|Best guess at the artist? Dan DeCarlo|
They're comics aimed at pre-teens, with stories about teenagers, written by men in their 30s and 40s. As such there tends to be a surprising amount of layers to the stories. They can't, for example, show full-on sexual relationships in these comics. On the other hand, it would be pretty realistic for Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to be sexually active, right?
So Archie comics get around this using a really simple metaphoric formula.
KISSING = SEX.
Now as always (and as we discussed when talking about Jughead's sexuality) it's basically impossible to talk in absolutes about Archie comics. The degree to which kissing = sex therefore changes from story to story. In some stories kissing is a straight up substitute for sex. For example in the strip we're sharing today.
Smooch Me to Sleep is probably one of the most blatant sex stories I've ever read from an Archie comic. In this the metaphor is plain, every time they're talking about kissing they're CLEARLY actually talking about fucking. It's almost vulgar in how blatant it is.
|Chocolate? Not as good as... kissing.|
But other stories aren't quite this blatant. In many stories it's just that in Riverdale 'kissing' is the whole of the teens' sexuality. Whereas in a real high school kids might want to try and cop a feel, or slip their pee pee in, in Riverdale kissing is as far as anyone goes. People fight over a kiss, go to any lengths to get a kiss, and spend hours kissing in the backs of cars.
So yes, kissing is sex.
Now on to the rest of the story!
|Archie's mother's still got some fine curves!|
Okay, uhhh... there's not much actual sex going on in this part of the story, but it takes a bit of a turn in the next page...
|Is Archie doing a Phantom impression in the last panel?|
He can't sleep after not getting a kiss.
He can't sleep after NOT GETTING A KISS.
Okay, okay... maybe Veronica's just a really good kisser. Maybe I'm reading too much into this whole thing. Maybe this isn't a metaphorical story about Archie getting blue balls and...
Like I've said, this is one of the more blatant stories, but in general the rule applies.
Kissing = sex.