Thursday 16 February 2017

Riverdale or bust?

Funny thing is I was never really into Archie Comics until very recently. Their Sonic The Hedgehog line has long been a... I won't say “guilty pleasure”... indulgence, maybe, as they inspire pleasant childhood memories but as to the main Riverdale line they were never a thing to me.

I knew they existed and their basic set-up from jokes in US sitcoms and it turns out one of my favourite kids' shows ever, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, was based on one of their properties but the comics don't have much distribution here. Still, I checked out the reboot when it happened and really bloody liked it.
I loved Archie's charming klutziness; Jughead's role as the beleaguered asexual straight man; Betty's aggressive practicality; and, Veronica's obvious desire to be useful in spite of her social cluelessness. I found Cheryl Blossom to be a gloriously vicious villain and I heartily look forward to reading Jughead's brief “romance” with Sabrina once I catch up on his title.

And then there's Riverdale...
I'm not going to lie, what I know about this series comes entirely from blogs and tumblrs which paint a... varied picture of the series that leaves me swinging between “Give it to me now!” and “Why would you do that?”

On the one hand, from the gifs and clips I've seen, Betty and Veronica have all the romantic and sexual chemistry in the world and that's an interesting angle: turning the most famous love triangle in comics into an equal threeway attraction instead of two girls pursuing one guy. On the other hand, the producers have literally come out and said it ain't happening so its queerbaiting on an epic scale.

That said, Kevin Keller is no longer the only gay in the village (no spoilers but it is a named character from the comics) yet Jughead Jones of all people got straightwashed out of the famous sexual disinterest that the comics only recently (as far as I'm aware) literally labelled as asexuality.

There seems to be a storyline involving Cheryl and Betty that goes quite hard into the psychological consequences of bullying and yet there's also, it seems, a storyline where Archie sleeps with a teacher that's... not so well handled, apparently. Like, literally, Archie is still a minor and nothing about the storyline makes out the adult to be in the wrong.

This series looks to be an absolute trainwreck and I'm more than capable of enjoying that but there's the teacher thing and the Jughead thing...

and somehow, after reading only a dozen or so issues of the reboot, I realise I have really strong opinions about these characters.

So, regardless of how the show turns out, I think we can call the comics reboot a creative success. 

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