Mike Gold: Archie Is Too Cool For Words
Lately, my Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind kickass rock and blues Internet radio show has spilled over into my ComicMix column. But it’s hard for me to restrain myself, and besides, self-restraint isn’t exactly my long suit.
Since every living person, as well as the estates of many of the dead, makes all kinds of “big” announcements at SDCC, the smart people (Hi, Martha!) make their big announcements the week before the show. They’ll get better exposure in the online comics news sites, and this year they avoid having to compete for attention with a 70-year old Creamsicle media hog with severe bigotry issues.
So our friends at Archie Comics cleverly chose last week to announce their latest bizarre crossover, Archie Meets The Ramones. This past decade or so, Archie Comics (as opposed to the character, Archie Andrews) have been the most innovative and risk-taking of the Original Comics Publishers. Archie has methodically testing new concepts, new interpretations of their characters, super and non, and new ways of running their company to provide the revenue to launch such projects. I think I read all of their new-material comics save their Sonic the Hedgehog line, and I like what they’re doing.
They’ve done unusual crossovers before – Archie Meets The Punisher probably is the one best-known to the ComicMix audience. They’ve done rock’n’roll based crossovers before. But linking up with The Ramones is a whole ‘nother matter. The Ramones were part of the vanguard of the punk rock movement that they, in fact, started back in 1974. It was and remains as exciting and as vital to the form as the blues/folk/hippie rock from the previous decade. One might not think the Ramones to be a good fit with the Riverdale crew, and I highly suspect that previous (and older) management teams might have felt the same way.
Riskier still is the fact that almost all of the original Ramones are dead. They ran until 1996. Joey Ramone died in 2001, Dee Dee Ramone died in 2002, Johnny Ramone died in 2004, and Tommy Ramone died in 2014. Two important notes: First, the “Ramone” surname was contrived; they were no more related to each other than were the Doobie Brothers. Second, they were not the most doomed band in rock history. That privilege goes to Beatles protégés Badfinger; I mean them no disrespect by avoiding the specifics. Wiki’s got them just fine.
Let us not be confused by the fact that one of Archie Comics’ more popular titles is called Afterlife With Archie. Evidently, Riverdale’s typical teen-agers indulge in some serious time-travel. Comics fans get that. Rock fans get that. Your grandparents; probably not. They’ve been working on understanding Doctor Who since 1963.
Archie Meets The Ramones is a very, very clever concept. And it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll see on October 5th.
The Ramones, The Punisher, KISS, Predator, Glee, Sharknado… Where does Archie go for its next unlikely team-up? Way back in the mid-1980s I whimsically suggested to then-publisher Michael Silberkleit we do a Betty and Veronica / American Flagg! mini-series. He immediately agreed; I suspect he was more familiar with Flagg!’s sales than with its content. But I can’t tell you how much I wanted to see how far I could push that one.
Sigh. Maturity sucks.
So, next time I think Archie and the band should go back in time once again and team-up with the MC5. I’m dying to see what Wayne Kramer www.waynekramer.com would say to Forsythe P. Jones – and vice versa. Maybe Brian Bendis can get a waiver from Marvel; his dialogue skills would work well here. Maybe John Sinclair could offer Juggie a… cigarette.
Yeah. Google that, chillen!