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Friday, October 26, 2007

Jughead and Friends Digest #s 20-22/$2.49 and 81 pages from Archie Comics


I’ve always preferred Betty to Veronica and Jughead to Archie in the fictional world of Riverdale. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the lead in any paper drama or comedy. But I guess I’m a second-banana sort of guy.

I like Jughead Jones because he’s smart, but unbelievably lazy. He’s skinny, but eats like a horse. And he’s a nonconformist but not in rebellion to the culture around him. Like Popeye, he is what he is and that’s all he is.

Jughead is a type of beatnik or hippie without the political baggage. But what I enjoy most is that Jughead enjoys life. In a comic book culture that is dominated by angst and nihilism today, Jug is a breath of fresh air, although I often wonder if he really uses deodorant or toothpaste.

In this clutch of reviewed digests, Jug comes up with the idea of shoveling snow for his summer job, pitches peanuts like a pro instead of baseballs, ignores girls, and out-chic’s Veronica. So what’s not to like?

He’s still drawn with a minimum of lines, and his backgrounds will never make the centerfold of Architect Monthly, but that’s alright as well. The art on the ole’ fellow is as simple and clean as his straight-forward dialog and plot, and he remains a visual icon in the comics world. No one will ever confuse him with Spider-man or Batman or the X-folk, and that’s a good thing as well.

Jughead is like lemon meringue pie after a meal. You don’t expect nutrition as much as taste and you want to feel light, not full. Jughead and Friends Digest is recommended for young readers in body and/or mind.

Various writers and artists. Available in book stories, comics shops, and at www.archiecomics.com.

Review By Michael Vance

Check out Dreams and Visions #35 for a new Vance short story:
www.bconnex.net/~skysong/dream.htm