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Top Five Comic Characters…ahem…Inspired By Archie

This week’s category was suggested by Jeremy A. Patterson at the Top Five Recommendation Thread!

The following are the top five characters who were, to be kind (and not use phrases like “ripped off of”), inspired by Archie Comics’ most popular characters, Archie Andrews.

Enjoy!

5. Bingo, That Wilkin Boy

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What makes Bingo so intriguing is that he was a put out by Archie themselves!!

Kinda weird to basically try to copy your OWN success.

That being said, Bingo did have slightly different scenarios than Archie. His main plot involved his relationship with his next-door neighbor and how her father didn’t want the two together.

Otherwise, though, he was strictly Archie.

4. Fast Willie Jackson

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DC has Elseworlds, Marvel has What If…?, Star Wars has Infinities…if Archie had their own alternate-reality comic, they could have done “What If… Archie was black?”

That’s the basic concept behind Fitzgerald Periodicals’ Fast Willie Jackson, which starred Willie Jackson who was, essentially, Archie Andrews if he was black.

I admire the message Fitzgerald was trying to send, which is one that young black kids should have their own book to read, too. In addition, the stories weren’t much different from Archie Comics of the time, so they were pretty good.

But it was amazing how everything was geared to just be Archie…only black.

3. Binky

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Binky, even though he came from the writing of Hal Seeger and was drawn by the great Bob Oksner, never really moved beyond an Archie-esque character, either.

Debuting in the late 40s in “Leave it to Binky” (well before that OTHER show came out), the series last a decade, but a fairly unmemorable one at that.

It was revived in the 60s, and was popular enough to even have a spin-off in the late 60s/early 70s (Binky’s Buddies), but it would not last long.

Surprisingly, the book still managed to creep along until 1977 (although the release schedule was quite erratic towards the end).

2. Josie

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Dan DeCarlo tried pitching a comic strip titled Josie, loosely based upon DeCarlo’s own wife, Josie.

That didn’t work, so he eventually made it a series for Archie in the early 60s.

The book did okay (Moving from She’s Josie to just plain Josie), and it’s interesting how many of the characters we all know were IN the book from the beginning, like Melody and Alexandra Cabot (and her brother Alex).

Ultimately, though, it would be the change in the book in the late 60s to make it about a music group (to tie-in to the TV series of the same name) that put Josie on the map!

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At that point, the book was not really about a female version of Archie, but in the early days, it sure was!

1. Patsy Walker

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Patsy Walker was probably THE most successful Archie-inspired character. She was published by Timely (later known as Marvel Comics) and was a massive success.

Essentially, she was a female Archie (she even had the red-hair).

She was even clumsy like Archie (see the cover)!!

Patsy was popular enough to last in her OWN book (which began in 1945) for 124 issues, but also a spin-off book (Patsy and Hedy, her “Reggie”) for 110 issues! She ALSO had three OTHER spin-offs!

Patsy was a smash!

However, the reason she beats out Josie (as Josie is pretty damn cool) comes down to this – she’s the only Archie inspired character who ever joined the Avengers.

Oh yeah!

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Well, that’s my list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

12 Comments

Kinda weird to basically try to copy your OWN success.

not really. i mean, look at every other Warren Ellis title.

or Marvel’s XBooks. or DC’s various Crises.

at any rate, nice list!

I thought for sure “Swing with Scooter” was going to be number 1 and he’s not even on the list!

Dial B for Blog has successfully convinced me that Scooter is not an Archie rip-off!

So, in deference to him, no Scooter on the list, although he would definitely have been high on the list otherwise!

I’ve only heard of Josie before and that’s from the cartoon show.

What about Sabrina? Should Sabrina be on here?

I can’t believe you didn’t include Wilbur.

No Swing with Scooter? Yes, I know about Dial B for Blog— but Scooter is an amalgam of Archie and Paul McCartney!

I call shenanigans.

And Fast Willie Jackson should #2.

What about Sabrina? Should Sabrina be on here?

Unlike Josie, Sabrina STARTED as a unique character. She was always a witch, so that seems distinct enough to say she wasn’t…ahem…influenced by Archie.

At least not like the others.

I can’t believe you didn’t include Wilbur.

Wilbur is unbelievably lame!

I’ve got a pretty good run of late sixties early seventies Binky, right after it was resurrected.

And it’s often funny stuff, occassionaly damn near hillarious. As an adult I like it lots better than the Archie books from the same time.

P.S. Anybody get a chance to check out that new book on Don Decarlo from Fantagraphics?

Ah Melody, temptress of my pre-teen years. Sigh…

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Mr. Cronin. ;-)

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