Continuing here with theme of “Oh bloody hell I can’t believe I forgot these girls when I made this list. At least it’s not quite as bad as it was when I made up the list for my Top 40 Comic Book Cover Artists. This time I only forgot three obvious posts, but… jiminy cricket, I sure forgot some doozies, including, as the detectives amongst you will have figured out from the title of this post… Betty & Veronica.
Favorite Female Characters in Literature #10b. Betty & Veronica. I'm sorry that I nearly forgot to put you on this list, ladies! Especially since you both like dating redheads, such as ME! Well, okay... I used to be a redhead before I became a baldhead, but I grow a better mustache than Archie, and I'm juuuust as willing to date you both for seventy years.
Before I get to the main part of this post, I just want to give a shout out to Archie Comics. Of late they’ve been doing some amazing stories, all while keeping in the spirit of Archie Comics as a whole. Their work with the Kevin Keller character reflects the times properly, and I love that they haven’t made a big deal out of Kevin in the Riverdale community. He’s just… accepted. Plain and simple. The way it should be. Other storylines have been equally as poignant and, again, all in keeping with Archie’s theme of reflecting teenage society. Archie Comics fell behind in that area for a time, but they’re charging back, and deserve every pat on the back I can give them. Thanks much to all the men and women of Archie Comics. Great job, folks.
Now, let’s talk about girls.
People tend to believe that Archie has been giving Betty & Veronica the run-around for seventy-some years, but the girls started out giving Archie fits, teasing him mercilessly. They were very much the ones in charge of the game. It's still somewhat true today, but the dynamic has changed somewhat. I prefer these classic version from the 1940's and 50's. The comic pictured above is the 1st issue of the run, establishing where things stood right the hell away.
Here's the 2nd issue... just to drive the point home, in case readers missed the subtly of "boys used like puppets" on the cover of the 1st issue.
Run, Archie! RUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!
More evidence of Betty & Machiavelli.
Oh wait. Never mind, Archie. TOTALLY worth it.
Oh. Back to the theme. Poor Archie.
Betty's first appearance is in this little Golden Age gem... Pep Comics # 22. As you can see, Archie Comics (then known as MLJ Magazines) had a slightly different focus back in those days. And, yes... I said BETTY'S first appearance in this magazine. Despite how, in these days, you can't mention one without the other, Betty and Veronica actually first appeared months apart. This means Betty had her chance with Archie all alone. If she'd only gone for it then, she wouldn't have had to put up with decades of running around.
Here's the comic where the rivalry was born. Veronica's first appearance, just a few months after Betty.
I can't resist posting a few more of these early Pep covers, featuring the Shield, Hangman, and the Black Hood. I'd love to write these characters some day. Or Archie and the gang too, of course.
Man, I love this stuff. Look at that cover for issue # 34!
Issue #36 had the very first Archie cover. If the Shield and the Hangman knew that the boy from Riverdale was about to boot them out of their own comic, they might have tossed Archie to the bottom of that frozen lake.
Some really early Betty & Veronica, in their straight up vamp days. This is from a story by golden age great, Irv Novick.
There's only one thing to do with these screwy dames.
I'm a sucker for vintage fashions, so looking through the decades of Betty and Veronica is fascinating to me. And... I love this look back in time, with the girls commenting on how SHORT their skirts are. Hell YEAH, short! They barely go down past their knees! Saucy!
A fun piece of jungle-themed Archie art, by the great Dan DeCarlo. Love how Betty is the hero. That's one of the things that's great about Betty & Veronica. As much as it would be an easy trope to fall into, Betty & Veronica aren't just there for Archie's romantic amusement. He's there for THEIR amusement (and torment) and they have individual lives and personalities. They don't just play off Archie; they have character.
More fashion fun, with the mod look taking over, and hot pants heating things up.
Another Dan DeCarlo specialty piece, this one wiht the Archie gang drooling over Saturn Girl at the ice cream shoppe. Speaking as an Archie fan with a major appreciation for Saturn Girl (oh, okay, it's a crush / fetish) I really love this artwork.
Just like in my earlier Millie the Model post, you can't talk about Betty & Veronica without talking about the two gentlemen above, Dan DeCarlo and Stan Goldberg. Both men made fantabulous contributions to the best of the wacky teen comedy genre. And both of them knew how to draw the ladies.
Evidence of lady-drawing. A duo of pin-ups.
Dan in particular was known for drawing good girl art. He wasn't only contributing to the wacky teen genre, and the "models" genre of comics, he was also working as a gag cartoonist specializing in half dressed (or undressed) ladies. His cartoons are highly sought after. I know, because I have sought them.
A tame example of Dan's cartooning work. A word of warning... there is nudity below, so cover your eyes if you are of weak constitution, or prone to fainting, as we all know that naked women are the worst evil in all the world. Well, I consider them the best evil, but holy shit do people get up in arms. Oh... I suppose you shouldn't scroll much farther down if you're at work, either. Hope I'm not too late. If I am, and your boss is yelling at you right now... sorry about that!
Oop! Getting a little risque, here... Dan!
ZOINKS! When I'm compiling images for these posts, I always avoid the naked images from such-n-such amateur artist that clutters up the internet. Can't possibly look up Wonder Woman without finding her, shall we say... kissing other members of the Justice League. This one of Betty & Veronica is by Dan himself, though, and it's such a good-natured fun and wholesome piece that I couldn't resist posting it. Besides, one of the things I love about Betty & Veronica is that they've always been open to adventure, freedom, to expanding the boundaries of Riverdale. And hell... with the amazing Kevin Keller in the lineup, who knows what's next in Riverdale. All kidding aside, I do want to thank Archie Comics for seventy years of fun, and for how, lately, they've brought a further step of acceptance to the LGBT community. Hats off, folks.
THE “FAVORITE” LIST SO FAR…
#25: Scarlet Witch
#24: Chance Falconer
#21: Jean Grey
#20: Kitty Pryde
#19: Janet van Dyne
#18: Mary Jane Watson
#17: Hermione Granger
#15: Modesty Blaise
#14: Black Widow
#13: Sue Storm
#11: Millie (the Model) Collins
#10a: Blonde Phantom
#10b: Betty & Veronica
——- DOWN BELOW IS JUST A REHASH OF WHY I’M DOING THIS LIST ———
I’ve been thinking about women, lately. Women characters in comics. Women creators in comics. Female characters in literature. And pretty girls riding around on bicycles or walking along the sidewalk, etc, etc. Because of this, I’ve decided to make An Entirely Useless List. Why is it entirely useless? Because it’s my top 25 female characters from comics and literature, and such lists change at whim and at a breakneck pace. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to quantify favorites… the term favorite is far too malleable. A list of my best friends from high school, for instance, would not include anyone with whom I’m currently in contact. Times change. Still… I’m making the list. Why? I suppose I just like thinking about women.