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The Death of Another Comic Book Legend, Archie Andrews

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So now we have the death of another comic book legend, Archie Andrews, in Life with Archie #36.

A twist like this is typically no surprise, as comic book characters return from the dead all the time -- especially in superhero comics. In fact, critics often poke fun at comic book fans for that exact reason.

While these "death and rebirth" storylines can certainly be interesting, I personally think it is bad story telling that gives comic companies a cheap money-shot.

As Max Landis (son of the great horror director John Landis) said in his hilarious fan film "Death and Return of Superman," comic companies had been "ginger about death." But the "Death of Superman" storyline in 1992 opened the floodgates, and soon characters died and were resurrected with ease. Characters like Captain America, Bucky, Green Arrow, Colossus, Jean Grey, Jason Todd (who never should have returned, but I must admit the Red Hood is pretty cool), and Hal Jordan -- to name a few.

It is rare that a comic character stays completely dead. A few that come to mind include Spider-Man's Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy. Even then, there were later stories where Spider-Man introduced Gwen Stacy clones -- and an Uncle Ben from another dimension. It was just plain weird and sloppy, in my view. On the other hand, when writers deal with serial storytelling for 50+ years, I guess it is sometimes hard to keep coming up with compelling tales.

But I digress, let's talk about the death of Archie. He and his friends have been around since 1941, and remain popular to this day. Archie and all related series have been able to evolve with the times, while keeping the central humor and decency of the characters intact. What is fascinating to me is that Archie Digests are the only comics I still see at supermarket check-outs. In fact, I recently bought a Jughead Digest and had great fun reading it. Frankly, the comics are still fun.

However, Archie's death does not bother me in the same way that the death of a Marvel or DC character would. In fact, Life with Archie is a unique title that is not part of the "proper" Archie Universe. This series features the gang as adults, so there remains the distinct possibility that Archie may actually remain dead for this title, while alive-and-well in his teenage world.

There is also the potential for added value here. In #36, adult Archie sacrifices himself for a colleague. So in a world filled with so many anti-heroes, darker and edgier comics and movies, villains, negativity, cynicism, etc.; perhaps this particular comic could provide something positive. Archie could serve as a useful role model showing the value of true selflessness and humanity.

By having Life with Archie #37 (or better titled Life without Archie) take place a year after his death, it shows how his friends have dealt with his sacrifice. This could also provide a good learning tool for readers of all ages, on how to deal with the death of a friend and loved one. It would give this particular comic that realistic edge -- with the "Archie" sensibility.

So no, does it bother me in the least that they killed a version of Archie.

The adult Archie is dead. May the teenager live forever!