When I first heard that the people at Archie comics were gong to do a gender-bending issue, I was delighted. I love seeing classic characters re-imagined and this is definitely a new imagining of classic Archie and his gang. The fine people at Archiecomics.com were kind enough to send me an advanced copy to review. When it arrrived, I was overjoyed to read it. I’d grown up reading Archie Digests and the other Archie comics, along with watching reruns of the shows on tv. Growing up Pagan, Sabrina was always a favorite of mine.
The cover is Archie and Veronica arguing over which gender has it worse off as Betty, Jughead, Sabrina and Salem listen in. Its a simple introduction to “The Great Switcheroo”; Script by Tani DelRio, Pncils by Gisele, Inks by Rich Koslowski.
The story begins with Sabrina the teenage witch talking to her cat, Salem, as they take a beak during a shopping trip to get a milkshake at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. After Reggie doesn’t hold a door open for them, and Sabrina decides to eavesdrop for some lunchtime entertainment, Salem decides that not just Reggie, but ALL of Riverdale needs a “great switcheroo” to help them appreciate their genders. Hoping to not get her into trouble for his deeds, Salem does this while Sabrina sleeps.
So Archie wakes the next day to discover that “Archina” doesn’t have enough to wear. When she goes downstairs she s greeted by her parents, whom have also switched genders, unbeknownst to them. While Archina has noticed she feels “different” today, Regina knows that she is “the most beautiful girl in school” and wonders what pranks she can get away with. It seems Salem’s lesson went unlearned.
We then are introduced to Billy (Betty) and Ron (Veronica), two handsome young men in a fast blue car. They, too, have noticed that something is different about today. Billy feels stronger and plans to try out for the football team, while Ron decides that magic is in the air and its the day to win Archina’s heart over. Ron ditches school to go gift-shopping while Archina tries to figure out why her shoes are suddenly uncomfortable to walk in. Archina is greeted by a female punk J.J. (Jughead) and her poodle Haute Dog (Hot Dog) as Regina is sen leaving the school with a large brown bag with lumpy contents and a big smile.
During Salem watching these events unfold on Sabrina’s crystal ball, Sabrina wakes in the morning to discover what her cat has done to the entire town. After she gets the story from Salem ad procedes to freak out, Salem convinces her to sit down and watch for awhile, and then set things right.
Ron arrives back on the scene with flowers and gifts for Archina while asking her for a date to make the day “more magical”, as Billy impresses on the field and a tiny Mouse (Moose) sits on the sidelines because there are “no girls allowed on the team”. Ron gets jealous and tackles Blly on the field just as Mr. Grundy (Miss Grundy) screams warning of fireworks going off in the cafeteria. Obviously, everyone runs to watch. Regina is squealed on by Mr. Beazly (Miss Beazly) to Ms. Weatherbee (Mr. Weatherbee), the principal. Regina tries to plea her case for innocence because she is a girl, but is informed that “the rules are the same for boys and girls!”
With a little help from a free concert by Joey and the Junkyard Dogs (Josie and the Pussy Cats) and a potion by Sabrina, Normality is returned and no one is the wiser, except for Sabrina & Salem. The gang chalks the experience up to a parody music video with Riverdale look-a-likes or a bad dream and decide they are happier in their own genders.
Personally, I loved the issue. It was cute, campy and fun. Just the way Archie comics are supposed to be. <3