The Lurking Horror of the R/C Dominator!

I might just be jaded from the amount of comics by Bobs Haney and Kanigher that I read, but it’s been a long while since I’ve seen a comic book cover that’s stopped me dead in my tracks with the sheer amount of insanity pouring off the page.

Until today that is, when I saw this:

 

 

Man. Where do I even begin with this thing?

Okay, first off: I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in the nuances of the Archie Universe, but before I saw this thing, I’d never even heard of Archie’s R/C Racers. And with good reason: Essentially a commercial for the fine products of Japanese model car company Kyosho, whose products are at the center of both the story and the “rad tech tips” from Veronica’s cousin Leroy–yes, Veronica’s Cousin Leroy–the series ran for less than a year.

This was, of course, during the same period of experimentation (read: bat-shit craziness) that brought us the joy of Archie 3000, Jughead’s Time Police, and the phenomenally ridiculous Archie’s Explorers of the Unknown (which, I assure you, is well deserving of a post of its own), but with the constant product placement and a script that totally abandons any attempt to make sense, R/C Racers just ends up being pretty terrible.

The cover, however, is mind-shatteringly awesome. Let’s take it by the numbers:

1. Archie and the gang–complete with matching team jackets–are cowering in abject terror of…

2. A man who claims to be The R/C Dominator despite looking more like Weird Al circa UHF, who is…

3. Flying around by standing on remote control airplanes while

4. Being ridden like a horse by his own mother, who…

5. Apparently loves Ohio.

That, my friends, is a cover that tells a story. What exactly that story means, I have absolutely no idea. But, y’know. There it is.

 

For more information on this and other factory-issued Archie madness, visit your local library. Then, when they’ve kicked you out for asking questions about Pureheart the Powerful, feel free to read up at the greatest Wikipedia entry ever.

37 thoughts on “The Lurking Horror of the R/C Dominator!

  1. I had prior knowledge that this existed, but I had never seen a picture of this particular series. It was like having been told that, say, a brachiosaur was large and then going outside to see one standing around.

  2. Chris? I have to know – Is the Archie Universe consistently so skull-bendingly odd that I should be picking this sutff up regularly, or am I so deeply affected by Civil War fatigue that I want to lose myself in Jughead’s warm embrace?

  3. In a random pile of comics I had as a kid, I had (I think) the conclusion of this R/C race, which did nothing to reduce either the craziness or the guano. The bad-guy R/C team, led I think by Reggie, ended up finding and hijacking an apparently abandoned UFO (no, really), but then, as they’re trying to operate it, it suddenly flies away spontaneously, with them inside it — and is revealed actually to be an R/C UFO belonging to a giant alien kid. So Reggie and his pals are, presumably, trapped in space until the UFO’s oxygen supply runs out. Hooray!

  4. Clearly my insistence that Archie Comics’ enduring popularity is due to their comforting sense of sameness to the parents of generations of kids is ‘WAY off the mark! Between this and ARCHIE’S ONE WAY (a Christian Conservative Archie comic with more sex, drug use and degradation than a season of CINEMAX AFTER DARK – all wrapped up with a Fox News-style hypocritical “square-up”, of COURSE!), I’d clearly been proven wrong long before hearing you mention any of the other titles in this column, Chris.

    So – when are we going to get a Chris Sims roundup of mindroasting titles like ARCHIE 3000, JUGHEAD’S TIME POLICE and ARCHIE’S EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN?

    Best,
    Tim Liebe
    Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce – we’ll be at Darkovercon near Baltimore, MD Thanksgiving Weekend! :)

  5. i don’t know if you’re taking requests, but the mere knowledge of the existence of archie’s explorers of the unknown has me totally freaking out.

  6. I agree with John, but also think Jughead’s Time Police is worthy of review. Even as a child, that and Archie 3000 (also worth reviewing) made so little sense to me that I would pester my father constantly to try and get him to explain what was going on. Eventually, he would make up his own insane solutions just to shut me up. He also started buying me Batman and Spider-Man comics instead of Archie after a while.

  7. I actually own a complete run of this series, which, if memory serves, ran for 12 issues. I think it was intended as a maxi-series. It makes far more sense (I won’t say complete sense) in the larger context.

    And yes, Reggie was the villain, with Leroy being his team’s tech genius, while Dilton (natch) was Archie’s team genius.

    I also have complete runs of Archie’s Explorers of the Unknown, Jughead’s Time Police, and Dilton’s Strange Science, along with the issues of World of Archie and World of Jughead that preceded these.

    I look forward to your article on the Explorers. I was actually disappointed when it and Time Police were cancelled. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

  8. Well-versed in the Archie Universe, and never read an R/C Racers? My, my, Chris.

    Truthfully, I can only think of ONE R/C Racers story off the top of my head, and it involved the Pals & Gals shrinking to tiny size in order to stop a baddy from stealing… or something. I just know they were miniature and it was definitely an R/C Racers story. They may have started out with the remote control cars and shrunk to fit them… either way, trippy was called.

    Haha, “Rad Tech Tips”, I had forgotten about the glory of those.

    Not the best decision in Archie Comics, but hey, what do we expect, really?

  9. Weird Al in UHF? I do see that, but I also see a lot of Dr. Clayton Forrester. But it would be like a Sinestro Dr. Forrester who wears yellow instead of green. Make the mother look like Mary Jo Pehl and you complete the picture.

    But I really want to do is draw attention to the expression on the dog in the corner. The rest of the Archie gang is fairly alarmed, but the dog? His brain is one step away from H.P. Lovecraft-scale insanity right now.

    I had a “Little Archie” digest as a kid. It bundled a bunch of normal lighthearted stories, plus one three-part epic in which the kids run afoul of adult criminals on summer camp, and LITTLE ARCHIE GETS SHOT IN THE HEAD WITH A RIFLE. You see the criminal taking aim and firing, then they show Archie face down in the grass. The caption says “The bullet has grazed Little Archie’s skull … leaving him unconscious.” You can bet at age 8, I was pretty well freaking out at that point.

  10. Hey, what about those Christian Archie comics from the early/mid ’70s? I would assume those were outside of the mainstream Archies.

  11. Sadly, I owned at least one of every weird Archie title you referenced. I’d completely forgotten about Archie 3000 and the RC Racers series, but I often reminisce fondly about Jughead’s Time Police.

    Also: if you do another article about the Archie-produced Ninja Turtles comic, please post a picture of the shotgun-toting mutant mammoth! I got rid of all my Archie and TMNT comics at age 15! I need another hit of mutant mammoth!

  12. >>Archie 3000, Jughead’s Time Police, and the phenomenally ridiculous Archie’s Explorers of the Unknown

    I had first issues of all three of those when they came out – never did find the R/C racers book.

    I remember Archie 3000 being pretty bad, but the others were OK (as a 10 year old kid reading them)

    And you know, I think the Jughead’s Time Police was a spin off from a regular issue of Jughead, which I beleive was the first “full sized” comic I ever got.

  13. RC Racing Tips taught me to wrap used batteries with rubber bands so I wouldn’t get them confused with the fresh ones. Thanks RC Archie!

  14. Even at a young age, I remember being weirded out that the first woman Jughead had ever shown interest in was Archie’s descendant in the pages of Time Police.

  15. The R/C Dominator is just soooo Tony Isabella – or rather his evil twin. Mustache, glasses, looks like he should be the mascot of a pizzaria chain, black and blue costume with a lightning motif, comes from Ohio. C’mon.

    I wonder how many Tonys he gave it in review. :-)

  16. Time Police and Explorers of the Unknown seemed to be attempts to allow the Archie writers and artists to do something with more action and adventure than the usual mild teenage hijinks. And I do remember them pretty fondly; Explorers had a real T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents thing going on (in retrospect) and Time Police grabbed my attention just because it was Jughead having adventures with Archie’s (great?) granddaughter January McAndrews, who was basically a hot female version of Archie on whom Jughead had a completely uncharacteristic crush, which (also in retrospect) is an INCREDIBLY telling bit of subtext, similar to that Seinfeld episode where George started dating a lady Jerry.

  17. Oh dear God. That Wikipedia article just reminded me of “Dilton’s Strange Science” (of which I read the first couple issues, and which I remember being legitimately imaginative and clever) and “Jughead’s Diner”, which…I’ve been trying to repress for years…but it’s coming out…oh God. That thing was like David Lynch meets Sid & Mary Krofft. You MUST review these, Chris. YOU MUST.

  18. (Read, Batshit Craziness)

    Indeed. You know, I think you have painted yourself into a corner, Chis.

    How will you match this weeks Golden Airwolfery?.

    Is this as good as it gets?.

  19. that guy is so weird, he’s freaking HOT DOG out!

    And I’M freaking out because I remembered the name of the dog from the Archie comics!

    did I miss something with the Betty Cooper Betty Cooper thing?

  20. I’d love to do an Archie Multiverse theme week, but sadly, I only have one issue of Jughead’s Diner, and Archie 3000 and Jughead’s Time Police continue to elude my collection. I do, however, have a copy of Explorers of the Unknown, which I’ll be dealing with shortly.

    Needless to say, I love Archie. One of my pet projects I’ve been thinking about is going through and making an Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes-style index of all the Archie characters called Archiepedia: The Riverdale Directory, but that might be too ludicrous even for me.

  21. Well there must be something wrong with my mind, for the idea frightens me. Even the interweb must crumple if it runs into too much esoteria in one pile.

  22. The Wiki page makes me sad… not only can I vividly remember most of those comics they listed, but I can even think of one they missed. A short lived series where the Riverdale High faculty gained lame powers and formed a superhero team. If I remember right, The gym teacher had super breath, the science teacher was invulnerable, Miss Grundy could stretch her arms, and Weatherbee could see the future.

  23. I own that freaken’ issue. Does anyone remember a series around the same time called Jughead’s Diner? And wasn’t this about the time Jughead started dating chicks?

  24. I had a lot of those books when I was a kid. R/C Racers, Time Police, Explorers, Strange Science. I had a few of Archie 3000 and Jughead’s Diner, but not as many.

    I remember a lot of little stuff from it too.

  25. I actually know who the R/C Dominator was designed after! He is my dad,Alan Green, the former president of hobbico an rc company, who paid for the Archies rc racers series as a advertising stunt.

  26. Good grief! and I though I was young! I’m 28 and I grew up reading Archie’s R/C racers, explorers of the unknown, Jughead’s diner and Jughead’s time police! In fact I’m pretty sure if I search my parents’ house I’ll find the entire R/C racer series – I think there were about ten or them. The last one ended in Hawaii (how they got there from mainland America in R/C racers is quite a story!). Also, from the 80s, does anyone remember a spin-off in the Archie comics where the gang were superheroes and villais? Archie was pureheart the powerful, Betty was superteen and so on…!