Everything's Archie

Archive for the ‘The Complicated Ms. Cooper’ Category

If it’s not a laughing matter, then why is it in a comic book?

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Let’s face it: sometimes Archie can be a complete twatface, and Betty (an otherwise strong, sensible young woman) basically allows him to emotionally abuse and manipulate her. Archie isn’t always a bad guy, but he certainly has his moments of cruelty. A prime example of Archie’s douchiness is in Life with Archie #114 (Oct 1971), “The Wall Flower Child,” in which Betty almost gets date-raped.

Before we get into the heavy shit, let’s look at something pretty. While Bob White drew the story, Dan DeCarlo provided the cover artwork, and DAMN, is Betty looking hot.

Archie has to be a fool to give up that waist-to-hip ratio.

Which, of course, he does. The story begins at a pool party at the Lodge mansion, where Archie is busy ignoring Betty in favor of Veronica. Betty gets depressed and leaves to drown her sorrows at Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe, where she’s picked up by a shady-looking cat named Harry Owens who’s heavy on the flattery. Grateful for the male attention, Betty makes the supremely unwise decision to get into the guy’s car and leave with him. This leads to the following exchange.

Despite the seriousness of this panel, the line “I didn’t buy you a soda and take you for a ride for nothing” cracks me up, because really. A soda, dude? How much physical affection is that worth, anyway? I’m thinking a pat on the shoulder, max. Of course this is Archie-world, so they can’t exactly use the far more likely date-rapist line: “I didn’t buy you all those Jell-O shots for nothing.”

And now shit gets real. Harry Owens and his Cry-Baby curl lean menacingly towards Betty, leaving no doubt as to what kind of payment is expected for the soda and car ride. Luckily, Betty is a character in a wholesome teen comic book series, so she’s able to escape both Harry and his bangs without much incident. She gets out of the car, and Harry (the gentleman that he is) leaves her stranded in the woods.

Side Note: Bob White apparently loved to draw Betty crying. In probably 70% of the stories he illustrated, there’s at least one panel where Betty has an improbably huge teardrop oozing from her baby blues. Perhaps he had a fetish for crying blondes?

Meanwhile, back at Lodge Manor, Archie has pulled his head out of Veronica’s ass long enough to notice that Betty is missing. Chuck does his best to steer Archie towards common sense and compassion (after all, Chuck is an artist, and therefore sensitive), but Archie can’t wrap his head around the idea that he might be anything besides a red-headed angel. (Or maybe he’s just distracted by Chuck’s unfortunate taste in bathing suits.) It can’t be anything that he did — it’s just Betty being a silly, emotional female. If not for the Archie Comics Code, I’m sure he would have tried to blame her behavior on PMS.

“Because Veronica is a sizzling-hot teenage sex goddess, dumbass,” would have been Archie’s answer, had he not been distracted by the neon lights of Daddy-O’s.

Luckily, Jughead spots Betty down the road, and the duo rides off to rescue her.

Yeah, Betty, your emotional turmoil and close brush with rape really ruined Archie’s night. How dare you, you selfish cow? Why don’t you try to think of others for once?!

At least Betty halfway sticks up for herself against Archie here, although apparently she has to hold invisible milk pails to do so.

Betty, Betty, Betty. There is a good kind of attention and a bad kind of attention. Forced intercourse would fall into the latter category.

At least she’s safe now, and ready to rejoin the party at Lodge Manor. (I know I always want to throw down at a pool party right after being nearly raped.) And now that Archie has realized how much he cares about Betty, and how much it would hurt him if anything happened to her, things will be different, right?

Or not.

So the moral of this story is that getting ignored by the person you love is preferable to getting raped by a stranger. Also, that Archie is a twatface.

I love the sound of Archie getting his ass kicked in the morning.

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Betty & Veronica
Issue 122, February 1966
“Smack! Smack!”

If this happened more often, I could learn to love Betty. That perfect form, those fishnet stockings, that gleefully evil look on her face…ah, yes, this is a Betty Cooper I could hang with.

Written by Sugar

April 18th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Hey, remember that time Betty hired herself out as a prostitute?

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Sure, you do! It was in Betty & Veronica #61 (Jan 1961), in a story called — wait for it — “Hired Girl.”

Yes, that’s right: Veronica is the first member of the Gang to take Betty up on her (ludicrously cheap) offer to “hire herself out.” I don’t know what all Veronica’s got stuffed in that bag, but Betty seems to be at least slightly enjoying herself. Maybe this won’t be so bad, after all, she thinks. Veronica’s pretty, and she bathes regularly, and I occasionally like her…I think I can do this. And, really, Veronica lives to pay people to do shit for her — she’s not going to be too cruel of a mistress.

Jughead is next in line to throw a dollar Betty’s way in exchange for her servicing him as he sees fit.

Jughead, our resident woman-hater, must be as condescending and hateful as possible. Especially to Betty, whom he wants to see as the perfect example of a weak, greedy female, but who often challenges his paradigm (classic Jughead’s relationship with Betty is deliciously complex). Jughead tries to justify his degradation of Betty with the old “it was her idea” argument, as if Betty’s consent to accept money for her services makes it morally acceptable for Jughead to thoroughly exploit her. Betty is ashamed here, her worldview shaken: she harbors no illusions about the depths to which some humans will go to degrade and/or control another human being.

Also, get a load of Mr. Righteous-Pants Andrews over there, reading Juggie the riot act over his demeaning treatment of our ponytailed protagonist. Archie is setting himself up to be a white knight of Richard Gere-ian proportions.

Next up is Reginald Mantle, asshole extraordinaire. What sick perversions does he have in store for our gentle blonde heroine?

Reggie is into some kinky shit, yo.

Finally it is time for Prince Charming to state the obvious.

Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.

Despite his lack of loquaciousness, Archie is no dummy: he knows that Betty will continue willfully degrading herself unless he steps in and saves her. Even more, he finds out why Betty ventured down her new career path.

SHE WANTS TO BUY A BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR HER MOTHER. O! how her friends have misinterpreted her! Instead of whoring herself out for selfish purposes, she has been whoring herself out for altruistic reasons! Now they feel ashamed by what they did, by how willingly they exploited her…by how “rough” they were “on her.”

Archie has hired Betty for the next three days and is currently letting her rest. Lest you think our sweater-vested savior too much of a gentleman, though, he isn’t going to let his “service contract” (as it were) go to complete waste — as he makes perfectly clear to Veronica.

One word: anal.

Written by Sugar

April 17th, 2012 at 10:47 pm