The stories in this collection are from the Silver Age – and they are a travelogue of the fads and fashions of that time – from the swinging mods and rockers of the 60s to the groovy hippies and disco dancers of the 70s. And it tackles hard-hitting topics like how to be a beatnik, the proper way to protest, and probably most important of all – what’s the deal with hot pants?
Archie Comics tells their stories in short narratives using sight gags, puns, and one-liners and always culminate in vaudevillian punchlines – usually with a nod and wink at the reader. These are not – sophisticated – tales. But they’re not meant to be. They are not striving for any deeper meaning other than “kids be kids” and “parents don’t get it, am I right?” These stories are meant to appeal to younger readers at the moment; there is no far-sighted speculation on what the future will hold – no, it simply takes whatever is drifting through the pop culture zeitgeist at the time and crafts an easily digestible snack to chew on a sunny afternoon in a non-descript, non-threatening way.
Reading Archie comics is like sifting through a time capsule of ancient relics – pop-cultural artifacts of slang and music, fashion trends, social movements and causes, even politics – albeit on a very surface level.
And that may be the secret of Archie’s success. Archie comics never shied away from any topic – be it social, political, or even supernatural. And yes, all of these topics are treated with a certain innocence – even naivety – but they were always sincere and wholeheartedly earnest.
And that innocence is charming. That earnestness is refreshing. And even if the topics aren’t as topical and the punchlines don’t pack the same punch, Archie’s spirit remains simple and sincere. And that’s just kinda nice.