Greetings, fellow followers of fouled-up filmmaking!
I promised you a review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen last week… But when I’m not sipping tea and eating Chocolate Digestives in front of the most malevolent meandering messes of the movie industry, I’m a student, and so, in spite of my better judgment, I have actually decided to STUDY for an upcoming exam, which is why I will not be doing a full movie review this week. Feel free to send me all kinds of hate mail, death threats, and “I fart in your general direction, your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries!” For those of you still reading, I’ve got a little special prepared for you… But first, let’s sing the CINEMATIC CALAMITY ANTHEM!
(To the tune of “The Mickey Mouse March” – “La Marcia di Topolino”, that jingle they play at Disneyland, in Disney commercials, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmn4zO6JfPo )
Who will watch the worst of films in movie history?
Hey there, hi there, hoi there, you’re as welcome as can be,
Forever let us hold our standards low, low, low, low!
Come along, let’s pop some corn, and watch some bad movies,
Now for a little talk about a Netflix soap opera you may have heard of: RIVERDALE. Well, have I got news for you: I was into it before it was cool, before it even existed, because Riverdale, the series, is based on Riverdale, the town, as depicted in the American comic book, Archie Comics. This comic doesn’t exist in Europe, but in the US, Archie is almost as famous as Superman! You can easily find these comics through the Archie Comics app on iOS and Android, and some of them are even free!
- Archie Comics: Archie, created by Bob Montana, Vic Bloom and John Goldwater, Sr., in MLJ Magazines’ Pep Comics, was one of the first slice-of-life comic strips for and about teenagers. The comic created a massive shared universe set in the town of Riverdale, and attracted a cult following for its depiction of America’s typical teenagers and the ups and downs of dancing, driving, and dating, as well as for its cartoony illustrations. It was rebooted in 2015, shifting to a more realistic drawing style and more developed character personalities that influenced the Riverdale
- The magazines: Archie Comics currently publishes the comics Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Josie & the Pussycats, and Reggie & Me, as well as the horror title Afterlife with Archie, the Red Circle superhero comics, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Archie Andrews: America’s typical teenage boy, a handsome redhead with a freckled face. Hot-headed, impulsive, and clumsy, he is a mediocre pupil at school, and often gets into trouble. Archie likes driving in his car called “Jalopy” (a US word for a bad car), playing guitar in his band “The Archies”, and is very flirtatious, simultaneously dating Betty and Veronica. But no matter how horny or hedonistic he can get, Archie has strong personal morals and will always help a friend in need. In the TV series Riverdale, Archie (played by KJ Apa) is a musclebound hunk and aspiring guitarist; he also had a sexual relationship with his music teacher!
- Jughead: my favourite character in the comics, Jughead Jones is a misunderstood genius, a lanky boy who wears a crown to school and has a large appetite, especially for hamburgers, pizza and milkshakes. In Riverdale, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is a moody Emo poet and author, often grumpy, cynical, and sometimes very aggressive. I still think I preferred him when he was a lovable burger-bingeing eccentric though!
- Betty & Veronica: the third magazine in the company line-up (after Archie and Jughead). Betty Cooper is a sweet, sassy middle-class tomboy with a heart of gold; Veronica Lodge, on the other hand, is a spoiled rich kid, often selfish, narcissistic and cantankerous. These two girls are best friends, but better rivals, too: they are both in love with Archie, who also loves them both, and the comics’ main plotline revolves around this “love triangle” which has never been resolved. In Riverdale, Betty (Lili Reinhardt) is an Adderall junkie with an abusive mother, while Veronica (Camilla Mendes) is a far more kind-hearted character than in the comics, and is seeking to find new friends after becoming a pariah in New York following her father’s imprisonment on embezzlement charges.
- Reggie Mantle: Archie’s friend and rival, who is in love with Veronica. Reggie is selfish and mischievous, likes to play pranks on his friends, and has a trademark laugh “Yok! Yok! Yok!” In Riverdale, Reggie is a minor character, captain of the school football team; his actor, Ross Butler (also a co-star in the excellent 13 Reasons Why, a similar Netflix series about a teenage girl who commits suicide), is leaving the show, so the role will be recast next year. Still, it’s disappointing that a core character in the comics would be so marginalised in the series.
- Cheryl Blossom: rounding off the core cast of the series, Cheryl Blossom is a far more important character in the TV series than she is in the comics. While her comics self is basically Veronica’s rival and nemesis, an egocentric and sexy “queen bee” and cheerleader, TV’s Cheryl (Madeleine Petsch) is a far more well-rounded and villainous character, and her brother Jason died in mysterious circumstances…
Next week, I’ll talk about the comics’ extended supporting cast, including its spin-off series Josie and the Pussycats, plus a MAGICAL bit of gossip about the series’ finale… But remember, it’s just between you and me, so it’s secret squirrel, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, say no more!