For almost 70+ years famous comic book character Archie Andrews of Riverdale, U.S.A. had to endure the trials and tribulations of an American teenager, like hanging out with his group of friends and going to school but most especially choosing who to date, the elegant and wealthy Veronica Lodge or the sweet girl-next-door Betty Cooper. Readers from all corners of the globe enjoyed the mishaps of this “average American teenager” but many really wanted to know: who will he choose to be his wife and have children with???
In 2009-2010 Michael Uslan (Executive Producer of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight movie) and longtime Archie penciller Stan Goldberg and inker Bob Smith gave the answer in the 6-part story entitled “The Archie Wedding: Will You Marry Me?”. The funny thing here is he chose both!!!
In the story, readers were treated to two realities where Archie chose Veronica and the other one where he chose Betty. It showed to the readers of the consequences from his pick, the effect it had from his friends to handling a pregnant wife and being a doting parent. The story made headlines through TV shows, comic book blogs and newspapers. It even made some violent reactions, even stating that he is bigamous because he gets treated to the best of both worlds. This wouldn’t happen if Archie chose to be a Muslim.
Either way, the story starts with Archie and the gang playing their last set in front of a crowd in their school as they prepare for college. Archie, being the sentimental fool, got a little worked up from leaving Highschool life and decides to take a walk outside to clear his mind. He stumbles upon the appropriately-named Memory Lane Street and made a decision to walk up Memory Lane Street instead of walking down. There he is faced with two dirt roads and walked to the left side.
After the walk readers were shocked to see that Archie is coming back from his stroll wearing a College jacket, seeing his parents a little aged and already psyched to graduate from College.
The Memory Lane Street became a big story element where deciding to leisurely walk the left or the right dirt road he is somehow “transported” to the future of either marrying Veronica or Betty. It was pretty far-fetched but what do you expect from an eternally young teenager who faced mad scientists in his youth and had an alter-ego superhero named Pureheart the Powerful?
The writing is pretty simple and straightforward, as it shows the pressure of preparations of a wedding and taking care of an expecting wife and the sacrifices a parent makes taking care of a child. Writer Michael Uslan delivered as well as artists Stan Goldberg and Bob Smith. Anyone who is familiar of the Archie series will feel right at home with the depiction of Archie and the gang. Although there were instances that the anatomy and facial features seemed…off. Like these for example:
But the most surprising awkwardness comes from a scene after the Archie-Veronica wedding and at the reception:
Older Veronica kinda looks like pop singer Katy Perry, right? Sadly, Betty looks exactly the same as she was along with the other part of the gang. I guess it’s only fitting for Veronica to look different because she can afford a makeover.
There is even this:
I can’t believe that Archie comics could get away with this. But it seemed appropriate, since they are already married. So cut them some slack.
As usual with preparations for the wedding and the ceremony itself there are a lot of heartwarming and tear-jerking moments. The story wasn’t left out, as seen here:
This is another rare moment, because Archie fans know how much a bumbling idiot Archie is, especially around Veronica’s father Mr. Hiram Lodge. It was pretty moving.
With the “Betty” reality we are shown the hardships of Archie finding a job (mostly because during the time the story was written it was America’s recession period), going to New York to face the married life there, facing Betty’s top boss and other moments that changed them and their friends and loved ones forever. It’s definitely worth the read. Ask any storyteller/writer how to make a good story, make a lot of conflicts. More conflicts = Relatable characters = More interesting read. Some of them are:
It was something special.
And also when the gang found out that Reggie proposed to Veronica and she accepted:
And after Veronica and Reggie got married in Las Vegas, Archie and Betty received some news from the newlyweds. Archie gave out one of the best lines ever in the whole storyline:
It’s a known fact that Veronica is extremely wealthy while Betty is slightly insufficient on money. But I never really thought they’d be this poor:
I guess it never hurts to have a little money (or in this case, a LOT of money) in times like these. However they made the Betty-Archie wedding so meager it almost seemed like a gag.
Another startling development in the book is Archie here is less of clumsy teenager, hinting at a little bit of maturity. But as usual, we are treated with the slapstick “Archie (Bad) Luck” on the labor of Betty and Veronica (after all, couples panic when they are already in labor.). Just so everything is right with the universe.
There is also a part on each “reality” where Archie confronts the “not-my-bride” and explains to her why she didn’t pick her. With Veronica it seemed a good excuse.
There is one scene in the “Betty reality” that makes you think twice about Archie’s decision:
They were interrupted and their friends egged them to play despite without practice. Someone threw food at them just for fun and a food fight ensued. After the food fight stopped and the gang helped clean the place up Archie got back to Veronica and:
After this Archie talked to Betty over chocolate malt and then proposed to Betty. One would think that Archie saying “Uh…No need” is really Archie supposed to propose to Veronica but “settled” for Betty instead. Just a little observation.
But all in all, the storyline is a treat. It was something that fans wanted to see for a long, long, long time, even if it a sort of a “fantasy” story. It, as the writer said in the afterword of the graphic novel, “reawaken the interest of people of all ages and cultures to their heartfelt interest in and love for these characters…[we were swamped] with letters telling us that parents and children were reading the [story] together.” It’s worth a read, more so with the release of a spin-off Archie series that explored more the married life of each “reality”. So if ever you are a young kid who wanted to see how a wedding works out, as well as having kids, look no further than America’s favorite freckle-faced, carrot-top teenager to show you.
all photos copyright Archie comics