RIP Geraldine Grundy
Look up “spinster” in the dictionary and you’ll probably see a picture of Miss Grundy, the longtime homeroom teacher of Archie Andrews and the rest of the Riverdale gang. Everything about her screams “sweet 60 and never been kissed,” from her steel bun to her quasi-Victorian dress down to her sensible shoes. Of course, Miss Grundy was born old, and if anything she improved with age. Compared to her 1940s avatar (a wrinkled crone who worked in a pickle factory before turning to education for a career), her modern incarnation is quite soft and chic.
So it’s particularly poignant that just when she found love—with longtime crush Mr. Weatherbee—Miss Grundy also found out that she was seriously ill, and now we learn that she will shuffle off this mortal coil in issue #6 of Life with Archie magazine. Of course, the magazine is set in a different universe than the monthly comics: It follows the grown-up Archie and the rest of the Riverdale gang after they graduate from college, get married, and launch careers in an Archie-esque version of the real world. Miss Grundy will continue to torment the students of Riverdale High in the regular Archie series.
While it’s big news at the moment, Miss Grundy’s fate was actually foreshadowed in the first issue of Life with Archie, when she tells Mr. Weatherbee that she is gravely ill, and he responds by proposing. Unless the sixth issue is a huge break with the rest of the series, this is a very Riverdale version of cancer. We haven’t see Miss Grundy recover from surgery or spend hours in the infusion room getting chemo; she just works in her garden and looks a bit more haggard than usual.
(Also, Miss Grundy’s illness seems to take place only in the Archie Marries Betty stories, which makes one wonder if some odd version of the butterfly effect is at work: If Archie marries Veronica, does Miss Grundy get to live?)
Incidentally, the news of this sad event totally overshadows something every bit as momentous, and even more continuity-breaking: Jughead’s wedding. In issue #5, he gets hitched to Midge in a triple wedding with Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy, and Mr. Svenson and Miss Beazly.