ARCHIE COMICS #95 - Classic Artists of the Era

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Chuck Gower

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ARCHIE COMICS #95 - Classic Artists of the Era

Whenever I find these early Archie Comics issues, especially pre-1960 in the $1 books, I HAVE to pick them up. Honestly, it's where they belong as there is only a handful of people who love and appreciate them. The Riverdale crowd isn't interested in this stuff and none of the artists are really 'hot' with the majority of collectors. Archie Comics is just kind of its own niche and I'm glad.

I mean... I look at this Harry Lucey cover and I'm so in awe of its perfection. Lucey was a smidge less cartoony than Dan DeCarlo, thus you get the attention to detail on Veronica's feet and sandals, Archie's feet, the stripes on Veronica's swimsuit (and Betty's) and the pattern on Archie's.

Even the radio and the lifeguard's chair. Man, I LOVE this cover.

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with cover art by Harry Lucey)

 

Inside, his art is more in the 'house style' that Archie Comics incorporated, first introduced by Bob Montana, updated and modernized by Harry Lucey, then streamlined and perfected by Dan DeCarlo. Either way, Lucey's Betty and Veronica had smaller waists than any of the other Archie artists gave them...

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Harry Lucey)

 

 

What more could you ask for in an Archie comic, than a Harry Lucey cover, a Harry Lucey story and then a Dan DeCarlo story? By this point, DeCarlo had been drawing at Archie Comics for 7 years, and even though he was still the 'new guy' in the bunch (Vigoda and Lucey had been there, at this point for over 15 years), he fits in perfectly with the look of the line of books. 

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Dan DeCarlo)

 

 

It's rather amazing that really, in Archie Comics' long history with the characters, there's really only a handful of artists who worked on the book consistently. DeCarlo and Lucey were two of those legends. I'm not as big of a fan of Bill Vigoda's work, but he was there through the transformative years, and was the first to try and emulate Bob Montana's house style in the comic, so I'd include him (and of course Montana).

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Dan DeCarlo)

 

 

As sultry as Harry Lucey drew Betty and Veronica, Dan DeCarlo (who certainly had his past experience drawing bad girls) gave the two a more wholesome look, that was still sexy, but with a sweetness that fit the whole idea of Archie Comics and what they, especially post-Code wanted to portray. 

Harry Lucey is my favorite, but man, DeCarlo is amazing. 

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Dan DeCarlo)

 

 

In 1958, Harry Lucey was THE artist of Archie Comics as a brand in the Comic Books (Bob Montana had long since gone to 100% making the newspaper strip an iconic part of Americana), and here's a good example of one of his ads. 

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Harry Lucey)

 

 

Every so often I'd see a panel by Bill Vigoda and think, "Now THAT is really good!" This is one of those panels.

You have to give the guy credit, he was like the energizer bunny who kept going and going and going, taking on anything the company would give him to do. He started with MLJ in 1943, did his first Archie story in 1944 (a Betty and Veronica story in Archie Comics #10) and worked all the way through until 1973. 

I just realized, the guy doesn't even have a Wikipedia page... I need to do something about that...

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(ARCHIE #95 cover-dated September 1958, on newsstands June 4th, 1958, with art by Bill Vigoda)

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These journal entries have been a fun read, so thanks for taking the time out to write them.:foryou:

I consumed most of the fifties and sixties Archie material in digest format in the seventies (without of course knowing who drew or wrote the stories). They were a staple in the neighbourhood growing up and popular with kids who weren't into the superhero stuff or any other comics. It's always nice to learn more about writers and artists who contributed - for many, a good part of their lifes work - to the history of the medium.

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I love your posts about Archie comics. You bring a point of view to them I never really had. In experiencing your joy through your writing you woke up my love of Archie comics. Please keep it up. :) 

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Not to be a grumpster, but where on earth are you finding these 10 cent archies for $1? I haven't for years. I've been having to spend like $4-6 a pop lately. It's killing me! Anyway, I have to say, I have a very similar affinity for these goofy comics and pick them up when they don't break the bank. And I'm not even doing it under some sort of long term convoluted speculation play like most of my purchases, I just enjoy them for their corniness.

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I actually have a bunch of original Archie OA from this era too. Funny stuff I wanted to frame, but gave up on that idea when I realized how much it would cost to frame entire 5-6 page stories. Ok, a little later, but I have the tarzan story from this one:.... Am I allowed to comment like this in a journal?

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