Friday, December 22, 2006

The Passion of Archie Andrews

If you wandered over into the comics sector of the blog world over the past week, you probably tripped over one of the usual more-heat-than-light bloggy furors. The reason this time: Archie Comics is publishing stories featuring redesigned characters. The more thoughtful and intelligent bloggers (the ones I read, natch) don't think this is a big deal; companies do this all the time, and Archie's had a pretty rigid house style for forty years now (so a change to appeal to current kids might well be in order).

But there has been much really stupid wailing and gnashing of teeth from certain quarters. ( For example, this guy talks about "messing with people's childhood memories" -- implicitly admitting that he doesn't read Archie comics, and hasn't for years, but that he still thinks Archie should care what people like him think about the change.) In particular, the kind of people who comment but don't blog themselves are up in arms about this -- though, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of them don't seem to read current Archie comics.

Archie editor Rik Offenberger pointed out that this is just one story, and that Archie comics have had many art styles in the past. (He didn't note, but could have, that the "classic" Archie style, the loss of which people are bemoaning, only really clicked when Dan DeCarlo started at Archie in the early '60s -- a good twenty years after Pep Comics started.)

Does anyone else suspect -- as I do -- that the people upset about the Archie redesign are also the ones who hate manga and think that audience will "graduate" to good 'ol American spandex fight-scene comics Real Soon Now? I bet they are; they're exactly the people who have no idea what the young female audience wants.

OK, here's the new rule: no one is allowed to whine about a redesign on a comic that they don't read and never will read. (I'll be willing to bet money that most of the whiny losers on this topic never bought Archie comics in their lives.) And I really hope Archie isn't seriously listening to these nimrods; they're not the audience for the comic, and nothing they say will help Archie target their comics to that audience (pre-teen girls, mostly).

And I've come to a new realization. The Internet isn't for porn (not anymore) -- it's for complaining.

And so I', shit.

1 comment:

Meril said...

As long as they're the same old sort of Archie stories, it really doesn't matter to the kids or the parents buying them for their kids.

Little girls who read Archie don't graduate to superhero comics. I read Archie between ages 6-10 and didn't pick up another comic until I was 18--and it was Charles Vess's indie folk music comic. Now, at least, girls have easy-to-find manga to read after they outgrow Archie.

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