Happy Valentine's Day. There have always been famous couples throughout literature who symbolize the world's great lovers Well-known duos include Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Victoria and Albert, and of course, Archie and Veronica. . .and Betty.
Not that there was ever the slightest hint of something strange about this trio. They were all just part of a constant flow of relationships that I followed in my Archie comic book collection.
Who would Archie take to the prom? Who would get stuck with Reggie (although secretly I always felt Reggie was much better looking than Archie, who looked like a grown-up Howdy Dowdy).
I recently read that Archie was celebrating an anniversary. I was amazed to find out that the series which I always thought was written for my generation had actually begun way back in 1941, years before I was old enough to read. The idea of telling the day-to-day antics of a lovable teenager was inspired by the success of the Andy Hardy movies.
All I remember is the excitement of a brand new Archie comic book on the grocery store magazine rack and buying it for a dime. The big thrill came every three months, when there would be the extra-large edition that cost a quarter. I handled these with special care, as they were so expensive.
I'd guess we all remember the secondary characters as well - Jughead Jones, Midge and Moose, Miss Grundy, the teacher with the Pinocchio-size nose who seemed to be the only teacher on the entire school staff, and Veronica's wealthy father, Mr. Lodge.
I was never one to buy super hero comic books. I had a couple of Little LuLu's, but I always just associated her with Kleenex ads and she wasn't "cool" like Archie and his friends.
Probably the big draw to a young girl like me was that Archie and the gang were in high school. For me, they were that ultimate goal. They were teenagers.
Back in that more innocent time, when you knew you weren't allowed to date until you were 16 and you were spending your youth under the watchful eyes of the grade school nuns, being a real teenager seemed romantic and mysterious, even if it was just in Riverdale, USA. Reading Archie was living vicariously through his pals in rint.
Betty and Veronica were a ideal role models for a young girl. They wore the latest fashions (instead of a school uniform like me), and even at their age, they had already developed womanly wiles, the kind I aspired to someday. Strangely enough, they didn't have noses like their male counterparts. The girls had exactly the same face and a little "s" where their nose should be.
Veronica was my favorite. I even named one of my dolls after her. And what I admired most was that her black hair was so black that they always colored part of it blue.
Sadly, my mom threw my Archie comic books away. But deep in my adolescent memories, the thrill and romance of their exploits lives on.