Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Great ARCHIE Story You'll Never See Again

I still haven't found it, but I'd like to give a brief summary of this totally insane multi-part story. I read it in digests years ago, still have some excerpts of dialogue that I wrote in an old notebook, but what I don't got is the story itself. Still, I wanted to summarize it because it was so bizarre, in such bad taste, and so full of Frito Bandito-esque stereotypes that you'll likely never see it re-printed again. (I think it dates from the late '70s or early '80s, when Latin America was in the news a lot.)

Update: I finally found the story, in Jughead # 226, from 1974. I've added some screen captures from the story.

The artwork was by the great Samm Schwartz and I'm pretty convinced that Frank Doyle wrote it. Most of these stories didn't have credits, but the Vaudevillian dialogue was so Doyle-esque that it either had to be Doyle or a very good imitator of his style.

Here's how it shook down:

Mr. Lodge is upset because Jughead is always hanging around his house. (Why is his attention focused on Jughead, who normally doesn't hang around Lodge's place very much, rather than Archie, who actually is always there? Because this is a Jughead story. Go with it.) Smithers, Mr. Lodge's butler and -- in Doyle's stories -- also Lodge's buddy and confidante, suggests that Lodge should get Jughead out of the house by asking him to run an errand.

Lodge writes down a shopping list for Jughead, but accidentally gives him the credentials for an ex-diplomat whom he had hired to go down to an obscure village in Honduras and deal with a local bandito who is terrorizing Lodge's plant. (Yes, even Mr. Lodge is taking jobs out of America and building plants in low-paying Latin American countries.) Jughead reads the instructions and says: "Wow, when he sends you on an errand, he really sends you on an errand."

Using the credentials, Jughead is flown to Honduras to meet with the bandito, El Slobador. Turns out that El Slobador's campaign against the plant was just a ruse to get a valuable American down to his hideout: he and his men announce that they will hold Jughead for ransom and make Mr. Lodge pay $1 million for his return.

When Mr. Lodge gets the notice that Jughead is being held captive in Honduras and the banditos expect Lodge to pay $1 million to get him back, he finds this so funny that he goes into hysterical laughing fits and has to be taken to the hospital.

At the bandito hideout, Jughead spends most of his time eating the tamale pies and other delicacies cooked by El Slobador's mother, Mama. Mama is the worst cook in the world, and she appreciates the fact that this gringo is the only person who really enjoys her cooking. ("Nobody, not even you no good papa! -- ever appreciate Mama's cooking like this beautiful gringo!" "My no good papa still be here if he no eat Mama's cooking!")

Finding that Jughead has an unlimited appetite and will eat anything, the banditos all give him their food so they won't have to eat Mama's "rotten cooking."

With Mr. Lodge still in the hospital, Veronica, Betty and Archie decide that the only way to rescue Jughead is to go down to El Slobador's hideout and offer themselves as his new hostages: Veronica explains that Lodge won't pay to save Jughead alone, but he will pay to get her back.

When Betty, Veronica and Archie get to the hideout (El Slobador: "What is this, gringo country club?"), Jughead offers them one of Mama's tamale pies. Betty and Veronica eat one and immediately spit it out and writhe in pain.

BETTY: Jughead, that's terrible!
JUGHEAD: It's hard to take at first, but it'll stick to your ribs.
VERONICA: So would a can of Elmer's Glue All, but I wouldn't drink it!

When El Slobador finds out that Veronica is Senor Lodge's daughter, he decides that he can keep her and kill Jughead. (Jughead: "Thanks a lot, guys. Eveerything was great when I was his only hostage.") El Slobador is about to cut off Jughead's nose and send it back to America, but Jughead is saved by two things: one, Mama hits her son on the head to stop him harming her favorite gringo:

And two, El Slobador's men inform him that they don't want Jughead hurt, because if he dies, they'll have to go back to eating Mama's cooking.

El Slobador reluctantly agrees that Jughead is saving their lives, but he asks how they're going to make any money off this hostage situation. Archie, Betty and Veronica suggest that they should just stop being banditos, which the men laugh at: "It's tradition. All the men in this village are banditos and all the women are horrible, rotten cooks." But, while Jughead is in the hideout still eating everything in sight, Archie points out the real problem here:

Veronica then suggests that instead of being banditos, they should go work at her father's plant. The banditos are reluctant until she points out that the plant has its own cafeteria with food that is not made locally. Instantly every bandito in the village is lining up to apply for work at the American factory.

So the Lodge plant is saved, Jughead is safe, and the foursome return home. They visit Mr. Lodge in the hospital, where he has recovered from the laughing fit that almost killed him. Jughead thanks Lodge for entrusting him with this diplomatic mission by giving him a souvenir from the adventure -- one of Mama's tamale pies.


Anthony Strand said...

Huh. That's crazy.

Thank you, Jaime, for always showing me such crazy things.

Albert Giesbrecht said...

I don't remember this story at all.

It's interesting that you say you read this in a digest, as most of the digest material is 20 to 30 years old before it gets edited to a digest. I have some digests from the 70's that contain gags from the 40's!

Anonymous said...

That was insane. Just... insane.

I don't know if you've mentioned either of these on your blog before, but Archie has had some weird stories over the years, including an "Archie's Parables" story that and the story of when

And I could've sworn that when I was little I read a Betty comic in which she gets tired of her goody-two shoes image and ropes Reggie into taking her to a bar. I really need to find that issue...

Steed Colliss said...

You can find the whole story on the Jughead Bronze Age CD-Rom... It consists of scans of all the Jughead issues from 1970 to 1979...

Snodge said...

Samm Schwartz was the best Jughead artist. I treasure my collections of yor.