Friday, October 28, 2011

Archie out of Context

I’ve recently discovered the glory and perverse fun that is Archie out of Context. This is equivalent to the guilty pleasure of SuperDickery and unintentionally sexy covers. There's scenes of child abuse, slash pairings, double entendres, lingering liquids, X-rated movies, outrageous statements, and the truly perplexing.

The funny thing is that these wholesome comics have some risique elements that wouldn’t be obvious to the target audience. It’s only when you read the actual comic in question that you find out that they’re actually pretty tame and not as scandalous as you would believe. Revealing the story behind the panel drums up interest in what could potentially motivate these characters into such compromising positions? It’s like those “falls down on girl’s breasts” theme in Harem Manga squared. There’s a perfectly reasonable explaination for it, but it’s really complicated.

For an out-of-context Archie panel to work, there must be several things working for it:
  1. It must be an actual comic that’s been published – no photoshopping.
  2. There should be just enough detail to allow the reader to fill in the blanks.
  3. It must be hillarious.
Since I’m not as obsessed with S-heroes as other comic bloggers, and prefer different comics that mainstream audiences are likely to enjoy, this is something I can contribute to with full knowledge of the subject. Hopefully, the Archie corporation won’t object to this in the same vein that they removed Slightly Improved Archie, which resulted in closing the site down. My favorite is still Jughead struggling to close a door against an elephant trunk and screaming, “REPUBLICANS!”

Although Betty’s been portrayed as being something of a psychotic flake, Archie’s pretty nuts himself.

This puts the Jughead / Reggie rivalry in an entirely new light.

Jughead looks very nervous about what Coach Kleats has in his locker.*

Nope, nothing potentially creepy about Coach Kleats right here, even though he’s emulating Mr. Kimura from Azumanga Daioh.

One of the most popular themes is interest between Betty and Veronica. I wonder why?

Veronica turns Betty down with a well-reasoned logical retort.

Amazingly enough, this isn’t the only comic to make use of a nudist camp. The other one shows more skin though.

This was one of the most controversial pages to appear in Archie comics, and not for the reasons you think.**

Is that what they’re calling it nowadays?

Archie was questioning whether Veronica was wearing a pair or not. Why else would she lie like that?***

There's only so much loose morals can succumb to, before prudes decide to punish their children for it. Or not, depending on your interpretation.

Reggie looks pretty shocked at being caught taped doing his “favorite activity”.

I think this one pretty much speaks for itself.

With all the controversy that comics have gotten for pandering to the lowest common denominator, there's a certain strength in giving audiences what they want and simultaneously denying it from them. Audiences want to be surprised, but they also don't want the same old thing all the time, which drives executives nuts, since there's never a "sure thing". Editors could fire up writers' imagination by forcing them to think up the most intentionally shocking scenes they could think of, then tell them to dilute their strength by showing them in context that'd make it pale in comparison. (This doesn't mean that the shocking scene would only be a prelude to a more horrifying scene, but that it'd be less scandalous than upon first assumption) Somehow similar to how movie trailers selectively show "exciting" scenes that are actually pretty dull in execution. I'm pretty sure there's a MAD article about that. The trick would be making the rest of the story worth reading after getting past the "scandalous" parts.

Archie's been doing this for years, so they must be doing something right.

* A Basketball uniform. And no, it's not role-playing.
** Reggie was talking about natives here, and naturally, some people got a little upset.
*** Boots. What were you thinking?


  1. Thanks for the blog post! I've just been sorting through the submissions and now have some queued. The panel that you noted as have been pinched from here, that one came as an anonymous submission, so I'm not sure if someone else a) stole it from your site (most likely), b) found it on Google Images (somewhat likely), or c) coincidentally uploaded the same panel (highly unlikely). Anyway, I have fixed it so that the one that was posted now credits you appropriately!

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for giving me compensation where credit was due. If you look at the image of the Jughead/Reggie pairing (the most popular one there so far at over 666 notes), you'll see that it's practically identical right down to the grainy quality.

    If it had been from another source, I would've noticed the difference. The fact that it came up right after I posted my entry was enough to gather my attention. Not to mention it came from an alternate source instead of my blog. I make it a point to show who I'm plagiarizing from so the violated party won't feel too left out, and if necessary, I'll ask for their permission.

    When I get enough Archie material again, I'll consider posting a sequel to this.

  3. What comic book has the story above where Archie says he is gonna do something and theres hearts all around them?

  4. Wow these random moments are awesome! I especially like the one where Jughead seems to be stripping to seduce Reggie <3 and the one where Betty jumps Veronica and asks for a kiss ;D

  5. can you plz tell me where the 2nd image (Jughead/Reggie) comes from? What issue of Archie?

  6. Well sin-tah, the truth behind that Jughead/Reggie pairing is less scandalous than you'd think. It came from the Archie story "Sound Off", which was a totally silent comic, save for a brief note that the sound wasn't working.

    Strangely enough, when I first read it as a kid, I somehow managed to "see" some word balloons above the character's heads, even though there were none available. I got the general sense that they were talking and thinking, even though there was no proof to the contrary.