Tuesday, July 28, 2009

UPDATE: Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge Both Insane

I fully agree with the contention of Mighty God King that Betty Cooper is "motherfucking psycho bugfuck crazy." I've seen too many examples of her unhingedness (probably not a word) to be unaware of this. But I wanted to add an important point: in talking about how crazy Betty Cooper is, it should not be assumed that Veronica Lodge is not also crazy. Maybe she demonstrates her insanity in more socially-acceptable ways, plus she's wealthy, and the rich always get more of a pass for their eccentricity. But she's just as devoted as Betty to the stalking and terrorizing of Archie Andrews.

And as this story from the '60s proves (art by DeCarlo, script probably by Doyle), the two have this weird and kind of sick understanding: their "rivalry" will be set aside any time it looks like Archie might even look at another woman. They will then scare the woman away, either by using violence on Archie, or using extreme violence on the woman (including women he doesn't even know, let alone date). Only when they have guaranteed that he is too scared to touch another woman -- knowing what they will do to her -- do they go back to fighting amongst themselves.

So to the 60+ year-old questions: 1) "Why are two beautiful girls fighting over an idiot with a waffle on his head?" and 2) "Why doesn't Archie find someone he's compatible with instead of two women he's not fully compatible with?" The answers are:
1) Because they're both completely insane, 2) If he tried to start a serious relationship with someone else, that person would wind up like Pepper from Josie when Archie announced his intention to marry her. (That wasn't in the comics, but I'm assuming that's why Pepper disappeared. Her broken glasses were found floating in the local river.)

By the way, the first page of this story contains a trick for spotting a Frank Doyle story that I left out of my previous post: he never could let go of quoting certain songs that were popular in the '40s and '50s, even long after those songs were completely unfamiliar to any reader of the comic. "You Always Hurt the One You Love" was the song he quoted second-most-frequently, behind "Too Young,", which he went on quoting into the '80s:

(Art: Bob Bolling) (Art: Dan DeCarlo)

In fact, my first introduction to the lyrics of many classic songs was this panel from Life With Archie in the '60s, consisting entirely of quotations from songs that were already unrecognizable to the Archie target demographic even then.

(Art: Bob White)


Anonymous said...

I would like to see some more samples of Bolling's "regular Archie" stuff. I think I can remember what his normal style was but I'm not sure.

Do you have any idea when the main source timeline was for the digests when I was collecting them (1990-92?) I remembered liking what I now know to be the Harry Lucey style the best. I do recall one strip (can't remember who did it) had Archie running into "Glock Cable" (and for some reason I still remember him saying "Hallew there boy-hee" or something like that).

JD Rhoades said...

What's really bizarre about the whole Archie/Betty/Veronica triangle is that the girls will violently fight each other (while professing their love for each other) over Archie, but join forces if he looks at anyone else...except they've apparently made Archie the offer (to which he succumbs) that it's okay to chase other women if it's someone THEY pick.

This is a whole new level of kinky.

buzz said...

Actually, it all makes sense when you divide the stories into before and after The Archies musical group was formed.

pre-Archies stories have Betty and Veronica as two alpha females fighting for social dominance at their school. In these stories Archie is a mere token; they really don't care about him so much as they don't want to drop in social status by "losing" to the other.

Since they are the two dominant alpha females at Riverdale High, it isn't too surprising that they form a tight friendship; there is literally no one else either one can truly relate to except her chief (and only) rival.

However...AFTER The Archies forms, the dynamics change drastically. First off, the girls (already alpha females) gain even more status by being members of a band with a local following. The Archies is greater than the sum of its parts, none of the five kids in it would have much musical appeal as a solo act.

That being said, the name of the band IS "The Archies" and as their front man, Archie clearly has elevated status not only as a musician/singer but also for being able to organize and maintain the band despite internal rivalries.

After The Archies form, Archie hizzownself becomes a valuable prize to be won, not a mere token. Now the rivalry between Betty and Veronica moves into a much more serious stage, and yet the girls, bonded together from their previous fight for alpha female dominance, remain friends despite this.