Maybe news of the death of Archie Andrews, the beloved redhead protagonist in the popular comic book series, didn’t rattle your morning.
But it did mine.
My mom texted me the link to a CNN article announcing the tragic news of his impending death come July, when the series, “Life With Archie,” ends after a 73-year run.
The #36 issue hits stores on July 16.
This is devastating to me. Very, very few people know I’m a hardcore Archie Comics fan. My parents would buy me issues all the time, feeding my addiction to all things Riverdale.
These characters — Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, Midge — were my childhood friends, and I followed their teenage exploits since the time I could read.
It’s hard enough knowing that the comic series will come to an end. It’s like a part of my life is over. But it’s even stranger — and, frankly, difficult to accept — that the freckled-faced teenager who always tried to do the right thing is going to die.
Sure, he supposedly will die saving a friend. (“Archie dies as he lived — heroically,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater told the New York Post. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way. Archie has always been a representation of us — the best of us. Our strengths and our faults.”) But it’s just tragic. I mean, what’s the point in killing the poor guy? Doesn’t this just add weight to the argument that nice guys finish last?
In a way, I suppose it’s much more interesting than ending the series with Archie finally choosing between the saccharine-sweet Betty and spoiled-but-fetching Veronica. (I’ve always been a Betty fan, so there’s no argument there.) But death? Isn’t this going too far?
It actually makes me sad to think a whole generation of kids won’t grow up with Archie Andrews and his Riverdale High classmates. But I suppose, like all good things, this, too, had to come to an end.
What has amazed me with this series is how, well, normal it was. These characters didn’t have superpowers, they didn’t live in far-off galaxies. These were regular teenagers dealing with the same problems we all face with — love, rejection, heartache, trust, envy, friendship. And that’s what has made them all so lovable.
So why kill him.
I’m not about to stage a protest — though I’ve seriously thought about it — since, to be honest, it won’t help. But I just don’t think it’s necessary to do something this tragic and heartbreaking. Let Archie live. Let him grow up, find a job, pay taxes, maybe get married and then divorced. Let him live that normal life trajectory he was already on. It would make me feel better that he’s still out there, trying to do the right thing and giving us hope that it’s OK to fail at it.
Who’s with me?