Jamie L. Rotante explains how Archie Comics 80 Years, 80 Stories is an Americana “time capsule”
It’s Archie Andrews and the Riverdale team’s 80th birthday this year and to celebrate Archie Comics has released Best of Archie Comics: 80 Years, 80 Stories, a 700+ page volume commemorating the long history of beloved characters by featuring a story from each of those 80 years dating back to Archie’s first appearance in 1941. But while the volume offers fans and new readers alike a chance to get to know the character and new stories as well as revisit beloved favorites, 80 Years, 80 Stories also works as a kind of time capsule of not only Archie’s story but the story and American culture itself. According to Archie Comics, Senior Editorial Director, Jamie L. Rotante, while making 80 years, 80 stories such a volume was not necessarily a deliberate choice, Archie’s place at the forefront of events made these stories both a reflection of their time and timeless. all at once.
“I can’t even say it’s an incredibly active choice. It’s just when you look at the stories everyone else tells, each one you choose for each year,” Rotante told ComicBook.com. “I try to keep the time in mind, but they were still such a reflection of the time they came out that even without thinking about it you get this time capsule and just kind of a story from the America and America because Archie has always been at the forefront of everything that happens. “
Part of being a time capsule of History and Americana comes from Archie’s “everyone” nature. The character has long been somewhat unique in the comedic space in that he – and by extension his friends and neighbors – are just ordinary people who live a life similar to the one their readers live. This contrasts with superhero stories with their more exotic elements, and, for Rotante, it means that in Archie and in Riverdale more broadly, readers can not only see themselves, but can see the best of the world they live in. .
“I think what’s interesting is when Archie was first created he was seen as an ordinary man,” she explained. “I think it’s so important because obviously you have superhero character legacies, but they exist in kinds of fantastic airplanes and they’re often superhuman. They have that kind of way of handling things. because they have power, they have strength, and they are above everyone else. Archie is different because he is a teenager who can be awkward, who can be in love. He is a bit of a everyone. So to see a reflection of yourself run through things as they happen, a little idealized sometimes, obviously… We always say that Riverdale is a place for everyone. Riverdale stands for the best in the world as much as we can. There’s something about seeing characters who are just teens, kids, working adults for a living that I think is what makes it so accessible to so many people. “
This relativity extends both to readers from different eras who see their own experiences reflected in stories, such as the 1940s and 1950s, but also to allow readers from other eras to gain insight into life. during these years. Additionally, Rotante explained that Archie’s stories continue to maintain that relativity by staying in fashion and including elements from today’s life in the current adventures of the Riverdale gang.
“A teenager or kid in the 50’s might see Archie go sock hop, go to Pop’s. In the 40’s it was about what it was like to be a teenager at home when there is a war … life if you’re reading this, what’s going on, “Rotante said.
She added, “We’ve had some stories recently where the characters play Pokémon Go and you always want to stay on top of the trends, but a kid who picks it up and reads it can look at it and say, ‘Hey, that’s like that I spend my day sometimes. And there is something so sweet about seeing this reflection of yourself in every story. “
Best of Archie Comics: 80 Years, 80 Stories is available now.