the newly woke Archie Comics

I’m looking over one of the latest offerings from Archie Comics.  So, what we have with this series, as is everything published by comic book publishers these days fit for instant graphic novel… “Betty and Veronica — Vixens” it’s… urm… the girls form a biker gang in order to kick the asses of some biker dudes (and their toxic masculinity) and take a stand for feminism, and the rights of Women.

… or something like that.

I suppose it’s worth noting the conflicting history for the company on these matters.  As reprinted in the coffee table book released in the early 1990s at the 50th anniversary, there’s a story from the fundamentalist Christian conservative Al Hartley where the women faculty at Riverdale High are debating whether or not to form a women’s lib group, and Mr. Weatherbee comes storming in to put a stop to this, but stops when they all decide not to with that annoying rejoinder on “equal rights” “Why would we want to take a step back to that?” and clear cut gender roles being re-asserted with Mr. Weatherbee opening the door for everyone… and ha ha ha… A story I’m sure the company is embarrassed by these days, as what we see in the “Best of” collections for the collection reprinting a story from each of Archie’s 75 years is a mid-1970s story where the girls are agitating to remove all the outdated influences of Ms. Grundy, only to find out that she’s been spear-heading moves in that direction…

Almost certainly have the Al Hartley story in deep freeze.  (Though, let me know if some digest reprints it.)

Beyond that to the apolitical nature of things…  I’m sure you can probably force some 3rd wave feminist angle from — particularly around this decade of the 1970s– you ever get the feeling the company’s main artist — Dan Decarlo– basically spent 9 months of the year in a holding pattern just waiting for the summer months so he could spend all his energy filling up his comics workload with what he really wanted to draw?

But in the current iteration of this “biker chick” Betty and Veronica — and a quick scan of the internet asks the question which I saw floating about in some criticism of the new Wonder Woman movie — “Is this really feminist?” — oh, they’re just aping this male violence… and a close-up of Gadot’s butt thrown in to boot.

But be that is it may… I’m thrown off by something which is a little… either ham handed or just plain off…

It’s an armpad worn by the leather jacketed biker adversary, someone with the biker gang — the “Serpeants” (a biker gang whose leader is… believe it or not… a retooled version of the lizard alien adversary in the old Little Archie comics.  “huh”).  We get a close-up to signify the nature of their … awful politics… And there, riding just above some vaguely fascistic seeming imagery (a bolt of lightening or something… something like two “s”s which are your nazi ss formation, or the last two letters in “Kiss”…)

It’s the letters “PC” with a line crossing over them.

Uh huh.  Fight the Power!!

I suppose we’re getting into the “4-chan” zeitgeist here, where you throw up a forum devoted to “un pc” and the transgressive humor therein works as a gateway to alt right politics.  The word is loaded and confused.  I flip past am talk radio and hear a conservative radio host blast Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem kneelers, and align their politics as “PC” — when I would argue that in the context of the politics of the masses of stadium goers and the general public, their politics are the unpc.  (Upsetting oh so sensitive sensibilities, correct?)  Thereabouts the word becomes … meaningless or fudged.

It’s a little… unclear… hereabouts I lose the comic book’s politics.  Like, somewhere along the line we’re going to forge our way into the counting of micro-aggressions, which is… a rabbit hole no one is going to win.

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