Riverdale The Show Vs. Archie The Comics

riverale cast

Riverdale is introducing a new generation of teens to Archie… if you can even really call it that. The two franchises share a bit of DNA, but no more so than the relationship between a dolphin and a human. They have the same names and the same setting, but the details manifest in very different ways with nearly unrecognizable results. Simply put, a fan of the original is in for a huge surprise. The tone is so much more sordid and melodramatic in Riverdale, compared to a sense of humor in Archie that’s so innocent it’s practically featherlight. We take a look at some of the major differences between the two. 

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10. Jason Blossom Never Died In The Comics

It’s a deliberate and definitive starting note that successfully established television’s Riverdale as anything but audiences expected from a modern-day Archie. It’s a spoiler, but Jason Blossom’s murder dominates the whole first season, only to end in an insidious reveal about the Blossom’s true lives. In the original comic books, Jason Blossom fared a much kinder (albeit more boring) fate - he was simply written out. Sure, when his sister Cheryl earned her own spin-off series, he made a few appearances in her various adventures but he wasn’t the absent object of fascination he is in the television adaptation.

9. Jughead Looks The Same, But He's Pretty Different

While his best friend gained some serious pecs in the transition to television, Jughead’s appearance stayed largely the same. He still wears the same sweater, his dog and sister retained their unusual names and of course - he’s got the hat. That said, almost everything else about Jughead has changed. His work ethic and the darkness of his character stand out especially- no high schooler could simultaneously take over their father’s gang and stay on top of Riverdale’s most private conspiracies while napping as much as the original Jughead. Plus, Jughead got a huge promotion to narrator, which is also new.

8. It Used To Be Betty Vs. Veronica

Archie, Betty and Veronica

Chalk it up to a more evolved portrayal of dynamic female characters with loyalties and bonds, rather than just a rivalry centered around a boy, but Betty and Veronica’s television versions have a lot more depth, and a very different relationship than the one they once shared. Besides the flimsy rivalry not flying in current society, the friendship could also be as simple as a way to stir up far more plot in hour-long television episodes than the conflicts of a comic book. Either way, where once there was Betty vs. Veronica, we now have Betty and Veronica.

7. There Were More Crossovers

The only crossover in the television version of Archie doesn’t even take place on the small screen - current cartoonists have promised fans “Archie #700” wherein Sabrina Spellman causes trouble one town over from Greendale. The original comics, on the other hand, are positively ripe with crossovers so retro they appear totally random to modern audiences. This means that all the way back in the day (the 1980’s), Archie featured characters from the then-popular sitcom “One Day At A Time”. It’s the kind of title so vague it sounds like it could be a soap opera as well as a comedy.

6. Reggie Mantle Can't Beat Up Archie So Easily Anymore

In a 1941 edition of “Archie” with art and cover from Peter Krause, the inhabitants of Riverdale are caught up in basic training for the United States military. Archie’s neighborhood militia of The Red Circle in the CW spin-off aside, there’s obviously no plot lines around military involvement and since more than six decades separate the two- it makes sense. That said, Reggie Mantle plays a much more aggressive role as a bully in the comic book version. While he’s not the best guy on the television show, he greets Archie by nearly knocking him unconscious in one of the first few pages of the comics.

5. But Jughead's Appetite Stayed The Same

There is one characteristic that remained the same about Jughead’s inner life - his appetite. While his paranoia deepened, his family allegiances became more complicated and he got a lot more attractive, there are few things more unchanging than a teenage boy’s ravenous appetite. It’s a theme relevant to the original series that remains true today. Of course, fans really had to howl to get an iconic shot of Cole Sprouse digging in on a hamburger, but it came eventually. The switch to Riverdale turned many innocent elements more forbidding, but a milkshake at Pop’s is just as necessary and comforting as it was decades ago.

4. Veronica Wasn't Nice In The Comics, But She Wasn't Part Of A Crime Family Either

The Mr. Lodge of bygone days (and retro comics) was much more concerned with curbing his daughter’s dating life and exorbitant spending habits than he was with, oh you know, illegal behavior. The Hiram Lodge of Riverdale is every bit as wealthy as his pen-and-paper counterpart but he’s closer to a mob boss than an interfering father. Hiram’s schemes are never-ending and in this comic book context, schemes sound a lot nicer than they are. He’s not rigging the high school spelling bee, he’s destroying towns without a single thought for their inhabitants. All that aside, his daughter sure is a lot nicer.

3. Archie's Dad Definitely Was Never A Heart Throb

Fred Andrews Riverdale

To put it incredibly lightly, Archie’s father in the original comics was no Luke Perry. To be a bit blunter, he’s a portly man with a regrettable hairline and a blue sweater. It makes sense that the CW had to update Fred Andrews' look if they wanted audiences to care about his past dalliances with Veronica’s mother, Hermione, or his tenuous relationship with fellow '80s teen star, Molly Ringwald as Mary Andrews. It’d be risky to even assume audiences would want to see Archie’s father in that light if they had stuck with the original prototype and not branched out to the ruggedly handsome, flannel-wearing modern day Fred.

2. Ms. Grundy Is Definitely Not Young

Speaking of makeovers and updates so flattering they are a blatant changing of the facts... what happened to Ms. Grundy? There’s no way the original secret relationship between music teacher Ms. Grundy and Archie would have been intriguing or even watchable on network television if show creators had stayed true to the original. Not only would viewers have missed out on Archie and Ms. Grundy’s ill-fated bond (really more of a compulsive habit for Ms. Grundy and a sadly naive love for Archie), but the Black Hood would have been hard-pressed to find a reason to do away with Grundy, unless her elderly appearance hid equally dark secrets.

1. So Much Darker

It goes without saying, but the incredibly popular reincarnation of Archie has introduced themes dark and mature enough that real towns have issues approaching them. Take Ms. Grundy - despite her appeal to Archie, this is undeniably an educator with an illegal habit of relationships with teenage boys. That’s exactly the kind of scandal that rocks real-world small towns, and it certainly wouldn’t fit in the Leave it to Beaver-esque pages of the original Archie. It’s a brilliant re-imagination of a new world with the same ingredients - a feat similar to taking American apple pie and making it over into a much more sinister pastry.

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