Four Letter Nerd

4LN Comic Review: Jughead #1

Series: Jughead
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erica Henderson
Publisher: Archie Comics
Page Count: 33

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Overview from Comixology: “IN THE GRAND TRADITION OF COMIC BOOK REBOOTS LIKE ARCHIE #1, ARCHIE COMICS PROUDLY PRESENTS… JUGHEAD #1 — FROM THE COMICS DREAM TEAM OF CHIP ZDARSKY (Howard the Duck) AND ERICA HENDERSON (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)!

Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, JUGHEAD JONES swears vengeance! Well, I mean, he doesn’t “swear.” This is still Archie Comics after all.”

Archie Comics has recently become one of my favorite publishers. They have seriously been putting out A+ quality books. The first Archie Comics series that I got into was The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and that’s honestly one of my top 3 favorite books being published at the moment. The flagship series, Archie, was recently relaunched with the amazing creative team that is Mark Waid (Daredevil, Kingdom Come) and Fiona Staples (Saga). If you aren’t reading Archie, you are really missing out, it’s not your parents version of Archie anymore.

But, back to Jughead, this series is being written by the hilarious Chip Zdarsky. If you aren’t following him on Twitter, you need to right now. He’s the artist on the Image book Sex Criminals, writer of the Marvel book, that constantly makes fun of Spider-Man, Howard The Duck. If you are new to Zdarsky, you are truly in for a treat with this book. The above overview calls Chip and Erica a “dream team,” and I can’t think of a better way to describe their dynamics as a creative team. After only one issue, I’m hooked.

The very first page of the comic opens with Jughead sitting in a chair and playing a video game all night, in a room that looks pretty trashed. At that moment I could instantly relate with Jughead, and he’s playing a game called Dragonicide VII which appears to be an RPG, and Jughead just kills every NPC he runs into, which is exactly what I do in similar games, such as Skyrim (I’m guessing). But, the quest in the game is not as important as the quest Jughead takes in this issue.

The Quest for Burgers.

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Me as of late.

The students of Riverdale get some unfortunate news that their beloved principle is stepping down, and a new, much more intimidating, principle is taking over. And with new authority, comes undesired change. And this change devastates that daily life of Jughead, lasagna day is canceled and a new high-nutritional prison style gruel is introduced. At the sight of this “food” Jughead goes into a panic and passes out from stress, only to have a Game of Thrones inspired fever-dream. (If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you need to give this book a read, because you’ll find it absolutely hilarious. This is actually the second GoT reference in a Zdarsky book. I think he maybe a fan…)

I want to take a minute and speak about Erica Henderson’s art. It really perfectlt captures the feel of this book, and it’s very much visual appealing. I think it’s really awesome how she was able to capture the feel of Riverdale in a similar fashion as Staples on Archie, but she can also perfectly capture the vibe of Game of Thrones, and her usage of reds, oranges, and yellows really makes it feel like an entirely different book.  And her art during the “Ballet of Ground Beef” was absolutely fantastic.

The conclusion of the issue brings Jughead and the new Principle head to head, and leaves us in suspense of what is coming next. I normally stay away from comics revolving around teenage/high school drama, but just like Mark Waid, Chip Zdarsky has made me extremely interested in the life of Jughead, and when you pick up this issue, I think it’ll leave you itching for more as well.

Music Pairing:
This is a fun book, so you don’t want any heavy music. You want something kinda light and fun. And I can’t think of anything better than the British pop punk band Neck Deep. Specifically their single off of Life’s Not Out To Get You, Gold Steps. It’s for that same feel of early New Found Glory, but has lyrics about pushing through life, and that’s what Jughead is doing while trying to get more burgers in his life.

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Bill Clark

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