Thursday, November 28, 2013

T.A.L.E.S. F.R.O.M. T.H.E. Q.U.A.R.T.E.R. B.I.N.--A.R.C.H.I.E Goes U.N.C.L.E.!

The cover of Life With Archie #54 (1966) takes Archie to a very unusual place:

That's right, Archie is actually going to parody a pop culture a timely manner!! They're going to mock The Man From  U.N.C.L.E. (and S.H.I.E.L.D., and Bond's S.P.E.C.T.R.E., etc) while those things are still current, ongoing concerns!! That's unbelievably timely for an Archie comic.

However, a closer look will show...

...that anybody expecting a particularly deep satiric commentary--hell, any depth at all!!--is in for a big disappointment.

Because turning every name into an acronym is about this comic's only trick...

And yes, J.U.G.H.E.A.D. makes a brief appearance.

The worst part? There's not a single attempt--not one!--to tell us what these acronyms mean!! I mean, U.N.C.L.E. & S.P.E.C.T.R.E actually stood for something, they were actual acronyms.

Throughout the two stories in this comic, though, author Frank Doyle is content to just put periods inside of every proper name, That's it. Satiric genius!!

There are a couple of points of interest. First as A.R.C.H.I.E. and B.E.T.T.Y. are tied to boards in a piranha-infested river, how do R.E.G.G.I.E. and V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A. save them?

Woo hoo!! OK, that's cool...

And in the Girl From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. story, we learn that B.E.T.T.Y has a really powerful scream:


At the end of this book, I was left kind of like Super Spy:

So, let's have a little contest: whoever comes up with the best explanation of what R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. stands for wins my eternal respect...


Booksteve said...

Not even going to attempt the contest but I will say that it was this spy-spoof series that originally got me interested in Archie Comics and led directly, some 4 decades later, to my co-writing the official history of Archie Comics! So, me? I love it!

Smurfswacker said...

Radical Initiative to Vanquish Evil by Recruiting Ditzy Adolescents to Learn Espionage.