Archie Andrews died today—after 73 years in the comics

July 16, 2014 • 12:22 pm

I think the Archie comics are a purely American phenomenon, but they’ve been around forever—certainly when I was a kid in the Pleistocene. And I read it faithfully, as, I suspect did most of our older readers here. You would remember Archie, Jughead, Riverdale High, and the two attractive women, Veronica and Betty, between which one had to choose as a favorite.

I didn’t realize Archie had been around longer than I, but it’s true: the comic has been going for 73 years.

Until today.

As The Associated Press reports, in today’s issue of the comic Archie finally meets his demise, looking at least four decades younger than he is! And he dies in an unusual way:

Archie Andrews fans already know that their beloved, red-haired comic book icon is going to die while trying to save a friend’s life. Now ArchieComics publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater has offered more specifics about the character’s sacrifice: Archie will perish after intervening in an assassination attempt on the series’ first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, The Associated Press reports.

The heroic act will take place in the 36th issue of Life With Archie (out Wednesday, July 16th), while the following installment will move forward one year and feature the Riverdale crew honoring the life and legacy of their fallen friend. The image to the left shows Archie right before his death. [JAC: first image below]

“The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie,” Goldwater said in a statement. “He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale, but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”

From the AP: This image provided by Archie Comics shows Archie in his final moments of life in the comic book, “Life with Archie,” issue 37. Archie Andrews will die taking a bullet for his gay best friend.

I didn’t realize that Archie had become so politically correct over the years:

While the original comic book series starring Archie began as an innocent look at a group of pals at Riverdale High School, Archie Comics has in recent years strived to appeal to modern sensibilities with “Life with Archie,” a more socially relevant spin-off aimed at longtime adult Archie fans. Over the past four years, “Life with Archie” plots have involved Kevin’s marriage, the death of longtime teacher Ms. Grundy and Archie’s love interest, Cheryl Blossom, tackling breast cancer and affordable health care.

Lord, that’s about every issue there is except for immigration reform and legal weed! Well, farewell, Arch!  Here he is—gone but not forgotten.

Archie-Dies-Saving-Best-FriendThe comic’s website is here.


34 thoughts on “Archie Andrews died today—after 73 years in the comics

  1. It’s not the end of Archie, just one title.

    Archie Comics has been running a large format title called Life With Archie. Two story lines run side-by-side: Archie has married Veronica and Archie has married Betty. In the latter, Veronica has married Reggie, but they are divorced or divorcing. In the former, Reggie has been recently released from prison.

    The title is ending with the death of Archie. I’m not sure about which timeline ends this way, as I haven’t really been following it. But the original series, with Archie as a high school junior, will continue to run.

    1. The Daily Cartoonist bl*g reported on this last Monday. Archie will continue as a teenager in the newspaper strips and mainline comic books. The death takes place in an alternate universe – or, if you prefer – Archieverse.

  2. It has been almost 45 years since I read an Archie comic book but I rennet hem well. My father owned a newspaper/comic book/cigar store during my teenage years.

    1. I haven’t read Archie in 35 years. What a blast from the past! One of my favorite comic books growing up. I liked Veronica (dark hair) 🙂

      Archie doesn’t look like he’s aged one bit.

  3. I heard about this while driving home a couple of days ago and I was surprised because I hadn’t realized that the Archie comics had morphed so much and taken on such social issues. I’m sure the comics will be deemed “socialist”, and Archie a communist, prompting the right wing religious among us to attempt to ban it from libraries.

      1. That comment, if taken out of context, is about the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Can you imagine if you were in, say, a crowded cat cafe and you overheard someone exclaim “BECAUSE HAMBURGERS ISN’T A SEXUAL ORIENTATION, THAT’s WHY!” I think I’d be the first person in history to asphyxiate from laughter.

  4. Aged Brits will remember Archie Andrews as a ventriloquist’s dummy who appeared in the 1950’s and 60’s on the radio programme ‘Educating Archie’with his operator Peter Brough. Yes, a radio prog featuring a ventriloquist but in those days nobody thought it odd. Perhaps the two Archies are an example of convergent evolution.

    1. Here in New Zealand we had both (but I only learnt today that the American Archie’s surname was also Andrews). Made in USA, but not a purely American phenomenon.

      Educating Archie “introduced comedians who became [much better known than Peter Brough] including Tony Hancock … Benny Hill, Harry Secombe, Dick Emery, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques and Bruce Forsyth together with a young Julie Andrews as Archie’s girlfriend. Later, Beryl Reid took this role… Max Bygraves …” – W*k*p*d** Some of those names may be familiar in America.

  5. Have never heard of Archie, but from the illustrations he carries his 73 years as lightly as one might wish to (in the absence of an afterlife).

  6. Archie was always ahead of his time. Even back in the 50s, he always had a bunch of hashtags on the side of his head.

  7. I didn’t realize that Archie had become so politically correct over the years:

    Many books I’ve read in the past 5-6 years have clearly adopted the goal of showing gay relationships in a positive light, in contrast to years gone by where such characters were often evil or doomed to die.

    The normal narrative technique is not to depict these relationships as unusual, and to show that they’re perfectly accepted in the universe in which the story takes place.

    Brilliant strategy, IMO.

  8. This especially surprising because back in the ’70s, Archie Comics licensed their characters to a publisher of fundamentalist comic books sold in Christian book stores. I had an issue that denounced school bussing, evolution and not attending church. THAT Archie wouldn’t have recognized this one.

  9. Archie comics are a Canadian phenomenon too. I grew up reading them in the 80s, and so did all my fiends. Kids here still read them today. I’ve even read them in French so I guess they must read them in Québec, too.

  10. I think the Archie comics are a purely American phenomenon,

    While it isn’t our regular cup of tea (certainly not mine, too puerile in both expression and style), it has been published under the name “Acke” here in Sweden since 1959 and had a regular comic 1969 – 2002. [ ]

  11. In case anybody is interested, I think pretty much all of the late 1960’s through late 1970’s Archie cartoon shows are uploaded on Youtube. These cartoons include The Archie Show, The Archie Comedy Hour, and Archie TV Funnies. There also several uploads of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. Pretty good memories for us Generation X’ers. In memory of Archie, I will watch an old episode or two this weekend.

  12. Death means nothing in comics. Superman, Batman, Robin, and Captain America have all “died” before being mysteriously resurrected a few months later. Death is a stunt designed to increase sales.

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