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|First appearance||Jackpot Comics #5,
Spring 1942 (one panel)
Jackpot Comics #6, Summer 1942 (full appearance)
|Voiced by||John Erwin|
|School||Riverdale High School|
|Significant other(s)||Veronica Lodge
|Relatives||Ricky and Vicky Mantle (parents) Oliver Mantle (brother)|
Reggie Mantle is a fictional character in the Archie Comics book. His full name is given as Reginald Mantle, but he is usually called by his nickname Reggie, and sometimes refers to himself as "Mantle, The Magnificent." The character was introduced in Jackpot comics #5 and #6, 1942. In the Spanish versions of the comic book, Reggie's name is Carlos Marin.
Reggie, at one point, says he was born in Texas, claims to have some Native American ancestry, and comes from a fairly well-to-do family, although certainly nowhere near the level of Veronica Lodge's. In Reggie's debut story, Archie referred to him as, 'that snooty Reggie Mantle', indicating his upper-class background. His father, Ricky Mantle, owns a newspaper-publishing company, one of his publications is The Riverdale Gazette. Reggie seems to show journalistic aspirations himself, often working as the editor of the high school paper, Blue and Gold. He is quick to use the term "freedom of the press" to defend controversial or inflammatory articles. Little is known of his mother, though her name was eventually revealed to be Vicky Mantle. Reggie has a brother, Oliver Mantle, who has appeared in the newer Life With Archie title, issue #26. Compared to the families of the other main characters, Reggie's family members have made very few appearances in the comics through the decades.
Like many Archie characters, Reggie has a number of relatives who are created for one story only. One, his cousin May, is often mistaken for a pre-teen. After a makeover, she attracted attention at a school dance, but chose to dance with short Dilton. Another cousin, Regina, has Reggie's style of humor, but after a date with Jughead, appeared to enjoy herself. Reggie also has a number of relatives whom he often uses to get favors.
Reggie's family name 'Mantle' is an old and moderately aristocratic Norman surname. Reggie has been known to boast that his family is the only one in Riverdale that has its own coat of arms.
Interests and personality
Reggie Mantle's chief characteristics are his love of sarcasm and practical jokes, his vanity, his athletic abilities, and his interest in dating multiple women.
Reggie is a naturally gifted and talented athlete who excels at football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. He is sometimes shown to be the school's boxing champion, best track-runner, swimmer and weight-lifter. In one story, we are told that Reggie has been the state's tennis champion for two years. Reggie also excels at car-racing, ice-skating, skiing and surfing. He often works as a surfing or skiing instructor. Sometimes, if his skills are not enough to secure victory, Reggie is known for using schemes such as bending or downright breaking rules, and he often shows little team spirit. Once in a while, Reggie tries to win competitions on a technicality by pulling out a rulebook.
The most common accessories associated with Reggie are the mirror and the comb. A lot of jokes in the comics are on how he loves himself more than any girl, earning him the nickname "Reggie 'I-Love-Me' Mantle". His vanity leads himself to believe that he is God's greatest gift to women. This may be why Veronica often likes Archie more than she does him. Somewhat of a fashion plate, Reggie also has the distinct trait of being the character who most frequently experiments with his hairstyle to match current trends - even more frequently than Betty and Veronica. These looks have lasted months (rather than been contained within a single story) and have included several incarnations of sideburns, slicked back, short, shaggy, and even a ponytail in the early '90s.
Reggie, along with Archie and Jughead, is one of the founding members of their band The Archies . Reggie is a bassist for The Archies and occasionally lead guitarist after Archie, and naturally thinks of himself as the most important and talented member of the group—and has gone to great lengths to prove it, such as hiring groupies to scream his name during concerts. Although his instrument of choice is guitar (and bass), Reggie has also demonstrated skill in singing, acting, and piano-playing. In one storyline, a gossip columnist causes mayhem for The Archies when he prints a blind item article about an Archies' member who secretly plays with a "rival group." The member is revealed to be Reggie, who apparently is a church pianist on Sunday.
His sharp, and albeit often rude, quick wit has led him in some story lines to working part-time as a stand-up comedian at a Riverdale comedy club, and hopes to perform professionally someday. In spite of his evident upper-middle class status, he is remarkably cheap, and the first time his schoolmates remember him inviting them to a party, he had filled the room with vending machines from which to obtain the party food. In one Archie Comic story, Archie gets so tired of Reggie's bragging that he sends a slick tie salesman to Reggie hoping the man would annoy Reggie; instead it backfires when Reggie gets $10.00 for being the salesman's 1000th customer!
Reggie's pranks are usually harmless, meant to embarrass his victims rather than actually hurt them. In one incident when he tried to humiliate Chuck Clayton during a sledding contest, Reggie dug a pit for Chuck to fall into when he landed. Reggie filled the pit with sawdust to soften the blow so Chuck wouldn't be hurt, adding crankcase oil to make it stick and covering it with snow to conceal it. As Reggie told a friend who was helping him with the prank, "I'm not cruel, dum-dum, just clever!" His prank backfired when he ended up jumping the farthest on the sled, landing in his own pit.
Reggie is Riverdale High's resident prankster. It is not unusual for Reggie's practical jokes to backfire. In one story, Reggie is sent to Mr. Weatherbee's office for putting a tack on a chair as a prank. Defending himself, Reggie disdains such a simple prank, pointing out to the principal that his pranks are more elaborate and better thought out. The Bee writes a note to the teacher explaining this, but when Reggie returns to the classroom, he discovers he still has a lot to learn about pranks; Mr. Weatherbee wrote the note in disappearing ink! In one Archie comic, Reggie tries to impress the whole school with his amateur movies of himself. Unfortunately for Reggie, the movies shown were actually the Mantles' home movies of Reggie's childhood after an accidental switch.
Reggie likes to chase girls, delighting in the pursuit, but is not usually interested in having a serious relationship with one girl. Reggie likes to play the field, and openly announces himself 'a true practitioner of the art'. He has expressed horror at the idea of being tied down to one solitary female, saying that, "having one girl is like having one peanut, one potato chip." His chief romantic interests are girls who already have boyfriends, making Reggie free of the responsibility of serious commitment.
In one story, mirroring the George Orwell novel 1984, we see the serious side of Reggie. His father has printed a story about U. S. government waste and incompetence, in a complicated matter dealing with Mr. Lodge's companies; and a judge, apparently acting under pressure from military brass, ordered Reggie's dad jailed until he reveals his source. Reggie is furious and looks for a way to get his father released. The opportunity presents itself in the form of a contact between the judge and his pretty young secretary. Reggie has a camera, and snaps a picture, telling the judge he'll get it printed unless the judge releases the elder Mantle.
Reggie is Archie Andrews's rival, and he has a perennial crush on Archie's primary girlfriend Veronica Lodge. In one story, it is said that Veronica is the only other person to evoke any kind of emotion in Reggie other than himself. While Veronica often dates him, she sometimes does so only to make Archie jealous, or to punish Archie when he has displeased her. She also dates Reggie when Archie does not have enough money to take her out.
Reggie's main love interest throughout the comics run is Veronica Lodge.
Other than Veronica, Reggie is romantically interested in Midge Klump, who is the girlfriend of one of Reggie's athletic teammates, Moose Mason. This infuriates Moose, and a running gag is that Reggie has received some unkind, sometimes almost brutal, treatment from Moose at times. But Reggie never gives up on his attempts to date Midge, often thinking of ways to get past Moose by taking advantage of the latter's low intelligence or any other weaknesses. On some occasions, Midge dates Reggie out of her own choice, having prevailed upon Moose not to interfere, because she is known to get frustrated at Moose who tries to monopolize her and scares boys away from her. Since Reggie is the only one willing to risk Moose Mason's wrath on a daily basis, Midge dates Reggie out of desperation.
Highly competitive by nature, Reggie thrives on the thrill of winning a date with Veronica by beating his rival Archie, or stealing Midge from possessive jealous Moose. Reggie's romantic pursuits are primarily motivated by his need to win, and to gain the unattainable. It is doubtful that he has any tender feelings for either Veronica or Midge.
Reggie is Archie's rival in romance, sports, popularity, and everything else. He spends most of his time trying to outwit Archie, and playing practical jokes on him. Ironically, many of his schemes backfire and allow Archie to be the victor. Sometimes, Reggie's ego is his own downfall, as he can sometimes be overheard bragging about his scheme. Despite the rivalry, he and Archie are generally amicable and remain good friends, and often spend time together pursuing dates or practicing athletics. In Archie's Double Digest #201, during the possibility of Archie moving, he eventually had to admit he would miss Archie, whom he called his best friend.
Sometimes, Reggie targets Jughead Jones instead, thinking that he is too lazy or stupid to do anything about it, and receives some payback when Jughead proves that he is smarter than he looks. In reality, however much they deny it, they are good friends who care about each other. In one story, Betty and Veronica set out to prove that Reggie and Jughead actually care about each other, and their scheme have Jughead diving in a pool to save Reggie's life. Later in the story, Reggie jumps in a front of a car to save Jughead from being run over. In a lot of the older Archie Comics stories, Reggie and Archie often teamed up to play pranks on Jughead. Their schemes usually backfired as Jughead outwitted them.
In one story, where Archie and Jughead have an argument and declare their friendship to be over, Reggie takes it upon himself to patch things up between them.
Even though Reggie is Archie's rival for Veronica's affection, when misunderstandings happen between Archie and Veronica, Reggie and the other friends, try to mend their relationship.
In the rare occasions when Reggie is genuinely trying to help someone, the others usually believe he has nefarious motives, and are wary of trusting him. In one story, Reggie finds Archie has a bad sunburn, so he buys a tube of balm and puts it in Archie's bag. But Archie, mistaking 'balm' for 'bomb', throws his belongings into the water.
Reggie is insanely jealous of anyone else but him being in the spotlight, and will sometimes deliberately cause them trouble to get what he wants. During the Baby Tales storyline, for example, at a baby shower for the Jughead Jones's family, he was infuriated that they were the stars of the evening. He tried to change this by making fun of Jughead's family. This infuriated everyone in the room, until Ethel Muggs, who had come dressed as a stork, hooked the flyline from her costume on to Reggie's tuxedo, which caused him to be hung up for the rest of the evening, to everyone's amusement.
In another story, Reggie deliberately breaks an expensive vase of the Lodges and frames Archie for it; so he can take over his date with Veronica. He continues this horrid behavior at school, causing all sorts of messes, framing Archie for it, landing him in trouble with the teachers and principal. Betty Cooper helps Archie with cleaning a store room, when Reggie attacks her. For that, she summarily thrashes him. Veronica scolds Betty for nearly ruining "Reggie's aristocratic profile". When Archie criticizes the spurious contention, Veronica yells at Archie to shut up, blasting him with her "aristocratic mouth" to coin Jughead's phrase. Eventually, Reggie is thwarted when Jughead removes the rotor from his car, which strands him and Veronica, to the humor of the police.
Reggie is mainly attracted to Veronica and Midge, but he occasionally seeks to date other women, including Betty Cooper. Their relationship usually consists of a playful banter between them. Whenever Betty is down because Archie forgets that he had a date with her, Reggie always steps up the plate and offers to be her date, not because he pities her, but because he genuinely likes her. In one memorable story, Reggie saves Betty from being run over by a car, and after that Reggie is genuinely touched when Betty knits him a sweater as a thank-you gift. They proceed to date, where Betty comes to discover the gentleman in Reggie. However, when they start to kiss, Reggie whispers Veronica's name whilst Betty whispers Archie's. They laugh it off and revert to being friends, but smile meaningfully at each other at the end of the story. In the earlier decades of Archie Comics, Reggie and Betty frequently joined forces to try and break up Archie and Veronica. In some stories of that era, Reggie and Betty are shown to be a couple, even though their respective interests still lie with Veronica and Archie. In the newer Life with Archie series in which it looks to a future where Archie marries Veronica, Betty and Reggie are portrayed to be a loving couple. It has been hinted that they may even be thinking about getting married.
Reggie is also known to date Cheryl Blossom occasionally. The two have very similar personalities, and at one point, before she began dating a boy named George, tried going out together. Like Betty and Veronica, however, Cheryl mainly uses Reggie as an alternative to Archie.
On certain occasions, when he's feeling generous or whenever it really matters, Reggie shows a kinder side where he will come to the aid of his friends or total strangers, although he prefers to keep these good deeds secret. In one comic, it showed he had a close childhood friendship with an elderly woman named Mrs. Finklehoff.
Reggie has starred in his own titles:
- Archie's Rival Reggie #1–14 (1950–Aug 1954)
- Reggie #15–18 (Sept 1963–Nov 1965)
- Reggie And Me #19–126 (Aug 1966–Sep 1980)
- Reggie's Wise Guy Jokes #1–60 (Aug 1968–Jan 1982)
- Reggie's Revenge #1–3 (Spring–Fall 1994)