Comic books and punk rock are two of my favorite things in the world (and also big around the TuffGnarl.com offices too!). They are also eternal staples of the classic teenager’s life. And no one is more classic and eternally teenage than Archie Andrews. So I was extremely excited when I interviewed Archie Comics writer/PR guru, Alex Segura, last month and he mentioned co-scripting, with We Can Never Go Home Again writer Matthew Rosenberg, Archie Meets Ramones. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book.
Well now that the book is finally out, I can say it delivers. The book is an absolute treat for not only Archie fans but Ramones diehards as well. The story is great and the art by Gisele Lagace is crisp, expressive and full of energy, kind of like the Ramones’ music. The art actually captures the band’s and comic’s individual vibes. It’s the melding of two classic American pop culture icons, and they actually seem tailor-made for each other. About the only surprise is what took so long to make this marriage happen.
The story is classic, as the usual gang (Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and everyone’s favorite jerk, Reggie) are ending a terrible performance by their band, The Archies, at the Riverdale High Battle of The Bands. Booed off the stage, the group of friends finds themselves fighting and blaming each other for the loss. But when Archie is alone, Sabrina (of the Teenage Witch variety) hands him a consolation prize; the debut LP by the Ramones!
Recognizing it as his dad’s favorite band, Archie plays the record to get over his woes, and before he knows it, the entire gang is magically transported to Queens, New York in 1977. Right of the bat, they run into the Ramones, who encourage them to open up for them, at Max’s Kansas City no less. I don’t want to ruin too much, as part of the charm of the book is the unfolding of the story and the many in-jokes and visual puns scattered throughout. But let’s just say that we get to see Vince Lombardi High (Rock and Roll Highschool), a swim at Rockaway Beach and there is a creepy pit stop at the “Pet Sematary”. We also discover the punk rock secret past of another beloved Riverdale regular ( a great moment you just have to read for yourself). Oh, and Jughead is still hungry too.
About the only bad thing I can say is I wanted more than just a one-shot, but I guess there is always hope for a reunion of the two (after all Sabrina always has spells up her sleeve) and there is no shortage of great Ramones songs and moments to expand on. If you love Archie or the Ramones, this is for you. It’s one of the most fun comics I have read in a while, and it honestly works for anyone at any age. It’s a great way to get someone to love both comics and punk rock and make’em a mixTAPE while you’re at it!
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