14 December, 2011

Review: The Best Of Archie Comics by Various

I'm going to suggest this one as a stocking stuffer. If you're American, you're already very familiar with Archie and his eternal triangle of Betty and Veronica. If you're not, consider Archie our TinTin. (Yes, yours is better, I know.) Generations of American kids have grown up reading Archie and he has reflected a fairly conservative view of American culture back at them. From Josie and the Pussycats to Sabrina the Witch, Archie has introduced a number of long lived franchises. (Right down to the novelty single.)

Coming in at $10 USD this paperback is a great introduction for a tween reader or a trip down memory lane for an older one. While the curation of the volume is excellent, everyone who reads it will feel something was left out. (I'm a Jughead fan, myself.) From showing the limitations of the early gags (how many times can Archie give Veronica poison ivy?) to the weird soapy feel of it's current titles (Our abusive boyfriend Moose in anger management?) this paperback offers something for almost anyone on a gift list. Too often these retrospectives come as highly expensive hardcovers with their own slipcased and number collectibility conceit. The Best of Archie Comics is a thick pulp paperback perfect for folding in half under your bed. (Maybe I'd be rich if I'd carefully preserved all the Pep Comics I acquired in my youth. Instead I read them to shreds. I think Archie would want it that way.)

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