The Great Archie Comics Experiment of 1989-90!
I’ve spoken about this in the past, but I think it bears repeating! It is rare to see a comic company be as risky as Archie Comics was in 1989 and 1990, when they began a gigantic launch of brand-new titles, and not only new titles – but new titles unlike any comic they were currently producing!
While the launches were almost all failures (except for one title that they revamped to be more like their other comics), they were noble failures, and I applaud them for their attempts!
Want to see them? Well, then
Archie already tried something a bit different when it gave the popular back-up feature, Betty’s Diary, it’s own comic book. Betty’s Diary was a great series (I know I’ve written about it before) – it took a much more realistic look at problems, but all from a sincere and, well, NICE approach.
I know the great Kathleen Webb wrote a bunch of the issues – I am not as familiar with the other writers (Webb occasionally still does Betty’s Diary bits in Betty’s ongoing series).
But that was nothing compared to some of the out-there titles that Archie Comics tried out during 1989-1990!
There was Archie 3000, a series about Archie and the gang in the future…
There was Jughead’s Diner, probably the most ambitious of all the books, where Jughead is in charge of an inter-dimensional diner.
There was a TV series using that concept about that same time, no?
There was another Jughead spin-off comic, this time involving time travel…
Meanwhile, in Jughead’s OWN comic, Archie experimented by having storylines involving Jughead dating…
A comic featuring the teachers at Riverdale High School as superheroes?!?
It was not just the faculty who got the spotlight!
So did Dilton…
AND Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog!
Probably the cheesiest of the bunch was a not-so-experimental series that seemed like it was just to cash in on some licensing fees…
Boy, that looks awful.
All of these titles were quite short-lived (even Jughead’s dating life was short-lived – there was a hilarious story – hilarious in an awkward way – where Jughead determines he can’t date – he’s just not ready).
The lone exception was Veronica…
The series had a novel approach – take Veronica to a different place each issue!!
Great idea – but didn’t last two long, in less than two years, it was just a standard comic book, however, it’s the only one of the launches of the Great Archie Experiment of 1989-90 that is still coming out, so that’s something!
Anyhow, congrats, Archie Comics! Good to see risks being taken!
The experimental nature DOES continue today, what with the “Dynamic Look” experiment, the super-successful Sabrina manga experiment, plus the new format for Betty and Veronica Spectacular, where Dan Parent has turned it more into a magazine than a comic book.
Good work, Archie Comics!