Writers of Archie 1941, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn take us to the birth of Rock ‘n Roll in Archie 1955 #1. The issue features art from artist Tom Grummett, inking from Bob Smith, coloring from Glenn Whitmore, and lettering from Jack Morelli. This entire creative team is well-versed in the creation of Archie comics, so let’s see where this iteration stacks up!
The issue starts off with Archie, Jughead, and Reggie playing a dance at Riverdale High and boring their audience. Then, against the wishes of Principal Weatherbee, the boys start playing some rockin’ tunes and promptly get kicked out. Later, things heat up as Archie’s band is offered the deal of a lifetime.
Beginning Of Archie 1955 #1
As far as an opener for a comic series goes, Archie 1955 #1 does a good job of setting up the story. They splice together Archie’s musical discovery with a few moments of Veronica scheming with her father about the potential of investing in Archie and his music, and we can tell things will be heating up moving forward.
Archie, Reggie, and Jughead start branching out their music to liven up the crowd, which really hits at the heart of what rock and roll is all about. Rock and roll is a huge part of 1950s teen culture because it gives them a voice and a feeling of unity, and the Archie comics are all about capturing the teen experience.
Welcome To The 1950s
While there are plenty of different eras I would love to see Archie and the gang explore, the 1950s isn’t really one of them. The idea of the band being part of the birth of rock and roll is exciting, but given the social issues happening at the time, I have some concerns about where the story might head that could end up being highly problematic.
The 1950s were a time of deep racial unrest, as the civil rights movement was building momentum. In fact, the year this comic takes place in, 1955, was the same year Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus. There is already somewhat of a hint of racial tension in the comics, as Archie crosses the tracks to hear soul music for the first time and is asked about how his parents might feel about it.
I think there is the potential for some really interesting commentary on race in the United States as it continues to be an issue. I just worry that the larger story arc of Archie taking soul music and using it to create rock and roll could ignore or aggravate those racial dynamics. All I can do at this point is hope that the future issues of Archie 1955 will have rock and roll without potentially taking credit for soul music or ignoring the historical significance of this time period.
Where Is Archie Andrews?
Something this issue sets up very well is the intrigue of what will become of Archie on this journey. The whole issue is set up by someone speaking to a reporter in an attempt to explain what became of Archie and his fame before we even see Archie begin to play.
I love the idea that while we are about to see the birth of rock and roll through Archie, there is already the knowledge that it won’t last. I am highly intrigued by this presentation and I can’t wait to find out what pushes Archie out of the spotlight he has only just begun to see in issue #1.
How Do We Feel About Archie 1955 #1?
Overall, I feel this is a good introduction to this comic run. Though I have some concerns about the content going forward, this issue did a good job of setting up the story and giving the readers questions they’ll want to be answered. All that’s left now is to wait and see what follows for Archie and his friends in 1955.
Riverdale Rocks Out In The Heartwarming Archie 1955 #1