Summer jobs, new shoes, and grand openings are the stuff Archie’s Pal Jughead #194 is made of, and out of that stuff writer Craig Boldman crafts three enjoyable and quirky stories featuring the beloved slacker teen.
Boldman really gets the character of Jughead. He gives the teen dialog that reflects his intelligence and wit, and while the lines can be sharp, they’re never nasty. Boldman doesn’t restrict the snappy banter to just Jughead either. Archie and Reggie also get some good lines.
In “Unfair Fair” smart dialogue and slapstick combine for the perfect story. Ordered to find a summer job, a reluctant Juggie deliberately sabotages his interviews by sharing past experiences with prospective employers. This allows for some wonderful exchanges.
Rex Lindsay, Jim Amash, and Barry Grossman combine to create wonderful visuals that enhance the dialog with their movement and humor. The scene depicting Jughead and the pizza cheese moves with quick, fluid ease. It’s almost like looking at the storyboards for animation.
“Sandal Scandal” showcases the Jughead-Ethel relationship. When she presents him with a pair of ugly ergonomic sandals designed to “make walking a pleasure,” Jughead’s determined not to like them. Or at least he’s determined not to let Ethel find out he likes them.
Boldman presents a nicely nuanced characterization here that is reminiscent of Jug’s original misogynous nature, but without the meanness. In the modern interpretation, he’s just a guy who’s not into the whole dating scene. Ethel has also been updated. As in her earliest appearances, she’s not afraid to show tough--or tender--love to the object of her affections and she’s not put off by Jughead’s less than affectionate attitude. But unlike her original characterization, she doesn’t come off as a stalker or desperate for anyone’s love.
The “Keep on Truckin’” bit is funny for those of us who remember the catchphrase from the '70s, but younger readers can also enjoy it. Boldman has put it in a context that makes it amusing and Lindsay’s reproduction of the original image with Jughead in the key role uses that character’s lanky look to the best effect.
In “A Rude Awakening” Hot Dog takes the lead as he tries to get Jughead to the grand opening of a bakery on time. The art is big, bold, and expressive and compliments the words perfectly.
If you’re looking for an intelligent humor comic Archie’s Pal Jughead #194 is worth checking out.
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