It’s hard to believe that in 2020, the concept of “Archie” can mean so many different things to so many different people. To me, the first image I conjure up of Archie is that classic, squeaky clean strip about teenagers. I read about a thousand classic Archie Comics in the orthodontist’s waiting room and a big box of Archie comics way when, and then my aunt Elissa bequeathed another big box of Archie comics to me too.
But today, it’s more likely that the images of Archie and his “pals & gals” from CW’s Riverdale are what comes to mind for many younger fans. Comic readers might think of the horrific Vampironica, or the Netflix’s Sabrina, or the new Katy Keene TV version of the characters. (I can’t believe that the obscure character, Pepper is on TV!) These different incarnations are all legitimate and all engaging.
Kudos to folks masterminding the Archie brand – for their creativity, flexibility and vision.
But it turns out that even the “classic” version of Archie – the house style established in many ways by Dan DeCarlo – was co-opted. Before Dan DeCarlo started his long and impressive career at Archie Comics (MLJ), he worked on a title called Jetta Raye, the delightful teenage sweetheart of the future. And back in 1952, that meant the 21st century.
In the 50s Jetta comic series, published by Standard/Nedor/Pines, teenager Jetta Raye went (would go to? syntax for future stories is tricky) to Neutron High School in the year 2052. That doesn’t seem that far off now, does it? She had a boyfriend named Arky (gulp!) and stumbled into zany adventures. To a reader today, it would seem to be a delightful mash-up of the Jetson’s and classic Archie. But the incredible part is that Jetta pre-dated both of them!
More Jetta Raye Is On The Way
The good news is that there’s new Jetta Raye on the way. I caught up with the very creative Jeff Schultz and he told me all about it. Continue reading “With Further Ado #99: Jetta, Jeff and the Entrepreneurial Project that Turned Into An Artists’ Party”