Archie Andrews and Reggie Mantle represent one of the most classic rivalries in popular culture -- dating back almost seventy years. In issue #616 of Archie Comics, which hits the stands December 22, Archie and Reggie are going head to head as rivals for Student Body President of Riverdale High.
When Archie begins using President Obama in his campaign literature, Reggie fires back and does the same thing with Sarah Palin. The choice is pretty intelligent, Archie's a regular kid with normal problems and gravitates toward progressives. Reggie is kind of a jerk and too rich for his own good with little to no apathy, making the most sense for the conservative opposite he chooses.
But when the real life Obama and Palin find out about it, they both arrive on the scene to deal with it.
Ultimately, it seems to be leading to a point where Progressives and Conservatives can talk about issues without vitriol or talking points. It's an admirable thing to show the kids and hopefully one day it can be realized.
To talk about it, I got to ask the Co-CEO of Archie Comics, Jon Goldwater, a few questions:
Well, the first is why did they think it was important to bring Obama and Palin into Riverdale?
Archie and the Riverdale gang have always been a reflection of what is happening in America. Archie's adventures are happening now, in a world where Obama is president and Sarah Palin is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Bringing Obama and Palin to Riverdale sprung from a great idea we had and rolled from there. It's kind of a "What If?"-type story. What if these two people crossed paths in Riverdale and got involved in the election of the President of Riverdale High with Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica? It seemed like a no-brainer, and a fun, entertaining piece of storytelling. They're essential to the story and their presence makes sense -- fans will see when they pick up the issue on Dec. 22.
And it seems like the story is going to bring Palin and Obama together on common ground. Is that even possible?
Absolutely, it's possible. Even people on different ends of the political spectrum have some common ground. At their core, their values, Both Obama and Palin want the same thing: what's best for America. What better place to find it than Riverdale?
Getting them in the same room to talk about how we can get there is just part of it. Alex Simmons' story, which is beautifully illustrated by Dan Parent, is very forward-looking while still holding onto the key elements of the best of Archie - our hero is fun and lovable, and his adventures are entertaining and off-the-wall. This time the gang from Riverdale learns a few things from two of the most important political figures in recent memory: President Barack Obama and former Governor Sarah Palin.
What's the message here?
It's simple - even people with opposing views can find common ground if they truly want what is best for this country. It's something everyone can learn from. Archie and his friends have always been about being inclusive, welcoming and positive. This is another step in that direction. If President Obama and Governor Palin want to swing by Riverdale to hash out their differences, it would be a great day for America!
And here we have a preview of the story arc, featuring the Archie Comics debut of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin:
Bryan Young is the editor of geek news and review site Big Shiny Robot!