Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
It's difficult to recall now what a newsstand juggernaut Archie Comics was back in the day. They put out a LOT of books. Month after month after month. To pick a date at random, Archie Comics had 20 books cover dated December 1978. Which was a hell of a lot then.
Sure, DC and Marvel had more--especially if you counted Marvel's reprint titles and black and white magazines. But Archie Comics' books were ALL about the same set of characters, in the same situations (aside from the odd Josie or Sabrina or even Jinx title).
Think about that for a moment. Archie was averaging 15-20 titles per month in the 1970s, probably their high water mark--and they were all about Archie, and Jughead, and Betty, and Veronica. Every issue, every page! And people think there are too many Deadpool or Harley Quinn books!!
Just ponder how many thousands--how many hundreds of thousands--of pages have been dedicated to our Riverdale teens over the years!! How many jokes, how many different outfits for the ladies, how many meals for Jughead...honestly, it's awe-inspiring. Whatever you thought of the quality, they kept putting out hundreds of story pages, month after month, year after year.
And now? Well, it's not exactly "the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare," but the tables have certainly turned. DC and (especially) Marvel put out that many books every single week. Archie Comics, though, are down to their three monthly (mostly sort of) "relaunch" book, a few digests, Sonic comics, and some very-irregularly published horror tie-in titles. And Black Circle is pretty much dead, aside from Black Hood.
Of course, there are a lot of reasons for these changes, which you all already know. But this should serve as a reminder that no publishing empire is guaranteed to dominate forever. Things can change, in very unexpected ways, even if it seems like the status quo will be with us forever...
Ad appeared in Archie Annual #23 (1971). And yes, this is the only blog post you will read all day using Percy Shelley to describe Archie Comics...