Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover: Harry Lucey
Release Date: 29th October, 2015
Released to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the unrelenting juggernaut that is Archie Comics, this 600-plus page collection features seventy-five stories (allegedly) hand-picked by Archie himself, spanning the rich history of this iconic series from its inception to the present day.
As a collection, to say it’s comprehensive would be a gross understatement, featuring as it does one story from every year since the debut or Archie 1941. However, while this is definitely intriguing from a ‘time capsule’ point of view, there are a certainly few decades where the quality of the writing noticeably dips, with certain strips showing their age and failing to adequately translate to the modern day comic environment.
The artwork ebbs and flows through the course the collection, as you’d likely expect from a series which spans the course of seven-plus decades, although it’s interesting to witness the subtle changes to the style and design of the strips over the years. There are some impressive highs along the way, and for the most part this is a book which is very easy on the eye, filled with bright, lively illustrations.
The characters themselves remain relatively unchanged over the years, both in appearance and personality, giving an impressive sense of innocence and (possibly naïve) optimism to the series. Unfortunately, the stories themselves also remain somewhat unchanged, resulting in what can at times be a fairly repetitive read. There’s only so many times you can see Betty and Veronica squabbling over Archie while Jughead eats a burger before you start to lose interest, y’know?
At the end of the day, your enjoyment of this collection is going to come down to what you hope to get out of it. If you’re looking for fresh, exciting stories featuring Riverdale’s teenage inhabitants, then you’d probably be much better off looking to Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ newly-relaunched series. However, for readers who want to delve into the rich, nostalgia-laden history of this iconic character, complete with a lovingly exhaustive look at the behind-the-scenes creation of these strips, this is most definitely going to be the book for you.
From my own perspective, I probably fall somewhere in the middle; while I definitely appreciate the detail and scale of the collection, there’s no getting past just how dated some of the strips feel. Regardless, this is still definitely well worth a look, particularly if you’re a long-time fan.
You can purchase The Best of Archie Comics: 75 Years, 75 Stories from Turnaround Publisher Services (who kindly provided the review copy of this title) from their official website.
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