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A Month of Writing Stars – Kathleen Webb

Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book writing “star,” someone who I think is a very good writer.

I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?

Here is the archive of previously featured writers.

Today we look at the first in a series of…(I dunno…three? four? something like that…) great Archie writers.

Enjoy!

I like Archie Comics, but let’s face it, you’re not exactly dealing with the widest variety of possible story tropes when you’re dealing with Archie Comics – that’s why the writers who DO manage to routinely come up with intriguing stories with the characters always impress me greatly.

One of my favorites is Kathleen Webb, who began working at Archie Comics in the mid-80s when she sent in a fan letter and the late, great Dan DeCarlo recommended that she send in a script proposal – that wasn’t accepted, but an Archie editor worked with her and soon she was writing stories for Archie Comics, which is where she remains today!

Webb is, in many ways, the successor to the late Al Hartley. He was the creator of the popular back-up feature, Betty’s Diary, which became its own series in 1986, with Webb writing many of the stories.

Betty’s Diary was a different book in that it was a good deal more heartfelt examination of Betty than a standard gag comic book, which was a very nice thing to see.

The series only lasted 40 issues, but Webb continues the series occasionally in issues of Betty or Betty and Veronica.

While Webb writes for all the titles (although I don’t recall her ever writing for Jughead), it is Betty still where her stories shine the most.

She gives Betty a depth that you just don’t expect to see in a typical light comedy.

Her stories tend to have a moralism to them, but Webb always makes it a point to never go so far as to preach to her readers, and it is an excellent mix.

I always look forward to whatever new story she writes, and she rarely disappoints!

5 Comments

*Ahem* “He was the creator”?

This may sound weird, but back in the day, Betty’s Diary was one of my favourite of all the Archie titles…

I always wanted her to say “Screw Archie! He can have Veronica, I go out with Jughead instead!”

Oh dang! Did you mean Hartley? Sorry, my bad…

We see Kathleen at local shows here every so often– she lives in the area– and she is unfailingly awesome to all my kids. She’s also a very fine artist.

Here’s a picture Julie took of Kathleen a couple of years ago, holding up a bunch of pages my student Samantha did.

Brian, I hope you do a post on Frank Doyle! I’ve been fanscinated with his work ever since I read this post at Something Old, Nothing New:

http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2005/11/frank-doyle-archies-comic.html

I vaguely recall a few stories that fit the formula described here, but I’d definitely like to know more about his life and work.

Doyle IS a good one, Zack, but I’m just featuring CURRENT writers this month!

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