OK, so Archie meets Ramones. Where do I even start? On one hand you have the prototypical clean-cut all American comic character and on the other you have one of the stalwarts of the punk movement. You would think that these two brands would mix like water and oil, but therein lies the magic of this comic. The Ramones were always known to have a playful side. Even for punks. I think that’s why this book works. The band was just off-center enough that they fit into the Archie universe, it’s not a complete fit, but just enough to make things interesting.
Archie and the gang are locked into a local battle of the bands. Trouble is that “The Archies” stink and can’t carry a tune in a bucket. As the group falls apart to arguing Sabrina shows up to hand Archie a copy of the Ramones first album. Needing a pick me up Archie plays the vinyl record and The Archies are transported back to the 70’s where the run smack into the Ramones. After a few pages of comedy and slapstick we learn that Archie and the bunch have to win a local battle of the bands in order to win the same magical Ramones album to transport them back to their proper time. Got that? It’s a fairly simple plot, nothing flashy, nothing fancy, just honest, direct, and to the point. Just like a Ramones song.
The one real oddball moment that didn’t sit well with me was seeing the Archie group wondering their way into CBGB’s at the end of the story. If you know your musical history then you know that playing CBGB’s in the 1970’s during the era of punk was as un-Archie as you can get. To borrow a famous pop culture line- it (CBGB’s) was a wretched hive of scum and villainy. In fact most of New York in the 1970’s was a very unfriendly place from the porno theaters in time square to the emerging crack/coke problem that would mire the city’s image in the 80’s. It’s hard to imagine the kids of Riverdale navigating NYC’s streets, dodging prostitutes and ducking gunfire.
All of that aside, my one big concern is this; who is this comic for? Current Archie readers are not going to have a clue who the Ramones are, and folks that are old enough to remember the Ramones have moved way past Archie comics. This book seems to exist in a no-mans-land. It’s not really aimed at anyone, it’s just there. Like some lost relic of pop culture that will be looked at with bewilderment by future nerd generations.
Final Thoughts: A weird quirky little comic that somehow satisfies. An oddity that proves that you never can tell what is going to work.
Final Grade: 3 stars
Archie Meets Ramones
Story: Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg
Art/Letters: Gisele Lagace
Color: Ma. Victor Robado and Digikore studios
Publisher: Archie Comics