Monday, October 5, 2009

Betty Gets a Turn

Today the New York Times has an interesting article about the next step in the much ballyhooed "Proposal" story, and how Betty will get her hypothetical turn as Archie's betrothed.

This confirms the theory I had when the first wave of media attention surrounding this story hit, as you can read here: 

As the cover shows though, it would seem I was dead wrong about Betty rejecting Archie. Sigh. I still think it would have been a more interesting story, and I would probably still think so even if I hadn't thought of it.

Sure, I'm happy Betty gets a crack at being Mrs. Andrews. She deserves it, I suppose. To be honest, I'm mainly just curious to see which periphery characters get some play at Betty's wedding. Will Polly (Betty's sometimes in continuity, sometimes not sister) make an appearance? Or how about Chick, Betty's mysterious brother? Is he still a top secret agent? Will he be at the wedding in one of his many masterful disguises? Will Cricket O'Dell come out of the woodwork? 

Perhaps the most important question: Will Adam Chisholm be a part of this story?  For a few years I've been watching as Adam makes a play for second tier status, hoping to join the ranks of Dilton, Moose, Chuck and the other regulars. For a while he was a constant foil to Archie, often beating him out for Betty's attention. In "Horsing Around" Hal actually refers to Adam as Archie's rival, which I found to be monumental. This gave Adam's quest for a higher status some legitimacy, the kind Trula Twyst and Ginger Lopez can only dream of. I hope he has at least a cameo in this story, it would be a shame if he was benched for the big game after all his hard work.

I also found the amount of focus on Michael Uslan in the article to be interesting.  When the first wave of media attention hit Archie Comics didn't really push Uslan into the foreground, but now that they have a deal with CAA and are trying to get Hollywood interested?  I'm sure no opportunity is lost to connect Archie and the Dark Knight (which he produced) through Uslan's name. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for anything that makes a Batman/Archie crossover a possibility, but it shows even more that Hollywood is where Jon wants to take things. And while Uslan has produced some cool movies, he was also involved in Catwoman, National Treasure and Constantine. Not exactly an unblemished record.

Also of interest: Jon is all over this article while Nancy gets nary a mention. Sure, Jon has the Goldwater name, and he's been more prominent than Nancy all along, but not even one mention? For a Co-CEO? I hope her plans for literacy programs and school fundraising products aren't being buried beneath Jon's Hollywood dreams.  Let's face it though, that's probably exactly what's happening.

The real bombshell in this article is the oh-so-casual mention that the New Look (formerly Dynamic "New Look", formerly "Dynamic New Look", formerly "New Look") stories will come to an end this year. This is news to me. I've long held the view that the DNL stories were a way to establish a new "classic" art for the comics, but now I'm not sure.  Perhaps the New Look stories aren't selling well anymore. This wouldn't surprise me, as the last couple have been dreck. "My Father's Betrayal" was ham-fisted and terrible, and I've been anxiously awaiting my chance to rip into part 3 of "Twilight Archie", or "Archie Goodbye Forever" as it's officially called. I've got high hopes for the new Reggie-centric story starting soon, but that seems somewhat akin to having high hopes that our Provincial government will spontaneously decide not to bone the arts. What can I say? Ever the optimist.

The numbers for Archie comics sold in comic stores were also very interesting. The estimate is that the proposal issue sold 54,000 copies (in comic stores only), where previous Archie issues sold around 2,500 copies. That's kind of a staggering difference, and illustrates why mainstream media attention is being competed for so hotly by comic book publishers. It's a slippery slope though. Now that the "marriage wad" has been blown, the only way to capture the media's attention will be through more and more sensationalistic stories. Remember that Very Special Episode of "Family Ties" that was just Michael J. Fox on a black set dealing with the death of his buddy, with the help of an unseen psychiatrist? (Incidentally, that episode was the first time I ever heard The Doors. Pointless, but true.) Expect something similar to come out of Archie Comics if Jon's taste for airtime continues to grow. The death of one of Archie's friends, and a "realistic" portrayal of the aftermath would surely catch some airtime on CNN. Chuck Clayton, I'd keep your eyes open. Just saying.

Oh yeah, the mention of a hardcover "best of" volume devoted to Dan DeCarlo? Sent chills down my spine. Seriously.

The thing that got me the most though: It mentions that to compile a 1980 "best of" Uslan had to read every Archie comic ever published. I've often dreamed that there was some sort of Archie vault, with every story ever published in it. I've fantasized about it, and now I know it's real. It's real. Marmaroneck, my heart points to thee.

Jon, I know I've been critical, but it was always out of love. I care, maybe too much, but I criticize because I care. 

You need someone to create a grand database of Archie, covering every incidental relative (my dream list!), every friend who's come and gone, how many dates Archie and Veronica have been on, how many companies Hiram has owned and countless other topics. 

Let me do it.

Give me access to the vault, let me compile and cross reference until there is no more minutia to cover. I won't abuse the power. I know that with great power comes great responsibility, and I take my Archie responsibility very seriously.

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