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Monday, January 08, 2007

Quite Possibly The Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Seen

I think it's become clear from our little chats here on the ISB that in addition to my outright love of everything awesome, I also have a pretty strong fascination with things that could charitably be referred to as "not very good." I'm not sure why, but whether it's my obsession with the joyfully horrible Anita Blake or the fact that I spent a good chunk of my Saturday afternoon reading through a trade of Ant that we had laying around at the shop, I can't stop reading through really, really horrible comics. So I like to think that I've got at least some tiny amount of credibility when I say that Life With Archie #236 may actually be--as the title of tonight's post suggests--the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

I've mentioned them before, but in case you missed it, Life With Archie and Archie at Riverdale High were the phenomenally melodramatic titles that Archie Comics put out back in the day, where the world's most venerable teenagers were faced with problems a little more life-threatening than what you might be used to, like the impact of heavy industry on the environment, plots to kidnap Veronica, or, in this case, the slow, agonizing death brought on by quicksand.



Yes, quicksand. Because in the deadly jungles surrounding Riverdale, only the strong will survive.

The whole thing, as chronicled in a daring three-part novel entitled "The Sinking Fund," starts off with Archie in imminent danger of being killed while out for a stroll with Betty one afternoon, and believe it or not...



...that is not the stupid part.

Fortunately for Young Mister Andrews, the quicksand turns out to be like four feet deep, and with Betty's help, he's able to pull himself and his amazingly pink pants out of the bog without any serious injury. Of course, the experience does leave him a little shaken, and he resolves to see to it that Riverdale's quicksand problem is fixed before it seriously impacts the local Big Game Hunting industry.

Surprisingly enough, Riverdale's city government is shown to be a thoroughly inept bureaucracy that's fully incapable of dealing with a problem like a local deathtrap. This may seem pretty out of place in the usually civic-minded Archie comics, right up until you remember that this is the same title where an "odorless aura of Satan" melted someone's face one time, which makes it pretty safe to assume that in Life With Archie, all bets are off.

Anyway, even without the city government to back him up, Archie decides to take action with his own brand of vigilante sinkhole-repair, and after reasoning that the quicksand wasn't a natural formation and is in fact caused by some kind of blockage, he turns, as always, to Jughead, who immediately provides him with a tow truck.

Where exactly Jughead got a tow truck is probably left unsaid, but rest assured: The man has connections that you and I could only dream about. You need a tow truck? He can get it. You want a toe? Jughead can get you a toe by three o'clock this afternoon, with nail polish.

Needless to say, they end up fixing the problem with the quicksand--which immediately turns into a crystal-clear, picturesque stream--by pulling out an antique car that was, perfectly preserved by being buried in mud for sixty years.



This, for the record, is the stupidest thing to happen in this story, but only until the next part completely blows it away.

Archie and the Gang take the car to Veronica's father--who, for the purposes of this story, is an antique car expert--who flips out, decides he has to have it, and immediately writes Archie a check for some astronomical, yet undisclosed amount. Arch, being the stand-up guy that he is, decides to take the money and split it with Betty and Jughead to pay them back for helping him out with the whole situation, to which they respond by getting into a violent argument at Pop's about how they don't deserve the money.

I'll go through that again: Archie offers to split a gigantic sum with his two pals after they save his life and help him earn the money, respectively, and they react by storming out and saying that they are no longer friends.



Admittedly, I've never had problems like Archie's, but I was a teenager for several years, and I like to think my boundless immaturity helps me to stay "hip" to what the "cool kids" are into these days, but really: That is insane. Maybe I'm just a shade more materialistic than Betty or Jughead, but the idea that they think Archie's a nice enough guy to keep the entire check to himself, but that they also suddenly hate him when he decides to do something nice for them is mind-boggling.

Fortunately, Mr. Lodge calls in Dilton Doiley--Riverdale's alleged genius--to solve the problem, which he does by using the money to buy the school a new freezer, trophy case, and copy machine, and then threatening to punch them in the face if Archie, Jughead, and Betty don't split the remaining five hundred bucks, and once again we learn that there is no problem that cannot be solved with major appliances and threats of physical violence.

Which, now that I think of it, is actually a pretty accurate moral.




BONUS FEATURE: The Punchline To A Very Dirty Joke About Veronica Lodge




And that's why I get paid the big bucks.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon your MySpace page completely by accident, and ended up reading your blog too. Not only are you really cute (nice MySpace pic, btw), but you're also hysterically funny. This analysis was the funniest thing I could have ever seen at 4am (that, and the George Washington video on your MySpace page).

Thank you for making my insomnia more interesting (:
-Charlotte

1/09/2007 4:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the 'Big Lebowski' reference!

Your stuff is hilarious, I just found this blog recently and have been reading back for the past several months.

(btw I found it by searching for Gambit so Google search isn't all bad)

P.S. Rogue is so much more annoying then Gambit is

-Shimerin

1/09/2007 4:32 AM

 
Blogger LurkerWithout said...

$500 divided evenly three ways is $166.66. Thats a pretty evil looking number. Also the original arguement makes no sense given the basic underpinnings of the characters. Exactly at what point would Jughead turn down money that he could turn into hamburgers?

1/09/2007 4:48 AM

 
Blogger David C said...

But what use hath a lad who canst summon tow trucks from the very air itself for money?

1/09/2007 7:37 AM

 
Blogger Nimbus said...

You know Chris, you don't half use long sentences. For instance, this one:

"Surprisingly enough, Riverdale's city government is shown to be a thoroughly inept bureaucracy that's fully incapable of dealing with a problem like a local deathtrap, which is seems pretty out of place in the usually civic-minded Archie comics, until you remember that this is the same comic where an "odorless aura of Satan" melted someone's face one time, so it's pretty safe to assume that in Life With Archie, all bets are off."

Gasp! Would it hurt to use a full stop (or period - snigger - as you American's call 'em) every now and again? :-)

1/09/2007 7:46 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

I'll have you know that among my native people, cramming nine independent clauses into one sentence is regarded as the highest show of manliness.

Hmph.

1/09/2007 9:25 AM

 
Blogger SallyP said...

Archie obviously should have called on Reggie for help. Reggie would never have turned down the money...in fact he probably would have beaned Archie over the head with a bar stool, thereby establishing himself as Archie's BEST FRIEND!

1/09/2007 9:35 AM

 
Blogger John Bligh said...

Hey, Jughead may be a lazy glutton, but he's no... uh... money lover? I have no explanation for Betty's behavior except, perhaps mental retardation. You're right, though. That may be the stupidest thing comics history (besides anything currently running in Anita Blake, of course). It's at least as stupid as Batman putting a cowl on Ace The Bat Hound so "No one will recognize him"...

I do have a soft spot for Archie though. Archie Digests kept me sane as a kid when Mom would take my sister and I to the supermarket. To keep us occupied, she'd buy us each an a different Archie digest. Fun stuff.

1/09/2007 9:50 AM

 
Anonymous Adrian said...

Here's somethng even scarier than quicksand and the "ordorless aura of Satan"--the fact that this series lasted over 200 issues! Did it ever cross over with Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen?

1/09/2007 3:36 PM

 
Anonymous Greg Morrow said...

Hey, Chris.

In the quoted sentence, there are, I think, eleven clauses, but most of them are not independent.

1*. government is shown
2. to be []
3. that is []
4. dealing with
5. which [] seems
6*. you remember
7. that this is
8. aura [] melted
9*. it's pretty safe
10. to assume
11. bets are off.

Only 1 and 9 are independent in the sense you mean. 6 is a primary clause, though until keeps it from being independent in the sense you mean.

Note: 2, 4, and 10 are untensed clauses, but they're clauses nonetheless.

Source: A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum, although I've forgotten most of the terminology already.

1/09/2007 5:01 PM

 
Anonymous the dark knight said...

So, if long sentences are considered a show of masculinity, then does that make Franz Kafka some sort of demigod?

1/09/2007 5:59 PM

 
Blogger McGone said...

What's the significance of reviewing Archie on January 8th? Your link to the "Odorless aura of Satan" was a year ago. Just thought it was odd.

1/09/2007 7:09 PM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

So, if long sentences are considered a show of masculinity, then does that make Franz Kafka some sort of demigod?

One of these days you're going to see me on ESPN 2 with James Joyce bench-pressing trucks, and then you'll all be sorry!

1/09/2007 8:26 PM

 
Blogger Mike Haseloff said...

Chris,

I also happened upon your MySpace by accident, and also found you really cute.


I think what everyone is forgetting is that Archie is one big fat thinly veiled propaganda machine for communism.

Nobody likes Archie. He has red hair, freckles and often wears a bowtie.
He's a dickhead square who works for THE MAN.

He is forcing the all mighty corporate dollar on his peace-loving friends.

The beast is here!


Word Verification: Smenita
Dementia's sexy Latin-American cousin.

1/09/2007 11:40 PM

 
Blogger Richelle said...

Because in the deadly jungles surrounding Riverdale, only the strong will survive.

As soon as I read that, I immediately imagined a new survival reality show starring the Riverdale gang.

1/10/2007 12:22 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

What's the significance of reviewing Archie on January 8th? Your link to the "Odorless aura of Satan" was a year ago.

I honestly didn't even notice. I think the only significance is that I probably read and write about more Archie books than anyone really should.

1/10/2007 12:31 AM

 
Anonymous TeamSmithy said...

"Gasp! I'm out! I'm filthy! But I'm out!"

1/10/2007 3:38 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Archie's 'out' but also 'filthy'? Should we assume that this means he's a self-loathing homosexual? The pink pants are a dead giveaway. It's nothing to be so ashamed of, Archie.

Also, when did Betty get so buxom?

1/10/2007 11:27 AM

 
Blogger Matt Brady said...

Ah, Betty's always been buxom. I remember a story in which she was doing yardwork while wearing a pair of overalls with no shirt underneath. That thing was gold to my adolescent hormones.

Oh, and David Foster Wallace could kick your ass in the long sentence department. But he's the equivalent of Phil Pfister in that category.

1/10/2007 12:03 PM

 

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