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Archie: The Married Life Book 1 by Michael…

Archie: The Married Life Book 1

by Michael Uslan

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This is cute, but I can't really say that it was any more than "okay."

I have to admit I’ve been curious about this series for a while now, even as a grown-up, because - like so many of us, I guess - I grew up reading about these characters. Archie comics - more specifically Betty & Veronica comics - were some of the first things I learned to read. I remember having stacks of the little digest books, and I still remember some of the covers so clearly. I remember loving Veronica’s glamorous world travels, wherein she’d trot off to Paris or Tokyo with her limitless credit cards and designer clothes. Pretty awesome escape for a girl from a poor family, living in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I liked Betty too, because she was always writing in her journal or fantasizing about weird stuff - like if life was like a board game, or if she lived the lives of her dolls. And see, I still remember these stories 20+ years later so you can’t tell me that’s not pretty special!! So, yeah. I knew sooner or later I was going to have to pick this series up and give it a try.

So . . . hmm . . . I think it’s okay. As everyone probably already knows, the chapters alternate between two parallel universes, one in which Archie married Veronica and is an exec at Lodge Enterprises, the other in which he married Betty and is struggling to make it as a musician in New York. The whimsical adventures and day dreams are gone in place of the harsh realities of adult life, where one has to worry about jobs and paying the bills, letting go of your dreams and other fun stuff. Uh, yay? It is NOT an adult deconstruction of Archie comics (which would be kind of cool), it only moves the characters into slightly more adult situations, while still being entirely kid-friendly. They never even go to a bar, the whole gang still hangs out at the malt shop for goodness’ sake!

It’s an interesting idea and I love the parallel-universes thing.

But, because I am picky, here are some things I didn’t like:

In both universes, Hiram Lodge is the bad guy - and he’s really nasty, like insanely so and it kinda bothered me. He gets Betty fired from her job because he’s mad Archie married her and broke his daughter’s heart? What the heck? That’s just . . . weird. o_0 Why would he waste his time and money on this petty revenge crap when he never thought Archie was good enough for his little girl anyways?!

I also thought it was too bad that the story for the supporting cast is largely the same in both universes. In both universes, Moose and Midge are broken up. In both universes Jughead is taking over Pop Tate’s chocolate shop. Etc. etc. This felt like wasted opportunity to me - they could have made the universes really different! I mean, there are some differences - but only when it comes to the main four characters, Archie, Betty, Veronica and Reggie. It seems Reggie gets to be the "consolation prize" for whichever girl doesn’t get to be with her true love, Archie. I think the creative team could have been a little more . . . creative here, you know.

I guess part of MY problem is that I was never really a fan of Archie Andrews himself (or Reggie or Jughead for that matter.) I liked the girls (ha ha, no surprise to people who know me now, I’m sure) and I was sad to see that in both story lines Betty and Veronica’s epic best friendship is completely ignored. Sure, they were rivals, but they were also practically sisters. What I wouldn’t give for a third parallel universe, where both girls forgot about Archie and married each other! Then they could travel the world and have fun adventures, and also Mr. Lodge wouldn’t be a crazy super villain . . . oh, well, a girl can dream, can’t she? *sigh* ( )
  catfantastic | May 15, 2015 |
When I was young tween, the only real reading I did was Archie comics. We had them in our house all the time; my parents must have thought they were safe enough because no one ever gets any action. There has been news recently about Archie being shot to death in the graphic novel Death of Archie which is the last book in The Married Life series. This news got me curious so I had to pick up the first trade paperback which covers the first six issues of this series.

I have always been on the side of Betty and never could understand why Archie would choose Veronica over her. Archie: The Married Life is split into two different timelines; almost like a Sliding Doors scenario, or, if you are a fan of Broadway, If/Then. This series follows the life of Archie married to Veronica and then Betty. There are some situations that are different in each timeline but mostly follow the same events. Unfortunately nothing much has changed since they were in high school.

Archie: The Married Life does try to look at the normal day-to-day issue facing adults but it holds back too much. For example, Midge finally breaks up with Moose because she is scared of his violent outbursts. This story arch could have gone into some interesting themes of emotional and physical abuse but it treads lightly around the topic. Moose does try and work on his anger issues but there is just so much more they could have done.

My favourite character was always Jughead and I enjoyed it when he hard a love life, luckily this is inserted into this series but not very well. He is getting married. I won’t tell you to who, but the only romance I saw between them was when they shared a milkshake at Pop’s Treat. This brings me to my next issue; why are they still hanging out at Pop’s Treat? I am sure it would be nice to have a place to hang but they could go to a bar or something different every now and then. They are working adults now, but they all still act like teenagers.

I think my biggest problem is the fact that this series is a sugar coated interpretation of what adult and married life would be like. No one has sex; although there was some alluding to an affair between Veronica and Reggie, but nothing happened. The series is still marketed to young tweens and this disappoints me, I thought Archie: The Married Life would have been a more adult look at the Archie world, I was wrong. I don’t even know if I want to continue, I might just read Afterlife with Archie instead.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/10/26/archie-the-married-life-vol-1-by-mich... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 2, 2014 |
I have a guilty secret: I always enjoyed the "Archie" comic books, as a child, teen and adult. They're not great literature, and they don't exactly accurately portray American teens, and the story quality varies pretty widely (although the "good-girl" art has generally been pretty good). But there's a wholesome innocence that always appealed to me, curmudgeonly as I usually am.

This series takes our teens into young adulthood, with all the joys and pitfalls that usually come with it. We have two separate storylines here; one in which Archie has married Betty, and one in which Veronica is his bride. The two storylines alternate throughout the book, and sometimes the back-and-forth gets a little confusing. But there are some surprises here. Jughead (the inveterate girl-hater) winds up married to Midge, Moose's ex, who is now with his anger-management yoga instructor. In both storylines, Reggie turns out to be not such a jerk after all, and winds up with the girl Archie left behind. Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy discover true love and marry, spitting in the face of her terminal cancer. And Mr. Lodge turns out to be pretty evil, willing to break laws and destroy anybody who gets in his way, even Archie and his loved ones.

The tone is quite different from the light humor of the high school days, but it fits the new depth of the series as characters I really came to enjoy reading about over the past 50 years or so have finally broken free of the frozen time warp that was Riverdale High School. ( )
  burnit99 | Nov 26, 2012 |
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