Comic Review: Archie Meets the Ramones
Writers: Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg
Artist/Letterer: Gisele Lagace
Colorists: M. Victoria Robado and Digikore Studios
Publisher: Archie Comics
They’ve been hunted by the Punisher and the Predator and hung out with kiss, but this time the Archie gang gets to travel back in time to 1976 and beat the Ramones in the aptly titled Archie Meets the Ramones in a special one-shot written by Alex Segura (Archie) and Matthew Rosenberg (We Can Never Go Home), drawn by Gisele Lagace (the webcomic Menage a 3), and colored by M. Victoria Robado (Jem and the Holograms) and Digikore Studios. The story follows the suckiest band in the world aka the Archies, and how they get lessons in becoming more “punk” from The Ramones themselves. The comic is a fun and cute bit of wish fullfillment as the Archie gang literally act out Ramones lyrics and even had a touch of punk rock to their usual bubblegum stylings.
Archie Meets the Ramones is a fun read and shows the power of music to put you in a good mood as Sabrina magically transports Archie and his friends to the 1970s after giving him a copy of the Ramones’ debut album to cheer him up after his band bombs the annual Battle of the Bands. Gisele Lagace’s art style is a hybrid between the classic Archie style and the “sexier” stylings of Fiona Staples in All-New Archie.
She uses speed lines and diagonal panels to bring the music of the Ramones to life on the page creating a kind of energy that is comparable to the “concert” scenes in comics like Scott Pilgrim, Jem and the Holograms, and the webcomic Radio Silence. The bolder colors from Digikore Studios bolster these sequences too from the normal walking around New York/Riverdale sequences. The mix of cartooning for the Archie gang and more of a photorealistic style for the Ramones band members creates a visually jarring contrast. It’s like if the Backstreet Boys starting playing Sex Pistols covers instead of multi-part harmonies. (Although Malcolm McClaren was totally the Lou Priolo of punk.)
The banter between Archie and his friends written by Segura and Rosenberg is sharp witted and delightful, and both writers have a handle on their personalities. Jughead gets all the best dialogue as he quips about the price of hamburgers in the 1970s, the ethics and mechanics of time travel, and the toll playing punk rock takes on one’s fingers. He is the only sane man of the group and tries to keep Archie grounded as the freckled ginger pursues his time spanning rock’n’roll fantasy. Lagace also has a lot of fun drawing the square, suburban Riverdale dwellers’ reactions to the punk scene in New York. I’ve never seen mouths as wide open as the Archie gang’s when the Ramones take the stage for the first time, and she gives Veronica some legendary side eye when Archie talks about having an actual shot at winning Battle of the Bands in both the 70s and present time. Plus the panel of Archie and his squad in leather jackets is one of the best sight gags of 2016.
Archie Meets the Ramones is a light, enjoyable read as Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg mine the huge differences between Riverdale and punk rock New York for humor. And life lessons. By the end of the comic, the Archies have learned some valuable things about creativity as they go from being a sucky band to a Ramones knockoff and finally a unique musical entity of their own. Segura, Rosenberg, and Gisele Lagace also pull some heart strings when Archie and his dad bond over The Ramones, and he presents him with a first pressing of their debut album thanks to some magic travel.
Music is something that parents and children can really bond over (Unless the song is “Cat’s In the Cradle”), and Archie Meets the Ramones captures this feeling between the concerts, punk hairstyles, and clever insults about The Archies’ complete lack of musical talent.
Rating: 6 (out of 7)