Sunday, January 13, 2013

Archie and Me

When I was a kid, I was totally obsessed with Archie comics.

There was this comic book store on my way home from school and I'd always try to convince my mother to buy me the new comics. I still remember the excitement I felt when I had a brand new comic to read. Especially the double digest.

When I was about eight years old, I learned how to draw from Archie comics. I'd draw Veronica and Betty over and over. Essentially, they are the same, except if you're drawing Betty, you make her hair in a ponytail and you don't color it in. And Veronica usually looks a little angry.

(Drawn without peeking!)

Aside from the usual Archie comics, there were offshoots. Like, for example, there would be a Jughead comic, which would be the same basic comics, but all sort of revolving around Jughead. I remember there was also an Archie 3000 comic, which was supposed to take place in the year 3000. (Interestingly, Archie comic's idea of the year 3000 wasn't terribly different from Back to the Future's idea of the year 2015. One word: Hovercars.)

Even though my parents bought me the comics, they'd also kind of belittle me for reading them. I mean, couldn't I read more, I don't know, Baby-sitters Club and less comic books? It got to the point where I started to feel bad about reading them, so when I turned eleven, I gave them up cold turkey. No more Archie comics. The only residual was that I kind of liked redheaded guys for a while (till I dated one who really sucked).

Years later, when I was in medical school, I was at a friend's house and she had an Archie comic lying on her coffee table. I'd imagine this was how a former crack addict must feel if they gave up crack at age eleven, then walked into a friend's house and saw some crack lying on the coffee table. Anyway, my friend offered me the crack... er, Archie comic, and I read it, and just like that, I was hooked again.

It was even worse to be hooked on Archie comics at age 24 than it was at age 10. At 24, you can see how silly and repetitive all the storylines are, yet I still felt compelled to keep reading. And my boyfriend totally encouraged it by buying them for me.

Let me tell you, if it's embarrassing to be buying an Archie comic at age 10, it's mortifying at age 24. I had to pretend I was getting it for some imaginary child.

I was hooked for another year, then I finally quit again. I think I've finally got Archie out of my system, at least until he chooses between Betty and Veronica, because I've got to know how that ends up.


  1. i don't mean to be insensitive about your crippling addiction to archie comics, but that was the funniest post i've read in a while. i also liked archie comics when i was a kid. and i also don't really know why. i also bought all the garfield anthologies (the same strip i read in the paper every day) and kept them for years, reading them OVER AND OVER. kids are weird.

  2. Loved Archie! Along with Garfield and Foxtrot cartoons. I agree with the poster above- kids are weird. I was addicted to online forums for a few years and finally kicked the habit when I realized I had less friends in the real world. Ahhh substitute crack forms.

  3. I loved Archie! My father recently sold the house I grew up on and he said he found boxes and boxes of old Archie comics in the attic. This was told to me, incidentally, after he had already given them away. Why dad... why?!

  4. I know that feel friend. I very nearly bought on in the grocery store recently (though I have BOXES full of them), but I thought "NO! That's the gateway comic. Once you start you won't be able to stop again!"

  5. My mom had a penpal that she got through an Archie comic (in the late 50s or early 60s) and they are STILL friends!

  6. Calvin and Hobbes. 4ever.

  7. I used to be addicted to Tin Tin comics when I was 6-8 y.o. I'm actually not that old -- I grew up in a different country where they were still popular when I was a kid. The different country (and my being young) also explains how I completely didn't notice how blatantly racist those comics were...

    ER MD

  8. Easily my fave post of your in the last month. I don't know how many summer days I spend as a child with my best friend scrounging for loose change, walking to the Seven Eleven near her house, carefully selecting which Archie comic to buy, buying candy with whatever money we had left over (the idea of saving some for next time never occurred to us), then walking back to her place to sit in the backyard reading and rotting our teeth.

  9. I loved this post. Reminds me of my love for Marvel Comics.

  10. Until very recently, I was hooked on newspaper comics. There are three major syndicates (plus Dilbert) that will send you daily emails of your selections, either for free or for like $10/year. You can get hundreds of them for next to nothing, hours of daily reading.

    It got a little out of hand, where I was obsessing like folks do with soap operas (or sports). Luckily, no one else shared my obsession, if I had comic buddies I'd still be stuck.

    In med school, most people got behind and felt guilty not studying, I would feel guilty and out of sorts when I was away from my comics, wondering what was happening.

    In residency I made the mistake of confessing my obsession to one of the nurses and she made my life miserable for about a year by mentioning it to patients to amuse herself. I'm a big scary guy so I guess it was kind of funny, in retrospect.

    Eventually I couldn't keep up, so have stayed away for a year or so now. So I relate.

    It could have been booze or drugs or porn I guess.

  11. I was so obsessed with Archie as a kid and read them over and over again. At one point my mom got worried that that was all I read and briefly confiscated all of them.

  12. Cool! I learned how to draw the human figure from Archie Comics! You're basically on target with drawing Betty vs. Veronica. I never could get Archie's head just right, though.