http://peur_evol.insanejournal.com/ ([identity profile] peur_evol.insanejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2009-04-11 04:19 pm

THE REAL ARCHIE



Lately, with all of the other Archie posts, the question was raised, "Was Archie always a Christian dickweed?".
The answer is NO, he's usually a secular dickweed.







from BETTY AND VERONICA #39, November 1958

Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] dejadrew.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
This is why I have never understood how any girl could ever read and enjoy Archie. Two gorgeous babes hurl themselves repeatedly at a bland dweeb for no discernable reason: does that sound like a FEMALE fantasy? NO.

It does sound familiar though: the plot of every shounen harem series Japan ever pumped out.

Girls, sweeties, to the five of you who haven't already figured this out: SHOUJO MANGA. Here, go ahead, you can borrow some of mine. CLAMP, Yuu Watase, whatever. Remember, the choice of Brunet or Blond should be YOURS, not his.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 03:53 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, but it is a female fantasy. Maybe not yours, but many women just love "poor me" stories where the heroine suffers and weeps privately over how badly she's treated. Look at all the LIFETIME TV-movies and romance novels and soap operas where the sweet blameless heroine is betrayed or misused or unappreciated. That's the appeal of these stories, "I too am treated so badly." There's a big market for that kind of story.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 05:37 am (UTC)(link)
Do we know what the gender split is in Archie sales?

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 05:40 am (UTC)(link)
Also at a slight sidenote, I was browsing through a remaindered bookshop the other day, and I dunno about the US, but in the UK these places tend to be a slightly more fun than the big chains. This was confirmed by the sub-section of Biography just labelled "Crap Childhoods", which seems to be a growth industry these days.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] dejadrew.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 10:46 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, but in those stories, isn't the asshole hero usually a magnificent monster? He's really hot, or really talented, or really brilliant, or really, really hot?

If the asshole boyfriend/husband IS a boring schlub, then the fantasy usually comes from her escaping him (either permanently or temporarily) for someone who is many times more AWESOME and also hot.

Archie isn't good-looking. He's also not a brilliant athlete, a talented artist, or a genius student. Neither does he have a "beautiful soul." He's a horny scrawny freckled kid who is consistently mediocre-at-best in all things. I can actually understand the Mistreated Maiden fantasy (though you're right, it's not my personal kick), but why would anybody want to fantasize about being mistreated by someone DULL?

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com 2009-04-13 01:50 am (UTC)(link)
You're misreading the psychology of the situation - one of the reasons Archie has stayed popular all these years is that it manages to appeal to both the male (heterosexual male, anyway) AND female fantasies.
I think it's absolutely true that there's an element of Mistreated Maiden (as you put it) about Betty and Veronica - but as for your question about how could anyone fantasize about being mistreated by Archie - well, that's where the male fantasies start kicking in.
Archie, you see, is an interesting character, because he is everyteen. He's not great-looking, but he's not ugly, he's not super-talented at anything, but he has his moments, and while he's not an outright nerd, he's not Mr. Cool, either - which is presumably how he gets along with such a varied group of friends. In short, he is designed to appeal to the average teenage male - or, more realistically, for young boys who look forward to being the average teenage male - because everyone, at some point, has felt like a bit of a klutz or a spaz, just like Archie, but they like to think of themselves as reasonably popular and good-looking - again, just like Archie. By staying determinedly middle-of-the-road, he keeps his target audience's attention - and just for good measure, he's got two gorgeous girls fighting over him! Hubba hubba! Archie is not there for girls, even fictional ones, to fantasize about (although they do), he's there for boys to fantasize about being him - because, on a certain level, they already ARE him.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] luxshine.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 01:21 pm (UTC)(link)
To be fair, there's a lot of shojo manga that has even more problematic relationships and female characters than Archie (And sorry to say, CLAMP and Yuu Watase are in that list), and while yes, there are a lot of stories that center around Archie choosing either Betty or Veronica to the despair of the other, there are also a ton of stories where both Betty and Veronica dump him, stories where Betty is shown as a very independent woman, Veronica makes her own choices, and Archie is a decent human being.

Hell, if I remember right, in the dreadful made for TV movie, it was clear that Archie ended up with neither, and both women were quite happy and successful with their lives, even if for the duration of the movie they returned to the old triangle dynamic.

Sure, it's not for everyone, but there is a bit more to Archie than there is to your run of the mill harem series.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] dejadrew.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 05:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, Archie occasionally has Betty and Veronica stepping out of their usual roles, especially these days, and props for that. But they keep going back to them, because this is Archie, and nothing can be allowed to change too much.

And status quo is that Betty and Veronica are both gaga for Archie, even though they are attractive and remarkable (Ronnie wealthy and sophisticated, Betty smart and kind and active in her community), and he is... not. At all.

And that really really bugs me, for some reason. Shoujo manga has it's own issues, OH MY GOD does it have issues. But at least the guys, while occasionally douchebaggy and messed up, are at least recognizably female fantasy objects. They exist for the female heroines and for the female readers. Not the other way around.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] luxshine.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
But the fact is that the male characters in a lot of shojo exist not just as the female fantasy object, but as the stand in for what *Every single female must want or her life won't be worth a damn*. Especially in modern shojo. sure, you get the odd Utena from time to time, but in a sense, many shojo heroines only live to get married to a cute guy. Not to mention, that many of them only live to be *saved* by said cute guy.

Re: Lantis or Eagle > Betty or Veronica

[identity profile] filbypott.insanejournal.com 2009-04-12 03:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Yuu Watase? Didn't she have the female lead of Fushigi Yuugi get almost-raped, like, every Tuesday or summat?