Before there was Riverdale, there was Archie Comics. The series followed a group of young teens trying to navigate the ups and downs of life in the mild-mannered town of Riverdale. Main character Archie Andrews, an average high schooler, is caught in a love-triangle involving good girl Betty Cooper and vain vixen Veronica Lodge while good pal Jughead Jones only has eyes for fast food. As the years progressed, the comic expanded to include characters like teenage witch Sabrina Spellman and musical group Josie and the Pussycats.
Since its start in 1941, Archie Comics has adapted to the changing times, becoming more modern and outspoken with each issue. There have been crossovers with pop culture icons, encounters with the paranormal, even an inclusion of the comic's first gay character, Kevin Keller, in 2010. In 1990, a live-action television movie was made and in 2017, CW announced a drama series based on the beloved characters. While intentionally good-natured, Archie Comics hasn't always been as innocent as they first appeared. Below, CBR reveals 15 shocking moments from the comics that will ruin your childhood.
15 RIP ARCHIE
On April 9, 2014, Archie Comics announced it would be killing off its title character in the second-to-last issue of Life with Archie. In July of that same year, it was revealed Archie would risk his life to save Kevin Keller from an assassination attempt. Newly-elected as a U.S Senator, Keller advocated for stricter gun control legislation and became the target of a stalker's bullet. Pushing his friend out of the way, Archie is fatally struck in the abdomen.
The tragic event took place in the later part of Volume Two entitled "The Married Life," which featured two versions of Archie's romantic life in the future. The writers of the shocking story were adamant about creating an impactful and emotional tale that "will survive the test of time" and demonstrate the importance of Archie Andrews as a heroic yet still relatable character.
14 A TALE OF TWO LOVERS
Constantly caught between two attractive women, Archie often found himself having to choose between Betty and Veronica. Readers of the beloved comic couldn't help but be swept up in the drama, keeping their fingers crossed that he would choose their favorite of the two. In Archie Marries Veronica / Archie Marries Betty, the writers presented two versions of the main character's romantic life after graduation.
The night before his graduation, Archie decides to walk a literal Memory Lane and comes upon two roads. In his married life to Veronica, he encounters shock and confusion, as well as feelings of betrayal from his closest friends. This storyline angered fans whose frustration was quelled after The New York Times reported a second story would be told. When married to Betty, Archie's life is full of happiness, ensured by his closest friends who want the best for him and his new bride.
13 GOODBYE GRUNDY
In Issue #6 of Life with Archie, the gang dealt with the death of beloved teacher Geraldine Grundy. Following the two versions of Archie's married life, the high school teacher found romance with principal Waldo Weatherbee after a fatal cancer diagnosis. In "Farewell," the students say goodbye to their mentor and reminisce about her most profound lessons, leading some to make dramatic changes in their lives.
Paul Kupperburg stated that when writing her death scene, "I actually got so choked up , I had to walk away from the computer and compose myself." The final image shows Mr. Weatherbee by his wife's tombstone, commenting that their past has led the way for "the children" and their bright futures. Ms. Grundy made her debut in Pep Comics #30 in 1942 and has endured various reinterpretations and redesigns, including being cast as a young, seductive music teacher in the CW adaptation Riverdale.
12 RETURN TO RIVERDALE
The characters of Archie Comics made their first live-action debut in the 1990 television movie Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, premiering on NBC Sunday Night at the Movies. Fifteen years after graduating from Riverdale High, the film follows Archie Andrews returning to his hometown for his high school reunion. Now a successful lawyer and soon-to-be engaged man, Archie attempts to save his friend Pop Tate's struggling diner.
Now well into their 30s, Archie and his friends are coming to terms with their adult lives. Both Betty and Veronica are struggling with romantic relationships, the former dealing with a bossy boyfriend while the latter has four divorces. Upon reuniting with his on-again / off-again girlfriends, Archie finds his engagement in jeopardy when his old feelings begin to resurface. Despite praise for its cast and their performances, the movie suffered from low ratings.
11 ARCHIE VS THE WALKING DEAD
In early 2013, the citizens of Riverdale became the victims of a zombie apocalypse. The comic, entitled Afterlife with Archie, was the first series to be directed toward a teen audience due to its graphic nature and dealings with mature themes. The first volume dealt with the origin of the outbreak: after Hot Dog is run over by Reggie's car, a desperate Jughead seeks out Sabrina's help to bring his canine companion back to life.
The consequences of the young witch's foolish actions lead to Jughead being bitten and infecting the town. In the second volume, the survivors, including Archie and his few remaining friends, struggle to stay ahead of the growing zombie army. Forever redefining classic characters in the once established Archie universe, the comic was quick to sell out, leaving readers thoroughly scared out of their wits.
10 A BLOSSOMING ROMANCE
While the main story of Afterlife with Archie focused on the town trying to survive a zombie outbreak, the comic also delved into backstories of various characters. Beyond the violence and gore, there was one story in particular that left many readers feeling especially queasy. Though never explicit in the comic, an incestual relationship is highly assumed between twins Jason and Cheryl Blossom.
Jason, clearly the jealous and overprotective sibling, comments on how he doesn't approve of Cheryl's fascination with Archie. To ease his temper, Cheryl remarks she finds Archie to be nothing more than a plaything while Jason holds a higher place in her heart. It's also revealed in an attempt to keep his sister's affections focused on him, Jason killed Cheryl's dog when they were children.
9 THE NEVER-ENDING HORROR
Due to the overwhelming success of Afterlife with Archie, three spin-off series were made: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Jughead: The Hunger, and Vampironica. Each series focused on a different member of the gang and their own encounters with the paranormal and each received overwhelmingly positive reviews by readers who found the horror-influenced tales of the classic characters to be worth turning the page.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was released in 2014 and centered around Sabrina Spellman and her aunts in the 1960s town of Greendale. In one storyline, Sabrina's boyfriend Harvey is killed after discovering her supernatural secret and becomes the vessel for her newly resurrected father Edward. Jughead: The Hunger follows the main character's discovery that his insatiable appetite is due to him being a werewolf while Veronica tries to come to terms with her life as a member of the undead in Vampironica.
8 ARCHIE MEETS THE PUNISHER
In August 1994, the world of Archie Comics and Marvel collided when the lovable redhead crossed paths with a vigilante assassin. In Archie Meets The Punisher, Riverdale is at the mercy of Punisher, who is sent to retrieve a notorious drug dealer named "Red" who bares a striking resemblance to Archie Andrews. When Veronica is kidnapped, the unlikely pair team up to save her.
The concept for the crossover was intended to be a joke between Archie Comics' editor Victor Gorelick and Tom DeFalco, the then Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. After a pitch idea from Batton Lash, the friends decided to run with it. The story brought with it dramatic changes to both characters; Archie becoming involved with drug dealing and crime while Punisher encountered the kind-hearted nature of Riverdale's residents. Despite the odd nature of the comic, it went on to be fairly successful among readers.
7 ARCHIE VS PREDATOR
Known for crossing paths with a variety of pop culture icons, perhaps the craziest encounter Archie Andrews has had is with Predator. The limited series was published in collaboration between Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics in 2015. Various news outlets reporting on the story had to explicitly state that the upcoming series was in fact a reality and not some hilarious stunt.
The story followed Archie and the gang on their spring break trip to Los Perdidos Restort and soon becoming prey to the alien entity Predator. The gang flees back to Riverdale where, one by one, they are brutally hunted and killed with Veronica soon becoming the main target. The first issue of the comic became an instant best-seller for both publishers with fans praising its absurd dark humor.
6 THE SIRENS OF RIVERDALE
Readers of Archie Comics were in for quite the surprise when it was announced in October 2017 that two members of the Gotham City Sirens would be visiting the quiet town of Riverdale. Gal pals Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy made their debut in Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1, squaring off against the iconic frenemies.
When Riverdale tries to build a college campus on the wetlands between their town and Gotham, it alerts the attention of Mother Nature herself, Poison Ivy, who calls upon her BFF Harley Quinn to kidnap the daughter of the town's wealthiest family. What ensues is pure chaos as each team tries to mark their importance as one of the most recognized female duos in history. Fans of both comic universes were delighted by the news and continue to enjoy the interactions between the polar opposite pairings.
5 LITTLE ARCHIE'S BIG TEMPER
From 1956-1983, Archie Comics decided to follow the life of Archie and his friends as elementary-school children in the form of Little Archie. Geared toward a much younger audience, the stories were intended to have more educational content regarding issues of right and wrong. Along with its original characters, the series introduced new members including Betty's older siblings Polly and Chic as well as a tag-along friend of Archie named Ambrose Pipps.
Unlike his older counterpart, this young Archie was women-crazy in a much different context. At the time, sexism was prevalent and managed to make its way into the comic universe where the redheaded tyke would frequently engage in brutal fist-fights with Betty and Veronica, calling them "stupid girls." He was also a terrible bully when it came to encountering children who happened to be overweight, like Bubble McBounce and the ill-named Fatty Fuller.
4 GOOD WHOLESOME FUN
In the early days of Archie Comics, Riverdale was family friendly, a pleasantville of happy-go-lucky individuals with everyday struggles. What little drama took place was limited to whether Archie was going to ask Betty or Veronica on a date and how the other would react to being left out. Conflicts came about from schoolyard shenanigans and petty pranks between rivals.
But with the 1970s came change and Archie turned from innocent lover-boy to hormonal-raging teen. While the comics had always downplayed the awkwardness of puberty, it became harder to dismiss the overly explicit behavior of young men when it came to encounters with attractive females. Heart-eyes, panting tongues, and sweaty brows had become clear signs of the growing arousal within the male population. Female characters, even Betty and Veronica, were now being drawn with shorter skirts and expanded bust sizes, and often in various states of undress.
3 LEAVE ROOM FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
Perhaps to combat the growing mature content of the early 1970's comics, Archie Comics allowed Spire Christian Comics to use their characters in a series of religious comics. In 1973, three titles were launched: Archie's One Way, Archie's Love Scene, and Archie's Clean Slate. Each story followed the gang trying to live a more Christian lifestyle, with the kind-hearted Betty at the forefront of the movement attempting to dissuade her friends from a life of temptation.
These comics dealt with issues of romantic commitment in a religious setting and discussed ways to make the world a kinder and more accepting place. In Clean Slate, themes such as drug use and death were handled by emphasizing a belief in God. In one story, two drug-using classmates of Archie and Betty are involved in a car accident with Betty praying over one of the students as she is placed in an ambulance.
2 ARCHIE'S NEW LOOKS
In 2007, Archie Comics announced an experimental change would take place and the classic characters would be undergoing a modern makeover. The result? Archie New Look Series based on twelve Riverdale High novels published in the 1990s that gave individual characters their own story and updated look. The edgier series, in an attempt to attract a teenage audience, was met with resistance from those that preferred their traditional comics.
The company tried again to reboot the series in 2015 with New Riverdale which offered a sleeker, more refined version of the characters. Archie is a 17 year old who is joined by longtime girlfriend Betty and best friend Jughead, who is revealed to be asexual. After breaking things off with Betty, Archie becomes infatuated with new girl Veronica Lodge. Various pop cultural references are made throughout the comic in an attempt to bring it into the modern era.
Since its premiere in January 2017, the CW hit series Riverdale shook up the Archie Comics universe by turning it into a suspenseful teen drama. From the first episode, it's made clear that this adaptation is much darker than the innocent comics of years ago and isn't shy about delving into mature themes. The first season has the residents of Riverdale shaken up by the murder of Jason Blossom while Season 2 deals with a serial killer known as "The Black Hood."
The series has been regarded as "highly addictive" by critics but some still question the need for such dramatic changes to its central characters. Archie Andrews goes from average teen to handsome hunk and has a summer hookup with a more promiscuous version of Geraldine Grundy. The town itself has also been changed; involved in illegal activity and its residents hiding shocking and disturbing family secrets.