Book to Screen: Archie Comics to Riverdale

“Our story is about a town; a small town and the people who live in the town. From a distance, it presents itself like so many other small towns all over the world…safe, decent, innocent. Get closer though and you start seeing the shadows underneath.” – Jughead, Riverdale

I grew up reading Archie comics. Every summer before I went to camp, I picked out a stack of comics to read while I was away.  I read those comics over and over and inevitably, they never made it home. I remember the comics which such fond memories that it didn’t even occur to me that the new CW show “Riverdale” was loosely based on the comics until a friend of mine called me up and asked me if I was watching the show.

Riverdale starts with the murder of Cheryl Blossom’s twin brother Jason. This development is a clear departure from the beloved comics. I didn’t remember Cheryl from the comics. She originally appeared in 1982 and only appeared for a short while before disappearing. She reappeared again in 1994 (I admit that I wasn’t reading the comics anymore by then which is an indication of my age).

There was always a clear division between team Betty and team Veronica (personally, I was always team Betty). Betty Cooper, the sweet girl next door, loves Archie and he often takes advantage of her. Veronica Lodge is the beautiful, rich girl who often manipulates Archie and is not devoted to him like Betty.

Book to Screen: Archie Comics vs Riverdale

Riverdale seems to be following a similar plot line in the first few episodes. However, it seems like the Veronica in Riverdale is nicer and more likeable than the comic book character. In the comics, the characters are quite cliché and 2 dimensional (pun intended). The Riverdale characters not only have more depth, but also have more powerful women which is a huge plus for me. I can’t wait to see how the story develops and whether this will continue or veer back towards the comics.

Unlike the comics, Betty only has a sister, Polly (no brother). But Polly has not moved to San Francisco. Instead, the Riverdale writers have her in a mental institution after breaking up with Jason Blossom.

The actors who play Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead and Reggie all look exactly like comics come to life! The show has a ton of twists and turns that keep it moving quickly. It is a fun show and well done. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season will turn out.

Did you read the comics as a kid? Do you watch the show? How do you think they compare?