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Archie - The Married Life - 10th Anniversary - Opinions?

Started by Mr.Lodge, November 06, 2019, 07:48:53 PM

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Mr.Lodge

At the time I thought the original Archie - The Married Life was (and still is) one of the best series to come out there other than the classic stuff. I was forward to the this and boy, was I disappointed.

I know the Dan Parent apologists will skin me but I don't care.

I think the story and art on this absolutely stinks and doesn't hold a candle to the original.

Don't even get me started on Archie '55.

DeCarlo Rules

#1
Seems like it's ignoring everything after LIFE WITH ARCHIE #1 (i.e., all of "The Married Life" stories written by Paul Kupperberg). I like the art (well, except for Dan's decision that an older Archie should have a huge jaw in order to distinguish him from teenage Archie), but it's still too soon for me to pass final judgment on it as a story. I plan to re-read the whole thing in one sitting sometime after the last issue is released (or I might just wait for the TP), and maybe I'll have a clearer feeling about it by then. Clearly it's not a sequel to the run of LIFE WITH ARCHIE as written by Kupperberg, though. Having re-read the whole prior Married Life story fairly recently, both the strengths and flaws inherent in that series became a lot more obvious to me. After reading the whole thing again, I revised my initial opinion downward in terms of plot and story continuity, but felt like where it stood out was in terms of character interaction scenes and dialogue (only possible where you have a lot of pages for that kind of stuff).

That said, the story doesn't have anywhere near the same room to breath as the original LIFE WITH ARCHIE magazine, and the plot is necessarily compacted to fit into six standard-sized floppy comic issues -- which amounts to the same as only THREE magazine-sized issues of The Married Life, so it's hardly fair to compare one to the other as a complete series, either. Then again, I can recall the same sort of complaints about the final B&V story arc by Uslan and Parent. Either one is still miles better than what we're getting in the current ongoing ARCHIE title and miniseries like SABRINA.

beatman10

If a reader knows ahead of time this is a sequel to the original "Will You Marry Me" stories instead of the "Life With Archie" stories, then they will see that it's got some pretty good story lines. This is a mini series, and not the four year epic "Married Life" since Archie dies which I thought was a mistake to kill him off. The writers could have had Archie survive the gunshot wound and he would still be a hero. The 10th Anniversary series has all kinds of issues that now the 30 something gang has to face such as sick and dying parents, the struggling Chock'lit Shop, dreams put on hold so a spouse can achieve theirs, conflicts between work and family, marital stress, dealing with parent issues, political issues, etc. I feel this series could have went longer and went more in depth with the subjects. I'm hoping that there will be more Married Life stories in the future.

DeCarlo Rules

It would probably make sense for someone who hasn't read any of this to start with ARCHIE MARRIES..., then the 10th Anniversary story. Then they could read the whole THE MARRIED LIFE for an alternate take if they were still interested. Oh, and the thing with Valerie marrying Archie, too. Seems like a lot more pathways diverged in the woods than just the original two.

beatman10

It would make sense to go from ARCHIE MARRIES and then the 10th ANNIVERSARY series. But fans see "The Married Life" as part of the newer 10th title and assume it's a continuation of "Life With Archie", which it isn't. But again, how would you able to continue the LWA Married Life, unless you can convince readers that Archie didn't die? I haven't read Archie Marries Valerie yet, but I feel that would be a great 3rd fork story on Memory Lane. Valerie is a successful musician and Archie could pursue his musical goals with her. I thought the LWA AMV was the most depressing of all the married stories, especially when Archie moves back home and pulls his acoustic guitar out of the closet with 2 strings busted. It showed that he gave up music when he married Veronica. I noticed Michael Uslan and Paul Kupperberg had different ideas on who certain characters would end up with and what their professions would be. I would have loved to see in the LWA series more of the characters unknowing crossing over from one universe to the other like Archie did in Issue #14. Imagine Betty and Reggie from different universes meeting up, since they are a couple only in AMV. Or AMV Jughead running into AMB Midge.

DeCarlo Rules

"Archie Marries Valerie" was in ARCHIE #631-634... and later reprinted in the trade paperback ARCHIE: A Rock'n'Roll Romance (2014). That was strictly Dan Parent's idea. Neither Michael Uslan or Paul Kupperberg were involved.

I think the 10th Anniversary series was unfortunately named, since it should have been more accurately titled ARCHIE MARRIES 10th Anniversary to avoid confusing potential readers about what, exactly, it was a sequel to. Nevertheless, it seems like The Married Life from LIFE WITH ARCHIE was more likely to be a stronger draw, sales-wise, than Archie Marries as a title, and ACP chose it deliberately.

beatman10

I found the storylines and layout somewhat of a hybrid between the Archie Marries and Life With Archie Married Life books. True, the stories are more a sequel to Archie Marries, but there were a couple of storylines from LWA that Uslan used in the 10th Anniversary, such as Moose becoming a politician and Ms. Grundy is deceased. Also, the layout in all 6 issues was done with the Archie/Veronica chapter done first followed by the Archie/Betty one, just like  LWA. The plots in 10th were written with a more serious tone with virtually none of the humor found in Archie Marries. Story wise, you really can't make jokes over losing a father, or seeing anther parent whose memory health is in decline (Archie's Father). And these are issues the gang in their 30's will start to face as well as other ones. I think the 10th Anniversary could have went a few issues longer like LWA. Hey, in 2024, maybe we'll get a 15th anniversary series!

beatman10

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 07, 2019, 12:21:29 AMSeems like it's ignoring everything after LIFE WITH ARCHIE #1 (i.e., all of "The Married Life" stories written by Paul Kupperberg). I like the art (well, except for Dan's decision that an older Archie should have a huge jaw in order to distinguish him from teenage Archie), but it's still too soon for me to pass final judgment on it as a story. I plan to re-read the whole thing in one sitting sometime after the last issue is released (or I might just wait for the TP), and maybe I'll have a clearer feeling about it by then. Clearly it's not a sequel to the run of LIFE WITH ARCHIE as written by Kupperberg, though. Having re-read the whole prior Married Life story fairly recently, both the strengths and flaws inherent in that series became a lot more obvious to me. After reading the whole thing again, I revised my initial opinion downward in terms of plot and story continuity, but felt like where it stood out was in terms of character interaction scenes and dialogue (only possible where you have a lot of pages for that kind of stuff).

That said, the story doesn't have anywhere near the same room to breath as the original LIFE WITH ARCHIE magazine, and the plot is necessarily compacted to fit into six standard-sized floppy comic issues -- which amounts to the same as only THREE magazine-sized issues of The Married Life, so it's hardly fair to compare one to the other as a complete series, either. Then again, I can recall the same sort of complaints about the final B&V story arc by Uslan and Parent. Either one is still miles better than what we're getting in the current ongoing ARCHIE title and miniseries like SABRINA.
Maybe there were some legal issues keeping Michael Uslan from incorporating any of Paul Kupperberg's storylines from LWA and was only allowed to expand on the ones he created. Moose getting into politics, Miss Grundy sick, Archie working for Veronica's father and the other pairings were started by Uslan.

DeCarlo Rules

I suspect there are NO legal issues. Archie Comic Publications owns the work-for-hire produced for them by both Uslan and Kupperberg.

It would be somewhat more helpful to know exactly what sort of discussions or notes passed between Uslan and Kupperberg in the handoff between LWA #1 and LWA #2... but with Uslan stepping away from steering the course of the series, Kupperberg may not have felt beholden to follow ALL of Uslan's intended directions. And upon returning to the 10th Anniversary series, Uslan may have felt equally not-beholden to follow what Kupperberg established on his own after Uslan's initial departure from LWA.

beatman10

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on May 23, 2022, 11:57:00 AMI suspect there are NO legal issues. Archie Comic Publications owns the work-for-hire produced for them by both Uslan and Kupperberg.

It would be somewhat more helpful to know exactly what sort of discussions or notes passed between Uslan and Kupperberg in the handoff between LWA #1 and LWA #2... but with Uslan stepping away from steering the course of the series, Kupperberg may not have felt beholden to follow ALL of Uslan's intended directions. And upon returning to the 10th Anniversary series, Uslan may have felt equally not-beholden to follow what Kupperberg established on his own after Uslan's initial departure from LWA.
I think a couple of the characters Kupperberg created could have been used here in the 10th Anniversary. For instance, Ambrose, who had a somewhat heroic storyline in LWA, was downgraded to being a creep in the 10th. Uslan could have used Moe Miller (the franchise "expert" in LWA) to play that role. Also, Uslan could have continued the Kevin/Clay storyline here. But again, the 10th Anniversary is Uslan's project and he probably wanted to keep it all his own storylines. He did try to pack a lot of story in these 6 issues though. 

beatman10

I did read a 2009 NYT interview with Michael Uslan where he said he wrote "Archie's Fate in one of the two storylines". He said this after being asked about "which girl will Archie be destined to spend his life with". Of course, that will end the love triangle, but I'm curious to see which girl ends up being Archie's true wife.  I think I know who it is......

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: beatman10 on May 28, 2022, 01:27:36 PMI did read a 2009 NYT interview with Michael Uslan where he said he wrote "Archie's Fate in one of the two storylines". He said this after being asked about "which girl will Archie be destined to spend his life with". Of course, that will end the love triangle, but I'm curious to see which girl ends up being Archie's true wife.  I think I know who it is......

I'm afraid I don't understand what you're saying. The question is decided in both girls' favor at the very beginning of ARCHIE MARRIES... and thus, the two divergent timelines. And of course, a third is added much later with Valerie becoming his "true wife". It's simply a matter of what is true in one alternate timeline is different than what is true in another.

So... the triangle remains unresolved. Or it's been resolved both ways, take your choice.

beatman10

I had interpreted what Uslan meant in the interview is he had written an actual ending showing only one of the "Archie Marries" timelines will be "canon" and the other one is a "fantasy".  And like a lot of other fans of these stories, I tried to find any clues that Mr. Uslan may have left. Like, why did Archie look so distraught near the end of the Veronica timeline when he went for his Christmas Eve walk? He had money, family and his marriage to Veronica seemed pretty solid. We'll probably never know the answer and maybe we're not supposed to.

DeCarlo Rules

#13
Quote from: beatman10 on June 15, 2022, 09:37:09 PMI had interpreted what Uslan meant in the interview is he had written an actual ending showing only one of the "Archie Marries" timelines will be "canon" and the other one is a "fantasy".  And like a lot of other fans of these stories, I tried to find any clues that Mr. Uslan may have left. Like, why did Archie look so distraught near the end of the Veronica timeline when he went for his Christmas Eve walk? He had money, family and his marriage to Veronica seemed pretty solid. We'll probably never know the answer and maybe we're not supposed to.

Yeah, I don't know how anything in the future can be deemed "canon"; all future stories are possible futures. It would only be canon if it got an ongoing series. And maybe not even then... Is January McAndrews "canon"? Or just a descendant of Archie in some possible future?

And I don't know how either one (Archie marries Betty or Archie marries Veronica) can ever become canon, because it's automatically divisive and alienates half the readers... and they sure don't want that. Even when the premise of "Archie Marries" became the ongoing title LIFE WITH ARCHIE, each universe is equally true and valid... and so are the ones they didn't show (or even think of) until later, like "Archie Marries Valerie".

DeCarlo Rules


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