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hOW i WISH-- by DeCarlo Rules
[Today at 11:38:44 AM]

Archie Barber Shop by DeCarlo Rules
[Today at 05:51:52 AM]

What have you done today? by Archiecomicxfan215
[September 21, 2017, 09:49:39 AM]

Days we look foward to as Archie Fans. by BettyReggie
[September 21, 2017, 07:42:25 AM]

What comics have you been reading? by DeCarlo Rules
[September 21, 2017, 01:49:23 AM]

Library Books That You All Read by BettyReggie
[September 20, 2017, 04:46:50 PM]

Whew! by SAGG
[September 20, 2017, 02:20:10 PM]

What are you currently watching? by DeCarlo Rules
[September 18, 2017, 02:36:39 AM]

Rick and Morty by SAGG
[September 16, 2017, 09:05:26 PM]

Latest Hauls, what did you buy? by DeCarlo Rules
[September 16, 2017, 01:09:28 PM]

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  • DeCarlo Rules: On the plus side, of those 5 issues of B&V Friends in 2017, 2 of them are Jumbo issues and the other three are Annuals.
    Today at 05:46:48 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Definitely. I was a little worried when there was no B&V Friends solicitation for November... that means only 5 issues came out this year, instead of 6 -- but since you got a renewal notice, and there's an issue solicited for December, it looks like it will continue!  :)
    Today at 05:44:32 AM
  • Ronny G: I just got another email from wanting me to renew my B&V Friends subscription, so maybe that's a good sign?
    Today at 04:43:39 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Sorry about the typo in that link!  :-[
    Today at 02:03:03 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: There's at least one more issue of B&V FRIENDS (#257) solicited for December this year. If it's not the last issue, then apparently it will continue. Here are the December 2017 Archie Comics solicits: [link]
    Today at 02:02:34 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: There's at least one more issue of B&V FRIENDS (#257) solicited for December this year. If it's not the last issue, then apparently it will continue. Here are the December 2017 Archie Comics solicits: [url][/utl]
    Today at 02:02:10 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: There's at least one more issue of B&V FRIENDS (#257) solicited for December this year. If it's not the last issue, then apparently it will continue. Here are the December 2017 Archie Comics solicits: [url][/utl]
    Today at 01:59:53 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: I just got email confirmation from the ACP subscription department... not only is JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE digest ending, but ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE digest is ending as well. Both subscriptions are automatically switched to the new ARCHIE AND ME digest, unless a subscriber requests a different digest title. No word on B&V FRIENDS digest so far; here's hoping "no news is good news" in this case.
    September 21, 2017, 11:54:07 PM
  • Tuxedo Mark: KJ Apa was in a car accident. He's okay. But he fell asleep at the wheel after working a 16-hour day! Cole Sprouse hitched a ride in a production van or something. They should really pay for transportation for the actors after working long hours. [link]
    September 21, 2017, 04:20:59 PM
  • Archiecomicxfan215: My boyfriend is i can probably get some photos from him to post here
    September 21, 2017, 09:48:15 AM
  • BettyReggie: Anybody going to NYCC?
    September 21, 2017, 07:51:27 AM
  • Vegan Jughead: The Sabrina series could be cool.  Of course it means any hope of CHAOS for Afterlife getting on a regular schedule just vanished unless Roberto turns the writing over to someone else.
    September 21, 2017, 06:14:18 AM
  • Tuxedo Mark: Sabrina series in the works at The CW! [link]
    September 20, 2017, 05:09:30 PM
  • Tuxedo Mark: Riverdale billboard in New York: [link]
    September 19, 2017, 01:49:42 PM
  • BettyReggie: Riverdale Season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 11th at 8pm on The CW! which is 21 days away.
    September 19, 2017, 09:01:58 AM
  • Vegan Jughead: My wife used to watch him on All My Children.  He's kind of a weird choice for Mr. Lodge, but I guess no weirder than the rest of the characters!
    September 19, 2017, 07:47:21 AM
  • Tuxedo Mark: First look at Hiram: [link]
    September 18, 2017, 02:33:09 PM
  • BettyReggie: The Archie Andrew Show is on the radio right now. It's about Archie getting Veronica bubble bath for party.
    September 17, 2017, 03:22:25 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: It's easy to tell what people are collecting by seeing what's "out of stock"... all the older Josie and Sabrina issues, B&V Summer Fun & Spectaculars (AGS and regular series).
    September 17, 2017, 12:15:34 AM
  • DeCarlo Rules: Only one Josie comic. About a dozen issues of Sabrina, a dozen issues of Veronica, a dozen Archie Giant Series issues, half-a-dozen B&V Spectaculars, 9 FCBD and HCF issues I was missing. A bunch of different #100, 200, 300 & 400 issues, and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff.
    September 17, 2017, 12:02:26 AM

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Messages - DeCarlo Rules

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General Discussion / Re: Latest Hauls, what did you buy?
« on: September 16, 2017, 01:09:28 PM »
Ordered a huge pile of back issue Archie Comics from I'd have to wait forever until I just found those issues cheap somewhere.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 14, 2017, 09:41:59 AM »
That reminds me of a Little Archie story I read the other day in World of Archie #53. In the story, a frustrated department store Santa Claus takes off his red hat and puts it on Veronica's head, but then the color of the hat changes to green!

It's some kind of magical mind-control thing. Pretty sure that's how he enslaves his "helpers" to his will. Didn't you ever notice all the helpers seem to wear green hats? What's up with that?

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 14, 2017, 12:30:31 AM »
I thought maybe they changed the bikini to a one-piece so they wouldn't offend mothers who may buy it for their children, but you're right, do they actually read what it says?
I also got Betty and Veronica comic digest #256 in the mail today. I was happily surprised to see some classic Josie and the Pussycats stories in it since I thought they were just confined to the pages of B&V Friends, so maybe the rumors of B&V Friends ending are true and they moved Josie over. Also, happy to see some classic 70s Sabrina stories instead of the more modern (2000?) version.

I had the same initial thought. Then again, as I remarked here when I read it last month, the most recent B&V FRIENDS (#255) didn't have Josie (or Cheryl) reprints in it, as it usually had up to this point -- and in fact, Josie reprints had been a regular feature of B&V FRIENDS going all the way back to when the title was changed from BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST back in 2011 with issue #209. The next issue of B&V FRIENDS (JUMBO COMICS), #256, the Halloween-themed issue, is scheduled to ship in 2 weeks (09/27), so maybe we'll see if it has Josie (or Cheryl) reprints in it again.

It does seem a little odd that they're trying to squeeze both Josie and Cheryl reprints into the regular BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST, which has always carried Sabrina reprints (in this issue, revisionist-logo'ed as HILDA and ZELDA stories). I laughed because while it's fair to say that Hilda was the focus of the first Sabrina story, she's also the focus of the second story, despite the fact that it's Zelda who appears most prominently in the 1st panel of the story. I don't think there really are any Sabrina stories revolving mostly around Zelda until we get to Sabrina's series from the 1990s. There's more proof that they didn't actually READ the story... just looked at Zelda prominently featured in the 1st panel, and decided to slap a ZELDA logo on the story.

Further proof that the production department colorists don't read what it says on the page occurs in the story where B&V participate as contestants on the TV game show "Race Around the World". In a panel introducing the other pairs of competing players, we're introduced to Lisa and Lana, who are described (in a caption appearing right above their figures in the panel) as twin sisters -- yet the colorist chose these particular incidental characters as an opportunity to "diversify" the cast of a reprinted story, and Lisa and Lana not only have different hairstyles and different-colored hair (explainable), but one twin is Caucasian, and the other twin African-American! Talk about embarassing...!! And then, it seems as though the colorist has realized his goof (but not corrected it), as Lisa and Lana both appear in the rest of the story with the same hair and (Caucasian) skin coloring.

Now, in the instance of the cover gag featuring the "umbrella girl" on the beach, I've no doubt that if I were to try finding the original appearance of that Dan DeCarlo gag, the umbrella girl, as she originally appeared, would have been Caucasian. I didn't bring it up in my prior post about the colorists altering the cover for that gag because it's completely irrelevant to the joke. The only points relevant would be that the girl on the beach under the umbrella is pretty and shapely, and that she's wearing a bikini (which might be considered the most salient point of the joke, since Veronica considers that worthy of mentioning). Her ethnicity doesn't matter to the nature of the joke -- it's exactly as relevant as whether her bikini is white with blue polka-dots, or purple with yellow polka-dots.

I have no problem at all with the idea of the production department diversifying the cast of incidental characters by choosing some of them as representatives of people of color, because I agree with the intent in principle. These digest reprints are aimed at audience of contemporary pre-teens, and I applaud ACP for wanting to make those stories more inclusive and accessible to kids of all ethnicities. All I ask is that they actually read the stories first, and apply those changes judiciously, so that the end results don't stick out like a sore thumb as obvious alterations of the original story that don't fit -- the alteration of the umbrella girl to a person of color is a good example (and the alteration of her bathing suit a poor one), while the alteration of Lisa and Lana is a bad example (in fact, one of the worst, counterproductive to the intent of including people of color). Kids are not stupid, and it's an embarassment and makes the whole company look bad when they screw it up.

In the case of archival-type reprints that are aimed at an audience of collectors, many if not most of them adults, the source material should be adhered to as originally published, for reasons of historical accuracy. A blanket disclaimer somewhere in the front of the book advising that "These stories were originally created during a time... yadda-yadda-yadda" is sufficient explanation.

For the same reason, it's dismaying when I see a reprint like "Off to a Good Start" (from JOSIE #45, Dec. 1969) in the recent BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS trade paperback, but it's been reprinted from a later digest reprint altered by the production department so that the original text of Alexandra's dialogue balloon was re-lettered to change it -- instead of referring to her magic powers, Alexandra makes reference to having studied hypnosis on a website.

At any rate, those reprints of other girl humor features ARE the "friends" of the title B&V FRIENDS, so without them, it's just Betty and Veronica stories. I do hope they keep reprinting them, regardless of the eventual fate of B&V FRIENDS, but I'd hate to see only one B&V digest title being published.

Also, is it just me, or did they recently change the paper they're being printed on? The paper seems whiter and the colors "pop" more. I took a break from the digests for a few months, so this is the first one I received in a while so I don't know.

Can't say that I noticed any difference in the paper quality or printing in recent months.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 13, 2017, 02:24:02 AM »

...and then I had to laugh when I looked at this cover again. I mean, it's obviously a reprint of an older Dan DeCarlo gag from... who knows where.
But then someone decided to mess with the original drawing, so that the joke doesn't even make sense anymore. "What beach umbrella?", indeed? The real question here should be... "WHAT bikini???" since the girl sitting under the beach umbrella behind Archie ISN'T WEARING A BIKINI, but a one-piece swimsuit.


Since I located a previous use of that same cover gag where the girl under the umbrella is STILL wearing a bikini, let's compare them and try to figure out what might have happened here:

On the left is the image as it was altered by the production department for use on the cover of that 1000 Page digest, and on the right is a previous appearance of the same Dan DeCarlo gag on the cover of ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #230, where the girl appears in a bikini as DeCarlo had originally drawn the gag.

However, someone decided that they needed to put a big banner across the cover of the 1000 Page digest, proclaiming "OVER 100 CLASSIC STORIES", and the placement of that banner happens to cover up umbrella girl's derriere, so someone probably looked at it and thought "If we leave it like this, it kind of looks like she might not be wearing any panties, because all you can see now is her bare belly and her bare leg. I guess maybe we should color in her bare midriff to make it look like a one-piece swimsuit." Except that colorists don't ever seem to actually READ what's on the page, so they didn't notice or care that THE JOKE HERE IS SPECIFIC TO A GIRL IN A BIKINI. If someone had noticed that, they could have still fixed it with another minute's work of alteration, like so:

If you're going to remove the bikini from the girl that Veronica is referring to in the joke, then you've got to remove the word "bikini" from Veronica's dialogue balloon, or it makes it look like the people at ACP are idiots. It's still not quite as funny as the original version of the joke, though, because in the original version, the girl under the umbrella is wearing a more revealing swimsuit, a bikini, that gets Archie's attention, where Veronica is wearing a one-piece swimsuit that's less revealing. If the girl under the umbrella is also wearing a one-piece swimsuit, the same as Veronica is, there's less reason for Archie to stare at her lustily, although of course that's never stopped his wandering eyes before.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 12, 2017, 12:38:10 AM »
I was hoping that maybe the latest BETTY & VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST would come in the mail a few days early, but no such luck.  :(

So instead I pulled out an older 1000-Pager, ARCHIE 1000 PAGE COMICS CELEBRATION, and read that. I seem to recall that these things usually cut out out all the special character sections of the digest reprints, so I was actually kind of surprised to find that this one had a Josie and the Pussycats section reprinting both parts of "Music For the Masses", from ARCHIE & FRIENDS #48-49. That story and the 2-parter in the following two issues of A&F were the longest Josie stories (24 pages) since the 1960s, and still the longest ones to date.

...and then I had to laugh when I looked at this cover again. I mean, it's obviously a reprint of an older Dan DeCarlo gag from... who knows where.
But then someone decided to mess with the original drawing, so that the joke doesn't even make sense anymore. "What beach umbrella?", indeed? The real question here should be... "WHAT bikini???" since the girl sitting under the beach umbrella behind Archie ISN'T WEARING A BIKINI, but a one-piece swimsuit.

All About Archie / Re: Bart Beaty's TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE
« on: September 11, 2017, 11:47:51 PM »
I finished re-reading TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE. Bart Beaty's particular bias becomes understandable only in light of considering the last chapter, where he talks about how he first discovered Archie Comics as a kid. His parents had rented a camp cottage, and he discovered a box of old Archie Comics under the stairs there, and he'd return and re-read those comics every summer when his parents rented the camp. He talks about how when he assembled his collection of twelve-cent Archies to write the book, he kept encountering stories that he fondly remembered reading from that box he found under the stairs, and realizing that all of the stories he really liked were Harry Lucey-drawn Archie stories. He also mentioned something about having no interest in romance at that time as a kid, so I'll guess that either there weren't a lot of Betty & Veronica and Josie comics in that box, or maybe there were, but those weren't the ones that interested him as a kid. It kind of makes sense now, when you consider that it's nostalgia that's skewing his POV of the Archie Comics published in the twelve-cent era.

It's still frustrating to me, as a huge Dan DeCarlo fan, and someone whose main interest in Archie is the girl-centric titles, to see how he continually shies away from talking about DeCarlo's work, or when he does deem to mention it, focuses on some ridiculous thing like the foreground girls or this one page DeCarlo drew with a foreground girl who appears split between two panels on the first page, or how DeCarlo repeated essentially the same joke in one pin-up page as he'd done on a pin-up page in the issue a month before that. But I sort of get it. He wasn't interested in Betty & Veronica and Josie comics as a kid when he was reading those old comics he found in a box under the stairs, and he's still not interested now.

All About Archie / Re: Bart Beaty's TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE
« on: September 11, 2017, 03:35:19 AM »
My own analysis of the history of Archie Comics indicates that attempting to slice the company's history into decades doesn't present the best approach to understanding the evolution of change in its publishing history. All the natural landmarks along the road point to an approach by which a better understanding of the company can be had by looking at it in chunks beginning in the middle of one decade, and ending in the middle of the following one.

1939-1945: Pre-war and WWII - In this period, the company was not yet defined by Archie as the dominant character and force behind its publishing. Archie appears first as an anthology feature in the otherwise superhero-dominated titles Pep and Jackpot and receives his own title in 1943, but the majority of the company's output is still dominated by adventure features. Also in 1943, the company branches out with media adaptations of two of its most popular characters, with the radio series The Adventures of Archie Andrews, and The Black Hood. The former is a success and will continue running on one network or another for a decade, while the latter is a failure and lasts a single season. A pulp fiction magazine based on the Black Hood is also published to coincide with the radio series, but it too is a failure, lasting for only three issues. The success of Archie in his own self-titled comic book and as a radio series will decide the future direction of the company, with the shift from superheroes to comedy features in the anthology titles beginning almost as soon as the Black Hood's failure in other media becomes apparent, and will be largely complete by the end of the war. In actuality, the shift had begun even earlier, with the conversion of Top-Notch Comics (in which The Black Hood was the lead feature) to Top-Notch Laugh Comics (which continued to retain The Black Hood, but as a subordinate feature to other comedy features), beginning with issue #28, dated July 1942. Top-Notch Laugh Comics will end with issue #45 in May of 1945. Black Hood (the company's most successful superhero, along with The Shield) will outlive Top-Notch Laugh Comics in his own title, but only until issue #19 (June 1946).

1946-1955: Postwar Period - Superheroes are out of favor following the end of WWII, and comedy features (with ARCHIE as the flagship title) dominate the publisher's philosophy. "MLJ Magazines" is accordingly rechristened as "Archie Comic Publications" at the beginning of this period, and the Archie newspaper strip, launched early in 1946 under the sole creative control of Bob Montana, is the standard to which the comic book writers and artists look for their cues. In a very short time, the strip will be carried in hundreds of papers, exposing the character to audiences of millions not otherwise familiar with Archie in the comic books. This 10-year span also coincides with a boom period for the entire industry, with total industry sales peaking in the last couple of years prior to the institution of the Comics Code Authority seal on all comics distributed in 1955, indicating a sea-change for the entire industry. New titles spinning off from Archie begin proliferating at the end of the 1940s: Archie's Pal Jughead, Archie's Rival Reggie, Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica, and Archie's Pals 'n' Gals. Apart from the model established by Montana in the newspaper strip, no particular writers or artists on the Archie-related titles dominate the style or direction of the characters. By the end of this period, the erosion of sales will be heavily felt due to the rise of television as the dominant form of entertainment.

1956-1965: The Boomer Decade - Harry Lucey emerges as the major definer of Archie and his friends in the comic books, largely superseding Montana's conception as presented in the newspaper strip. Samm Schwartz does likewise in becoming the major artist defining Jughead as the star of his own series. At the beginning of the decade, Dan DeCarlo joins the company, at first moonlighting from his major employment at Atlas/Marvel, but by late in 1958 becoming a full-time freelancer at ACP. After that time, his importance in defining Betty and Veronica in their own title and as separate characters from Archie, gradually gains dominance over the Lucey conception of B&V at the beginning of this period. The importance of DeCarlo increases with the launch of Josie in 1963. Little Archie is conceived, written and drawn by Bob Bolling from 1956-1965, but is turned over to Dexter Taylor in 1965 in order to remake the low-selling title into something more closely resembling the main Archie title. Additional titles like Archie Giant Series, Archie's Madhouse, Archie's Joke Book, Jughead's Jokes, Life With Archie, and Archie and Me are launched and thrive. An attempted revival of Reggie in his own title is not successful, nor are other short-lived titles like Jughead's Fantasy. Samm Schwartz leaves Jughead and the company in 1965 to work for Harry Shorten at Tower Comics.

1966-1975: Everything's Archie - Beginning slightly earlier in 1965, there is a great deal of experimentation in response to the impact of cultural awareness of "camp" and "pop art", particularly resulting in the remaking of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Reggie into superheroes as Pureheart, Captain Hero, Superteen, and Evilheart. The success of Silver Age superheroes at DC, and especially at Marvel, had resulted in revamping The Adventures of the Fly (running since 1959) as Fly-Man, and the revival of several of the company's Golden Age superheroes, resulting in the spinoff title The Mighty Crusaders. "Camp" abounded in these titles and on Archie's covers for most of 1966. The rise in popularity of DC and Marvel superhero comics in the early 1960s will affect not only competing comic book publishers, but also the content of Saturday morning animated programming in the 1966-1967 seasons. History will repeat itself, in a way, just as the crime and horror comics of the early 1950s inspired a parental backlash, a small vocal minority of concerned mothers will begin a movement against action/adventure-dominated children's fare on television, resulting in Filmation animation producer Lou Scheimer turning to Archie Comics in his search for a source of program content of a more innocuous and inoffensive nature. Archie Comics benefited from an unexpected windfall as the brief sales boom in superhero comics subsided in 1968, and ACP's new direction would take its cues from the successful Saturday morning animated shows The Archie Show, followed by Sabrina the Teenage Witch and then Josie and the Pussycats. Dan DeCarlo is given the responsibility of cover artist for the entire Archie lineup at the end of the decade, signaling the domination of his style as "the" Archie style. New titles will again proliferate beginning in the late 1960s: Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, That Wilkin Boy, and the conversion of Archie's Madhouse into The Madhouse Glads, and Josie into Josie and the Pussycats. The animated shows bring an influx of new readers to Archie Comics, and titles like Everything's Archie are added to capitalize on the pop chart success of The Archies. As the superhero craze on television dies down by 1968, sales on superhero comics dwindle after a brief boomlet, and Archie Comics experiences a new sales boom of its own in teen humor titles during this period, with Archie outselling even Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man, and character merchandising at an all-time high. Archie's success as a publisher will even inspire the creation of teen humor titles at rival publishers DC and Marvel, along with other publishers. The animated adaptations continue to morph into different variations from season to season, but remain ubiquitous on television in various combinations of new episodes and reruns, from 1968-1975. It is during this period, as the main protagonist of Betty and Me for ten years, that Betty Cooper gradually gains acknowledgment from Archie that he sees her as more than a friend and "back-up date" and that he actually harbors romantic feelings for her. While she still remains the underdog in her rivalry with Veronica, the "Triangle" has been truly established by the close of the period. Late in this period, the company will briefly experiment with horror comics (Madhouse, Chilling Tales of Sorcery) under the Red Circle imprint, after the Comics Code is revised in 1972 (they are not successful). In 1975, Bob Montana dies, and ACP turns responsibility for the important newspaper strip over to Dan DeCarlo.

1976-1986: Changing Times - Newsstand sales begin to shrink in this period, but the worst is yet to come in the next period. As the latter half of the 1970s draws to a close, the animated adaptations are producing far fewer new episodes and reruns move from the major networks to syndication on local UHF stations. The boom of the previous period has ended, and the early 1980s sees the cancellations of many long-running titles that began in the previous period: Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, That Wilkin Boy, Reggie and Me. By the end of the period that will include all of the legacy titles: Pep, Laugh, Madhouse, Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Betty and Me. The first series of Betty and Veronica and Jughead will come to an end, to be replaced by new #1 issues beginning in 1987 (Betty and Me will be replaced by Betty #1), with only Archie carrying on the legacy numbering. Digest comics will become the major success for ACP by the end of this period, and by the next period they will dominate over sales of standard-format comic books, with the number of digest titles proliferating. At the end of the previous period, newsstand sales were still the dominant method of distribution for comic books, but by the end of this period, the balance will have shifted to specialized comic book stores catering mainly to hardcore comic book fans. The resultant loss of mass distribution in regular retail establishments across the country will profoundly affect ACP, as comic book shops cater to a much smaller audience of older consumer-collectors whose main interest is in the superhero genre.

All About Archie / Bart Beaty's TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE
« on: September 10, 2017, 03:05:59 PM »
I'm about 80% through my second reading of this book, and I have to report that upon analyzing what Beaty has to say (and just importantly, what he omits talking about) I'm far less happy with the book than I was upon my initial reading. Probably because the first time around I was just bedazzled by the fact that anyone had taken the time to write a book about Archie that didn't amount to a company-approved summary of the publisher's history.

In fact, I'm going to say that I'm finding the book to be incredibly myopic and biased based on the author's own interests, so it presents nothing like a balanced and fair critique of (as I was expecting) the comic books published by Archie Comic Publications during the period of the 1960s when the cover price of those comics was twelve cents (cover dates from Dec. 1961 to July 1969).

Really the only thing that's of interest to Beaty in discussing is the comic book stories published by ACP in that period that directly featured Archie (and to a much lesser extent, Jughead). And even more to the point, Archie stories that were drawn by Harry Lucey (and to a much lesser extent, Jughead stories drawn by Samm Schwartz). Other comics (and characters) are mentioned either matter-of-factly, or in a way that is critical (in the negative connotation of that word) and/or dismissive. Writers like Frank Doyle are only mentioned in the context of their having written a script which was particularly brilliantly executed by either Lucey or Schwartz -- and Doyle is about the only writer mentioned (and once or twice, Bob Bolling). Now to be fair, the writers were not credited in the actual comics as published in this period, but shouldn't Beaty have taken the time to determine that information as much as is possible?

Dan DeCarlo is mentioned numerous times, but usually in a factual context, and barely discussed at all. The greatest wordage devoted specifically to DeCarlo is reserved for Beaty's observation of his design usage of the non-character "foreground girls" that decorated at least one panel of one story in every DeCarlo-drawn issue of B&V, and he presents it in such a way as to cast it in the light of a negative idiosyncratic oddity perpetrated by the artist. There is no discussion (although mentioned a few times in passing) of JOSIE, for example, because DeCarlo doesn't interest Beaty at all, nor do any comics which ACP published that were not focused specifically on Archie (and to a much lesser extent, Jughead). Various other titles are mentioned or discussed in a dismissive light, possibly some deserving of it, like the various Joke Books, but Beaty tends to feel negatively about anything that diverges from the standard, classic middle-of-the-road Riverdale story. Things that vary from that, like stories in Life With Archie, are invariably, when deemed worthy of mention at all, in for a harsh drubbing. "Caveman Archie" only escapes that same fate by dint of many of the stories having been handled by Lucey.

Other important characters are discussed, but only insofar as how they related to Archie Andrews in the stories, so once again -- no great amount of wordage is devoted to discussing Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica, because Harry Lucey (and Samm Schwartz) had little to do with that title. On the other hand, we get things like a two page discussion/analysis of a single-page Doyle-written, Schwartz-drawn Jughead gag, so that Beaty can discuss the brilliance of how Schwartz turned a lamely-written, unfunny joke into an exercise of turning a piece of crap into cartooning gold.

The minor-minor characters (Moose, Midge, Dilton, Ethel) are discussed and dismissed summarily as bad one-note ideas -- which may not be entirely unfounded, yet somehow they're still around, even if they might have been nothing more than reoccurring plot devices in those earliest stories.

Somehow, though, I find myself wishing for a critical analysis that was a little less biased and little more representative of ACP's total publishing output, even within a limited period like the twelve-cent era. Maybe that's my own bias because I find a lot of stuff that I like about that period had nothing to do with "standard Archie" (Josie, Sabrina, Madhouse) and I like stuff that Beaty clearly hates (Pureheart, The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E., The Archies). On the other hand, while he admits that Archie's Girls Betty & Veronica was the second best-selling title in this period, he spends very little time actually discussing it, certainly less than he devotes to Jughead, the third best-selling title, so it has to do less with their relative importance in the factual sense than it does with Beaty's abiding interest in both Archie and Jughead, and Lucey and Schwartz, and relative lack of interest in Betty & Veronica (apart from their function within Archie stories drawn by Lucey, and how they related to Archie in general) and Dan DeCarlo. Beaty spends an overlong amount of time constantly returning to explanations of how ACP's lack of continuity functioned within the stories, to the point where it seems like overkill.

Maybe what's needed is a critical anthology, in which different writers could present essays on different aspects of Archie Comics that they found merited discussing or analyzing, whether focusing on various characters, titles, or publishing trends, or some subtextual aspects of the story dynamics not immediately apparent on the surface or which seem worthy of exploration.

All About Archie / Re: Betty & Veronica - Lucey vs. DeCarlo
« on: September 10, 2017, 12:46:40 AM »
I have that book and i love that book, but even I, as a HUGE Lucey fan, was a bit taken back at his use of "by far".  I think he was just trying to be edgy since Dan DeCarlo is assumed by most casual observers to be THE Archie artist. 

For B&V, in that era I'll take DeCarlo.  If I can go across all eras, I'll take Dan Parent or Bob Montana, although I love Jeff Shultz's DeCarlo tribute style as well.   

I like Dan Parent's B&V, but Montana and DeCarlo drew during what in my opinion was a high point for women's fashion, so I guess I like Parent's Betty and Veronica heads and Montana and DeCarlo from the neck down.  Ha ha.

For the late '40s and early '50s, it's Bob Montana setting the pace and leading the way (on the newspaper strip and some covers), but as we get to the mid-'50s in the comic books, Harry Lucey began to emerge as the dominant artist, and it was he who largely defined the characters for the next decade's comic books. Overlapping in the early '60s, Dan DeCarlo's version begins to overtake Lucey's as the preeminent B&V depiction, which is pretty well solidified by the later '60s when DeCarlo becomes the main cover artist for all the comics. Lucey's artistic powers began fading in the 1970s comics due to his deteriorating health, and he retired completely in 1976. DeCarlo's dominance just continued to build in the 1970s, adding the newspaper strip to his duties when Bob Montana died in 1975. Becoming the main cover artist, and then the newspaper strip artist, is about all the validation needed to confirm that by the later 1970s, "the traditional Archie Comics style" had become Dan DeCarlo's style.

When discussing the Silver Age artists, one that never seems to get mentioned, or enough credit, is Bob White. He was brought into ACP's production department in the late '50s by Bob Bolling, and when he got to work on the main characters in the '60s, being new to the genre, he seemed to have a strong desire to prove his worth to the company by remaining faithful to the house style of the period, taking most of his artistic cues from DeCarlo's and Lucey's work (and maybe a little bit of Bob Montana). His work can be found in and on the covers of early-1960s issues of Archie and Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica, and he was also a regular contributor to Archie's Madhouse. But he seems to be primarily remembered as the artist on those 1965-1967 issues of Life With Archie that featured Pureheart the Powerful, The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E., and the prototype 3-man version of The Archies. His most distinctive contribution to the company remains the delightfully wonky Cosmo the Merry Martian, which he created, wrote and drew.

A couple of examples of Bob White's covers for Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica.

In the later 1990s, when Dan Parent began to emerge from DeCarlo's mentoring into his own, it seems like he and Jeff Schulz are pretty much neck-and-neck as B&V artists, but Dan Parent was becoming more the signature artist for Veronica. He also helped to launch Cheryl and Sabrina in their own late-1990s comics, eventually turning Cheryl over to Holly G. (who afterwards moved on to Josie and the Pussycats, and then Sabrina). Holly's slightly manga-influenced take on all those characters gave them a fresh look. She also broke away from the traditional method of drawing the girls' eyes as simple black dots with a single ink line representing the eyelash in medium and close-up panels, giving them delicate eyelashes and colored irises, which made them seem more expressive. Holly didn't do many B&V stories, but the one where Betty gets a Goth makeover is memorable.

Then in the 2000s, Dan is allowed to express his own individual style a lot more, and definitely becomes the iconic cover artist for both B&V. Breaking away from the DeCarlo influence a little, he develops a lot of his own signature facial expressions for the girls. Dan's abilities as a graphic designer really begin to impress me at about the time Betty & Veronica Spectacular gets a makeover as a fashion magazine-styled comic (#69-90), and that's about the time that I'd say he "owned" those characters, despite some nice work from Jeff continuing on interior B&V stories. Dan gets to do some fun stuff, like the storybook tales (Wonderland and Oz) and Agents B&V in the digests around the same time. And yes, Dan Parent definitely picked up on the fashion-conscious vibe that DeCarlo had paid real attention to, adding to that contemporary sensibility. I notice in a few of their most recent stories that the brothers Kennedy are really starting to pay attention to B&V's fashions, too.

All About Archie / Betty & Veronica - Lucey vs. DeCarlo
« on: September 09, 2017, 12:38:29 PM »
I've been re-reading Bart Beaty's TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE (since a new edition of the book came out with color illustrations) and seeing his comments in a somewhat different light than I did upon the first reading, a couple of years ago. I imagine that's because my understanding of the background context of the history of Archie has expanded considerably in the time since I first read it. Beaty is a devout admirer of Harry Lucey's work, and at one point in the book he makes the bold statement that "Of all the dozens of artists who contributed to Archie Comics in the twelve-cent era, the best, by far, was Harry Lucey." (emphasis mine) He goes on to say "His Archie is the most wide-eyed, his Betty and Veronica the most alluring, and his Jughead is the most relaxed."

"By far"? I had to think about that a bit, and while I'd certainly give it to Lucey when it came to Archie as the main character, and he draws a pretty sexy B&V, there's still something about his version of the girls that falls a little short, for me, of Dan DeCarlo's. How do I articulate exactly what quality it was that made DeCarlo's B&V superior to Lucey's?

When I think of Harry Lucey's version of the girls, it always seems to me that they carry themselves in a way a little too poised, a little too physically mature for their age. He's a good girl artist, but he subtracts a bit of his cartooning instincts and amps up his illustrator instincts when drawing them. His B&V seem reminiscent to me of the kind of glamour photography you might see from the 1940s or 1950s, and has a kind of "posed" quality to it, whenever B&V are strutting their stuff and showing off their curves.

Dan's B&V seem to have more of a relaxed, natural quality about them, as if caught in moments unaware that they're "having their picture taken". Despite the fact that they're both essentially the same girl in body and facial features with different hairstyles and clothing, Dan was better at making B&V each distinct by contrasting their different styles of body language. In thinking about it, I'd say DeCarlo better captured a balance in both girls' depiction between their youthful innocence and their physical charms, and that made them both more appealing and seem a little more real. I think he had a little better range on their expressions of different emotion than Lucey did, too.

Now, when it comes to who was the better ARCHIE artist (that is, the better artist for stories that focus on Archie as the main character), it's Lucey hands down. His range of portraying slapstick comedy, movement through space, and force and motion through body language was unequaled. He would have made a damn fine animator, if that had been the profession he'd chosen, because you can look at a Harry Lucey Archie story and see all the "key frames" (or "extremes") that would represent the points on which the animation turns, to be filled-in by in-betweeners. So if he had worked in animation, he'd either be the lead animator on the main character, or the director of the cartoon (who essentially does the same thing, in addition to coordinating all the other animators on the team). That ability to tell a story through slapstick action simply wasn't as essential a quality in most Betty & Veronica stories as it was in an Archie story.

And... I haven't quite decided whether Lucey was the best Silver Age Jughead artist or not, because I haven't quite spent enough time thinking about it or studying stories with that in mind, but my instincts are leading me to say... Samm Schwartz, particularly the pre-1965 Schwartz, whose earlier work I always liked better because of the inking quality on those stories before he left the company for the next four years (to go work for Tower Comics, and then DC). Schwartz' later Jughead is more minimalist, with fewer background details in the panels, and an unvarying ink line-weight, making everything look flatter and less 3-dimensional. But he still had a good storytelling sense of layouts and about the placement of figures within a panel to get some movement into it.

And beyond the Silver Age, after DeCarlo and then Lucey, who was the next best B&V artist after Lucey retired in the Bronze Age? I'm going to go with... Al Hartley. Especially when it came to Betty. Hartley seemed to have a real empathy for Betty, and it showed in his work, but beyond that, he was probably just, on average, the next best "girl artist". He didn't tend to flaunt that ability quite as much as DeCarlo and Lucey did, but when he wanted to, he could turn out some terrific stuff when the specific story allowed it. And after Hartley, once he'd been working at Archie for a few years and had gotten a handle on the characters and the house style... Stan Goldberg.

General Discussion / Re: Latest Hauls, what did you buy?
« on: September 09, 2017, 08:51:23 AM »
This is also on and every size is sold out except for Extra Large

Some nice Dan Parent head shots there. Maybe it's me, but doesn't it seem a little weird that the shirt design allows space for a dozen character head shots, but it's the same six characters, repeated twice? ... Rather than, as would seem to make a lot more sense to me, including Moose, Midge, Chuck, Nancy, Cheryl, and Dilton? I suppose they could have made the main cast's heads a little larger, and the supporting cast's heads a little smaller (and mixed up the pattern) to make the main characters faces stand out a little more.

All About Archie / Re: Lurid Little Nightmare Makers
« on: September 08, 2017, 06:27:49 AM »
I just got this in the mail.  I'm at work so I don't have time to read it yet but on first glance it looks really cool!

Dare we hope for a complete review (of the Archie-related contents) in the near future??  ???

I'm not really the reviewing type DCR, but YOU are.  I'm more of a consumer than a collector of comics.  How about this?  When I'm done (it will probably take me a few weeks as I'm reading about 30 things at once, LOL), I'll let you know, then you PM me your address and I'll send it to you and if you want to, you can review it for us to read.   If you don't want to, you still get to read the book.  You can't lose (and if you review it for the forum, we all win).

It's a deal!!

Reviews / Re: JOSIE reprint collections - Contents Listings and Comparison
« on: September 08, 2017, 05:31:58 AM »


Reviews / Re: JOSIE reprint collections - Contents Listings and Comparison
« on: September 08, 2017, 03:47:03 AM »

And finally, we come to the most recent (and largest) collection of Josie stories yet, THE BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS (Aug. 2017) -- and at 385 pages, it outweighs the previous BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSCATS: GREATEST HITS! digital exclusive collection by a whopping 92 pages of comics. You may have noticed that this is the third time they've used the words "The Best of Josie and the Pussycats" in the title of a collection. We had the 2001 trade paperback collection by that name, the 2014 digital exclusive collection subtitled "Greatest Hits!", and now this, which, by the physical dimensions of the book, I guess is intended to be considered part of "The Best of Archie Comics" series of trade collections.

Waitaminnit... how can I say 385 pages, when it says right on the cover of the trade paperback "Over 400 Pages"? Well, technically the book IS over 400 pages. Just not 400 pages of comics, and that's all I'm counting -- the actual pages of comics reprinted. Add the contents, credits and comments pages by some notable names in the comics biz (and elsewhere) and it does total over 400 pages -- but you're only buying it for the comics, right?

That being the case, let's be absolutely honest here and admit that the last 30 pages of comics in this book really don't count, because they're included for ACP's own self-serving purposes as advertising -- so that means there are really only 62 pages more of comics in this trade paperback collection than there are in the 2014 "Greatest Hits!" digital exclusive collection. My reasoning is as follows: The 20-page story from JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS (2016) #1 is immediately followed by a full-page reproduction of the cover of the trade paperback collecting the first 5 issues of that series (advertising). The 10-page story reprinted from RIVERDALE #3 only appeared a few months ago, in July 2017. By what stretch of the imagination can these stories honestly be judged as "the best of" anything? Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, if you are a fan of Josie, you're already aware that these stories exist, and if you care about that kind of thing, you've probably already read them -- or, you've decided you don't care about them -- as the case may be. Even accepting the hypothetical premise that some under-rock-dweller might not have been aware that these stories existed, they're far too recent for any value judgment regarding their relative quality as among the "best of" Josie stories to be honestly assessed. These stories are included here by ACP solely for the purpose of promoting trade paperback sales (of JOSIE) and floppy comic book sales (of RIVERDALE). Harsh, but undeniably true. Nuff 'said.

All that said, apart from those, there are only 6 other stories in this collection (totaling 56 pages) that have never been included in any previous Josie collections. The 2014 "Greatest Hits!" digital exclusive compilation has 10 stories (totaling 84 pages) that aren't duplicated in any other Josie collections. So if digital is your preference in buying comics, you're much better off purchasing that collection as opposed to the digital version of this one. Apart from those 6 stories unique to this collection, you can get the other ones not common to the "Greatest Hits!" collection in other Josie collections. Furthermore, 2 of those stories ("Love & War" and "Maxim Mix-Up") did first appear in JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS (1993) #2, so there's another 13 pages you can subtract if you can manage to find a copy of that comic book. "Zero to Rock Hero" is another excellent story exclusive to this collection, but unfortunately, only the second part of the two-part continued story is reprinted here. And finally, it should be duly noted that one of those 6 stories, "Vengeance From the Crypt" from JOSIE #72, while undeniably a classic and also a first-time reprinting, is reproduced as shot straight from the printed comic book pages, giving it a somewhat muddy look compared to the other stories reprinted here, with, sadly, no attempt made at digital clean-up.  If there is a single story included in this collection but no other, that represents a worthy argument for buying this collection over 2014's "Greatest Hits!" digital exclusive, it's "Showstopper!", the sole Josie story ever drawn by Gisele Lagace, originally appearing in B & V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #244. As with my previous contents listings, the ones in RED listed here are the stories unique to this collection.

   BEST OF JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS      385 Pages      source of 1st publication      Aug. 2017      writer      penciller      inker      
   cover            JOSIE #50                  Dan DeCarlo            
   Decisions, Decisions      6 pages      JOSIE #45      Dec. 1969      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Off To A Good Start      11 pages      JOSIE #45      Dec. 1969      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Pussy Footing      5 pages      JOSIE #45      Dec. 1969      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Sounds Silly To Me      5 pages      JOSIE #47      Apr. 1970      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Using His Head      11 pages      JOSIE #48      June 1970      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Quiet On The Set      8 pages      JOSIE #50      Sept. 1970      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Shopping Spree      5 pages      JOSIE #50      Sept. 1970      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Litter By Litter      6 pages      JOSIE #51      Oct. 1970      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Take Me To Your Leader      10 pages      JOSIE #51      Oct. 1970      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   A Moment Of Truth      7 pages      JOSIE #55      June 1971      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Please Take Note      5 pages      JOSIE #55      June 1971      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Power Shortage      6 pages      JOSIE #55      June 1971      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   The Ghost of Dark Valley Manor      16 pages      JOSIE #57      Sept. 1971      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   My Brother's Keeper      8 pages      JOSIE #65      Oct. 1972      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Mario Acquaviva      
   The Swamp Mist Monster!      8 pages      JOSIE #67      Feb. 1973      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Mario Acquaviva      
   Vengeance From The Crypt      10 pages      JOSIE #72      Oct. 1973      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Jon D'Agostino      
   Club Crisis      6 pages      JOSIE #93      Dec. 1976      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   Some You Win      5 pages      JOSIE #98      Oct. 1978      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   A New View      5 pages      ARCHIE'S TV LAUGH-OUT #84      Feb. 1982      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg            
   Head Count      6 pages      ARCHIE'S TV LAUGH-OUT #95      June 1984      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo      
   What Price Failure      6 pages      ARCHIE'S TV LAUGH-OUT #96      Aug. 1984      George Gladir      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo      
   The Swingers      6 pages      ARCHIE'S TV LAUGH-OUT #97      Oct. 1984      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   The Image      5 pages      ARCHIE'S TV LAUGH-OUT #98      Dec. 1984      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick      
   Gimmick Happy      6 pages      LAUGH #1      June 1987      Bill Webb      Stan Goldberg      Jon D'Agostino      
   Gig Gala!      5 pages      LAUGH #4      Dec. 1987      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Hy Eisman      
   Say Cheese      1 page      ARCHIE'S PALS 'N' GALS #194      Jan. 1988      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rod Ollerenshaw      
   Gig Gaga      5 pages      LAUGH #5      Feb. 1988      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick      
   Costume Capers      5 pages      LAUGH #16      Aug. 1989      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Mike Esposito      
   Oldies But Goodies      5 pages      LAUGH #20      Apr. 1990      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Rod Ollerenshaw      
   Double Duty      5 pages      LAUGH #23      Aug. 1990      George Gladir      Dan DeCarlo      Mike Esposito      
   Love & War      8 pages      JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS (1994) #2      Spring 1994      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Alison Flood      
   Maxim Mix-Up      5 pages      JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS (1994) #2      Spring 1994      Hal Smith      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick      
   O Solo Mio      11 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #52      Dec. 2001      Dan Parent      Holly Golightly      John Costanza      
   Bad News Boys      11 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #53      Jan. 2002      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      John Costanza      
   Ice Princess of the Lost Civilization      11 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #54      Mar. 2002      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      John Costanza      
   Stage Fright      11 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #55      Apr. 2002      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      John Costanza      
   A Singular Idea      6 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #63      Dec. 2002      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      John Costanza      
   Photo Oops!      6 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #68      May 2003      Angelo DeCesare      Rex W. Lindsey      Rich Koslowski      
   Go Figure!      6 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #69      June 2003      Angelo DeCesare      Al Bigley      Al Milgrom      
   Fame Blame      6 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #70      July 2003      Angelo DeCesare      Al Bigley      Al Milgrom      
   Show Offs!      6 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #76      Dec. 2003      Angelo DeCesare      Rex W. Lindsey      Rich Koslowski      
   Zero To Rock Hero, Part 2      22 pages      ARCHIE & FRIENDS #131      July 2009      Stephen Oswald      Bill Galvan      Al Milgrom      
   It Starts With A Kiss!      22 pages      ARCHIE #608 (June 2010)      June 2010      Dan Parent      Bill Galvan      Rich Koslowski      
   With This Ring!      20 pages      ARCHIE #632      June 2012      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Rich Koslowski      
   Showstopper!      6 pages      B & V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #244      Sept. 2015      J. Torres      Gisele Lagace      Rich Koslowski      
   (no title)      20 pages      JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS (2016) #1      Nov. 2016      Marguerite Bennett      Audrey Mok      Audrey Mok      
   Wild Things      10 pages      RIVERDALE #3      Jul. 2017      James DeWille      Joe Eisma      A. Syzmanowicz      

General Discussion / Re: Latest Hauls, what did you buy?
« on: September 07, 2017, 11:59:15 PM »
Hey, I just realized... Archiecomicxfan215's new t-shirt is Vegan Jughead!  :o

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