according to a listing at Amazon.


In summing up the Archie miniseries and one-shots to date, I’m tempted to also include Adam Hughes’ recently truncated (with issue #3) Betty and Veronica, but that doesn’t seem exactly fair, especially since the final issue isn’t out for another week or two. Maybe I’ll save that for a follow-up or something.

For the record, current Archie ongoing titles include Archie, Jughead, Josie and the Pussycats, and Riverdale (based on the TV show). Hopefully I’ll get to review these soon. I’m not sure what the current status of Afterlife With Archie is — the last issue published (#10) was in October of 2016, with two more issues solicited. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a similar status, with the most recent issue published (#6) in September of 2016, and #7 solicited as being the first of a six-part story. Will these series ever conclude?


KC CARLSON may be too obsessed with Archie Comics. I bet there are worse obsessions.

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. No, I’m screaming into the void!


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