Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Well, At Least It Wasn't The Blackhawks!

Let's say it's, oh, I don't know, 1990. And you, as a major comic book executive, decide that your line of comics--which many disdain as stale, old-fashioned, and completely not "with it"--needs a fresh new coat of paint, to bring it up to date. So what do you do?

Well, if your answer was, "Do a series re-casting all of my characters as the Silver Age DC series Challengers Of The Unknown," you're probably qualified to run Archie Comics!

Wow. What the hell?

The idea of this series--as threadbare as it is--rests on a really confusing conceit:

That's the very first panel, and it's the ONLY appearance of "Riverdale" Archie in the book.

So...Archie has read this book, which he seems to think we should be familiar with, and decided that these meta-fictional characters kind of resemble his "real" friends (who are fictional), so now we're going see the story of "The Explorers" told as if the Archie kids were the leads?? OK, this is "What If Grant Morrison Wrote Archie," isn't it??

Wow, they all have cute nicknames, all have a special specialty, and their daredevil member is known as "Red." Not at all derivative of the 1950s DC concept. Not at all...

And how did the Explorers form?

Oh, but we can't let it go with a little text paragraph, can we? Not when we can see Jughead Squint blow up a giant robot with a stick of dynamite delivered by a fantastical motorcycle jump!!

Now there's something you never thought you'd see in an Archie book, eh?

And we'd be remiss if we didn't include Veronica Angel finishing off the renegade robot with martial arts:

And thus are formed The Challengers Explorers Of The Unknown!!

Look, we even get a pin-up!!

Look Part 2: We even get Who's Who pages!!

And we learn that know matter the Archie Elseworlds scenario...

He's still a 2-timing dog at heart!

Archie's Explorers Of The Unknown was a bimonthly, and lasted for six issues, during which time the team fought mummies:

And had covers that just freakin' begged for Paul Gulacy to draw them:

But that wasn't all. In the alternate months, the exact same creative team brought us:

Jughead's Time Police!! Seriously!! Jughead gained the power to travel through time, and Deputy January McAndrews from the 29th century came to help him in his wacky, continuum-destroying adventures!

And yes, January was a descendant of Archie (because, in the future, apparently sticking a "Mc" in front of your name is a way to show your descended from someone, I guess??). And yes, Jughead fell in love with her. Uh...I know, kinda "ewww" there.

Anyway, the Watcher or the Monitor should have been keeping an eye on this series, because along with time travel and hot inter-generational love, we got several doses of Crisis Of Infinite Jugheads:

I'm telling you, 1990 must have been a really weird time to be reading Archie Comics...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really wish Grant Morrison would write Jughead. That would be too wonderful.