Robot 6

The safe surrealism of ‘Jughead’s Diner’

In this week’s What Are You Reading?, I mentioned that Jughead Double Digest #182 includes a strange, surrealistic story from 1990, “Jughead’s Diner.” The Archie folks were kind enough to share a couple of pages with Robot 6 so you can see what I was talking about. The intro to the story is done in blue and gray tones, and when Jughead is transported, on the page above, the palette shifts into full color and the panels start getting crowded. It’s written by Dan Parent (who later would create Archie’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller) and illustrated by Bill Golliher.

Like Archie’s Mad House, this wanders off the Riverdale reservation but never gets too edgy. On the other hand, it’s fun to see Parent and Golliher playing with the basic ingredients and coming up with new characters, even if most of them only have a few lines.



If this is the high point of Archie “weird” I’m glad I’m not reading any of the books. Also: deep-fried sprouts don’t look like that, and aren’t health food.

The page does get better if you read the rhyming waitresses in Wordsworth’s voice (from Heatcliff).

I swear this was a series at one point. I remember picking up an issue of “Jughead’s Diner” that was an homage to The Blob and included jokes about Charo, the chef being a heroic mad scientist of some sort, and Esther Rolle (who was drawn looking understandably confused). It was the strangest thing that Archie had put out, and considering my childhood Archie comics include a book where Jughead grew to Godzilla size after eating plastic flamingos, that’s saying something.

I loved this comic when it originally came out. It was utterly bizarre for an Archie comic and yet somehow familiar at the same time. After the first issue, every issue gave the spotlight to a different character but still managed to keep Jughead front and center. I always wonder about the background characters who didn’t get an issue; was there stuff planned for each of them that never saw print?


August 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

Naw, Archie has been doing weird since the 60’s. Go back and read some Mad House Glads issues – they are creative, weird, and often really good

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