Like a lot of folks I suppose, I was always aware of Archie because of the digest comics at the grocery store checkout, but never actually read any. As a kid I didn’t buy them because they seemed too “baby” & I was into dark &edgy stuff (or at least so I thought). When I was in my early 20s & had read up a bit on the history of comic books I almost bought an Archie at the grocery store, but my girlfriend of the time told me she read them as a kid & they sucked. I didn’t think about the Archie books again until Melissa Spence Gardner started drawing XO & kept telling me it was good & eventually I bought one for my niece & when I flipped through it, it was fine.
When they announced the Afterlife with Archie series I went around looking for it & somehow Evil of The Independents ended up scoring me a stack of 1970s Archie books for free. They really are pretty decent books. Way better than I anticipated. Yeah, they are kind of dumb teen hijinks stories & a lot of lame puns & gags, but it’s fun & easy to read & accessible in a way few comics are these days. I grabbed one of the modern books that tells two parallel stories of a 30-year-old Archie having marital troubles (one story married to Betty, the other story married to Veronica) which is a pretty brilliant concept. Archie is really great as a calming & palate-cleansing comic that some may find boring, but if you like teenage Mickey Rooney movies (I do) you really should check them out. A special shout out to Life with Archie #126 where Archie goes head to head with a criminal mastermind posing as a door-to-door salesman.