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Author Topic: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)  (Read 1505 times)

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SAGG

Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« on: April 06, 2018, 11:30:32 pm »
I just finished reading it through Comixology in the volumes. I'd recommend using the Unlimited service to just "borrow" a published book, then when you finish it, "return" it. You'd pay a monthly fee. I think it's worth it, but I digress. On to the story, or in this case, stories, since there are two of them, with Archie either marrying Betty (AMB) or Veronica (AMV).


Both universes had good stories in the soap opera style, if you're into that sort of thing. LWA was unique in that it showed The Gang & Co. all as adults, not as a dream, but as actual, real stories. I found myself referring the AMB universe as the more realistic storyline, though the AMV one may have been the more exciting storyline with the Fred Mirth angle. However,  I wonder what happened to him? Did he vanish from the face of the earth? Dangling plot device unanswered.


That little crossover between the two stories was interesting, but I had some confusion because Archie seemed to be all over the place as he and his other self switched places. Seeing Ambrose was nice, but having him as the "connection" between the two realities was strange at best, but I  guess the writers had to explain how the realities merged. I think I'm glad he settled in the AMB universe. He seemed far better a fit there.


I'm speeding it up a bit to the end, obviously with Archie's death as the main plotline. I noticed that the writers shrewdly "merged" both universes because I couldn't tell which one was which. Maybe it didn't matter, which was the point.


I've obviously skipped several points, which I hope others here will chime in on. What do you guys think? Thanks....

DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2018, 01:41:17 am »
I'm speeding it up a bit to the end, obviously with Archie's death as the main plotline. I noticed that the writers shrewdly "merged" both universes because I couldn't tell which one was which. Maybe it didn't matter, which was the point.

Well, obviously the two universes couldn't actually be merged, because then you wind up with the Schrödinger's Cat-like probability paradox of a universe where Archie is married to both Betty and Veronica... but I do take your meaning, as the "Death of Archie" final story arc of LWA was being intentionally vague in details to the point where it could have been taking place in either, or both, the Bettyverse and the Veronicaverse. Oddly enough I remember 'way back on the old (pre-server crash) forum where someone else (I've forgotten who, now) argued that there were definite clues placing the DoA story in (I think it was) the Bettyverse, and I don't remember what those clues were or if I even recognized them.

In general, as the series neared its end and it became obvious that it would be necessary to wrap up the long, convoluted plot of many details and characters, there seemed to be lots of bits either summarily explained away rather casually, or forgotten altogether and left dangling. Things had gotten very science-fictional about three-quarters of the way through the run, and then they gradually moved away from that to end it all with Archie's death.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2018, 02:17:55 am by DeCarlo Rules »

DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2018, 09:26:36 am »
One thing that stuck out in my mind is how in the Bettyverse, Betty turns into a workaholic and a neglectful spouse, her "responsible" side just totally subsuming her personality... she's got so many things going on and so many commitments that she's forgotten how to live and enjoy life, instead being dominated by her "Type A personality" achiever-oriented goals. That struck me as a little out of character for Betty, or at least kind of sad. Of course it's also true that people DO change, so who's to say for certain.

SAGG

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2018, 09:59:51 am »

And what happened to Miss Grundy in the AMV universe? She died in the AMB universe, but I didn't see her at all in the other one. I guess the writers had AMB be Riverdale High-centric for the AMB universe, and deliberately Riverdale City-centric in the AMV universe. So many loose threads remain, with Mirth and that woman with him. Hey, maybe we can get Mr. Ruiz to fill in the blanks, since he did one of the stories! Was the ending rushed, or something? Also, Bella Beazley was the scheming redhead in the AMB universe, while Cheryl Blossom was the now-sympathetic redhead in the AMV universe. 


Also again, did anyone notice that the ending of LWA coincided with the beginning of the "new" Archie? I think LWA was the "farewell" for Classic Archie (outside of the new stories for the digests), and it fulfilled the "what if" scenario of fans wondering what it would look like if Archie and his friends grew up and dealt with the Real World. Hey, DR, everybody, which story did you prefer? AMV? AMB?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2018, 10:03:37 am by SAGG »

DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2018, 02:27:46 pm »
I've forgotten so many details about the two parallel timelines by now. I've always meant to go back and re-read both possible future stories, but just have never gotten around to it. TBH, as I recall it was hard to keep the various differences in all the supporting characters between the two universes straight jumping back and forth from one timeline to the other in each chapter. I always wanted to go back and read each (AMB & AMV) half of the series straight through by itself (and maybe take a few notes), just to see if it held up and was self-consistent in both halves. I'm surprised it took you so long to get around to reading this, SAGG... but maybe you've rekindled my interest in getting back to it again. I remember there was that weird bit where (the AMV) Veronica's plane disappeared while in flight somehow, and then when she landed, she wound up in the Bettyverse, but now I forget what happened and how that whole plotline played out. And the stuff with Dilton's machine connecting the various parallel timelines of the Archie multiverse, and a whole bunch of cameo appearances by Pureheart and other versions of Archie. Before reading the DoA story, I hadn't known about most of this stuff like Ambrose, etc. (It was hinted that Ambrose is responsible for all those wild fantasy stories of Little Archie's, because he has the natural power of travelling between parallel timelines of the multiverse.) I didn't even know who Jellybean was at that point. I just picked up The Death of Archie with a pretty cynical attitude of "Oh brother, they'll shamelessly exploit just any cliched comic book marketing gimmick as a desperate ploy to goose sales, won't they?", and really got intrigued to read the whole saga from the beginning when I encountered this 2-page text flowchart at the beginning of the book, detailing and summarizing all of the various preceding events in both parallel timelines that had led up to the DoA story.

IIRC, wasn't the AMB side drawn by Pat & Tim Kennedy, and the AMV side drawn by (at first, I think, Norm Breyfogle, and then later by) Fernando? And unless I'm forgetting, weren't both stories written by Paul Kupperberg?

I will make one observation, though. Everything about the series LIFE WITH ARCHIE seemed designed to appeal to the more typical comic shop consumer. The parallel timelines, continuing subplots and soap-operatic elements, all the science-fiction tropes, you name it. And yet ACP absolutely dropped the ball on this one by making LIFE WITH ARCHIE available only in magazine format, which is pretty much reviled by both comic book collectors and comic shop retailers -- they didn't correct that mistake until the last two issues that made up the Death of Archie story. They should have made LWA in two formats... magazine for the newsstand/bookstore consumers, and traditional floppy comic for the comic shop consumers. Those last two issues of LWA in floppy comic format were the best-selling floppy comics that ACP ever printed. If they'd done that from the start, they might never ever have needed to resort to such a dramatic and irreversibly final conclusion to the series. That oversight in marketing the title from the very start is REALLY what led to the Death of Archie.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2018, 02:57:38 pm by DeCarlo Rules »

SAGG

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2018, 10:37:45 pm »
I glanced at bits and pieces of LWA, but I just had the time to read it from the beginning. When I saw the volumes, I started. That's how I approach reading older comics. I get the whole thing in a major storyline at one time.... 😁

DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 12:19:09 am »
I glanced at bits and pieces of LWA, but I just had the time to read it from the beginning. When I saw the volumes, I started. That's how I approach reading older comics. I get the whole thing in a major storyline at one time.... 😁

Well, that's pretty much how I started to get serious about Archie Comics. I'd read some of the recent floppy comics here and there, in a casual way, just borrowing them or reading them in the store (because my LCS owner is a long-time friend). I'll often try things that look interesting, or just for the curiosity factor. That's often true of things that might smack of some marketing gimmick ("Okay, let's see what this crap is all about...") that I have a negative/cynical attitude towards.

I did not at first connect the Death of Archie thing with "The Married Life" over in LIFE WITH ARCHIE magazine (although I obviously knew of that already) because I saw the floppy comic format issues first. I was surprised by the whole convoluted backstory leading into DoA, as I mentioned, so then I made it a point to read both the Archie Marries trade collection, and all of The Married Life TPBs, starting with the first. LWA in magazine form was a turn-off to me as a comic book collector, with the cover blurbs and short articles about Justin Bieber like some teen magazine. Then I started seeking out all of the other trade collections of then-recent multipart stories ((anything I could still order through Diamond Comics or Amazon, or whatever original issues I could find of multipart stories like ARCHIE MEETS KISS, etc.). Then "just" the SABRINA, JOSIE, and B&V trade collections... then KEVIN KELLER, because it was a short-run series and easy to get my hands on. Then ALL the rest of the ACP trade collections, then those 1000 Page Comics digest whoppers. Ongoing digest titles were the very last thing I began reading, some six or eight months after I'd read Death of Archie, unless you count the ongoing search for non-reprinted back issues. Then I started spending hours and hours online reading databases, Wikipedia and other sources of info about Archie Comics, getting a feel for the company history and compiling want lists. And the rest is history...

Tuxedo Mark

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 10:57:34 am »
but I do take your meaning, as the "Death of Archie" final story arc of LWA was being intentionally vague in details to the point where it could have been taking place in either, or both, the Bettyverse and the Veronicaverse. Oddly enough I remember 'way back on the old (pre-server crash) forum where someone else (I've forgotten who, now) argued that there were definite clues placing the DoA story in (I think it was) the Bettyverse, and I don't remember what those clues were or if I even recognized them.

That was me. From what I recall, some of the clues hinged on Cheryl. Okay, a bit of backstory:

Cheryl appeared in issue #1 - in the Veronicaverse. A lonely, dejected Betty called up Cheryl to chat, so she could get a confidence boost. Cheryl didn't reveal she had to resort to waiting tables at a restaurant to make ends meet while trying to get her big break in Hollywood. Then we didn't see this version of Cheryl again for a long time.

Over in the Bettyverse, Cheryl eventually showed up (with the same backstory of waiting tables) and did the whole breast cancer storyline. This is what we mostly think of when we think of LWA Cheryl. This Cheryl underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy, resulting in the loss of her breasts and hair.

In the Veronicaverse, Cheryl showed up as a guest at Jughead and Ethel's wedding, just prior to Archie's death. She had boobs and long, flowing red hair, so she obviously never got cancer in the Veronicaverse. These were just silent cameos, so it's unknown whether her career took off.

Now for the death of Archie and the aftermath. It's quite obvious that the writer and artist were going for a vague "it could be either - or both" approach - as if the shown events were simultaneously occurring in both the Veronicaverse and the Bettyverse. For example, Archie never explicitly mentions his spouse by name, the girls never explicitly mention being married, and, perhaps most cheaply, neither girl is wearing a wedding ring, even though (if I recall correctly) Archie is. However, a few clues point to it being the Bettyverse:

The school is renamed after Archie, which seems like something that would be done for a fallen teacher (Bettyverse), not a businessman (Veronicaverse).

The positioning of some of the characters in one scene (even though they're in shadow) indicates Betty is the one being addressed - and in such a way that it indicates she's now a widow. This is one of those "study each panel closely" situations.

A short-haired Cheryl shows up; she seems to have boobs, but they're not on display; there's talk of how she's doing. This would obviously be a post-chemo, post-reconstructive surgery Cheryl (Bettyverse). You don't go from having fabulous boobs (Veronicaverse) right before Archie's death to a post-cancer recovery just a year later.

There might be other clues, but I don't recall at the moment.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 10:59:53 am by Tuxedo Mark »
BV-kiss-small
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DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 07:11:21 pm »
Wow!  :D  Mark, that is simply... AMAZING.

I am not sure I would be brave enough to construct an argument inferring that the main deterministic factor in what is (as you admit) a very intentional obscuring of which reality the death of Archie is taking place in, hinges upon... whether or not Cheryl has fabulous boobs.

On the other hand, maybe both universes' Cheryls eventually got breast cancer and had mastectomies. It's certainly possible, since we never really know for sure in the Veronicaverse; we just don't see enough of Cheryl's life there. Would Cheryl be vain enough to immediately get breast implants after a mastectomy? Again, it's certainly possible, as is the wearing of a wig. One big question in my mind is "Why would a cancerous breast tumor be treated by chemotherapy, causing Cheryl's hair to fall out?" Aren't localized cancerous tumors normally dealt with by surgery? A breast tumor would definitely be caught early enough to prevent the cancer spreading to vital organs where it couldn't be neatly cut out by surgeons. I admit I'm no cancer expert, so maybe I'm way off-base there.

Still, either way, there's a lot of arguments there based on "seems" and "likely", but no major slip where the evidence seen (or heard) is incontrovertible and definitive.

Somehow I think Kevin would be the best character determining which universe the story's taking place in, or maybe Reggie or Jughead, but maybe Kupperberg was just super-careful in covering all the angles.

Tuxedo Mark

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2018, 02:39:50 pm »
One big question in my mind is "Why would a cancerous breast tumor be treated by chemotherapy, causing Cheryl's hair to fall out?" Aren't localized cancerous tumors normally dealt with by surgery? A breast tumor would definitely be caught early enough to prevent the cancer spreading to vital organs where it couldn't be neatly cut out by surgeons. I admit I'm no cancer expert, so maybe I'm way off-base there.

No idea. Cheryl had already had the mastectomy, and her hair had already fallen out, by the time that she called Jason (when she was about to come home). No idea how she managed to pay for it. She hadn't told Jason anything about it until the phone call (by which point she was in fragile shape). Maybe she told her parents, they paid, and she swore them to secrecy. Dunno.
BV-kiss-small
Riverdale Reviewed
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SAGG

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 11:21:22 pm »
One big question in my mind is "Why would a cancerous breast tumor be treated by chemotherapy, causing Cheryl's hair to fall out?" Aren't localized cancerous tumors normally dealt with by surgery? A breast tumor would definitely be caught early enough to prevent the cancer spreading to vital organs where it couldn't be neatly cut out by surgeons. I admit I'm no cancer expert, so maybe I'm way off-base there.

No idea. Cheryl had already had the mastectomy, and her hair had already fallen out, by the time that she called Jason (when she was about to come home). No idea how she managed to pay for it. She hadn't told Jason anything about it until the phone call (by which point she was in fragile shape). Maybe she told her parents, they paid, and she swore them to secrecy. Dunno.
I'd figure her parents would foot the bill. When they found out her condition, of course they would come to her aid. She's their daughter....

DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 03:34:44 pm »
It's been a while since I've read this, so I don't recall what the deal was with the Blossoms losing all their wealth again. Or maybe it's just that at the point where LWA took off, that was still the case in the regular comics, when Mr. Blossom had lost his fortune, and the story proceeded from that presumption (where in the regular comics Blossom developed some new IT software and became wealthy again). Or was there some insinuation there that the wealthy parents had disinherited Cheryl and Jason because of their immature antics?

Tuxedo Mark

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2018, 07:42:11 pm »
The family became wealthy again in late 2008 / early 2009. Cheryl's breast cancer storyline didn't begin until 2012. (I know LWA continuity doesn't completely line up with regular Archieverse continuity.) There's no indication in LWA that they're poor. In fact, when Cheryl returns home, she's living in a mansion. It's simply unspoken regarding how her initial treatment was paid for and who knew what when. All that's certain is Jason didn't know anything until after she'd had the mastectomy and lost her hair, by which point she was gaunt.
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DeCarlo Rules

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2018, 01:08:49 am »
The family became wealthy again in late 2008 / early 2009. Cheryl's breast cancer storyline didn't begin until 2012. (I know LWA continuity doesn't completely line up with regular Archieverse continuity.) There's no indication in LWA that they're poor. In fact, when Cheryl returns home, she's living in a mansion. It's simply unspoken regarding how her initial treatment was paid for and who knew what when. All that's certain is Jason didn't know anything until after she'd had the mastectomy and lost her hair, by which point she was gaunt.

I forgot which timeline it was, but at the beginning didn't one of the Cheryls run off to Hollywood to be discovered as an actress, but then she winds up waitressing when she didn't make it (eventually returning to Riverdale humbled)? And why's Jason slaving away working for Lodge in some middle-management position in the Veronicaverse, if his dad is still a billionaire?

Dang, I gotta find the time to read this whole thing again.

Tuxedo Mark

Re: Life with Archie (Warning: Possible Spoilers)
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 07:43:24 pm »
I forgot which timeline it was, but at the beginning didn't one of the Cheryls run off to Hollywood to be discovered as an actress, but then she winds up waitressing when she didn't make it (eventually returning to Riverdale humbled)? And why's Jason slaving away working for Lodge in some middle-management position in the Veronicaverse, if his dad is still a billionaire?

I don't remember Jason working for Mr. Lodge, but that does sound kind of familiar. All that I remember is, in the Bettyverse, when Cheryl returns home, she's living in a mansion. I might have to go back and flip through those issues.

In the Veronicaverse, Cheryl did indeed go off to Hollwood and ended up waiting tables. Same in the Bettyverse (albeit mentioned in retrospect instead of shown). The difference is, in the Bettyverse, Cheryl returns home due to her life being derailed by breast cancer, whereas, in the Veronicaverse, she comes home only when she's invited to Jughead and Ethel's wedding, and she's happy to pose for glam shots for Raj as he's recording her with his camera.
BV-kiss-small
Riverdale Reviewed
http://riverdalereviewed.wordpress.com
Every episode of "Riverdale", "The New Archies", and "Archie's Weird Mysteries" reviewed.
My digital wish list
https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/14FS742SI1R5I

 


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