Saved by the Bell TP
Publisher: IDW Publishing (Roar Comics/Lion Forge)
lease Date: July 1, 2015
Price: $12.99
Creator(s): Joelle Sellner (writer); Chynna Clugston-Flores and Tim Fish (artists)
Format: 112 pgs., Full-Color, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6314-0312-5
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This is a good attempt at creating a comic which will compete with the classic Archie material, and will appeal to a similar audience.  It also has name recognition, being based on an older TV series which has been in syndication for a generation.  When it came out, it was pretty clear that the show had an Archie-ish feel to it, and it received high television ratings 20-25 years ago.

The comic book version does a good job of capturing the characters in a setting similar to that of the television show, but updating it to current times loses a few things.  It's as if the setting is partly frozen in time, but drifing.  Thus the then-futuristic robot built by Screech now looks almost normal or even retro, surrounded by Zach and his friends with their smart phones.  The artwork is good, conveying the high school atmosphere, but again some of the character attitudes are oddly retro, like the arguments over whether there should be sports teams for girls.  Even the muggers in one story are wearing retro bling, like something out of a bad rap video.  It felt like a 1980s story with occasional bits of the 2015 world leaking through.

So, if this is a new comic for people longing for the "good old days" of 25 years ago, it succeeds very well.  If it's trying to be a current story, the writer and artists might want to think about what they’re portraying.  They've created an excellent replacement for the style of comics that Archie is moving away from.  That might work, but that style may limit the audience.

For middle-school readers and up.  Very mild romance and cartoony violence.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.