Alternate universes in Archie Comics

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This is a list of various alternate universes regarding the characters from Archie Comics. While continuity between the "mainstream" Archie stories is loose at best and nonexistent at worst, there have been several series of stories that definitely do not crossover into these regular stories.

Afterlife with Archie[edit]

Launched in the autumn of 2013 and intended for adult readers, this comic presents Riverdale as ground zero for a zombie apocalypse. Major characters die, while others are presented in ways not typical of other Archie comics.

Archie 1[edit]

Thousands of years before recorded history, the ancestors of Archie and the gang live as cavemen, interacting with dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, a la The Flintstones. The characters generally make discoveries that will not be considered significant for centuries later, and there is often irony in the characters denouncing as impractical wheels, houses, and so forth.

Archie 3000[edit]

The complete opposite of Archie B.C. (A.K.A. Archie 1), Archie 3000 displays the (presumed) descendants of Archie and the gang living in the year 3000, which is realized as a 1950s-style art deco world of flying cars, moving sidewalks, domed houses, and gaudy "futuristic" hairstyles and clothes (similar to The Jetsons). Despite the many new breakthroughs in technology, life for Archie and the gang notably hasn't changed much.

Archie's Future Fun[edit]

Originally known as Archie 2001, this mini-series is a partial opposite to Archie 1, in that it involves the gang's presumed descendants living in the 22nd century, with technology such as robots, "futuristic" clothes and domed buildings, yet it is not as advanced as Archie 3000. Some examples of stories include Archie and Jughead using a studying machine at school to "absorb knowledge" of non-school-subjects, Archie constantly scattering Mr. Lodge's grass seeds with his UFO vehicle, and robots taking over people's lives until Jughead programs them to behave like him. This series is not to be confused with Starship Rivda or Archie 3000.

Archie's R/C Racers[edit]

Two teams of Riverdale teenagers, led by Archie and Reggie, travel across the United States racing radio-controlled cars, while foiling the dastardly schemes of the villainous Babette and her bungling henchmen. Given its limited premise, it is hardly surprising that this series was never revived after its 12-issue run was up. Archie's team included Jughead, Betty, Moose, Ethel and Dilton. Reggie's team included Veronica, Midge, Chuck, Nancy, and Leroy (though Midge later switched to Archie's team).

Betty Cooper, Betty Cooper[edit]

A satire of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and other such melodramas, this multi-issue epic placed Archie and the gang in one outlandish, tragic situation after another. The characters spoke in hesitant, over-dramatic tones, and the issues had narrations, unlike previous spinoffs. Notable subplots included Jughead being stalked by a homicidal "limping man", Betty being possessed by a Puritan witch named Felicity Goodbody, and Betty's uncle Draco, a vampire (who never appeared in any other stories) being hunted by a count. A running gag involved the mysterious "gypsy lady" who apparently would be able to explain everything, but she failed to show up until the final story (much to the narrator's annoyance) and in truth proved to be no help at all. In typical Archie fashion, the entire story wrapped itself up neatly in the final story, with a happy ending and everything returning to the status quo. The stories appeared in Betty and Me #79–86.

Dilton's Strange Science[edit]

Dilton Doiley's solo comic, as he travels through a series of bizarre locales and encounters with alien creatures and monsters. A supporting character in this series was Danni Malloy, a female teen genius serving as both best friend and love interest to Dilton.

Explorers of the Unknown[edit]

A parody of Jack Kirby's comic Challengers of the Unknown, this comic cast Archie and friends as an elite group of adventurers who were dispatched to combat mad villains and explore uncharted areas. The characters were:

Red Andrews, Soldier of Fortune (Archie)
Wheels Cooper, Mechanic and Pilot (Betty)
Nitro Mantle, Explosives and Demolition Expert (Reggie)
Angel Lodge, Martial Arts Expert (Veronica)
Squint Jones, Daredevil and Escape Artist (Jughead)
Spike Mason, Stuntman (Moose)
Gizmo Doiley, Inventor (Dilton)
F/X Clayton, Illusionist (Chuck) (joined later)
Blaze Blossom, the team's Washington contact (Cheryl)

The Explorers' adventures were based heavily on classic comic adventures and pulp novels, and paid many homages to Jack Kirby: one adventure pitted the Explorers against the morose Doctor Gloom, an obvious spoof of Doctor Doom.[1]

Faculty Funnies[edit]

Faculty Funnies ran for five issues and featured the faculty of Riverdale High imbued with superpowers. Professor Flutesnoot invites the other faculty members to an advance viewing of the science fair projects, and Archie's entry explodes, giving the faculty superpowers. Ms. Grundy gains the ability to stretch her right arm as if it were rubber. Coach Clayton gains "super lung" abilities. Mr. Weatherbee is given "trouble-sense" alerting him to nearby danger. Professor Flutesnoot is given the ability to withstand electrical shock. Their powers were reversed in the fifth issue.

Hot Dog[edit]

Jughead's faithful dog received his own comic, in which he - rather more humanistic than in other depictions - lived in a high-tech dog house with a robotic butler named Bertie, and consorted with several other anthropomorphized dogs. The plots often delved into fantasy and science fiction, with Hot Dog and Bertie often traveling across dimensions or through time.

Jughead's Diner[edit]

Jughead's Diner took Jughead to another dimension (via a "magic stool"), where he tried to help the bizarre and eclectic patrons of Dinerville keep their property from the clutches of the dastardly real estate agent Slimy Sal Monella. The quirky art style and surrealistic humor were a departure from other Archie titles.

Jughead's Time Police[edit]

Upon receiving a special beanie from an unknown benefactor, Jughead gains the ability to travel to the past and future at will. Joined by Deputy January McAndrews (Archie's descendant from the 29th century and Jughead's secret love interest), Jughead travelled across history, ensuring that history stayed on its proper course. Paradoxes and existential dilemmas were often plot developments. The main villain was the time-travelling sorceress Morgan Le Fay.

Life with Archie: The Married Life[edit]

The Life With Archie comic was revived in 2010 and began telling stories that concerned the characters as young adults. Stories published in alternate months show Archie married to Veronica in one future and Betty in another. Miss Grundy is deceased, albeit after she married the now-widowed and broken-hearted Mr Weatherbee, Mr. Lodge behaves in criminally manipulative ways, and Dilton Doily briefly appears, able to teleport between various alternate Archie universes. Kevin Keller joins the US Army, meets the man of his dreams while on active service and then marries him, as his Riverdale friends celebrate.

The Death of Archie[edit]

In July 2014, Archie will be shot dead while saving the life of long-time friend and newly elected US Senator Kevin Keller in the penultimate issue of the alternate future series Life with Archie.

Little Archie[edit]

Little Archie comics were originally produced in the 1950s. This series featured the familiar teenagers as Elementary School-age children. It is arguably the most successful of the alternate versions of Archie, and certainly the longest-running one. A number of Little Archie series were produced, and new stories are occasionally published even today.

The world of Little Archie is remarkably similar to that of his teenage counterpart. Most of the same characters are featured, albeit usually in younger versions. Miss Grundy and Mr. Weatherbee appear as a teacher and the principal at Riverdale Elementary School. Little Archie is always referred to and addressed as "Little Archie". Although stories featuring one of the other characters would be titled "Little Jughead", "Little Betty" and so on, the characters themselves were always addressed by their regular names. Keeping in mind its younger target audience, Little Archie stories tended to have more educational and moral content than standard Archie stories.

It introduced a number of characters that had never before existed in the Archie continuity. These included Archie's dog Spotty, Betty's cat Caramel, Betty's older brother Chic and older sister Polly, and new kids Ambrose Pipps and Fangs Fogarty. This made the series more non-canonical. However, around the 1990s, the creators of Archie Comics began to tie Little Archie in to the main continuity by featuring appearances by these characters. Some became recurring characters in the gang's teenage years. Additionally, stories that take place in the main continuity sometimes feature flashbacks to the gang's childhood.

A few contradictions remain between Archie and Little Archie. One is that, in Little Archie, the Riverdale High faculty is the Riverdale Elementary faculty. Archie has established that characters like Mr. Weatherbee have worked at Riverdale High too long to have ever been elementary school teachers when the gang was young.

In the 1980s, partly due to declining sales, there was a radical redesign of the Little Archie universe. Renamed as "The New Little Archie", it featured the Little Archie characters with contemporary fashions, hairstyles, and sensibilities, and with a more modern-looking art style. One notable change was that Archie was now addressed merely as "Archie" and no longer "Little Archie". This relaunch was by and large unsuccessful, and the Little Archie universe soon went back to its old style.

In 1969, Little Archie inspired a segment within the "Funhouse" segments of The Archie Comedy Hour (which is not the same as the later "Archie's Funhouse" series). This segment however was called "The Little Archies".

The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.[edit]

Parodying 1960s spy shows (especially The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), this comic portrayed Archie and the gang as a group of high-tech spies, as part of world-defence organization P.O.P. (an acronym for Protect our Planet). Their chief enemy was a counter-group known as C.R.U.S.H. (a spoof on T.H.R.U.S.H., but whose acronym was never explained). Although Reggie, Veronica and Moose were initially cast as C.R.U.S.H. agents, they later became members of P.O.P. All the characters also had undefined acronyms for names (A.R.C.H.I.E., B.E.T.T.Y., etc.).

The Mighty Archie Art Players[edit]

This series used a similar concept to DC Comics' Elseworlds. The familiar characters are put in entirely different times, places, and/or scenarios (a different one for each story). In some stories, the characters play themselves (or at least who they would be if they lived in another setting). In other stories, they retain their personalities but play characters that are not themselves (often in a parody of a well-known story). The story begins with a title card showing which Archie character plays whom.

The Archies[edit]

The band The Archies occasionally appeared in madcap adventures seemingly modelled on the popular television show The Monkees. The stories were notable for puns and slapstick humour, which often broke the fourth wall.

The New Archies[edit]

A comics adaptation of the animated series The New Archies. Recasting Archie and the gang as tweens rather than teenagers or young children, the New Archies offered radically redesigned versions of the Archie gang, with contemporary (for the time) clothing and hairstyles. An African-American named Eugene essentially served as a replacement for Dilton, and had a girlfriend named Amani. As with most redesigns of classic characters, the New Archies did not last long.

Starship Rivda[edit]

A spoof of Battlestar Galactica and other such programs, Starship Rivda involved Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica as explorers of uncharted galaxies in the titular Starship Rivda. Not to be confused with Archie 3000.

Super Teens[edit]

Archie and friends become superheroes and battle a host of bizarre supervillains in a series of tongue-in-cheek adventures. The heroes include:

Pureheart the Powerful is born when Archie attempts to tap into the "PH Factor", a superpower only accessed by those pure of heart. Pureheart is super-strong, super-resilient, and can fly using his "jet-boosters". However, his powers only exist as long as his heart is pure, leading to embarrassing situations such as him losing his powers after an appreciative kiss from a damsel in distress, causing the car he was holding up to fall on him.

Superteen is created by Betty merely twisting her "magic ponytail". Superteen's powers are roughly similar to Pureheart's.

Captain Hero appears when Jughead recites a magic incantation (similar to Green Lantern's oath):

Teeny weeny magic beanie,
Pointing towards the sky;
Give me muscle, power, vigor,
Form a super guy!

Unlike Pureheart and Superteen, Captain Hero has an arsenal of bizarre weaponry (like exploding bubble gum), and demonstrates other powers, such as "super-breath" and transforming his head into a steel drill.

Evilheart is Reggie using a variation of the PH Factor, instead using his villainous half to transform into a superhero with Pureheart's powers. So great is Evilheart's villainy that it actually proves a strain to revert to the lesser evil of Reggie Mantle. While Evilheart antagonizes the other superheroes, he will team up with them to battle a common foe.

All of these heroes have inherent "mind foggers" that cause all civilians to forget the Super Teen's secret identities (even the teens themselves, in some cases).

A 1990s revival of the Super Teens (complete with new stories by famous superhero artists and writers) introduced two new Super Teens:

Miss Vanity is Veronica, who gained her powers through unknown means (they appear to be stress-related). Her powers are roughly similar to Superteen's, although her outfit is more provocative. She appears to have a "super-sonic" scream, à la Black Canary.

Mighty Moose is, naturally, Moose with the gift of flight and augmentations to his already formidable strength.

Veronica's Passport[edit]

In this series, Veronica traveled to faraway places all around the world (a different place for each story). Often, she would get wrapped up in a mystery or adventure and is the one who solves it. Along the way, she and the reader learn much about the place’s history and culture. Most stories featured a local boy that she falls for, but he never appears in another story. A recurring character that Veronica often ran into on her travels was a rich woman known as Lady Smitty who serves as a foil for Veronica. The stories, for the most part, originated in an earlier series titled "Veronica In...(insert travel destination of the month.")

Archie Meets the Punisher[edit]

In 1994, Archie was the focus of a one-shot comic book intercompany crossover published under two separate covers by Archie Comics and Marvel Comics as Archie Meets the Punisher and The Punisher Meets Archie respectively. Written by Batton Lash, with artwork by Marvel's John Buscema and Archie's Stan Goldberg, it saw the vigilante Punisher tracking down an Archie doppelganger named "Red" to Riverdale. The comic features cameos from various teen and superhero comics published by both companies, including Josie and the Pussycats, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Millie the Model, Katy Keene, Hedy Wolfe, and Patsy Walker. In addition, references are made to That Wilkin Boy, and a passing comment - "So I asked the Doctor if the Hosts of Hoggoth were really hoary" - refers to the perennial catchphrase associated with Doctor Strange.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Double Trouble!!". Archie Giant Series Magazine (The World of Archie). Explorers of the Unknown (599). Oct 1989. 

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