Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Little Archie Comics Digest Annual, No. 1

1977, first edition, from Archie Comic Publications
Archie Comics
Little Archie Comics Digest Annual, No. 1
Bought new for 95 cents
Poor condition paperback

Even as a 9-year-old, I didn't like the "Little Archie" stories as much as those of him and the gang as teenagers.  (And why do all his peers call him "Little Archie"?  They're just as little as he is, except Moose and Fangs Fogarty.)  Yet, I did for the most part enjoy revisiting this collection, although part of that is because it has three stories about Betty's relationships with her teenage siblings, Chick (a boy) and Polly.  I also liked the two stories where Archie befriends aliens.  And the summer-camp story shows Betty and Veronica as brave and quick-thinking.

I don't know what to make of Super Duck.  A quick Wikipedia check shows that he was originally a Superman parody, but in the stories here he acts like a more cynical, hornier version of the suburban duck characters Donald and Daffy.  His stories don't particularly work, but they do offer a more grown-up sensibility and at least are not as bland as Little Sabrina or Li'l Jinx.  (But I will admit to having a soft spot for the latter because I always thought she was being raised by a widowed father, as I was.  Too bad she was seldom given much interesting to do.)

Despite the '77 publication date, the stories in here mostly have more of a late '50s to early '60s look, as with the mad scientist's teen sidekick combing his Kookie-like pompadour.  Since this was in some ways the golden age of Archie comics, that adds to the fun.  On the other hand, Li'l Jinx's friends Russ and Roz have huge early '70s afros, and Russ is wearing a peace sign shirt.

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