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The Life and Death of an Iconic Comic Book Character

Arts & Entertainment

By Nicole Caropolo

(SPOILERS)

Several months ago, the classic Archie comics took a devastating turn when the main character, Archie Andrews, suffered a tragic, heroic death.

Let’s rewind a bit and give the background story to this famous comic series. The Archie series began in 1941, and it centered on the charming redhead, Archie Andrews, from the small town of Riverdale. The storyline to the comics has 2 girls-slash-best friends, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, fight for Archie’s affections. Essentially, it’s a love triangle where both girls are knowingly dating Archie. Betty Cooper is the smart girl next door, while Veronica Lodge is seen as the rich, Daddy’s girl. Obviously, there was jealousy, but Veronica and Betty remained best friends throughout the series. The relationship is clearly a bit unorthodox, but the comics were popular because everyone had their own opinion of which girl should end up with Archie. Many of the comics also centered on the antics of Archie’s close friends.

Now the part of the series that was both frustrating and commendable was how the writers treated marriage when the characters were old enough to make such life-changing decisions. Just when you thought you would finally find out which girl Archie would end up with, the series actually split up into two different universes where Archie is married to Betty in one, and in another alternate universe, he is married to Veronica!

In the comic of Archie’s death, number 36, “Life with Archie”, Archie talks about his wife and the “love of his life”, but he never says a name and a picture of his wife is never shown. Even though this may seem frustrating to an Archie comic fan, it allows the reader to come to his/her own conclusion about which girl he/she wants Archie to end up with (though I’ve always been rooting for Betty.)

In the issue of Archie’s death, he saves his friend Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character of the series, who is running for senator. When a shooter pointed a gun at Keller, Archie jumped in front of the bullet.

Even though it’s devastating to see such an iconic comic book character die, and in such a brutal way, it proves Archie’s caring personality that every reader loves so much. All good things must come to an end, and the manner of the death gave readers a shock, as well as a warm feeling for the good intentions of a good-natured character that captured our hearts.

“Life with Archie”, issue number 37, shows the community of Riverdale a year after Archie’s death.

There may be a waterfall of tears right now, but Archie Andrews will always be a part of one of the most iconic comics of our time.

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