[Reading time: 5 minutes]
Bonjour! Vive la République, et vive la France! Before starting this review, I would like to thank the people of France for electing Emmanuel Macron as the new President, thus defeating the extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Félicitations!
Now, I know the CINEMATIC CALAMITY is usually published only on a Friday, but this week, it’s special stuff, because I have some juicy-fruit secrets about the RIVERDALE series finale! But first, let me talk a bit about the ARCHIE COMICS’ supporting cast, and how they factor into the TV series…
- Archie’s Parents: Fred and Mary Andrews are loving and caring parents who are very conservative and old-fashioned. In Riverdale, Fred is played by Luke Perry and is the CEO of a construction company, whereas Mary, played by Molly Ringwald, appears only late into the first season.
- Kevin Keller: Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, Kevin is a well-rounded, likable and funny boy who just so happens to be homosexual, rather than a crude stereotype. In the TV series on Netflix, Kevin (Casey Cott) starts out as a “gay best friend” archetype but progresses beyond that as the series moves on… It helps that the series’ creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacassa, is openly gay, too.
- Chuck Clayton: Archie’s first black friend, Chuck was once a prominent member of the comics’ cast, but has now been supplanted by Kevin Keller in popularity. Chuck is an aspiring cartoonist who draws his own comics, and whose father is a sports coach at school… Sadly, in Riverdale, Chuck (Jordan Calloway) became a villainous black stereotype: muscular, aggressive, great at sports, misogynistic and sexually abusive. I loved Chuck in the comics, but found this redesign insulting at best.
- Marmaduke “Big Moose” Mason: originally conceived as a stupid musclebound jock who was overprotective of his girlfriend Midge, and beat up any boy who would even look at her, Moose later became a more sympathetic character who was also dyslexic. In Riverdale, Moose (Cody Kearsley) is still the jock on the football team, but is a closeted bisexual and in a relationship with Kevin Keller, and Midge doesn’t exist.
- Dilton Doiley: the smartest boy in town, and a master inventor who likes to design all kinds of gizmos to help out Archie and friends. Like Chuck, he was made into a villain for Riverdale, where Major Curda portrays him as a trigger-happy survivalist who is more interested in guns and explosions than in test tubes and inventions.
- Hiram Lodge: Veronica’s father, an egocentric millionaire who is the main villain of the comics and hates Archie for dating his daughter. Although he is in prison for embezzlement in the first season of Riverdale, (JUICY SECRET ALERT) he will appear in the second season, played by Mark Consuelos!
- Miss Grundy: Archie’s teacher, an elderly woman who is strict but fair. Riverdale features a similarly-named character played by Sarah Habel, who is Archie’s music teacher, is barely even 30… and in an illicit sexual relationship with him! But is it really Miss Grundy? Or could it be that there is more to her than meets the eye?
- Principal Weatherbee: the principal of Riverdale High School, a fat white man with glasses. He is very irritable and cranky, but kind at heart. In the TV version, he is black and played by Peter Bryant as a no-nonsense, almost frightening character.
- Pop Tate: a kindly restaurateur who owns a retro diner. In Riverdale, he is a minor character played by Alvin Sanders. Fun fact: he was named after a real-life baseball player, who died about a decade before the creation of Archie.
And now for a word about the spin-off titles published by Archie Comics:
- Josie and the Pussycats: created by comics legend Dan DeCarlo, Sr. in 1963, Josie was originally an ordinary teenager who hung out with her friends Pepper and Melody. In 1972, the characters were reimagined as a rock band, Josie and the Pussycats. Josie is typically portrayed as kind-hearted, ambitious and generous in nature. In Riverdale, all three Pussycats are black (in the comics, their guitarist Valerie was already black, but Josie and Melody were white). While the ethnic diversity is great, Josie’s characterisation (as played by Ashleigh Murray) is less so: she’s snooty, arrogant and downright mean-spirited, and in cahoots with Cheryl Blossom! Or is she really? Wait and see… Outside Riverdale, Josie has also been featured in a 1970s’ cartoon series by Hanna-Barbera, which I highly recommend!
- Licensed Comics: Archie has published a lot of comics featuring cartoon characters, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Sabrina Spellman: Remember that JUICY GOSSIP I promised in the teaser for the last issue? Here goes! You probably know the 90s-2000s kids’ show Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Sabrina: Vita da Strega), about a witch who lived in a castle with her two aunts, and who had a talking cat? It’s based on an Archie Comic from the 1970s, in which she and Archie were good friends. KJ Apa (Archie) suggested that Sabrina would be in the finale, a rumour supported by showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacassa (who wrote a gory horror reboot of her comic called Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and included her in his zombie epic Afterlife with Archie), and former Sabrina actress (and Holiday in Handcuffs heartthrob!) Melissa Joan Hart who said a reboot was “in the works”. Rumour has it Dove Cameron (Descendants) will play Sabrina in Riverdale’s first-season finale, “The Sweet Hereafter”, and in Season 2, which will be more of a supernatural horror series: Cameron responded to the rumours with a simple “Hmm…”. Could it be that she’s just trying to keep it under her (magic pointy) hat? Considering that Sabrina’s whole gimmick is that she has to keep her sorceress superpowers a secret, I wouldn’t expect anything less!
Next week, I’ll wrap up this series by looking back at the times Archie Comics was adapted to TV, films and animation (with mixed results!), and at some of the best artists and stories in the company’s 75-year-long history! Also, the CINEMATIC CALAMITY will resume its usual publication schedule: the next instalment will be published on Friday, May 19th! In the meantime, no CINEMATIC CALAMITY will be published on this week’s Friday, May 12th. The Master of Movie Disaster apologises for this inconvenience and hopes that his readership will forgive him for it!