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Author Topic: Of Miley Cyrus And Betty And Veronica And The Archie Comics Girls  (Read 10906 times)

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Offline Bluto

Much has been made about the "topless," "provocative" pictures that were released of Miley Cyrus, age 15.  It doesn't seem right for teenagers to be exploring their sexuality, or to be used as sex objects.  When good ol' Brittney Spears became a millionarie for doing it, people called her a slut, a "pop tart," etc. 

But Betty and Veronica and the rest of the Archie girls routinely cause guys of all ages to droll over them.  They wear suggestive clothing and strike sexy poses.  They go off alone with guys they hardly know.  They cheat on their boyfriends.  And is there an encyclopedia somewhere of all the guys they have made out with in some way over the years?  The kind of situations I'm writing about happened a lot in the good old days (i.e. in the comic books I grew up with), but also happen now.  Yet the belief persisits that Betty is a sweet, wholesome teen, and that Ronnie has a heart of gold deep inside, and that Midge is cute, etc.  And that all the Archie girls are virgins.  Heck, I even believe these things!

My question is, "Why aren't we appalled at B & V and company the way many are, and were, appalled by Brooke, Lindsey, Brittney, Miley, Hillary (Duff, not Clinton), etc.?"

I think it's because we all know at some level deep inside ourselves that the Archie characters exist in their own universe where actions have no long term, and sometimes not any, consequences.  It's a totally fictional place where slapstick violence occurs, and girls are sex objects while maintaining their total innocense,  where charcters can just about get away with murder, where kids can experiment with sex and no one gets pregnant or raped - or even loses their virginity.  This is one reason why stories about Moose having dyslexia, Reggie going green, the gang being role models, teens dealing with divorce, etc., always strike me as being strange and out of place.  Those kind of stories just don't belong in a universe where Betty lands a job in a commercial because of her sex appeal, makes out with a handsome adman/actor who has got to be in his mid to late twenties at least, becomes world famous portraying a young housewife - men want her, woman want to be her - and appears on billboards in a skimpy bikini.  (I've just described a story in an old Archie I got at Chirstmas.)  If the Archie characters lived in a universe approximating our own, why aren't people accusing the men of the ad agency of being pedophiles?  Why wasn't the actor arrested?  Why didn't Betty realize she was being exploited?  And why did Mr. Lodge, the head of the agency, approve of the exploitation?  (Hmm, how about that one!  The father of Betty's best friend sees her as a sex object!!!)  And why, oh why, do the rest of the stories in the issue, and indeed in all the other Archie comic books, treat this story as if it never happened.  Nobody ever wonders what happened to Betty's money or why she isn't famous any more.  Nobody recognizes her from the bikini shots.

I think, too, that, yes the characters are supposed to be teens in high school, but that they are in a high school in a different kind of universe - one where the boys can openly drool over a new student teacher and where Dilton can create artificial intelligence.  And I think in many Archie stories over the years, the writers and artists didn't treat the charcters as teens, but as independent 20-something attractuive young adults. In fact the only way some stories can work, without totally creeping you out if you think about them, is if the charcters are in their 20s.

I also think that the members of the Archie gang work best when they are treated as if they were - guess what- humorous cartoon, comic strip, and comic book characters!  They don't have to inhabit reality or suffer any consequences for what they do.  They don't even have to live in a world that has any kind of strict story-to-story continuity.  They just have to intrigue and entertain us and make us laugh.  And just as we don't need an episode where SpongeBob discovers Ritalin, or Wile E. Coyote becomes a vegetarian, or Pepe Le Pew is sued for sexual harrassment, so we don't need stories about Archie characters dealing with their parents' divorces or learning valuable life lessons.

Another option would be for the Archie company to do a "Crisis Of Infinite Archies" type of thing where we find out that there's an Archie Earth - 1, where all the realistic stories take place, an Archie Earth - 2, which combines realistic and outrageous elements,  an Archie Earth - 3, where the characters met in high school when new girl Veronica showed up, an  Archie Earth - 4, where slapstick violence and sexy situations reign supreme, an Archie Earth - 5, where the characters all were in grade school together, an Archie Earth 6 -where Arch, Jughead, Betty, and Reggie were superheroes and, in Reggie's case, a supervillain, an Archie Earth -7, where the characters live in the stone age, an Archie Earth - 8, where they are in all in high school, an Archie Earth - 9, where Archie is The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E., an Archie Earth - 10, where the characters are in their twenties, etc.  Fans can debate which stories take place on which Archie Earths. And the company can the have all the Earths collapse into one.  ;)

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and opinions.  I know you may disagree.  Thanks for listening!

Offline Tuxedo Mark

Much has been made about the "topless," "provocative" pictures that were released of Miley Cyrus, age 15.

To which I say that it's a bunch of complaining over nothing. Get over it, people.

Brooke

Brooke?

Hillary (Duff, not Clinton)

1 l for Duff; 2 for Clinton.

And why, oh why, do the rest of the stories in the issue, and indeed in all the other Archie comic books, treat this story as if it never happened.  Nobody ever wonders what happened to Betty's money or why she isn't famous any more.  Nobody recognizes her from the bikini shots.

I'll answer that below.

I also think that the members of the Archie gang work best when they are treated as if they were - guess what- humorous cartoon, comic strip, and comic book characters!  They don't have to inhabit reality or suffer any consequences for what they do.  They don't even have to live in a world that has any kind of strict story-to-story continuity.  They just have to intrigue and entertain us and make us laugh.  And just as we don't need an episode where SpongeBob discovers Ritalin, or Wile E. Coyote becomes a vegetarian, or Pepe Le Pew is sued for sexual harrassment, so we don't need stories about Archie characters dealing with their parents' divorces or learning valuable life lessons.

I disagree. I enjoy dramatic stories where lessons are learned. Why not have something for everyone?

Another option would be for the Archie company to do a "Crisis Of Infinite Archies" type of thing ...  Fans can debate which stories take place on which Archie Earths. And the company can the have all the Earths collapse into one.  ;)

Hell, no. That's typical comic book crap that we can get from the likes of DC (which I don't even want).

More accurately, each individual story occurs in its own little universe. There's a sense of a very loose, vague quasi-continuity (much like in the James Bond films). Let's say that a current story has a reference to something that happened in a previous story (along with an editor's footnote). Details such as the interiors of characters' houses would be different in the 2 stories. Therefore, we could say that something SIMILAR to what happened in the previous story occured in the past in the universe of the current story. Bryan Singer used this same "vague history" explanation in explaining how "Superman" and "Superman II" relates to "Superman Returns".




Betty Cooper + Cheryl Blossom. It's inevitable.

The Betty Cooper FAQ
http://supergirl.741.com/Betty/bettyfaq.html

The Cheryl Blossom FAQ
http://supergirl.741.com/Cheryl/cherylfaq.html

Offline Gregg

Great article, Bluto. I see the characters as versatile enough to cover both areas, much like Peanuts or Doonesbury did. In those strips, the characters were funny but some of the things they talked about were very profound or reflected a part of our world that made the message more poignant. The Archie characters can cover a wide gamut of stories and circumstances that most characters can't. DC and Marvel are good at the superhero stuff, but not so much at the day to day stuff. Can you imagine Batman going green? Or Spider-Man handling a rape?

Not that i really want to see any of these "ultra real world" stories in Archie as well. Am I upset about Miley? You bet because it's akin to soft core kiddie porn, artistic or not. Why am I not upset about Betty doing the same thing, as in the story you mentioned? No, because these are fictional characters, and while they can reflect current reality they are next exactly realisitic. As Tuxedo mentioned, they don't need a "Crisis" type clean-up because continuity really doesn't exist in this reality. Otherwise the Archie gang from the 40s would be great-grandparents now.

I love the stories where the Archie characters are allowed to be humorous and explore their world. This really makes them timeless. Where as Batman and Superman don't age well, I feel the Archie characters do. As we've seen, many of their stories hold up better now than when they first done. Forsythe's comic strips point this out very clearly. With the Archie characters and their world almost all things are possible. They don't need real-world drama. They are dramatic in and of themselves.

I'll type more later...

Finishing what i started. I also really don't consider the character in high school unless the story says they're in high school. I know its supposed to be a given, but they really act more like young adults. so Betty as a race car driver or Betty as a model (like you pointed out Bluto) obviously doesn't or couldn't happen to them as high schoolers. That would make a fun project for someone with no life: Build a chronological table of stories not as they were published but when they could have happened on a semi real timeline. I.e. if Archie mentions being in a fraternity, that obviously happens in college, that kind of thing... could be fun.

Gregg
« Last Edit: May 07, 2008, 07:50:00 AM by Gregg »

Offline Tuxedo Mark

Can you imagine Batman going green?

Nothing wrong with having the Batmobile run on hydrogen fuel cells.

Or Spider-Man handling a rape?

Spider-Man's already been raped numerous times: Clone Saga, Sins Past, Sins Remembered, One More Day, Brand New Day,...




Betty Cooper + Cheryl Blossom. It's inevitable.

The Betty Cooper FAQ
http://supergirl.741.com/Betty/bettyfaq.html

The Cheryl Blossom FAQ
http://supergirl.741.com/Cheryl/cherylfaq.html

Offline Captain Hero

I am WAY too tired to form an opinion about this right now, but I have to say that everybody here has made some awesome points.

I guess in my opinion, I think that the reason why there's not a huge outrage about B & V is because they are cartoon characters, and obviously not as real as say Miley or Britney.

But, I gotta say, especially with some of the older stories, I have a REALLY hard time believing that the gang is only sixteen/seventeen years old.  They've been thrown in so many situations that are so unbelievable that I find it hard to believe.  How many 17 year olds get involved in espionage, car chases, fires, and catching criminals?  Not too many!
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http://popcultureaddictlifeguide.blogspot.com/

Offline Banshee

Beautifully written, Bluto! Bravo!

I think we (especially parents of growing young girls) want teen idols like Miley Cyrus to be innocent-seeming, harmless, and also "good" role models for our daughters (they're not yet in teens, BTW!) No sex, no partying, no drugs, you know? Miley is "violating" that rule and of course, we all know that Britney Spears had been horribly corrupted over the few recent years. Maybe we're all afraid sweet little Miley Cyrus would head down that same path.:(

Dan DeCarlo is clever enough to install good-girl cheesecake in his work without raising any alarms, though he did go over the line a few times (like Cheryl Blossom threatening to SNAP OFF her bikini bra in her first comic story, BTW! Also, he drew Veronica sucking up Dilton's face while giving him a mouth-to-mouth right after rescuing him. That's pretty graphic for me even as a young girl!) Veronica and Betty are very, very attractive young ladies with their cute faces, their beautiful, well-formed bodies that can go in any kind of clothes, even the most hideous 1970s getups, and of course, their lovable, well-developed personalities. Dan DeCarlo was such a GENIUS with writing stories about our favorite Archie girls (Betty, Veronica, and of course, Josie and the Pussycats) and make them charmingly innocent sexpots ("sex object" puts a girl down, BTW. "Sexpot" or "bombshell" is better) who also cleverly compete against the boys even during the 1950s, heh.

Once again, Dan DeCarlo knows how to put in sexiness with lots of humor, so we all laugh at how all boys get silly and go bouncing around on all fours as cute, curvy Melody walks by, swinging her adorable little tush. But he probably didn't mean it to be too erotic; he could leave it to Playboy, heh. He just made it cute and a bit teasing, that is all. Also, he was wise enough to also include angry, jealous girls and women glaring at their boyfriends while they watch cuties like Veronica, Betty, and Melody jiggling by and yes, also have the ladies take it out on the horny men with a purse or a rolling pin, which adds more to the Archie humor. ;D And heck, most of us GREW UP on that stuff!

Remember, until just recently, the comic book industry is mostly dominated by male cartoonists (AND male readers, too, though girls of course read comics back in the old days too; there WERE romance and Disney comic books back then, too!), so that's why old comic books (and new ones, too) are full of sexy, curvy cute ladies for male readers to admire, enjoy, and drool over (and okay, get off on, heh!) So naturally, the society got used to all that eye candy - at least until women's lib in the 1970s, of course. So no, of course not, we women are NOT sex objects for men to toy with! :tickedoff:

But of course, our attitudes toward sex keep changing over the years. Finally, we women decide it's okay to turn men on as well as vice versa (we like hunky men...hubba, hubba!), so the balance is maintained once again (hey, look at that teensy, candy-striped bikini on sale!) Unfortunately, some of us CAN have some bad attitudes about sex. There are stories about teen girls getting pregnant or female victims getting raped, you know? And of course, we can all go overboard about females being complete sex objects, like the heavy saturation of "lolicon" (Japanese manga drawings of underaged girls - even female CHILDREN in erotic positions/setting) on the Japanese market just now as well as little girls being tarted up by revealing clothes nowadays, too.:( So of course, we all have to maintain the very delicate balance of human sexuality to please everyone from strict, frowning nuns to worried parents to panting closet pedophiles who still want the freedom of speech to be kept up, of course. As well as keeping it SAFE for everyone, too.

And on other hand, I'm a female, so naturally, I may not want to stare at Veronica's blouse or look up Betty's skirt like most young males would love to do. In addition, some of us like to see Veronica and Betty remain innocuous, especially since they are still teenaged children as well as being GREAT characters for all of us to admire. So of course, all of us, readers and male characters alike, still respect the girls to a degree while admiring their pretty legs and cute little clothes they have on. (BTW, if Betty and Veronica are Japanese animated girls, then they would be depicted falling head over heels to reveal their boobs and PANTIES for Archie and Reggie to stare at  - and get massive nosebleed, too!) What's more...while both Veronica and Betty dearly LOVE the attention of all admiring boys and will even go to great lengths to make themselves as attractive as possible for boys to sigh over them - and perhaps ask them out - they both know they're NOT "cheap whores" to be used, played with, and tossed aside, either! Instead, the girls generously give their own very BEST to the boys to enjoy them while keeping the line drawn, of course. Nor do the boys act too much like dangerous perverts or predators, either, though they would of course not, couldn't help reacting like cartoons at the sight of the girls' beauty and feminine whims!XD

In RL, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and at a point, Lindsay Lohan all crossed the lines without even caring at all (for instance, they wriggled out of the cars WITHOUT underwear on and simply showed off their most private parts to the whole world, BTW.) That actually turned off even the guys, who think those girls are just loose sluts and not worth drooling over to begin with. And Miley Cyrus herself seems to be heading down that direction, so of course, we'd criticize her. ???
« Last Edit: May 07, 2008, 12:16:39 AM by Brunette »

Offline honeybee

this is why i feel archie comics shouldn't be targeted to kids (little archie is more appropriate) but should more towards teens and young adults, because let's face it; the characters are high schoolers. they are bound to do stuff like high school kids usually do. i don't understand the underlying persistent from the archie company that the comic is targeted to kids and insist there will be no changes whatsoever. i see it from the movies they made (josie and sabrina) and they said, "the stuff that we make are PG and more of Disney and Nick rather than PG13 and MTV crowd!" that just stubborn.

i think they're being a hypocrite. they bash away those teen idols for wearing skimpy outfits, but it's okay to the characters to wear the same outfits because they are simply characters?

i don't see why archie comics cannot be targeted toward teens. i live in asia, and we have many comics targeted towards teens which handling issues about teen stuff and not necessarily have to be superheroes comics, or hentai comics (they are for adults). comics are widely read by people of all ages here so that a broad range of subjects and topics occur in comics, including action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business and commerce -- and i only see two variety of comics in USA: superheroes and kids.

so this is why i think american comics have their limits for putting storylines. they don't know where to put teen story; either they put it in a border between kids comic or superheroes comic. which i think it's a waste. there are so many wide variety that can be done with comics, but unfortunately USA still think that comics are for kids and for geeks. what a shame. we read comics here everywhere, and the story AREN'T not always about superheroes. hell, sometimes the story can be about cooking and STILL is interesting. i read a comic about cooking, and it's already in volume 10. why can't archie comics do that?

my suggestion is this (but i doubt we'll see any changes): try to be more open minded with broad of variety of storylines even the mundane ones like about dealing with homework and parents issue -- BUT make it more accessible towards teens and young adults. stop putting this characters in some boxes of stereotype, and deal with more variety storylines and not just few pages of strips. get out from the past (clean cut Utopians with a dash of innuendos). why can't archie comics being handled like comics here?

i think i'm way over my head right now, i'm at work and i don't think straight. but i think you'd get my gist.

ETA: i read a description about comics that we have here, and it seems it fell to manga category. interesting stuff because most americans thinks manga are for adults. which is not the case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga

as for miley cyrus, i think the media blown the whole thing way out proportion. poor kid. i'm not a fan of her, she's not famous here. but still, poor kid. let's hope she's not going down the path of Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.

Offline Bluto

Great posts, Everyone!  I'll try to respond more indepth later, but today my schedule is pretty tight.
Tuxedo Mark, the Brooke I was referring to was Brooke Shields way back in the day.  And I loved the joke you made about Spider-Man.  it is so true!
honeybee makes a good point, too.  (You all make some good points!)  American comics seem generally to fall into two categories - superheroes and kids.  I find myself longing for humor magazines that appeal to adults.  And I don't mean dirty magazines.  I mean comic books the way the Archie mags were in the '60s and '70s.  I actually love superheores and buy quite a few of their comics.  But when I want humor and some romance, where can I go?
Captain Hero, I, too, simply can't believe that Archie and his gang are teens in evry story.  In my mind, I will say as I read, "They've got to be in their twenties in this one."  The story I talked about with Betty as a supermodel is one example.
And I meant the "Crisis Of Infinite Archies" thing as a joke that makes the point that finding continuity in the Archie comic books is impossible. 

 

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