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Archie May Finally “Decide” In New Comic, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

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Archie Comics is now 85 years old, and for the past decade they’ve been blazing a different path than they did for the other 75, targeting a more adult audience with sophisticated dialogue and and realistically proportioned characters. This reporter has never been a fan of that stuff and prefers the classic, corny DeCarlo House Style he grew up with. This new stuff just looks like everything else on the comic book store rack.

But there’s an Archie comic coming this summer that returns to the all-ages format, at least for one issue. Not only that, the one-shot is written by award-winning comic book scribe Tom King. It’s called “Archie: The Decision” and we’ll get to why it’s called that in a moment.

“As a massive Archie fan, this is just a pure joy project for me,” King said to the website Polygon, who broke the story. “I wanted to do something zany and cool and screwball and hysterical and gorgeous and harebrained and maybe a little tiny itty-bitty bit profound as a tribute to my Golden and Silver Age Archie heroes — people like Dan DeCarlo, Harry Lucey, Bob Bolling, Bob Montana, and Samm Schwartz.” (This isn’t an empty fluff quote; those guys rocked.)

Now for the meaning behind the title. This issue is being hyped up as the moment Archie finally “decides” between Betty and Veronica. However, there is good reason to believe this is not actually happening and Archie Inc. is trying to mislead us…because they’ve done it before.

When the company came out with “Archie: The Married Life” in the 2000s, they promised Archie would pick someone in the future-set storyline, and then released a series of covers depicting Archie settling down with Veronica while a forlorn Betty looked on from afar. “ARCHIE PICKED VERONICA!!” made headlines everywhere and some Betty-shipping collectors were so mad they burned their longboxes. Then a month later the company put out the OTHER three covers, showing a different timeline where Archie marries Betty. Sure fooled you!

The prominent element of a coin in the covers and promotional material highly suggests Archie is going to flip one to decide between B & V — hardly a permanent solution — and the presence of Sabrina implies he can just magically take the whole thing back in the end.

Also, they’ve done this already. I don’t know if King was aware, but in 1992 “Flipped Out” first appeared in Archie Annual Digest #60, using a very similar plot (Archie picks between his suitor-ettes with a coin flip). I saw this cover and thought “Archie finally decides?? I gotta get this!” Then I read it at home and was let down.

In short: don’t be fooled. They’d have to be nuts to throw away something they’ve built 85 years of back material on. It would invalidate Three On A Soda and just about everything else they market Riverdale with. But it’s nice to see Dan Parent illustrate a non-digest Archie comic for once. “Archie: The Decision” goes on sale August 28.

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