Posted on July 18, 2014 | 1 Comment
by Lina Herman, LMHC
I first was introduced to comic book character Archie in the 1950’s. My brother had a friend whose mother worked for a comic book distributor. Luckily for us, overstocked comics made their way to our house, in perfect condition (except for the missing cover, which had to be removed.)
About monthly, we’d be treated to comics. Of the variety that arrived, including Dick Tracy, Archie was my favorite. He was about as deep as I could handle in my early elementary years. A couple of my friends had older sisters and I’d occasionally hear about their boyfriends, but dating was completely out of my realm.
Archie was a benign introduction to the subject of relationships. For those of you in the know about him, he had two girls interested in him: Veronica and Betty. I was fortunate to be naïve enough that the cast of characters in this upbeat, light comic met my requirements for lessons about the dating life in the fifties.
After a few years, I moved on, finding soon enough that the world was much more complex than I had thought at the time. I never looked back at Archie, assuming that, like Dennis the Menace, he had never grown up.
But grow up he did! And right into our contemporary times. I missed the ensuing years, but the Archie of 2014 considers the hot topics of the day. Sadly, just when I learn that he is still out there, I find that he is meeting his mortal end.
Not through a car accident or illness, but at the hands of a gun-toting character who wants to kill Archie’s gay friend, Senator Kevin Keller. Archie steps in front of the shooter and takes the bullet for the senator.
Wow. No naivety here. The era of the “old” Archie is gone. You won’t find it on cable TV or the internet. Now no topic is off limits. Is that so terrible? Some may think it is. You may want your children and grandchildren to hang onto their innocence as long as possible.
But perhaps today’s programming and Archie’s demise will serve a purpose: to keep the conversation going about the issues of the day. I’m all for that, as long as the discussion of our different views is done respectfully. Nothing is accomplished in a relationship, in a family, or in a country when one side shouts down or name-calls the other. Let’s make room for future Archies, who can effectively generate discussion on a variety of topics, including immigration, gender issues, evolution vs intelligent design and the best path for our nation’s future.
And maybe, if we’re lucky, Archie won’t even have to be killed off.