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JUGHEAD #9 analyzed

Started by DeCarlo Rules, September 08, 2016, 03:19:11 PM

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DeCarlo Rules

September 08, 2016, 03:19:11 PM Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 02:41:49 PM by DeCarlo Rules
This was the first issue of any of the New Riverdale comics that I actually read twice. Mainly because I just wanted to read it the first time and not slow the story down by stopping to read all of Ryan's little "DVD commentary" selections at the bottom of the page, so I went back and read it a little later, reading the little notes, too.

Originally I didn't think I had much to say about this, and wanted to wait until the next issue (or maybe even the whole story arc, however many issues it turns out to be) to comment so I'd have a better idea of how Ryan North was handling both Jughead and Sabrina (who we don't really get to know much about in this issue). But then I got to thinking about Jughead's whole emotional arc that he goes through as he's smitten (or thinks he is) with the Burger Lady. And JonInIowaCity made a comment in the Shoutbox about "So much for Jughead's asexuality!" which was one of the first things that ran through my head as I was reading the story for the first time, but now I don't think so.

In fact, I think this issue made some things clear about New Jughead (which don't necessarily apply to Classic Jughead, and probably don't) that I don't think I quite realized before. THIS Jughead seems to spend a lot of time inhabiting his own headspace, his own reality. Then I thought about how he loves hamburgers SO much that they serve as his creative muse to provide him with a source of artistic inspiration. Man, that is some kind of passion for hamburgers. He's like in another dimension of loving food that even the biggest foodies wouldn't quite get. After he ate his creation, "Grubhead", he even fantasizes having a conversation with the now-consumed art piece where Grubhead tells him "I would have done the same thing!" (which of course, since it's in Jughead's head, is exactly the sort of thing he'd like to hear).

Then I realized what is up with his whole obsession with the Burger Lady, and of course it has nothing to do with girls, or Sabrina in particular (he doesn't even know her name until that last page). Jughead LOVES hamburgers SO much, that he's in love with a girl in a costume who -- for him -- represents the personification of a hamburger, and Jughead's love for them. And unlike Grubhead, he doesn't have to fantasize the Burger Lady into existence, and she tells him exactly what he'd like to hear. She understands him (or so he thinks). She's validating his love of hamburgers, and encouraging it, egging him on to eat more hamburgers, try new and different kinds of hamburgers. This is all new to Jughead, who is used to being looked at as some sort of freak because of his obsession with hamburgers. For him it's like a dream come true, because for the first time in his life, a hamburger can talk back to him and carry on a conversation -- and the Burger Lady is saying all the right things to him. You've heard of "Hamburger Helper"? Well the Burger Lady is sort of a "Hamburger Enabler" for Jughead, and that's why he becomes obsessed with her. He feels at ease around her, just like he does sitting in front of a plate of burgers. Before he knows it, he's so relaxed that he's made a date with her without realizing it. He goes to Betty, all freaked out when he realizes what he's done, but I think he's hoping she'll talk him out of it. After all, she's just an advertising gimmick, she's being paid to do a job. But Betty turns out to be the wrong choice to go to, because Betty (being a romantic at heart) can't wait to see Jugead to go out on a date, so she encourages him to pursue it, not mess it up, and basically pushes him into it reluctantly, but all the while, Jughead is sort of envisioning reality colliding with his fantasy of having a real live hamburger to talk to and hang out with. As she's pushing and prodding him into it, this is turning into Betty's fantasy, not Jughead's. Even when Jughead shows up in the prearranged meeting spot, he's still going off into his fantasy world that the Burger Lady is an actual talking hamburger. When he sees her without her costume on, he's dismayed as his fantasy reverie is shattered and he now has to deal with the consequences of making a date with a real girl, not a hamburger fantasy.

My prediction: Jughead is going to try to back out and let her down easy, but it's not going to be that easy. Sabrina being new in town and kind of lonely, and going out on a limb to tentatively, hesitantly ask Jughead for a date (and give him every opportunity to decline gracefully), is going to be confused and hurt, and feel like he's just playing some kind of game with her, and she's not going to be happy about it. So then Jughead will have to deal with a teenage witch scorned. Oh boy.

irishmoxie

I only read a few pages of the story so far but I found Ryan's commentary rather unnecessary. I think it's the reason why Betty Reggie didn't like this issue. It bogs down the story a bit.

BettyReggie

I rather didn't like part with the science fair. First Jughead would never take part in a science fair. Jughead is a terrible student. He is so lazy he probably didn't make that model with all those foods.

SAGG

I liked this issue. I wonder if Sabrina offered her own costume in addition to the idea of advertising his burgers when Pop said he didn't have one, and she just, er, had one on hand? :2funny: Yeah, pretty much Jughead's going to make a mistake, and crossing a teenage witch is the worse thing anyone can do. :) I wonder what Sabrina's going to do to get back at him...?

SAGG

Quote from: BettyReggie on September 08, 2016, 05:20:08 PM
I rather didn't like part with the science fair. First Jughead would never take part in a science fair. Jughead is a terrible student. He is so lazy he probably didn't make that model with all those foods.
Well, that depends. Jughead's been depicted as quite smart in the past, second only to Dilton. There are plenty of stories where he's been shown like this. Plus, it's possible he was forced to participate if he had a low grade to improve it. Besides, you didn't notice that he WON the competition? The one Dilton ALSO entered? :)

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: irishmoxie on September 08, 2016, 04:23:25 PM
I only read a few pages of the story so far but I found Ryan's commentary rather unnecessary. I think it's the reason why Betty Reggie didn't like this issue. It bogs down the story a bit.

It's better read on the first pass without the notes. Stopping to read them on every page really destroys the pacing. You can always go back and read them later (or if you decide not to, you're not really missing anything important, just as couple of jokes). Stopping to read the notes on each page as you go along tends to take you out of the story.

DeCarlo Rules

September 09, 2016, 01:30:28 AM #6 Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 02:39:26 PM by DeCarlo Rules
Quote from: BettyReggie on September 08, 2016, 05:20:08 PM
I rather didn't like part with the science fair. First Jughead would never take part in a science fair. Jughead is a terrible student. He is so lazy he probably didn't make that model with all those foods.

Once again, it's not a Science Fair. It's an ART competition. Making a human figure out of hamburgers is Jughead's idea of art (the figure represents Jughead himself, by the way - that's why he nicknamed it 'Grubhead'), but doesn't involve science in any way. Maybe if he made a ROBOT out of hamburgers (but I don't think he'd be capable of that). He's not a "terrible student" either, although obviously science isn't his area of interest. Jughead has always been interested in art, even going way back to the very first of those "Dipsy Doodles" 1-page gags. Since science IS Dilton's area of interest, it's natural for him to use science (developing a special algorithm to display pixels on a computer screen) as a way to CREATE art. But it's not the science that's being judged here, it's the art, and thus Jughead's work is judged to be the better piece of art than Dilton's. Jughead may be lazy, but anything that involves food (and especially hamburgers) gets him motivated and inspired. Past classic Jughead stories consistently make a point of the fact that Jughead is capable of accomplishing virtually anything if he's inspired by food as a motivator. As proof of that principle, in this story Jughead is even motivated to make a date -- although on some level he believes he's dating a hamburger (because that's his "true love").

BettyReggie

September 09, 2016, 03:16:46 AM #7 Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 07:28:40 AM by BettyReggie
Out the of the 9 issues , I guess it was my least favorite. Nothing wrong with the art but the page with Dilton just bought down the comic. I didn't even know what he talking about. Maybe Chip's writing the book was better.

DeCarlo Rules

September 09, 2016, 05:26:45 AM #8 Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 06:00:33 AM by DeCarlo Rules
Surprisingly (to me, even) my major quibble, apart from the fact that this issue doesn't give a complete story -- but then, I know better than to expect that in a New Riverdale comic book -- and the fact that Sabrina only shows her face on two pages of this issue, WAS the art. Specifically, the fact that Derek Charm didn't make Betty and Veronica look prettier. They're supposed to be two of the prettiest girls at RHS, but you couldn't tell that by looking at this issue. They both look average-looking and ordinary, and even Sabrina looked cuter on Derek Charm's cover than she did on the two interior pages where she was depicted.

I happen to know that Derek Charm is perfectly capable of drawing cute, attractive girls (he did so in STARFLEET ACADEMY, which he drew for IDW), so why didn't he do so here? The only thing that occurs to me is that maybe Charm is conscious of 'transitioning' from Erika Henderson's style of art on the first 6 issues to his own natural style, so he's intentionally toning down the cuteness of B&V so as not to be jarringly different-looking to readers still remembering how B&V looked as drawn by Erika in the first 6 issues. Hopefully, as he settles in (if he is intending to stay as the new permanent artist on JUGHEAD, but who knows about that, really) he'll gradually start drawing them as more attractive, the way they're supposed to look.

You're not really supposed to understand Dilton's explanation of how a mathematical algorithm somehow makes for what is, to him, a sublime form of art, any more than you're supposed to understand Betty's trying to explain to Jughead the do's and don'ts of relationships and dating. Both of those monologues are really meant to be incomprehensible to anyone but Dilton and Betty, respectively -- which is presumably the source of humor if you recognize that as such.

BettyReggie

My bad, I read the comic again it wasn't a science fair. It was a Art Festival which I'm sure Riverdale High School never had before.

irishmoxie

I had a vague understanding of what Dilton was talking about as iterative algorithms are used in CT image processing but I agree with DeCarlo Rules it was purposely written to be confusing to the general public.

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: irishmoxie on September 09, 2016, 04:06:51 PM
I had a vague understanding of what Dilton was talking about as iterative algorithms are used in CT image processing

Yes, but is it art?  ;)

steveinthecity

I missed the boat altogether as I thought the humor was in the idea that it was prolly a recursive algorithm.  Live and learn.

:uglystupid2:
Comics!

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: steveinthecity on September 10, 2016, 04:13:14 AM
I missed the boat altogether as I thought the humor was in the idea that it was prolly a recursive algorithm.  Live and learn.

:uglystupid2:

Artistic worth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, if Dilton can appreciate the mathematical beauty (and certain equations do appear pleasing or beautiful to a mathematician) of a specific iterative algorithm, he also finds the output or product of that equation to be beautiful or artistic. However, if you have to explain to someone else WHY it's art, then you're probably missing the point of art. What Dilton is attempting to explain just sounds like technobabble to the average layman, who is either moved in some way by the results of his algorithm, or isn't. If the end product doesn't communicate something to the observer, then no amount of explication of the creative process that went into that art on Dilton's part matters one bit (or byte).

On a similar note, I'm sure Betty has her own intrinsic understanding of the do's and don'ts of dating and relationships, but when she tries to put it into words to explain it to Jughead, it just sounds like contradictory gobbledegook. I'm sure it all makes perfect sense in Betty's head, though.

BettyReggie

I just pray that he's not this nerdy on RiverDale.

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