Part of the new-look Archie Universe that was kickstarted by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ Archie #1, writer Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck) and artist Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) have joined forces to bring us Jughead #1, the ongoing comic series revolving around Archie’s crown-wearing, non-stop eating best friend. Tie your napkins about your necks because Jughead #1 is serving up a feast for the eyes.
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erica Henderson
Price: £2.49/$2.99 from Comixology
If you’re boat already familiar with the residents of Riverdale then this is the sort of comic that will come flying out of left field, bowl you over with exquisite art and charming writing, only to leave you clawing at the publisher’s door for more, more!
For those of you asking “Just who is Jughead?” well, he’s Archie’s best friend, prone to mass eating sessions – although he stays skinny as a bean pole – and finding trouble in the most likely places.
Issue 1 begins quite simply with a series of panels depicting our protagonist pulling an all-nighter on a video game. The only dialogue to appear in this scene comes from the game itself, but each panel adds just a little more about one of the main aspects of Jughead’s character and that’s quite how much he does eat. Enter Archie to pick Jughead up on the way to school, where change is afoot. The whole first issue revolves around Jughead’s love for food in one form or another and does make for some amusing exchanges.
The dialogue throughout does lend some very strong voices to each of the characters, even the antagonist – slimy, slimy man! – and is genuinely funny in places. Paired together with Henderson’s beautiful artwork and you have a very realistic cast. The story veers between downright silliness (a surreal Game of Thrones inspired dream sequence) to real issues that would affect a community on a day-to-day basis, so there’s something to suit all tastes. Whether this format is strong enough to carry an entire series remains to be seen, however it’s been a staple for Archie books for 75+ years so we reckon they might know what they’re doing!
Erica Henderson’s artwork is drop-dead gorgeous. We are presented with an eclectic range of body types populating Riverdale High. Yay for positive body image in comic books! What’s also nice about the artwork is that it is 99% based around the characters , not the environment. We know that they’re in a cafeteria or classroom, and we’ve all been in one at some point so we don’t need to see these places. We are left to make our own minds up about the environments to concentrate more on the story and the people. The only thing that could be improved upon is perhaps a wider range of race in the other students at Riverdale.