Best Shots Extra: ARCHIE #600: The Proposal w/Poll

Archie #600

Written by Michael Uslan

Pencils by Stan Goldberg

Inks by Bob Smith

Published by Archie Comics

Review by Henry Chamberlain

"Archie Marries Veronica," the six-issue story arc that thrusts Archie and the gang into the future and finally lets them graduate high school after 67 years, is one of those you-had-me-at-hello comics events that wins major points for simply showing up. The media have had a lot of fun with it but what's so nice is that it all feels genuine. No one has a harsh word to say about Archie Andrews. He gave us a lot of laughs and the classic love triangle between him and Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper gave us little kids something to think about. We never grew tired of the drama and hijinks. We simply grew up, moved on and lost touch. And now we get to see our favorite comics teens grow up and make grown up bad choices of their own.

Whatever happened to the lothario of Riverdale? He kept being told that he needed to grow up. He couldn't be Peter Pan the rest of his life even though his life was only beginning. Four short years later after high school, armed with only a college degree in History, Archie Andrews buckles under the pressure to get on with it and be a man. He can't see straight, and in his eagerness to please and conform, he makes the worst choice of his life. He proposes to Veronica!

Like the souls fumbling into adulthood in American Graffiti, the cast of Archie is given its marching orders. Everyone is leaving Riverdale for greener pastures. Everyone except for Jughead who has been given a reprieve from life and allowed to grill burgers at Pop Tate's Chok'lit Shoppe until he figures things out.

Whatever happened to that red headed lothario? He didn't get the girl, that's for sure. He passed up America's sweetheart, Betty Cooper, and settled for the security of Veronica Lodge and his place in the family fortune. Well, he sort of blundered into it not expecting Papa Lodge to be so generous. When Archie reveals to his parents that he spent all his graduation gift money on Veronica's engagement ring, they congratulate him on his wise investment.

What about Betty? That is the lingering question. It's asked so often in this story that it borders on the poetic. We adults know we are reading a comic that's main purpose is to entertain tweens but we can't help ourselves. We are fine with playing by the rules of Archie: snappy brief dialogue mixed with snappy crisp art work. And we do our best to read as much as we can into the simple lines:

Jughead: Easy, girl...I know it's a shock. For me, too. He never told me!

Betty: Oh, Juggie...the hopes and dreams I had since I was little...all gone!

What a wonderful life it might have been for Archie and Betty. She was now about to try her luck with a career in retail in New York City. They would have found a way to make it work. Everybody knows that. Thick or thin, Archie and Betty would have made it work.

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