By Stefania Rudd. With all the titles being released over at Archie Comics — and there are quite a bit of them! — one would think at some point people would tire of Archie and company. However, the longevity of the characters, coupled with the exciting creative teams that have been given the opportunity to put their own spin on our familiar friends, have made it an enjoyable ride.
With the publisher’s latest series, Your Pal, Archie, Ty Templeton teams up with Archie veteran Dan Parent to bring a bit of the classic Archie vibe to the line’s famously progressive attitude. It’s brighter, more lighthearted. But don’t you dare call it simple.
In the first issue, we get two new stories, as well as a Betty and Veronica throwback. The first, titled “The Road Worrier”, features the iconic, laconic Jughead undergoes the arduous process of learning how to drive, which surprises the Riverdale gang. Driving is far more complicated than, say, just hanging out and eating a burger, but with all his friends gone for the summer, who’s gonna drive him to Pop’s?
In the second story, “A Night at the Opera,” Archie assumes his weekend plans with Veronica are a given, but she lets him know she already has plans to take in an opera with a wealthy suitor. Because this is a book that lovingly looks back upon the works of Archie legends such as Vic Bloom and Bob Montana, Archie decides he will write his own opera in order to woo her back. Jughead pops up, as he must, in a cliffhanger that involves a set of winning lottery numbers. We’ll have to tune in to the next issue to see how this all plays out, but because the book is such a breeze, it doesn’t feel like an obligation.
Templeton is a brilliant choice for this book, with his knack for capturing the feel of the classic while providing a noticeably contemporary edge. These pages could have been published decades ago. Parent and Templeton’s artwork is what makes the book feel modern, though it wisely avoids too many upgrades, which lets it avoid comparisons to the current Archie series. It’s all in the details. From Veronica’s trendy clothing to Archie’s undercut hairstyle, the facets to the contemporary Archie aesthetic are balanced by the important things, such as Jughead’s iconic whoopee cap.
Your Pal, Archie #1 is a solid start to a charming and nostalgic Archie series, one that is easily accessible for an all-ages crowd. A great, and essential, introduction for any new reader.
Written by Ty Templeton.
Art by Dan Parent.
Inks by Ty Templeton.
Colors by Andre Szymanowicz.
Letters by Jack Morelli.
9 out of 10