Pages From the Sketchbook

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So here’s a random sketch containing a certain familiar comic character. 😉

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Will Archie #8 Have More Betty & Sayid?

As we wait (not-so-patiently) for Archie #8, every idle moment of mine ponders the events that have taken place so far.

One thing I really liked was the introduction of Sayid Ali. Now Betty has something to distract her from Archie’s infatuation with Veronica. It is infatuation, to tell the truth. He does everything for her. Yeah, Archie is a really kind person, but let’s face it, no one’s that kind. (Remember how Archie tells Jughead that he’s helping Veronica just ’cause she’s new, yet Archie hasn’t done anything for the other new kid?) Anyway, they have yet to get the comfortable stage of their relationship where Archie licks ketchup off his fingers in front of her. Knowing Veronica, who likes to keep people on their toes, this may actually never happen.

sayid

Anyway, Sayid was an interesting character to introduce. His character design is amazing. The number of times I have gone back to gaze raptly at that panel exceed twelve. Their posture conveys far more than the speech bubbles do. Both their faces are so expressive. Sayid’s build and features are very different from that of Archie. It’s great that they’re so distinctive. Very similar to how people differ from each other in real life.

As a minor character, I think Sayid might be my favourite. He appears to be a really good person, and unlike Archie, he’s just getting to know Betty. This means that he, unlike Archie, won’t take her for granted.

old sayid

I vastly prefer Veronica Fish’s Sayid (way up top) to the Sayid who appeared in previous Archie comics (above). Fish’s Sayid is definitely preferable to the old one. He’s more likable, and definitely has more personality, thanks to Waid’s writing. That’s definitely a first for me, although all the Archie characters are glossier and more glamourous in the new addition. Actually, I’m pretty sure that there has never been a better rendering/reboot of any of the characters in the Archieverse. Despite my original qualms about the reboot, I have come to love the new series even more.

Mark Waid’s writing is just so wonderful, it’s downright unbelievable. Archie comics sometimes have mediocre plots, but I never minded that much because I was there for the art. His writing is so captivating that I jump from panel to panel, without soaking it in like I usually do. Some things, however, didn’t escape my notice. In some panels, the art isn’t really all that well done, leaving the characters looking mentally unstable a little strange. Overall though, the new comics are a collector’s masterpiece.

Archie Comics and Changing Times

It’s been awhile since the release of the brand-new, revamped version of the Archie comics, but it’s only now that the meaning of this has really struck me: No more Archie as we’ve always known it. For those of you who aren’t aware, Archie comics are being drawn (and written) in a whole new style. This is what the new version looks like:

Picture courtesy: http://www.businessinsider.in

Way different right? My knee-jerk reaction was to howl as if I had been physically wounded. What happened to Archie’s dorky hair? Why the heck does he look like an almost-blond Andrew Garfield? I hated it. That illustration seemed totally out-of-character with who Archie is supposed to be. He’s an adorkably average teenager, not some confident-looking guy with great hair. And his hair. It’s supposed to be red, for Pete’s sake, not dirty blond.

But like it or not, Archie’s comics have always been changing. Take a look at the 1940s version of the comic we all love:

This era is not really my favourite, either. I can’t help feeling that Archie looks more like a total weirdo (in a bad way) and Betty and Veronica are practically cartoon Barbie dolls. The story-lines aren’t too much better than the illustrations. I avoid these at all costs, but they sometimes sneak into older comics in a two-page or three-page dose. Check your grandma’s Archie collection if you don’t believe me.

That classic picture represents my favourite style, which also happens to be the most common one. They are just cartoon-y enough to be comic characters, yet not so cartoon-y that they look like dolls. This version has been running for so long that they’re always going to be around. And that’s a comforting thought.

Besides, once you reconcile yourself to the thought that Archie has changed, there’s no getting around the fact that the illustrations are gorgeous. Yeah, they’re different, and they don’t align themselves with the personalities of the characters, but they are gorgeous. The way the characters act in the comics will probably restore their personalities. So long as Archie’s comics continue to run, it’s okay if they develop a new personality. Maybe some future generation, raised on a supply of the new Archie, will groan about how Archie comics looked in our times.