Thoughts on the Riverdale TV Series

Archie Comes to TV

 

As a kid, I always liked Archie comics. I read and re-read them over and over. Some of them I knew by heart. Even into my late teens and early 20’s, I would occasionally pick up an issue, or more likely re-read one of the old digest comics.

It was with some trepidation that I watched the first episode of the new Riverdale series. I had heard about it some time ago and had seen the trailer, which had me roll my eyes so hard I thought I’d never see straight again. When it showed up on Netflix, I resisted watching it, but finally gave in last night. I’ve read a few reviews and had heard only good things, so I finally gave in.

I’m still processing it.

Spoilers ahead!

On one hand, while it wasn’t terribly good, it wasn’t horribly bad either. K J Apa looks about as much like Archie Andrews as a real-life person can, but this being the CW, he’s now hot, muscular and– the very first time we see him– shirtless. It’s certainly not the goofy-but-loveable Archie of the comics I grew up with. His transformation, however, is less dramatic than Miss (now Ms) Grundy who now looks less like Peter Parker’s Aunt May and more like the sexy young substitute teacher than all the boys crush on.

The CW seems willing to shake things up with the characters, giving us such things as good-girl Betty Cooper becoming rebellious at home, Archie’s parents being divorced, Veronica’s dad being a criminal and more.  They are less willing, for some reason, to allow Jughead to be asexual, as he is in the comics, which seems odd given that they have no issue with making Moose Mason gay (or at least bi-curious) and giving a fan-service scene of Betty and Veronica making out…

I’ll probably give it another episode or two before I make up my mind. I’m trying to be fair and say that if it wasn’t Archie and the gang, the show might be intriguing. There are elements that could certainly prove interesting, but at the moment it just seems like they are only using the names for familiarity’s sake and to attract viewers. I am not sure that Archie-as-Twin-Peaks really works (although I seem to be in the minority). To me, it’s as if they made a new Gilligan’s Island series, but crossed it with Lost…

I guess we’ll see how things progress, but my WTF? meter is in danger of breaking already.

Riverdale can be seen on both the CW and Netflix.

Craig

Digital Comics are the Better Deal

DC comics announced recently that several of their Rebirth titles will be seeing a price increase from 2.99 to 3.99 and I know a number of readers who will now be trimming their pull lists, which is a shame. DC is trying to add more value by including a code to allow the download of digital copies, but really, I am not sure how many people would want both the digital and the physical copies.

I love having a physical comic in my hands. I used to have quite a substantial collection several years ago, which included a few issues that could today be worth some decent money (Daredevil’s first appearance in his red costume, Spidey’s first appearance in black, the first appearance of Cable and what would probably be my most valuable, the first appearance of Deadpool). I had hopes of keeping those comics and ultimately passing them on to my kids, but when I went through a difficult financial situation, I sold my entire collection for a fraction of what it was worth even at the time.

Reading is something I love and my preference is to always have the actual book, but more and more I find myself reading on an e-reader, for a number of reasons. Reading in bed without needing the lights on is nice. The portability factor is even better. I carry several books and a couple hundred comics with me wherever I go these days. In addition to this, I can get my reading materials without leaving the house, or even my bed. But as advantageous as those things are, an even bigger selling point for me now is the price.

DC will be keeping their digital comics at $2.99 (for now at least) and that will allow me to continue reading at least about 6 titles that I would have to drop if I was going to be paying $3.99. That’s not a small thing. For people who read more titles than I do, it would be a significant saving. Factor in the savings from tax and bus fare or gas if you drive to the store, that can really add up.

I understand that comic publishers are not making the money they used to, but I think that a much better idea would be to keep the comics at $2.99 and offer a code for a digital copy at $1.00. That way, anyone who does want both will be paying the $3.99, but those who don’t can continue to read the titles they are currently collecting. Increasing the price will not likely increase revenue that much; it will just as likely cause people to drop titles, which, if enough people drop the same title, may result in cancellation. Nobody wins in that case.

Unless you’re planning on collecting comics with an eye toward reselling them at some point (and most comics these days aren’t really going to go up much in price in the future), your best bet is really to look into digital comics. Cheaper, more portable, better for the environment, quicker and easier to purchase (especially if you want to read back issues)… I don’t see any real reason not to switch

But I’m going to miss the feel and smell of the paper in my hands.

Craig

Does it Really Matter if Wonder Woman is Bi?

There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not Wonder Woman is bisexual and it seems to be upsetting a lot of people. First off, though, there is really no doubt; current Wonder Woman author Greg Rucka has been pretty clear in interviews that she is bi and in issue 12 when Steve Trevor asks her if there was ever “someone… important” in her life before she left Themyscira, she tells him “Kasia. Her name is Kasia.” Pretty clear there.

But really, who cares? Does it diminish her in any way? Does it invalidate any of the deeds she has done? No. Not at all. I admit that there have been times that I found the sudden reveal of a character as gay or bisexual has been poorly done and illogical (hello, Iceman), but in the case of Wonder Woman, it just makes sense.

Prior to Steve’s arrival on Themyscira, Diana’s options for a male romantic partner were rather non-existent. It is pretty much impossible to believe that she would never find herself drawn to one of the other amazons, especially when they are all engaged in relationships around her. She doesn’t grow up with any sense that there is anything wrong with women loving each other, so why should she hesitate, especially given that this is such an important (if often overlooked) aspect of her character? Diana is someone with a great deal of love within her. It is very popular these days to show her as the sword-wielding warrior princess, but much more important than her martial ability is her capacity for love. It’s something that sets her apart from other heroes, who are almost never allowed to show strong emotions to any but their closest friends and family.

My absolute favourite quote from Wonder Woman is “We have a saying, my people. ‘Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.'” That to me, is Wonder Woman in a nutshell and I wish we could focus on that more than her fighting, at least for a little while. Fortunately, Rucka seems to be doing that, which is why Wonder Woman is actually one of my top comics at the moment.

It’s easy to write her bisexuality off as “PC garbage,” but it really isn’t. For Wonder Woman at least, this is a logical expression of the character and her history. I think that instead of arguing over something so trivial (which probably isn’t so trivial for LGBTQ readers who can now have a major character to identify with), how about we learn a little bit from her and try our hand at loving people more?