Archie Comics 2015
Written by Ryan North
Illustrated by Derek Charm
Lettered by Jack Morelli
Jughead has made a huge mistake. He’s done something unthinkable and there’s
no way he’s going to get out of it now. But first: some backstory. Jughead Jones was born Forsythe Pendleton Jones III to father Forsythe Pendleton Jones II and mother Gladys Jones in the year—oh wait, not that far back? Ok, let me try this again: Forsythe became known as “Jughead” when he—still too far? Jughead began wearing a shirt with an “S” on it because… too far again? Did you know about when he was a time-travelling officer of the law and a pirate and a superhero and he totally schooled a military-obsessed principal who almost ran Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe out of Riverdale? You do? Well then, what’s left to tell? Oh yeah, Pop’s is back where it rightfully belongs with a new mascot—a burger lady! And now Jughead’s on a date with said burger lady… only now the burger part’s gone and she’s just a lady! And her name is Sabrina! What’s a Jughead to do??
I love this Jughead series! We’ve seen his personality emerge from slacker to thinker and doer, in his own unusual style. This time around Jugs is heading out on a date with Sabrina and he’s more nervous than he’s ever been in his life. I like this we’ve seen Jughead as this more asexual being one who likes burgers more than anything else. On the surface Sabrina the new girl in town has an equal love of food and finds Jugs fascination with it cute. So what could go wrong?
Ryan captures Jughead’s awkwardness and inability to know what to do on a date beautifully. Calling on Kevin for advice and freaking out it’s nice to see there are times when Jughead is so out of his element he doesn’t know what to do. Also I have to say that when Sabrina nails how Jughead is feeling and tells him to talk about food that she finds that cute and to just relax and be himself she is both helping him and setting herself up for something she isn’t prepared for.
Jughead woefully unaware on how to date sees her attempts and while extremely nervous sets off a chain of events that are like a comedy of errors resulting in Sabrina getting angry and ready to “show him.” The writing and character development is superb and it’s great to see some of those old high school hijinx in action. Once again Ryan explores parts of Jughead’s personality that we don’t really see. We see it when he’s in class and knows the answers and how every time she puts a spell on him it backfires on her. He really has more going on in that brain of his that we don’t often get a chance to see. He’s literally a walking contradiction who is super smart but wants to skate by unseen and left to his own devices.
Derek’s last name says it all, Charm. There’s a real charm in the work he brings to this story. From the shock of Kevin to the awkwardness of Jughead to the frustration of Sabrina he manages to showcase all these emotions and more. His use of page layouts with angles, perspective and backgrounds control the flow of the story beautifully. I personally like this cartoon style artwork that reminds me of old Archie Cartoons.
While this is an exemplary look at who Jughead is it’s also just pure fun. There’s a great deal of incredible characterisation going on and a little gem of something to learn but overall it’s a look at Jughead like we’ve never seen before and it’s why he’s always been such a fan favourite character since he was first introduced.