Comics – The Road Worrier

Your-Pal-Archie-1.jpgWriter: Ty Templeton
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Ty Templeton
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Your Pal Archie, No. 1
Cover Date: September, 2017
On-Sale Date: July 26, 2017
Length: 12 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

So, after largely giving up on New Riverdale (which also largely gave up on us), I decided to try out this new series. This came out yesterday, so I bought the digital version off Amazon. It’s a new Classic Archie title, the first new one since the classic “Betty and Veronica” title farted out its last issue after New Riverdale had already started in 2015. The pencils are done by Dan Parent, who has been described as “the last Classic Archie guy left” at the company. He continues doing new 5-page stories for the digests, but that’s pretty much been the sole new Classic Archie content for the past two years – until now.

Parent has updated the Archie house style somewhat, incorporating elements from “Riverdale”. As you can see, Betty’s hair is completely pulled back (while it works on the show just fine, it makes her look less attractive here), Veronica has a slightly darker skin tone (which is fine), and Archie is more muscular. The main thing that I have to complain about is Archie’s hair. What the fuck is that?! Parent kept the silly Tic-Tac-Toe pattern but also gave Archie that stupid…thing up front. Ugh.

The format of the series is interesting. There’s a complete story, part of a serial story, and a classic reprint. I’ll be reviewing just the complete story here. I’ll review the serial story once it’s finished.

First, there’s a credits page, and Archie previews the upcoming main story.

The story starts with Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead at Pop’s. I want to note what everyone’s having. Archie has a hamburger (partially eaten) and a milkshake. Betty has already eaten her hamburger and has a soda (I guess). Veronica is eating some kind of dish that is probably meant to be healthy and also has a drink. Jughead is a glutton with three hamburgers, a side of fries, a slice of pie, a hot dog, and a milkshake.

Parent gave Jughead some facial hair on his chin. That’s fine. It’s been done before.

Anyway, Archie says his family is visiting his aunt for a couple weeks on a “real working farm”. He’s looking forward to it. He asks the others what they’re doing with their vacation time. Betty is helping her sister paint her apartment. Veronica’s dad is taking the family to the Caribbean. Jughead is going to learn to drive. The others can’t believe Jughead wants to put effort into learning something. Jughead doesn’t think it’ll be hard. Betty jokingly worries for “drivers everywhere”. Jughead has signed up for Professor Flutesnoot’s Driver’s Ed course through the school. He vows, by Monday, he will “rule the roads of Riverdale”.

Jughead disastrously crashes the car on Monday, so Flutesnoot angrily sends him away. On Tuesday, Jughead does the same thing at Defensive Drivers of America School. On Wednesday, he actually manages to get a car set on fire at Bob’s Discount Drivers School.

On Thursday, he comes over to Archie’s house and reveals every driving instructor in the state has banned him (word gets around). Jughead tries to get Archie to teach him to drive, or else he’ll be cut off from Pop’s burgers for the summer, because apparently everyone is going out of town soon (everyone being Archie and Veronica as far as we know; Polly lives nearby, so Betty ain’t going anywhere), so Jughead won’t be able to “bum a ride” from them. He’s such an asshole. There’s some banter where Archie suggests eating at home and trying vegetables and Jughead trying to get Archie to “clear” the “debt” that he might “someday” owe Jughead for saving his life. Archie gives up and drives Jughead out to the middle of nowhere to teach him.

Out in the middle of nowhere, Jughead makes fun of Archie for naming his car (Betsy) and learns he’s only Archie’s second-best friend (Betsy is first).

The next five goddamn pages are devoted to Jughead’s driving mishaps, including crashing into a fence, backing up onto a road (yeah, it’s an issue), driving backwards, discussing a “Grand Theft Auto”-like video game, crashing through a guard rail, driving down a cliff, and driving on the driver-side wheels through an alleyway to avoid killing a cat. One nice thing during this sequence is the mention of Doyle’s Field, a reference to former Archie Comics head writer Frank Doyle.

A frustrated Archie calls Jughead the worst driver in history and says Jughead will never drive his car again. Jughead tells Archie that he can stop teaching him, because he’s not getting his own car; he planned on borrowing Archie’s while his family was at the farm. Goddess, Jughead is such an asshole! Jughead mentions Pop’s is across town from where he lives (only because it’s convenient to the plot). Archie tells him to get the fuck out, but then Jughead “decides” to get out. He asks Archie if he’s walking home. He doesn’t get an answer, so the next page has Jughead stepping over a wooden fence, falling down a hill (or huge pile of dirt), and landing by Pop’s.

Pop is happy to see Jughead, because he hasn’t seen him in four days. Jughead sits at the counter and orders four burgers with everything, because he has a “long walk home”.

This story is okay, I guess, but it’s nothing special. If you wanted to know what the gang has been up to in the Classic Archieverse, this issue provides the answer: same old shit. For a twelve-page story, not a whole hell of a lot actually happened. A total of six pages (half of the story) are taken up by “action” sequences.

So is this issue, which contains twenty pages of new content, worth $3.99? *inhales deeply* Not sure. Probably not. I plan to address comic pricing and what’s been going on with Archie Comics in an essay, which will be a bonus of sorts before next Wednesday’s review, so stay tuned for that.

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

3 thoughts on “Comics – The Road Worrier”

  1. It’s hard to say where Betty’s sister Polly is living, since we don’t actually see her in this story, and Betty doesn’t mention specifically where she lives. She could be living in San Francisco again, as she did in some past stories, or even somewhere else. The story doesn’t say. Anyway, Betty has promised Polly she’ll help her paint her apartment, for however long that’s taking. Even if Polly is living in Riverdale, Betty can’t be expected to chauffeur Jughead around town whenever he needs a ride to Pop’s because he’s feeling hungry (which is ALL the time). If she did that, she wouldn’t be much help to Polly in getting the painting done. And maybe Betty just feels like hanging out with her sister. They like each other and get along well, so it’s a little vacation for her to get out from under her parents’ noses and spend time at Polly’s apartment as her houseguest.

    The tic-tac-toe pattern on the sides and back of Archie’s head is his signature look. I assume it’s meant to represent a buzz cut on the sides and back of his head, while his hair on top is longer. That’s the most recognizable thing about how Archie has always been drawn, so without it, he doesn’t quite look like Archie. Just like you don’t draw Dick Tracy in profile without drawing his jaw with a 90 degree angle at the point of his chin. He’s a “square-jawed” detective type. If you try to draw him more realistically, looking like Warren Beatty, it just doesn’t really register as “Dick Tracy”.

    In this particular iteration of Archie, the hair on the top of his head is much longer. I assume that’s because the old style looks too retro, too 1950s, with the two neat little mounds of orange hair in the front.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point about Betty and Polly. Yeah, if I had an older sister (which I do, but I mean one that WOULDN’T discuss with my mom everything that I say and do), and I had an excuse to hang out with her, away from my parents (or just mom in my case), I’d certainly take her up on it and make myself unavailable to everyone else.

      A consequence of the cancellation of the old titles is there really isn’t an exploration of the characters’ home lives. The last that I remember seeing her, Polly was still living in the area. One of the xoxo, Betty and Veronica novels from 2011 mentioned she was living in San Francisco, but you could chalk that up to the various errors in that series: Cheryl having auburn hair, Pembroke instead of Pembrooke, and Bunny being the mean girl with her own clique instead of Cheryl.

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  2. Then again, is the current (New Riverdale) ARCHIE worth $3.99 for 20 pages? NO. Not to me. No “probably” about it. Less happens in one of those issues than in a typical Archie 5- or 6-page short. More importantly, if an Archie comic doesn’t make me smile or chuckle, or at least feel lighter somehow just having spent a little while away from my everyday cares, then it’s pretty useless to me. I really have no use for these characters in a serious/realistic context, having no desire to relive (or experience vicariously through fictional characters) my high school years again. The most important thing to me about Archie comics is that they be funny, charming, or heart-warming in some way. They’re the equivalent to me to “comfort food” or “bubblegum comics”… just simple cartoons. I don’t need any teen angst.

    Liked by 1 person

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