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In this week’s installment of Ask Chris, I talk about one of my all-time favorite Christmas cartoon episodes, and you can probably figure out from the image above which one it is. I’m telling you, though, if Chad and I ever get to write G.I. Joe — something that is right at the top of the Action Age’s career goals — one of the first things I’m going to do is Cobra Commander vs. Santa Claus. Believe it.




If you want still more Christmas craziness, I’ve brought you a write-up of a thoroughly incomprehensible 7-page Little Archie story in which the mind-altering Santa from a planet full of children visits Riverdale. We are talking a .9 on the Haney-Kanigher scale here, folks.

The Most Dubious Moments in Archie’s Christian Comics



For those of you not in the mood to break out your leather elbow patches and read 3500 words about a single issue of Fantastic Four, today brings you another big article by me at ComicsAlliance: A rundown of the weirdest, strangest, and most morally questionable panels from the Spire comics featuring Archie and the gang!

Like most second-tier Archie artifacts (Archifacts) from the ’70s, I find the Spire books endlessly fascinating, especially with their portrayal of Betty totally going steady with Jesus. That’s gotta make for a pretty awkward night at the movies.

Ask Chris #21: The Bruce Wayne Girlfriend Trauma Algorithm and Scary Archie Comics



My comics culture Q&A column is back, and this week, I try to figure out how long it takes for Batman’s girlfriends to get kidnapped and/or killed and discuss some truly terrifying Archie books.

Long, long, long-time ISB readers will recognize a couple of the images used in this post, because I actually had to go back and find the ones I’d originally posted for the Archie entry. And to give you an idea of how long ago I posted those, these were pictures I’d taken with my digital camera, because I didn’t have a scanner yet. Fortunately, some PhotoShop Wizardry (well, PhotoShop stagemagicianry, anyway) allowed me to clean it up a little.

I can assure you, however, that that’s definitely a new scan of my copy of Godzilla vs. Barkley.

The Most Towering Work of Archie Scholarship This Year



Long-time ISB readers will no doubt be aware that for a super-hero fan, I’m actually really passionate about Archie comics, which usually translates into thinking way more than I should about Riverdale’s favorite teens. And today is no exception, as I delve into a review of Life With Archie #1 in which I talk about the depression at the core of my generation, the problems with getting older, and parallel worlds.

I tend to put a lot of myself into my reviews, but this time I think I might’ve gone a little overboard, revealing a little too much about my own fears about mortality and failure and the things that keep me up at night, but the end result is something that I’m actually really proud of. As far as my allegedly “serious” stuff goes, it’s probably the best thing I’ve done since the Racial Politics article. Although to be fair, I think it’s also the only “serious” piece I’ve written since then.

There was one thing that I didn’t have room for in the article as it ended up, though, because it had less to do with the underlying aspects of the book and more to do with just being neat. There’s a panel where Betty goes down a list of the boyfriends she’s had since losing Archie to Veronica…



…and Uslan gives them all the names of pop-culture teenagers. If I may be allowed to steal Jess Nevins and David Uzumeri’s thunder as annotators, Henry Aldrich and Andy Hardy were both characters who were popular from the late ’30s to the ’50s (the latter being Mickey Rooney’s most prominent role), Richie Cunningham is from Happy Days, Zack Morris is, of course, the central character on TV’s Saved By The Bell, and Troy Bolton is the male lead from “High School Musical.”

I think it’s interesting that Uslan ranks them as “clones of Archie” for a couple reasons, most notably that Aldrich and Hardy actually pre-date him, and the others, while they are teenagers engaged in hijinx of one form or another, lack Archie’s most definitive characteristic: His relationship with Betty and Veronica.

Troy Bolton doesn’t have to pick between girls, he just has to (musically) overcome obstacles that keep him from Gabriella, and if anyone’s an Archie analogue on Saved by the Bell, it’s Kelly Kapowski, who frequently has to choose between the blonde Zack and the brunette Slater. Which in turn makes Jessie Spano an ultrafeminist Reggie.

But the underlying idea is solid, that Archie, from his initial surge in popularity to his status as one of the most widely read comic book characters and pop culture touchstones, is in fact the template on which other teen characters are built. Which is what makes his role as the focus of a multiverse so interesting.

Well, to me, anyway.

Riverotica: The Many, Many Fetishes of Archie Comics



Tonight at ComicsAlliance–After Dark–I’ve delved into the depths of depravity for a look at the lewd, lascivious, lecherous Sexual Fetishes Running Rampant Through Riverdale!

Like most of the things I write about Archie, this one took way longer than it looks like it did and in all likelihood is hilarious only to me. But it was fun to put together, as it meant that I’ve been spending my free moments over the past few months reading through the complete DVD archives of Archie, Jughead and Betty and Veronica, which are worth it even for more casual (read: less obsessed) fans of the universe.

As for my favorite fetish item? Definitely Betty’s leather glove with Archie’s face painted on it. I mean come on.