REVIEW: Jughead #1

Author: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erica Henderson
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Mike Pellerito
Publisher: Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics

Summary: Jughead #1 is a part of Archie Comics’ snazzy new title relaunch which started months ago with the well-received Archie #1. It follows Jughead, the lackadaisical titular protagonist as he plays video games, daydreams, and enjoys the heck out of food. In that sense, it’s definitely in tune with the Jughead of olden days, but the characters, story, and art have all been modernized to fit the comic audience of today -perhaps even the general audience of today. Jughead #1, specifically, involves food, changes (new spooky principal at Riverdale High!), and learning to care about stuff, but let’s just get into the review, Okay? Because there are some things that I need to say.

Story: First off, there are things that you, the reader of this review, should know about me. Aside from the aforementioned love for timeline shenanigans, there are a few other things I really like, such as gin and tonic or dinosaurs. But I also have a few dislikes, such as roller-coasters, mushrooms, and sitcoms. For me, the Archie comics have always been the sitcoms of the comic world. Not that I ever read them, but that was my snap judgement. I like serious, dark, emotional, violent things as a default. And when I do read humor, I like irreverent things, metahumor, or dark comedy. I’m not going to lie, the only reason I jumped at the chance to preview Jughead #1 is because the Archie Comics Twitter has been the improbable highlight of my feed for the past several months. I knew of the creative team, and everyone was raging about Archie, so hey, why not get a free peek at what everyone is on about?

I can’t explain to you what all I felt while reading this comic. Somehow, it’s exactly what I expected. It’s like a sitcom set in a high school. There was a lesson conveyed (sorta), the jokes were cliche and built around an unrealistic aspect of the main character (just like they would be on TV), and good won out in the end! It’s exactly the sort of boring, predictable stuff that I avoid sitcoms on the television for but… Somehow… I still believed it. There were so many little details that felt like actual things teenagers would say, do, or experience (and god is that refreshing in comics) that it overcame the obvious (somehow even ironic maybe?) plot and gimmicks.

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Art: Erica Henderson’s art is a great fit for this title as well, balancing a cartoony style with enough realistic proportions and such that it doesn’t feel childish. I really don’t have any complaints about her contribution to this work. I’ve never considered her art mind-blowing, but that’s not what she’s there for, and that’s not what a comic like this needs. It needs something light and palatable, not heavy shadows and complex shading. There are times when I begin to think all of the faces look similar but even that is just me being nit picky.

Conclusion:  Despite over-analyzing every step of this comic and mentally griping about the bad jokes, the hamburger gimmicks, and the way-too-long Game of Thrones parody, I… I don’t know… I somehow really %$*#ing enjoyed it despite myself. I’d recommend this to my friends. All of them. Even people who don’t read comics. And the ones that know me? They’ll probably give me a weird look but I just don’t know what else to do. Somehow, I really like this title. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny. It didn’t redefine anything. It was just solid, and reminded me of watching Boy Meets World as a kid. So uh, yeah. Gj ladies and gents.

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