In my tribute to Archie out of Context post, SmoochfestBikiniz asked, “What comic book has the story above where Archie says he is gonna do something and there's hearts all around them?”
Normally, I wouldn't oblige, since the general policy of Archie out of Context is not to provide reference or explanation for the source of the stories, since explaining what happened would take the fun out of the panels. However, I’m willing to make an exception in this case, since pretty much every panel in this comic can be taken out of context. It was a toss-up in choosing which panel to use, and I chose the above, from the third page.
So here’s the basic set-up: you’ve got Archie and Betty in a comfortable location all alone, casually kissing each other, Archie acting as stiff as a statue in response to Betty’s advances. Here, he’s just staring at her, not even bothering to close his eyes.
All of this is being observed by Dilton Doiley who’s excitedly using a computer system - not just any computer, but an Archie Instant Replay System!© (A.I.R.S.). A computer that's devoted to the complete analysis of Riverdale's most popular redhead bachelor. Just another typical day in Riverdale. Wait - it gets weirder from here.
In the very next frame, Archie is suffering from fireworks going off in his head, even though he's acting like the lights are off and nobody’s home. Meanwhile, Dilton is replaying their every thought while monitoring their mating habits.
Nope, nothing potentially creepy there.
It’s that For Science! phrase that really sells this scene here, and was almost my first choice for an AooC, but I didn't want to reuse images from the same comic. I was planning to release it with a bunch of other unused panels, but decided to wait at least a year before showing them so I could let others have their turn.
You can pretty much put the pieces together from these panels and finish the puzzle yourself from here. After a sudden rush, Dilton decides this is the perfect moment to sit back, relax and let nature take its course. Again, this is not intended to be creepy at all.
Betty is practically begging Archie for release here. Hence the burning question; will Archie give in to his basest desires? Will Archie plunge into unknown depths previously unseen?
Don’t be ridiculous. This is an Archie comic we’re talking about here.
Of course, that doesn’t stop Dilton from trying to veer things back into makeout territory again. All Archie needs is a little “push”. Literally.
To recap, you’ve got a nerd who’s got access to two teenagers most private thoughts, is capable of manipulating their hormones, and recording their every action for posterity. If this were anything other than an all-ages comic, this could’ve gone somewhere else very squickly very quickly.
If this were a dating sim, Dilton would’ve gotten the lukewarm Bad End outcome. The fact that he's more interested in his research than any potential hanky-panky suggests that the boy isn't exactly right in his head. Equally hilarious is how this "advanced" computer manages to shred his clothes even though he's stepping quite a distance away from any potential sparks that could set his suit alight, much like those exploding consoles from Star Trek. Apparently, it's unable to comprehend the ramifications of a teenage libido within the constraints of a children's comic. This was at a time when a computer the size of a warehouse meant something else entirely.
Normally, I don’t like Al Hartley’s drawings, since they’re so full of off-model Archie characters and shocked expressions with flashes around their heads that distract me from enjoying the comic. This was before I found out he was later involved in Christian-themed comics with their own warped mentality issues. (Go ahead, look them up) Ironically enough, when he’s drawing normal people, they come across as looking perfectly natural. As a born-again Christian, one wonders how Al Hartley feels about finding subliminal messages in the very comics that he created? Especially the tamest ones?