Bif! Bang! Zonk!
The past couple of years have seen Archie characters interacting with retro icons like The Monkees and The Ramones, but despite how fantastic these crossovers were, they were just warm-ups for the majesty that is Archie Meets Batman ’66. The recent five-issue mini-series — written by DC stalwart Jeff Parker with Michael Moreci and illustrated by Archie legend Dan Parent (the creator of Kevin Keller), this event was a joyous celebration of both franchises.
Context, as always, is important here. In the late 1960s, both Batman and Archie were experiencing then unparalleled levels of success. The former was the star of his own ABC television series, while Archie and his pals and gals were igniting Saturday mornings with their massively successful The Archie Show cartoon (and its various spinoffs), and also experiencing success on the musical charts with hits like “Sugar Sugar” and “Jingle Jangle.”
Each of these in their own way offered a brief respite from a world that was engulfed in turmoil during the era. Batman brought camp to the masses, while the purity of Riverdale transported readers into a safer, idealized world where teens could still be concerned with dances and dates as opposed to being drafted to serve in Vietnam.
And so once again the cliche that everything old is new again can be trotted out, especially with the current news cycle being an endless soul-crushing carousel. In other words, at this specific point in history we could really use the lightweight diversion and innocence that 1960s Batman and Archie can give us. (Besides, the darkness of these characters is still front and center in the various Batman comic titles and the death-plagued Riverdale).
The upcoming trade of Archie Meets Batman ’66 will do just that, featuring some fun twists that incorporate characters who didn’t exist 50 years ago (a la Poison Ivy and Cheryl Blossom) and dialogue like “you and Batgirl need to recover from the effects of the monkey” that showcases how ridiculous the source material could be at time. Amazing.
Parker and Moreci do an incredible job seamlessly mixing and matching both Archie and Batman characters in an engaging story that feels very much like it could have aired in the 1960s. As for the eye-popping art, Dan Parent works overtime to pay visual tribute to the unforgettable aesthetics of the Batman series.
There’s also plenty of Easter Eggs thrown in that I dare not spoil here, but be sure to give this a few reads to catch all of the clever allusions to Archie and Batman history incorporated.
We’ve got your first extended look at the book’s opening, in which both comic worlds collide in the most satisfying way possible:
Archie Meets Batman ’66 hits comic stores on March 27th. For fans of both franchises, or just fun in general, this is essential reading.