Everything's Archie

Archive for May, 2012

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.