Friday, October 20, 2017
Archie Halloween Spectacular #1 (Family Comic Friday)
Welcome to another edition of Family Comic Friday. It's where an established comic book collector reviews comic for parents of kids who love to read comics but need guidance on age appropriateness and overall quality of the title. It's my hope that my reviews will help both you and the young reader in your life discover the world of kid friendly comics.
For today's book, we continue to get in the Halloween spirit with a 2017 holiday special from the leader in family friendly books- Archie Comics.
Over the past couple of years, Archie has re-branded itself to some degree. Mark Waid's reboot of Archie incorporates teenage related issues like homosexuality, race, gender and illicit drag racing with a more series tone. Just recently, all-American girl Betty Cooper has become a paraplegic because of an illegal street race involving Archie.
Some will say that the CW drama Riverdale is behind the more grown-up look at America's favorite red head. But the change in tone has been going on a lot longer at Archie with the publisher finding great success starting in 2013 with mature horror titles like Afterlife With Archie and the Chilling Tales of Sabrina. While this Halloween special has a few scares, they are nowhere near as frightening as these new twists on the Archie mythos.
The Archie Halloween Spectacular contains a trio of Halloween stories featuring the merry prankster of Riverdale- Reggie Mantle! All three yarns are reprints from Archie Comics' more subdued days as a family friendly comic book publisher. The first two stories star the Archie gang as teenagers and look to have been published sometime in the last 10-15 years. This comic doesn't list from when the stories were reprinted. But I can guesstimate the age of the stories as that's about when current Charlton Arrow editor Paul Kuppenberg worked as a writer on numerous Archie titles.
The last story is features Little Archie. These were a series of stories written about the younger days of Archie, Veronica, and the rest. I'm going to say that the Little Archie episode is from the late 70s-early 80s based on the artwork. The series was stopped in 1983. Plus, the character of Ambrose Pipps, who makes a cameo in this adventure, wasn't created until around 1975.
Regardless of the age of these stories, I enjoyed them. Each story gave me a chuckle or two and yes one story actually gave me the chills. But there's nothing in this book that should be overly objectionable for parents and guardians.
I particularly like that while Archie Comics is trying to adapt to the future, it still embraces it's nearly 80 years of publication history. It's like they are trying to offer something for both mom, dad, teenager Sally, and grade schooler Billy. While a majority of this book might be considered too old for the Riverdale TV series crowd, this is a Halloween special that has a little something for everyone who is a fan of the Archie gang.
The Archie Halloween Spectacular #1 is reccomended for ages 8-12.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars.
This review published concurrently on October 20, 2017 on outrightgeekery.com.