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Comic Genius

by Eva Pasco


Archie ComicsGrowing up during the Sixties, one of my favorite adolescent pastimes was that of reading. I plowed through both the Nancy Drew and Donna Parker mystery series, amassing quite a collection of books to stuff on the shelves of my mahogany bookcase. I’d sign out library books about foreign countries, and checked out The Wizard of Oz several times in succession so I could follow the yellow brick road over and over to The Emerald City. Whenever I became bedridden with bouts of the measles, chickenpox, or influenza, I got hooked on Archie Comics.  


The Archie Comics is one of the most successful, longest running brands in the history of the comic industry. Its characters were created by publisher/editor John L. Goldwater, based in part on people met by Goldwater in the  Midwest during his travels while looking for jobs and places to stay. Eventually shortened to “Archie,” the series is set in the town of Riverdale whose authentic geographical location is unclear, though best guestimates are Haverhill, Massachusetts during the early years, and the Bronx in New York. 


The main cast of comic characters includes: 


Archibald “Archie” Andrews—red-headed teenager with an avid interest in girls; clumsy and accident prone. 


Veronica “Ronnie/Ron” Lodge—dark-haired, spoiled and snobbish rich girl; Betty’s best friend and rival for Archie’s affections. 


Elizabeth “Betty” Cooper—blonde, girl next door type, good student, athlete, and auto mechanic; obsessed with Archie. 


Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones III—sarcastic, obsessed with food, lazy, indifferent to girls, knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects; Archie’s best friend. 


Reginald “Reggie” Mantle III—self-confident, practical joker, popular with the girls; Archie’s rival in sports and pursuing Veronica. 


I’d sit propped up in bed against two pillows waiting for my dad to come home from work with some surprise to cheer me up and alleviate boredom.  There was no shortage of stuffed animals, costume jewelry rings, or Archie comic books—usually two.  I suppose I enjoyed Archie so much because the series enabled me to hover on the edge of becoming a teen, and gloat whenever Veronica’s schemes backfired.  In truth those prototype characters materialized into flesh and bones walking the corridors of Lincoln High, inciting probable cause to gloat when good guys finished last.




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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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