Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by Steve Bennett on May 20, 2015 @ 12:40 am CT
Well, as you undoubtedly already know, Archie cancelled their Kickstarter (see "Archie Comics Cancels Kickstarter"), which is understandable given the consternation that resulted. Its ramifications have been covered pretty thoroughly everywhere else, but one thing did occur to me. When the "New Riverdale" Jughead series by Chip Zdarsky finally does come out, it will at least have to address the elephant in the room, the key question which has always surrounded Forsythe Pendleton Jones III. I am of course referring to Jughead's legendary indifference to girls.
This doesn't reflect any prurient interest on my part. Because I understand that speculating on this is sort of thing is like unwrapping a piece of bubble gum and secretly hoping instead of a tired joke you'll discover how Bazooka Joe got his eyepatch.* Personally I'm satisfied with the status quo as is, which as I understand it is that Jug is a uniquely outfitted outlier, a zen cool cat who doesn't need the hassle of a dating life. Though he did go out with girls; in the early days of the comic he even dated Betty and Veronica. He's never shown any misogynist tendencies and while others have (most famously in the movie Chasing Amy) I've never read the character as being coded gay.
So what, exactly, is his deal? Is he somewhere on the autism spectrum, suffering from social anxiety disorder, or just a late bloomer? I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned Jughead doesn’t need a label. I'm all for allowing the character to represent all those who are "other." Believe me, I’m not trying to force him into a box, especially seeing as how there are so many more boxes to check than there used to be. If you suggest he’s asexual you're just getting started; there's asexual, heteroromantic, demisexual, panromantic, gray-asexual, etc.
As to why he "has" to change, leave us face it, once you remove Jughead from the current rendition of Riverdale, a place trapped in a state of imaginary grace where no bad happens (for very long anyway) and plunk him down anywhere else (a tween-com, network TV show, major motion picture, etc.) the subject is definitely going to come up. At the very least there are going to be questions.
First Trailer for Bruckheimer's 'Lucifer'”) and to assert the obvious, inserting Lucifer Morningstar from Neil Gaiman's Sandman into a fairly standard police procedural is a profoundly stupid idea. One anyone working in comics would instantly reject for being repellant and ridiculous. It's also compelling evidence of the lack of imagination at work in Hollywood and how little they think of their audience. Not to mention it's more than a little profane for prime-time network television. One does have to wonder how long it'll be before someone decides that the series is somehow an attack on Christianity.
But that having been said, I can't help but remember the last time I wrote something like that it was about Fox's Sleepy Hollow which not only became an unexpected hit for the network but turned out to be far better than it had any right to be.
Trailer for 'Supergirl'”) and have to admit I admire the way they've tweaked the premise to include elements of a police procedural so its average AARP-aged audience won't think they accidentally switched on the CW network when it comes on. Though there's still a part of me that's half convinced CBS will chicken out at the last moment and re-title the series DEO: Department of Extranormal Operations so it will fit in better among all of its NCIS’s and CSI’s.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.