The New Look Betty and Ve-Ve-Veronica

For the past several months, Archie comics, which can be traced all the way back to 1941, have been undergoing a new millennium remodel that makes their late '60s incarnation as "Sugar Sugar" warbling bubble-gummers seem minor in comparison. As demonstrated by Bad Boy Trouble! Part 4, the concluding chapter of a series introducing a "dynamic new look!," the characters' bulging bubble eyes have been shrunken (really shrunken in Jughead's case; he looks stoned). And in a Marvel-comes-to-Riverdale transformation, their bodies now boast near-superhero proportions. Archie's shoulders are wider than ever and the women in his life have sprouted curves that Rogue and Mystique would envy. On the cover of Double Digest #154, seen here, Betty's sporting a massive rack, and her crotch is so lovingly fashioned that the artist probably had to towel himself off afterward -- in a manner of speaking.

The story, about Veronica's infatuation with no-good Nick St. Clair, isn't quite as radically altered as the gals' bustline, but there are some updates there, too. In order to prove to Veronica that Nick's a lout, Betty decides to seduce him into taking her to a movie on the anniversary of his first date with "Ron." She then allows him to make a pass at her while Veronica watches from the next row, and she lets Nick get all the way to first base. We don't actually see the action described by the giant-sized word "SMOOCH!," but afterward, Betty says "Blach!" with her shapely tongue sticking out, which suggests that her mouth serpent may have been involved somehow. Hot stuff!

On the Archie Comics weblog, reader posts about the reboot are, for the most part, virulently negative. For every "love their new look!!," there are several along the lines of "what were u guys thinking?" But even more disturbing is the thought that pre-teen boys with overflowing hormones may even now be getting their stroke on while eyeballing buxom Betty and Ve-Ve-Veronica.

Shouldn't they be using the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition instead? After all, that's what their fathers did. -- Michael Roberts

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