It’s not the death of Superman or even the demise of Captain America. But a comic book of another sort is using a stunt to breathe life into its franchise by promising to finally answer this pressing, 67-year-old question: Will Archie choose Betty or Veronica?
For most, the real questions spurred by the New York Post’s report that Archie is set to make his decision in August’s issue No. 600, are: 1. Do they really still make Archie comics? And 2. Who cares?
But for those with a lasting emotional investment in the exploits of a forever teenager who harkens back to a simpler time that never really existed, maybe the more pertinent issue is: Did anybody bother to ask Betty and Veronica what they think?
Archie's a nice enough guy, with an apple-pie throwback look that fades in and out of style. He’s certainly good-hearted, if not always honest as he schemes while juggling girlfriends. Not a bad first boyfriend, though, overall.
But is he marriage material? More importantly, in these tough times, what’s his earning potential?
Archie seems the type destined to end up teaching at Riverdale High, propping up Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy into old age. Or maybe he’ll buy Pop’s Malt Shop with Jughead, further prolonging the world’s longest adolescence.
That probably won’t play well with rich-snob Veronica, whose father no doubt will insist on a pre-nup. The controlling brunette will get quickly bored, have Daddykins set her up with a fashion magazine or a movie studio, and start running with a wild bi-coastal crowd. Maybe she’ll reconnect with Reggie, whose conniving ways may not win the day in Riverdale, but would put him right at home on Wall Street.
She’ll leave Archie crying in his milkshake.
A marriage to sweet Betty, meanwhile, certainly would start off all sugar-sugar, but inevitably end in dual heartbreak.
Her decision to forgo parlaying her talent and wholesome blond looks into an acting or modeling career surely will lead to a seething resentment, as will too many kids (tow-headed babes with freckles!) and not enough money.
The lack of cash and status will especially hurt with Veronica and Reggie sure to be living high on the hog. Heck, even Moose likely will be raking in the bucks from an NFL career, if he can get someone to take his SATs for him.
Archie will be left seeking solace by hanging out with Jughead.
No matter how issue No. 600 plays out, you won’t see a delivery of the cold, hard truth for Archie and his gang, whose sunny, sheltered world has been a cultural touchstone since the days of radio.
Archie, Betty and Veronica would be better off if they give the love triangle thing a rest, leave Riverdale, see the world and “experiment” a bit.
There’s no rush to make any life-altering decisions – heck, give ‘em another 67 years.
Hester won't admit to ever reading his sister's Archie comics. He is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. Hester also is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.