I really wanted to give this issue of Simpsons Comics five stars, but the comic book is only subjectively bad. Objectively, I can see the vast amount of work that went into making a perfect parody of Archie and the gang at Riverdale.
The kindest thing that I can say about Archie is that it’s not to my tastes. As a kid I bought everything, including the Archie digests. Not for long. Even as a kid I couldn’t stomach the adventure/soap opera of Archie. I felt the comedy was lame, the romance overplayed. According to my colleague Penny Kenny — who week after week contributes incredible reviews to this site on the subject of Archie — the Archie comics have changed, became more sophisticated.
The Archie group introduced a gay teen, expanded Archie’s romantic choices, including making Archie’s most serious relationship with Josie and the Pussycats bassist Valerie, who happens to be black, and established that neither Betty nor Veronica truly love the cross-hatch haired teen. All well and good, but even the presence of Norm Breyfogle just cannot motivate me to try Archie again.
The send up of the Archie decades is gem in the breadth of the material. The writers and artists explore every corner of Archie’s world–including the superhero versions of the characters, the current future Archie storyarcs and of course the dubious musical abilities introduced In the animated series spawning an actual hit by the truly melodic vocalists and musical talent behind the lame cartoon: “Sugar, Sugar.”
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.