Is it who or whom? Either way, I’ve got some bad news for denizens of the Archieverse.
In a tersely written press release, Archie Andrews, the hero of Archie comics, announced his death pending this July. Is that dude organized or what?
Apparently, Archie borrowed a stick of gum from arch rival (heh!) Bazooka Joe and didn’t gladly pay him back “next Tuesday” as promised. BJ took offense and sent his boys to rough him up, but they muffed the job. Archie scrambled, juked left, dodged right, then crashed hilariously into a fruit stand. A crowd of passerby intervened and later they all celebrated with a chocolate malt after BJ’s boys had skulked away.
The next day, Bazooka Joe himself took care of the job by lobbing a mortar into the malt shop, killing Archie and several of his closest friends. Among those confirmed dead are Moose Mason, Chuck Clayton and Reggie Mantle. In an odd twist, “openly gay character” Kevin Keller survived the blast.
Known associates of Archie, namely Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Cheryl Blossom also survived and have solid alibis. Several witnesses identified them as participating in a risque and ribald scantily clad pillow fight in their college dorm. Information is still sketchy but Archie may have been involved in some sort of twisted and bizarre lover’s parallelogram.
Bazooka Joe is now considered a fugitive from justice. Contrary to popular belief, Joe doesn’t actually use a bazooka. If you see a devious little miscreant with an eye patch and toting a mortar do not approach. Call 9-1-1 and notify the authorities…
Meanwhile, hundreds if not thousands of miles away from Riverdale, in a bunker deep underground somewhere near Las Vegas, Nevada, it was just another ordinary day for Security Guard, junior class, John Tank. After making his rounds of suicidally dangerous and unstable nuclear waste containers, he was in the restroom on his break, riveted by his customary comic book.
Suddenly, Tank’s world was turned inside out like a möbius strip on steroids. A blast from the container area (never fully explained) destroyed the office area while irradiating Tank with 1.21 gigawatts of thermionic radiation. The radiation passed through the Shieldor paper toilet seat cover dispenser and hit Tank square on the chest at full power.
Staggering to his feet, his shirt burned away, Tank looked down and saw the Shieldor logo emblazoned in angry reverse outline on his chest. “What has happened to me?” he cried in despair.
He survived, but at what cost? Glancing at the broken toilet he felt a peculiar surge of energy and power throbbing from within …
“I’ve gotta help Archie,” he said. “But first, I’ll have to figure out how to lure him to the nearest restroom.”
Superman was having a bad day. The machine he had lovingly dubbed Doomsday was turning out to be more troublesome than he originally thought. In fact, it had just killed him. Lois Lane cradled his limp, broken and lifeless body in her arms, getting a lot of black blood on her in the process. That was one stain that wasn’t going to come out.
Spock arched an eyebrow. “Curious,” he said. “It is possible that Archie’s life force, his katra, if you will, was stored in a safe location. Logically he must have sensed danger and chosen a vessel. But who? Whom? Remember, he’s not really dead as long as we remember him.”
“Did I say the word remember yet?”
Lord Elrond stood at the middle of the bridge. “Welcome to Riverdale, weary traveler.” They clasped arms.
“Unfortunately, I got nothing for you. Unlike comic book heroes, we elves live forever.” He pointed to the east. “Mount Doom is there. Off with you now.”
Matthew Crawley was at the window, lost in reverie, looking out. The yard crew was having one hell of a time with the famously complicated hedgerows of Downton Abbey. “Quite,” he said. The news had shaken him badly. “Isn’t is obvious? Those buggers killing off characters so near to our hearts? Bloody hell. Something must be done. Indeed!”
He paused to take a sip of sherry. “At least they didn’t crush the poor bloke under a car. Grisly, I dare say.”
“Dammit, man!” Archie pounded the counter, spilling his chocolate malt in the process. “They can’t keep doing this. We’ve got feelings.”
Jughead Jones, his closest friend in the whole world, could only nod in agreement. “It ain’t right, man.”
Archie pushed away his drink and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He stood up. “I’m not taking this lying down.”
And so it was that we lost a good man. A damn good man. Archie loved sports. He loved his cheeseball letterman’s sweater with a big R on it. He loved Betty. He loved Veronica. He really loved Cheryl.
But it was time. He’d had a good long life. And so it was that the makers of the Archie comic decided a bullet in the gut, surrounded by his friends, would be a good way to go. He only had time to wonder – how real are these comic books going to get – before he closed his eyes, expelled his (allegedly) final breath and took off for that malt shop in the sky.
Luckily, for him and us, this storyline only applies to the adult version of Archie. Teenage Archie will long on in our hearts, our minds, and comic book stores everywhere. For that matter, so will the venerable series, Afterlife with Archie. Potential tie in? Perhaps. Perhaps.
So long, pal. I don’t really think we’re gonna miss you all that much. (See below.)
Be sure to pick up our next issue and find out who gets pancreatic cancer and how it’ll affect the story!
Archie titles in publication as of 2014…
Afterlife with Archie (October 2013— )
Archie (Winter 1942— )
Archie’s Funhouse Double Digest (January 2014—)
Archie’s Double Digest (January 1982— )
B & V Friends Double Digest (November 2010—)
Betty and Veronica Vol. 2 (June 1987— )
Betty and Veronica Double Digest (1987— )
Jughead’s Double Digest (October 1989— )
Kevin Keller (March 2012– )
Life with Archie: The Married Life (July 2010— )
Mega Man (April 2011— )
Sonic Archives (May 2011— )
Sonic Select (June 2011— )
Sonic the Hedgehog (June 1992— )
Sonic Universe (February 2009— )
World of Archie Double Digest (October 2010— )