• Jughead #1



    Jughead #1
    Released by: Archie Comics
    Released on: October 7th, 2015.
    Writer : Chip Zdarsky
    Art : Erica Henderson
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    Riverdale’s favorite burger munching slacker gets his own all new series courtesy of Chip Zdarsky (yep, the guy who draws Sex Criminals over at Image) with art from Erica Henderson. When the issue begins, Jughead is hanging out playing video games and scarfing down some chow when there’s a buzz at the door. It’s Archie, he’s been trying to get Jughead on the phone but he’s been too preoccupied with his game to bother with it. They’re running late for class and while Jughead was up all night playing that game, he’s fine and ready to go.

    Outside the school, Betty’s got a petition going to stop Mr. Lodge from building on the woodlot that they used to play in as kids. Archie signs it but Jughead just doesn’t seem to care. Archie and Jughead hit class where they learn that Mr. Weatherbee is being replaced as the principal at Riverdale High and he’s being replaced by Mr. Stanger, who seems none too keen on the teenage boy with the crown on his head putting his feet up on his desk.

    Stanger assures the student population that the changes will be both positive and gradual, but when Jughead hits the cafeteria at lunch to find that Lasagna Mondays are no more, he starts to wonder. And then he has a change of heart… and blacks out.

    The second story in this issue is Jughead In Game Of Thrones. It’s set in medieval times and Archie laments the absence of his love, Cheryl. He cares not for matters of the heart but he does care for the change in rations, something he’s told to take up with the king. It’s then that King Lodge appears on the balcony of his castle to address the peons below. He tells them rations are pared back until they win the Thousand Year War. Jughead is concerned about this while Archie can’t take his eyes off of Princess Veronica.

    The king then announces that there will be a tournament - whosoever can best Sir Reginald in combat will win a platter of the finest burgers! Jughead is too lazy to bother but when Dilton and Moose tell him of The Dragon Burger – a burger that contains… infinite burgers! Suddenly they get his attention. And so, Archie and Jughead embark on their quest for The Dragon Burger – but what of the sinister Sir Reginald?

    From there we cut back to the first story as Jughead regains consciousness. He’s still distraught about the changes in the cafeteria menu but then Betty tells him about home economics class…. a class where he can learn to make food, even burgers! But will Stanger stand for this?

    This is fun stuff. Well written, witty, charming even. Zdarsky has a great handle on the classic Riverdale characters and is able to keep thing interesting in the modern world while still keeping that classic Archie Comics flavor plenty strong. Sure, Jughead’s got a cellphone and he plays video games but he’s still obsessed with burgers and he’s still lazy and he’s still funny for those reasons. The back and forth between he and Archie is often pretty funny and there are quite a few hilarious asides thrown in here too – the Game Of Thrones references for one, but there’s a clever Batman gag tossed in that’s subtle enough to miss and this is all just… fun. Like it should be.

    Erica Henderson’s artwork does deviate from what most would consider the ‘classic Archie’ style but that’s not a problem. It suits the tone of Zdarsky’s writing just fine and her style is quite attractive. She gives the characters a bit of a makeover here, putting her own spin on things, but they’re still one hundred percent recognizable. Great use of color throughout this issue is also a nice plus.

    Once we get through the main story there’s a text piece from Zdarksy that provides an intro to the ‘classic’ Jughead story, reprinted from the first issue published way back when in 1949 and illustrated by Samm Schwartz. The story itself is called Perilous Experiment. Jughead gets hurt on the football field and is carried off. Reggie teases him and then he and Archie split but Jug is worried he won’t be able to play in the game tomorrow. He comes home to find Uncle Herman is visiting, he’s working on an experiment that will ‘make the atomic bomb obsolete!’ As crazy as Herman is though? He just might have an idea that’ll get Jughead back on the field and in tip-top shape for the big game! Great stuff, and surprisingly violent for an old Archie Comics publication.