Nov 27, 2011

Jughead and Sexuality #2: The Song Writers.

This story was scanned from
IDW's "Best of Samm Schwartz"
hardcover book.
Way back in one of our earliest posts we started to talk about Jughead's sexuality. Back in that post I said that it's impossible to actually judge Archie characters in a general sense. To understand them you have to take it on a case-by-case basis.

I stand by this idea, the Archie characters are players who have general roles, but the specifics change from the story to story. With that in mind, let's take a look at this story and see what it can tell us about Jughead's sexuality. The story is from 1964, written by Frank Doyle and drawn by Sam Schwartz. Doyle is hands down my favourite Archie writer, and Schwartz is my second favourite Archie artist (after Dan DeCarlo), so this is gunna be a treat, believe me!

Right, first page:

Okay, so from the first page you know you're in for a bunch of awful Frank Doyle wordplay. This guy was the master of brilliant, crisp comic scripting. His scripts stand up as some of the funniest, cleverest ever written, so this is gunna be fun.

Let's move on to the next page, shall we?

Okay, okay,  I know what you're thinking. This is really clever writing, right? Jughead's just equated the love one might have for a pet with the love Archie is trying to express for a girl. To Jughead, who doesn't understand or care about romantic love, there's no difference between it and the love one might feel for an animal or for a parent, or even a friend. It really gets at the heart of the character.

It's a good thing you were thinking that. I'm not nearly that smart. I was just thinking, "Hah-hah! bestiality!"

This page shows another trademark of Frank Doyle scripts, characters moving in and out of the story, creating a kind of relay race of characters relating ideas to each other. This method of storytelling is really great, it's visually engaging, too, because it means the environments the characters are wandering through change all the time.

But wait... did Jughead just say his true love wasn't a LOWER animal... hold on a second... where is this story taking us?

It's taking us directly to raccoon love. How... wholesome of you, Archie comics.

The only thing I want to point out on this page is that despite them being spelt the same, "furry" and "hurry" aren't pronounced the same way. That's a really weak rhyme, Jughead. Your, uhh... true love would be ashamed.

Now I'm sure that neither Frank Doyle nor Sam Schwartz ever intended for this story to be analysed by an online blog 50 years after the fact. In fact I'm positive that's the case. So I'm sure they weren't even consideringn that people on the internet might one day look at this story and try to consider what it says about Jughead's sexuality.

I'm sure if they did have that sort of foresight Jughead wouldn't have been singing to the racoon at the end of the story. He'd have been kissing it.

--Andrew S.