Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reader's Diary #1361- Chip Zdarsky (writer), Erica Henderson (artist): Jughead Volume One

For someone who wasn't all that into Archie comics as a kid, I sure do find myself reading (and enjoying!) a lot of that company's output lately. That's because I've found them, in recent years, to be one of the most madly awesome publishers in terms of creative decisions and hiring talent. Jughead Volume One is a prime example. It's everything I ever wanted Archie comics to be. It's actually funny and the art is cool.

Perhaps even more so than Mark Waid's recent run on Archie, Jughead seems to understand the appeal of the source material and stay true to it. And when I say source material, I mean decades of digest magazines. There is a frame story throughout this collected volume (i.e., that Riverdale High has been taken over by rather militant faculty), but there are weird and hilarious episodes, short stories that see Jughead and the gang traveling through time, as pirates, as super spies, and so on. Said short stories can stand on their own, but explained away as Jughead's various over-actively imaginative dreams.

Now, I say all this about Zdarsky respecting the source material and so on, but I should be honest that my daughter (who has been really into Archie comics as a kid), was less than blown away. When I said it's everything I ever wanted Archie comics to be, she's never wanted them to be anything else. Fortunately, those digests still exists so, with Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson's take?  Boom, fan base expanded. Traditional diehard fans and newbies alike can all find something to love.

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