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The (Many?!?!?) Loves of Jughead Jones

Let’s take a look at the not-so-well-known love life of one Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones III.

As with many other comic book stalwarts like Superman and Batman, while the basics behind the various Archie characters were in place when each of them debuted, there were certain vagaries of characterization that adapted as the series went on.

One such thing was the notion of Jughead dating.

Early on, while it was clear that it was an Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle as the focal point of the stories, Jughead was still seen as a viable alternative. In many ways, he would take up the role that the newly created Reggie Mantle would serve in later years – the guy that the one who was not dating Archie at that point in time would date.

So Jughead went on dates with Betty…

and he went on dates with Veronica…

Eventually, though, the standard of Jughead “girl hater” was established, which was how the character went for the next few decades.

The one “love interest” in his life during this time was Big Ethel, who when first introduced was portrayed rather harshly, which was typical for the time, of course, but still, it’s a bit disheartening to see “Haw haw! Lookit her! She’s ugly!”

Really, though, despite the casual cruelty Jughead bestowed upon Ethel, it would be wrong to consider Jughead a true misogynist, as he always was quite friendly to women other than Ethel – he just didn’t want to date them.

So yeah, Ethel stuck around (and is still around), constantly trying to get Jughead to fall for her (and occasionally, when the story required for Jughead to have a date, Ethel usually would be it).

The visual gags with Ethel faded away over time, though, and she became less horrid in appearance…

Here’s a fairly recent cover featuring Ethel…

In any event, all this changed in the late 80s, when Archie Comics began what I’ve called in the past their “Great Archie Comics Experiment of 1989-90,” which is of course a misnomer, as this trend began earlier, in the 1986-87 range – it was just solidified during the 1989-90 time frame. And as Jughead was a major figure in the 1989-90 line expansion, so was he a major facet of their late-80s line revamp, when Jughead’s title re-launched in 1987 with a brand-new #1 and a new approach to Jughead and dating.

In this comic, Jughead meets a new girl in school named Debbie, and they hit it off great, and begin dating.

Around this same time (I BELIEVE a bit earlier), we meet Jughead’s FIRST love, Joanie Jumpp, and this teaches us why Jughead doesn’t date. You see, he had a thing for Joanie when they were kids, and they were boyfriend/girlfriend at a very young age, but Joanie then moved away!

Now a young woman, she’s back in his life, and Jughead had a love triangle of his own for awhile between Debbie and Joani.

Heck, what am I saying – TRIangle? It was a Love PENTAGON, as Ethel (hot off a hip makeover) was getting into the game with Jughead, too, a bit.

The craziest girlfriend at this time, though, and the one who makes this a Love Pentagon, was January McAndrews, who was Jughead’s partner in the short-lived comic Jughead’s Time Police, where they, well, you know, policed time!

The weirdest thing about that, though, is that January is the descendant of none other than Archie Andrews himself!

Come on, people, tell me that’s not a little bit messed up!

Ultimately, though, like most of the Archie Comics Experiment of 1989-90, the whole “Jughead being a player” routine did not fare well with the readers, so they actually had an issue where they explained why Jughead was going back to normal…

So yeah, Jughead was back to normal.

By the way, these are the MAJOR love interests in his life – there are always a number of one-off love interests just passing through, mostly for one story (and usually just for a gag), like Jughead dating a girl named Patty…

Or dating a girl whose father owned a restaurant, stuff like that.

The next major love interest, and really, the current most notable love interest for Jughead is Trula Twyst, a psychology student who determined that reversing Jughead’s attitudes on women would be her most notable achievement yet…

The J.U.S.T. group was Jughead Under Surveillance Team, which was Twyst’s group devoted to getting Jughead to get into girls – it did not work, but Trula has popped up many times in the time since to lock wits with Jughead.

She has a way of getting to him that no one else does, and she’s a fun character to have around. They just recently had a story together a couple of issues ago.

Wendy Weatherbee, Mr. Weatherbee’s teen niece, tried to get Jughead to like her awhile ago, but that did not work out.

They’re still friends, though, so you never know whether that might pop up again.

Most recently, in one of the Archie “new look” comics that Archie Comics has been occasionally doing (this was the second one, the third is currently going on in Pals and Gals Double Digest) Sandy Sanchez and Jughead dated when all their friends tried to fix the pair up together because they were tired of Jughead being alone all the time.

In a rather ridiculous (even for an Archie Comic) plot twist, Jughead and Sandy PRETEND to be madly in love and even act like they’re going to drop out of school to elope – all just to stick it to their friends for interfering.

How…lame.

However, at the end, while they part as friends, we get some major hints that they’re continuing to date on the sly.

So there you go! Sixty years of Jughead Jones’ love life!

Bet you didn’t think you were going to know this much about Jughead’s love life when you woke up today!

42 Comments

It seemed to me (and a lot of people at the tim) that the whole “Great Experiment” was done because Archie Comics felt compelled to say that Jughead wasn’t gay just because he didn’t like girls. It felt incredibly lame at the time.

Actually, the Jughead going back to normal thing was fully resolved in Jughead #19, wherein Forsythe P, embittered by his experiences, turned into a vehement misogynist. After Betty confronts him for writing a fairly bilious (Well, as a bilious as an Archie comic would allow) woman-hating song for The Archies, he tearfully confesses that he was just tired of being hurt.

I remember reading a story where a certain pin on Jughead’s hat caused him to be irresistable to women. He wasn’t happy about it.

What I always found funny about Jughead was the fact girls were supposed to go crazy when they heard his name “Forsythe.” That is why he is called Jughead. Speaking of one-off characters, who could forget The Brain, the smartest girl in school, who’s main goal in life was to get Jughead to fall in love with her?

That’s a conveniently placed sand dune on the cover of that digest there.

Wendy Weatherbee is surprisingly hot. Like Josie hot.

Actually, the Jughead going back to normal thing was fully resolved in Jughead #19, wherein Forsythe P, embittered by his experiences, turned into a vehement misogynist. After Betty confronts him for writing a fairly bilious (Well, as a bilious as an Archie comic would allow) woman-hating song for The Archies, he tearfully confesses that he was just tired of being hurt.

You’re absolutely right, Layne.

I should have said that the whole “Jughead as a player” idea came to a head in #18, while the next issue brought it back to normal.

Good call.

I remember reading a story where a certain pin on Jughead’s hat caused him to be irresistable to women. He wasn’t happy about it.

Yeah, there was a story like that, but I dunno if it is “in continuity” for the comics. It is sort of like the early 80s explanation for how no one realizes Clark Kent is Superman – because Superman is sub-consciously constantly doing super-hypnotism (focused through his glasses) on people to make them think Clark Kent looks dumpy.

* Insert Chasing Amy reference *

Part of me wants to say that Jughead wasn’t interested in girls because he was a late bloomer and just wasn’t ready. Another, louder part of me thinks that he has a ” hamburger girlfriend ” a la Peppermint Larry’s Candy Wife on The Misadventures of Flapjack. I think I best stop there.

Would that be anything like Odin Quincannon and his meat, Nitz?

” Would that be anything like Odin Quincannon and his meat, Nitz? ”

If I had brought that up, not only would it have been too disgusting, but also too predictable for anyone with even a cursory knowledge of me ;)

I havent bought or read Archie in a long time, but holy crap!
That last cover just looks horrible, and so not the usual Archie art style!
Is that really how they draw them now?

And wasnt Jughead’s first true love Betty Crocker? I remember a story where he was all in love with her because of all the good food, so his friends had to convince him she wasnt ‘real’ or something like that.

I AM:

That was a Bloom County story.

Am I the only one who REALLY WANTS Warren Ellis to write Archie? Wouldn’t that be sweet? Warren Ellis? Writing Archie? Oh man. Jughead would really be in trouble then. In widescreen, no less.

That’s a conveniently placed sand dune on the cover of that digest there.

I don’t get it.

Actually, yeah, I don’t get it, either.

Elaborate, Michael!

Good article. I knew about most of them. They’ve mostly gone to a “He doesn’t dislike girls…and really isn’t opposed to dating them…he just prefers food more. And since dating takes money…” stance.

It does keep them away from the ‘is he gay’ issue, as well as taking them past the “He Man Woman Haters Club” from Our Gang.

I like how they’ve handled Jug and his romantic entanglements. He hasn’t truly ‘flipped’, and is interested in more than just a body. When the right woman comes along, he’ll handle it.

I also am very pleased with how they’ve improved Ethel. Once they stopped going for ‘ugly’, they made her lovely in her own way. And more than a few times, they’ve played on her being tall and gawky, and how she handles it. (Too gawky for cheerleading, but that height is good in Volleyball…).

I think that Michael is talking about the 2nd last cover where a sand dune is covering that girl’s feet (I don’t read Archie so I have no idea who she is), the reason being is that some artists (eg Rob Liefeld) can’t draw feet so just put stuff in front of them, but I could be completely wrong. Michael’s comment also made me realise how many of these covers are on a beach, which is a lot.

“I havent bought or read Archie in a long time, but holy crap!
That last cover just looks horrible, and so not the usual Archie art style!
Is that really how they draw them now?”

It’s the curse of Al Milgrom.

Why are Jughead’s pants so baggy?

I realize that this is alittle off-topic, but what’s the deal with Jughead’s hat? Did people ever really wear hats like that?

“I realize that this is alittle off-topic, but what’s the deal with Jughead’s hat?
Did people ever really wear hats like that?”

He needed to wear the hat in order to access his super powers. No, really!

Really couldn’t care about the characters, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this.

“I realize that this is a little off-topic, but what’s the deal with Jughead’s hat? Did people ever really wear hats like that?”

Jughead’s hat is a regular men’s hat (like a fedora, but with a smaller crown. Maybe a derby?) with the brim cut into points and bent straight up. It’s something kids do to their father’s old hats for fun, or auto mechanics do to create a hat that will keep grease out of their hair but won’t have a brim that may obstruct vision. Look at comic strips from the 1920’s thru the 1940’s — it it shouldn’t take too long to find a kid wearing a hat like Jughead’s. Or watch the Andy Griffith Show — Goober Pyle (an auto mechanic) usually wore one.

Except Jughead’s hat has “points” that are impossibly long. But that’s just because even the artists have forgotten how you make a Jughead hat…

the way Jughead is drawn on the 3rd cover (Jughead 123) makes me think of Stan Laurel.

I really enjoyed Jughead’s Time Police. Surprisingly good.

I’m suprised nobody mentioned the U.G.A.J. – United Girls Against Jughead! An organization devoted to preventing Jughead’s girl-hating philosophy from spreading to other boys by getting him fixed up.

Magic Hat indeed! Complete with OATH!

“Teenie weenie magic beanie, pointing towards the sky-give me muscle, vigor, strength, form a SUPER guy!”

and bickity-bam, Captain hero arrives!

Sorry, but I really do think Jughead is gay., and frankly, it’s all the fault of those who created the characters in the first place, and those who modified them thereafter. If Jughead was a character in a movie, it would be taken for granted–while also unspoken–that he’s gay. He’s the typical gay cliche of mid-20th century America. The earlier Jughead stories, where he’s “dating” Betty or Veronica clearly shows his indifference to females, while the later stories seem to be lame responses to the “Jughead is gay” argument. And even those stories depict Jughead’s interest in girls as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek. So either he’s gay or he has the social development of a six-year-old (girls are icky).

It’s rather comical (no pun intended) that by the time it becomes acceptable for a character like Jughead to be acknowledged as being gay, the people writing & drawing the books then will say “But of course he was always gay! Everyone knew that!” and it’ll be no big deal. After all, somewhere in the Archie universe there has to be a gay character, and if Archie is to maintain any kind of relevance to real life–and real life love interests–Jughead, or Dilton, or Mr. Weatherbee, or Miss(!) Grundy, or Pop Tate…somebody will have to come out. It doesn’t have to mean that Jughead will start chasing after his friends, or even Pride Parades in Riverdale, but there might be a Gay-Straight Alliance at Riverdale High. Wouldn’t Jughead’s relationship with his friends be more poignant knowing that he might be attracted to them, but won’t risk their friendship by admitting it? Wouldn’t that speak volumes to every gay teen that ever read an Archie comic more powerfully than any clumsy attempt to “fix up” Jughead with a girl? Imagine the drama and suspense in such storytelling!

I could see Pop Tate as gay…

Hey, thanks so much for the Jughead history. I’m 28 yrs old, and I have wondering about Jughead’s many girlfriends that pop in and out since I was 16. Naturally, I haven’t read comics since then to find out, but now I’m caught up. Thanks!!

this was interesting..i never knew jughead has alot of love affairs..i really want to read all those but unfortunately they’re not in stores anymore..i’m a sucker for a love story comedy..lol

Although I’m not an expert like Buskerjim, I do think Jughead’s homosexual. Or, I’d like to think that. I think it varies based on the comic writer’s interpretation. Just like the love triange varies per writer–some writers prefer Archie and Veronica and so make it seem like they are the best ones for each other, some prefer Archie and Betty and so make it seem like they are the best ones for each other. So, some writers might portray Jughead as someone who simply thinks dating causes problems, and others might make him more of a homosexual. Jughead often has obvious signs of being homosexual–hating girls, hating going on dates with girls, avoiding girls, not dating at all….all traits of homosexuals in denial or at least closet homosexuals. His lack of interest in dating could also mean he’s asexual, though–let’s not forget about asexuality here! It seems obvious to me that none of the writers have labeled him as homosexual or asexual because they don’t want to deal with the shitstorm of controversy. Perhaps in the future they really will have him come out as homosexual–or maybe they’ll just have him come out as a late bloomer. Maybe I’d just like to think of him as homosexual because I am a homosexual teen. But that is what I think about Jughead, and so I will continue to see him as homosexual.

Does anyone besides me think that the “S” on jug’s shirt stand for a crush he had before he moved to Riverdale? Noone at my house thinks so.

that last one was off topic, sorry. by the way that girl in comic #1, is that BETTY? That’s just wrong

Erm, i just realised that Michael is dirty minded. He meant that the hole in the sand dune is conveniently placed near jughead’s groin.

Really Michael. Stop putting your perverted mind in to an innocent comic book please.

By the way I read a story where jughead confesses his love to ethel and says he’s just ‘shy’. If anyone is interested, i can dig up to the title of this and which comic book it comes from.
=)

I dont know why, but ive always wanted Jughead to date with Betty and they both having secret love affair. Would be too to get thm almost caught by their friends. Would be trouble for Archie, which would make Veronica happy that she can have Achie to herself and Ethel getting pissed and jealous. I wish there was at least one story like that, even as a dream, just to see those two together.

I think Jughead has Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s a late bloomer socially, and has intense interests and a highly sensitive sense of smell. I should know…I have AS, too. I am socially awkward and shy with boys, too.
I am a girl, and I always felt a kinship with Jughead (not because he “hates” girls…I never liked it when the writers felt compelled to say that), but his unique style and quirky ideas always felt right to me.
I like it when Jughead and Ethel get along, and they seem suited. She’s very interesting and I can relate to her new image.
I take issue with the person who says homosexuals hate girls…I think that’s a generalization that is too big to make sense. “Hate” is a strong word!
I just wanted to put that idea out there. Anyone else like this theory?
PS..I miss Cricket O’Dell!

Dunno but Some archie writers and artist nowadays just..just suck ..suck giant dinosaur balls!!!

[…] Here’s an interesting tidbit; in the very early issues of Archie Comics, before Reggie Mantle made his first appearance, it was often Jughead’s lot (to his utter dislike) to take either Betty or Veronica on a date whenever the rival damsel got lucky with Archie. If you really wish to know about Jughead’s love life, and his love-hate relationship with girls; then here’s an excellent post on Goodcomics. […]

jug head is sooooooooooooo cool

Hi, can someone please help me? I’m looking for the comic book where he says I don’t hate girls, I just love food more.

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