But while Jolson and Berle are long dead, thank God, Archie Comics—stale, ugly, joyless, insipid—endure, taunting me from every other checkout counter.
(Weirdly, the franchise’s half-caste musical/Saturday morning cartoon spin-off somehow managed to embody precisely the opposite characteristics. Universally acknowledged as the Everest of bubblegum, The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar” sounds as fresh and happy—and even sexy—as it did when it hit #1 in 1969. “The Archies sing from exultant satiation,” David Smay writes rightly in Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. More so than the dour Doors or the sour Stones, “Sugar, Sugar” is, he declares, the real sound of “Top 40 after the pill.” Mick Jagger sang unconvincingly about not getting any satisfaction, whereas the unapologetically ersatz Archies effortlessly conveyed post-coital delight. If only Don Kirshner had been in charge of the damn comic book, too …)
Anyway, I should be delighted by the news that the comic’s titular “Archie” is, at last, deceased. Shot to death, even.
But while I hasten to add that I was nowhere near Riverdale when that happened, my relief is tempered…