reading. This is about comic books. It's not just about comic books; it's about sweet comic
books. It has no significant social commentary to make. Rather, it is inspired by the fact
that I read these sweet comics as a kid and enjoyed them. As summer winds down, and you've
heard enough about "death panels" to last you a lifetime; I pose this question. Who should
Archie marry, Veronica or Betty?
This moral dilemma arises because the latest version of Archie has a futuristic
scenario in which Archie envisions marriage, and he asks Veronica Lodge to be his wife.
This has so upset Archie fans that one, a comic collector, sold his mint condition Archie
#1 edition at an auction. (He received over $38,000 for the edition, so his sacrifice is
less than martyrdom, but still...) This man was outraged that Archie picked Ronnie. He
is a Betty fan. Betty winds his watch. Betty is cute and Betty is small-town America, and
Betty is nicer and Archie should have picked Betty. He's pissed and he is not going to take
this lying down. Yes, he is $38,000 richer; but it is the thought that counts. He loved
that first edition, but Betty is worth the fight.
I understand that were I to send this reflection to any of my children, they would
look at me with that blank stare that children reserve for their parents when they are so
out of touch as to be not believed. Archie who? Betty and Veronica, are they in the real
world cabo? What videos have they been in? Do they tweet? How many friends and
followers do they have? OMG, we don't know where you get this stuff, Dad. OK, you have
to be of a certain age to know, let alone care, or even have an opinion. I understand.
However, those among us who have debated in the past whether they liked Mary Ann or
Ginger better on Gilligan's Island, Cagney or Lacey, Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, or
Judy Jetson or Ann Margrock (from the Flintstones), will have an opinion on this weighty
I personally never understood Archie's appeal. Betty and Veronica were both
cute and both wanted him. I was always a Jughead fan. He was much more interesting
and complex. I pictured him as an early stoner or member of the counterculture. Archie,
Betty, and Veronica always struck me as more status quo, middle of the road types who
would vote Republican more often than not. All that having been said, he has to pick one;
and apparently it is Veronica. I think he made the right decision.
Veronica Lodge is uber rich. Let's face it, Archie is not exactly a rocket scientist.
He isn't going into law or medicine. He probably ends up selling insurance or managing
a Dairy Queen if left to his own devices. Marrying Veronica insures that he gets the
American dream. The newlyweds will move into a huge house that Mr. Lodge buys for
them. (Mr. Lodge had a lot invested in Goldman-Sachs; and now that they have been
bailed out by Washington, he is back in the chips again.) He will give Archie a job in one
of his companies so that Archie can pull himself up by his Gucci bootstraps to become
the all-American success story. Veronica will stay at home and raise the kids with the
help of a nanny and a housekeeper, while working out and getting any necessary work
done so that she remains "cute" for years to come.
Betty, while just as cute as Ronnie (although I have a preference for brunettes),
is a much more problematic choice. As far as we know, she has no discernable skills
except for her love of Archie. She isn't rich. She can't help Archie network. She would
certainly be supportive of him and encourage whatever career he chooses; but she isn't
going to give him much of a boost. Granted, she might be more stable. She would not
be able to afford to dump Archie as easily as Veronica could, should he eventually succumb
to male pattern baldness and middle age spread.
By now, the Betty boosters are crying "foul"! She isn't a spoiled brat like
Veronica. She will be faithful to Archie. For Veronica, Archie is a trophy; but Betty
really loves him. Veronica is cotton candy, while Betty is cute and has staying power.
She will be better for him in the long run.
This is not a matter of earth-shaking proportions; nor is it going to change the
course of any historic events. However, ask your significant other or friends what they
think. (Don't embarrass yourself and ask your children.) I guarantee that every person
you ask will have an opinion. For those of you without a significant other, this would be
a great opening gambit in a social situation. You can learn a lot about someone by how
they answer. (Style over substance, etc.)
For at least one person, Archie's decision outraged him enough to part with
something very valuable to protest this miscarriage of justice. (I am so angry my mother
threw out all my old comic books.)
I moved on from the sweet and light of Archie to the darker, more brooding
worlds of Spiderman, X-Men, Ironman, and the Fantastic Four. They worked and
struggled and were filled with existential angst that would have mystified the kids from
Riverdale. However, I still care about them and want them to be as we are: happy,
doubt-filled, and wondering about what life has to hold. What do you think? I welcome
your comments. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org