Riverdale vs. Archie Comics

Eiara Fajardo ‘19, Staff Writer

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Courtesy of archiecomics.com

On January 26, Archie Comics fans came together in front of their television screens to watch the pilot of the new CW TV drama series, “Riverdale.” The show adaptation of the events taking place in the Archie Comics, so far, focuses on the mysterious death of Jason Blossom, and it baffles every Riverdale residents’ mind. Besides Jason’s murder, the show also follows the stories of Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), the main character with a head of fiery red hair and a couple of secrets up his varsity jacket sleeve, Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Archie’s best friend and the “good girl” of the bunch, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), the new girl to Riverdale High who befriends Betty and Archie and who is trying to start fresh from her high maintenance life in New York, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Jason’s twin sister and the captain of the River Vixens, Riverdale High’s cheerleading team, who also has her share of secrets, and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), the observer of it all, the narrator, and the reliable shoulder to lean on.

Courtesy of the CW

Since the show’s characters and events are based off Archie Comics (est. 1939), there have been controversies over what is covered in the comics vs. what will be/will not be covered in the show; these controversies arise whenever film/show adaptations do not follow the literary source in a certain way that it will subtly, or drastically, change the story (i.e. the Harry Potter Series and The Giver). I interviewed current junior, Ally Lim, to talk about these kinds of controversies, specifically with the controversies in “Riverdale” to its source, Archie Comics.

What aspects and characteristics of the Archie Comics do you think attracts the fans and inspires them to continue reading the comics after so many years?

I think that the lightheartedness and humor of the Archie Comics have been a few of their most appealing qualities. I have personally always enjoyed the comics because it’s a good way to distract and de-stress myself. Also, the writers are always coming up with funny and quirky new material that never gets boring. Every story they create is unique in itself and never fails to entertain.

Have you watched “Riverdale”? If so, what are your thoughts about it and how does the show differ from the comics? If not, why?

I’ve seen the first two episodes of “Riverdale” and have really enjoyed it, despite my belief that the show has very few similarities to the comics. It seems to me that the only thing that has stayed the same are the characters. I feel as if CW has taken Archie and the gang and placed them in a distorted and darker version of Riverdale. Nevertheless, I find the show really interesting and will continue to watch it.

Why do you think the producers and the writers make these changes, even if controversies like this can cause views for the show to drop? Also, how much should a producer stick to the comics’ characteristics vs. doing their own thing?

As much as I love the humor and lightness of the comics, I don’t think that it would be successful as a show. The comics do tend to recycle a bit of their material and I don’t see an audience coming back every week to watch a sitcom version of “Riverdale.” The dramatic, dark aspect of “Riverdale” is much more appealing and will definitely be more successful in drawing in a large audience, including both those who have and those who haven’t read the comics. I think that the producers should have the freedom to alter the comics for the show as need be. Times are changing and the comics aren’t as popular as they used to be. Obviously, the producers have already taken a very different route with “Riverdale” and so far, it seems to be doing well with their audience. In comparison to the comics, they are more up to date with the times and will be more relatable and appealing to today’s younger generations. I think that the comics are a good foundation and a solid source to fall back on, but I personally would like to see where they take things with “Riverdale.”

What were your thoughts or hopes when it was announced that the Archie Comics were to be adapted into a show?

My thoughts of what the show would be like were very different as to how it turned out! I imagined it to be a sitcom or something very light and funny and I definitely never imagined it to be so dark and mysterious as “Riverdale” is. But being an avid reader of the comics, I had full faith that the show would be interesting! I was also pleasantly surprised after watching the first two episodes. I went into it thinking I would not like this version of “Riverdale,” but the show really drew me in and I will definitely continue watching it.

Regarding the characters, what about the characters in the show do you like or dislike compared to the characters portrayed in the comics?

I love how well CW casted the show! I think that they made really good choices for who would be playing the characters and it was just so fun to see Archie and the gang come to life. The only thing I would say I dislike is how different the characters really are in comparison to the comics. “Riverdale” accurately captured the defining personality traits of all the characters but has definitely given them more of an “angsty/moody teenager” type of attitude. The characters are now all grown up and definitely are not as innocent or wholesome as I remember them being in the comics. Another aspect of the show that I was not as pleased with was how they portrayed the relationships between the characters. Their take on Betty and Veronica’s friendship was interesting, but it was disappointing to see that they didn’t really maintain the infamous love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica, seeing as that Archie didn’t reciprocate Betty’s feelings on the show.

Do you plan on continuing to watch the show despite the differences with the comics?

Yes, I do plan on continuing to watch the show! While it’s very different from the comics, it gives you a whole new perspective on Riverdale and Archie and the gang. I’m excited to see how they will continue to honor the original comics while still going in a different direction and giving Riverdale and its inhabitants more complexity. I also love Riverdale’s modern look and the fact that they have successfully kept in touch with the times, especially by introducing a more diverse cast. While the original qualities of the Archie Comics, including its lightheartedness and humor, are what originally drew me into the show, I will continue to watch Riverdale for its dark and interesting take on the stories and characters who will always have a special place in my heart.

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Riverdale vs. Archie Comics