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3 reasons why 'Riverdale' could cement Archie Comics' edge

Are you, like me, waiting on tenterhooks for the official Riverdale trailer to drop? As a longtime Archie Comics fan, I’m too ready to see Archie and the gang in HD. The consensus I’ve seen so far surrounding the upcoming series is that folks are either squinting their eyes in confusion or can’t wait to see the conflation of Beverly Hills 90210 and Twin Peaks unfold.

Let’s say you’re reading this and are in the first camp, feeling like The CW is about to ruin Archie and the gang forever. I say we should give Riverdale the benefit of the doubt, at least for right now. Why? Here are three reasons, all of which speak to why Archie Comics itself has been able to survive throughout the decades.

• Riverdale speaks to Archie Comics’ commitment to reinvention.
Fans of Archie Comics know that for the past few years, the company has been going through a renaissance — a self-inflicted renaissance, if you will. What I mean by that is that before the mid ‘00s, Archie Comics were as stale as month-old bread. I’m being kind about this, actually. There would be dialogue, written in 2000, italicizing words like “cell phone” as if it was 1980 and cell phones were the new technology. That’s how out-of-date the company was at the time.

However, once the act of jump-starting the heart of Archie Comics began (beginning with the first “New Look” issues, introducing a “new” house style that didn’t really catch on), Archie Comics couldn’t be stopped. Afterward, we got Life with Archie, which gave us an inside, melodramatic look at what Archie’s life would be like if he was with Veronica and if he was with Betty in alternate universes. Next was the introduction of Kevin Keller, Archie’s first out gay character (I say “out” because people have had their theories about Jughead and Reggie). Then there were new initiatives for racial diversity, such as the introductions of Raj Patel and Toño Diaz, the miniseries featuring Riverdale High’s new students, and another Life with Archie miniseries featuring Archie’s life with Josie and the Pussycats’s Valerie.

Fast-forward to today, and Archie Comics has officially dusted off all of its cobwebs and is now killing the game with the rebooted Archie and Jughead series. These series are still in line with Archie Comics’ teen-centric origins, but the writing for both are relevant to the times and the lives of young readers growing up — there aren’t just “cell phones,” but smartphones, too. In short, Archie Comics is all about reinvention, and their new commitment to keeping up with the times is helping them win on these tough comic-book streets.

• Riverdale is in line with Archie Comics’ wilder comic book issues
Let’s not act like Archie Comics isn’t averse to going off the deep end in the best way. Archie Comics might be a legacy company, but it’s a company that also doesn’t turn down a chance to do something unexpected, even when the company was in a creative downturn. Remember when the Punisher teamed up with Archie? Or what about when the gang met KISS? Or when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and Sarah Palin came to Riverdale and had a G-rated war of ideas, which finally came to a meeting of the minds over a Chock’lit Shoppe shake? All of that is, in a word, weird. But it’s that weirdness that has kept Archie Comics in the public eye.

The way Archie Comics has now leveraged that penchant for weirdness into true viability is through their horror series Afterlife with Archie and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, both of which are smartly written and quite horrifying. The man behind both horror series, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is also behind the writing on Riverdale. Aguirre-Sacasa came to Archie Comics when he wrote another lovingly weird issue for Archie Comics, Archie Meets Glee, and now the former coproducer/writer for Fox’s Glee, now the chief creative officer for Archie Comics, is at the helm of Archie’s live-action turn. With Aguirre-Sacasa’s successful dark takes on popular Archie properties, I have a lot more faith in Riverdale adding to Archie Comics’ hold on making gold from delightfully oddball sensibilities.

• Riverdale speaks to Archie Comics’ versatility
The through-line of this article has been highlighting how Archie Comics has stood the test of time via its malleability to changing times. Archie Comics might have started in 1939, but it’s been able to hang tough through the decades and address many different aspects of the changing times. Archie Comics sought to diversify after the Civil Rights Movement by adding Chuck, Chuck’s father Coach Clayton, and Nancy to Riverdale; in the ‘70s, Maria and Frankie were also added. Archie Comics addressed counterculture throughout the company’s lifespan through Jughead, especially in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, during which Jughead went full-on skater punk. We have finally gotten confirmation on Jughead’s long-theorized sexual orientation: The rebooted Jughead series has officially announced Jughead as asexual.

So far, Riverdale has continued Archie Comics’ willingness to mold itself to today’s social mores. About three-fourths of the main cast are people of color, including Archie himself, K.J. Apa, who is Kiwi-Samoan. The show has a darker turn, which not only speaks to Archie Comics’ love for the weird, but also the odd combination of innocence and jadedness that makes up Generation Z, who want to see something more than just the standard happy-go-lucky love story on television. It’s been said in so many words that Riverdale is not going to be yesteryear’s Archie, and that should be seen as a positive (especially if the show does well). This is the Archie that’s hoping to bring in new audiences, a new bloodline, for Archie Comics as a company. This is how Archie Comics plans on thriving through the ‘10s and into the future. It’s how the company has survived since its inception.

What do you think about Riverdale? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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