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August 27, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Archie and Nobody’s Boy Remi

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Written by: Drew
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Comics, as many of us are getting used to the idea, are not just capes and cowls. The best example of this has been Archie, who has been on the scene just as long as any Superman or Spider-Man, and who has the most readers worldwide. Today let’s take a peek at the current state of Archie with the awesome Life With Archie, and for something a little different with something for you to watch, let’s peek at Nobody’s Boy Remi, all here at From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays!

Out on Stands: Life With Archie issue #1

2011 is going to be the big return year for Archie Comics. Quietly throughout 2010 they have been planning and laying their tracks to ride the rails of rockstardom again. This year they started small by giving us a taste of Archie’s married life, added a gay character to Riverdale, started letting other companies like Zoe! Books and Dark Horse do reprint collections of old Archie comics, and have now unleashed their first comic in magazine form, Life With Archie. Next year they are continuing to roll out by supposedly reintroducing all their original characters from Josie to Kathy Keene, DC Comics’ Tiny Titans will be crossing with the Lil’ Archie gang, and of course releasing a brand new superhero line developed by Stan Lee (as well as continuing to publish all their Archie and Sonic The Hedgehog hits). So now that I got my excitement out of the way, let’s look at Life With Archie.

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead For This Comic, Skip To Something To Watch Section if You Wish To Avoid!

Life With Archie rocks. I was surprised how much it rocked, to be honest; not knocking Archie Comics at all, I just didn’t expect it to be so good. What we get in a nice full color, big, glossy magazine sized comic, is two tales to be serialized, that continue the life of Archie on his two different time lines, one where he has married Veronica and one where he has married Betty, and the troubles they face in life.

The first tale is on the time line where he has married Veronica, and a life that seems like it should have turned out fine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Archie has gone to work for Veronica’s father and now is forced to learn how to be cutthroat in business. As we can expect, the lovable Archie isn’t too good at this, and turns a reunion of the old Riverdale gang into a bad night, after Archie reveals his company wants to buy out the burger place and tear it down. We get an interesting look here at an imperfect future: Archie and Veronica being caught between their friends and her being Daddy’s girl, Betty miserable since Archie didn’t end up with her and no guy compares to him in her eyes, Moose going to yoga to take care of his anger issues (a litle bizarre sounding but true), etc.

The second tale we get is what in my thoughts is the more interesting of the two. It follows Archie and Betty after they get married and move to NYC. Betty is struggling with cuts at an office and Archie is a struggling musician just trying to make it. However, one night after another dead-end gig and confrontation from Veronica’s Dad (seems Veronica is miserable in this time line cause she didn’t end up with Archie), Archie walks the lonely rainy streets of NYC and goes into a diner that is run by his old childhood friend Ambrose (that’s right, from Lil Archie! He’s all grown up now and is a little crazy, seems he really believes he fought space aliens and such along side Archie for real! Although he runs his own NYC diner now, so he can’t be that crazy. Major kudos here for bringing this character back into the mix.). However, while all these life hardships are going on, a mystery is developing. A professor lies in the shadows following our cast in the NYC shadows, and for some reason he knows about all the multiple Archie time lines: super cool twist, Archie.

The writing is solid for both stories (as mentioned, I love the cool mystery developing in the time line with Archie and Betty), and the art is standard Archie Comics, so if you like the style you’ll love the comics. The tone is much more adult with these comics, which is great. It’s aimed at teens and above, and considering all the drama that unfolds on CW shows and such, this hits home with them. As a person entering into their mid-twenties myself, and dealing with the struggles of life, oddly it’s nice in a  way to see a character I grew up with all these years, suddenly have to deal with the same things. Over all big congrats on this title, Archie. Pick it up, it’s on stands now!

Something To Watch: Nobody’s Boy Remi

Like Life With Archie above breaks what we normally think about American comics, the anime series Nobody’s Boy Remi breaks what many would just assume what Japanese manga and anime is about. There are no magic girls, no giant robots, no fighting tournaments. In fact, the original source material for Nobody’s Boy Remi is based off the French novel Sans Famille by Hector Malot. This series was produced by the Tokyo Movie Shinsha (which has animated a vast array of things, from Lupin III to Golgo 13 to Monster Rancher) and originally aired in Japan from 1977 to 1978. The series would be released in several countries and grow huge followings, including in Italy, France, and the Philippines. Interestingly enough, but not to anyone’s surprise considering the scene here, it was never released in the United States until this year, where you can find it subtitled and online at the Anime News Network, and you watch the entire series for free if you just click here.

Nobody’s Boy Remi tells the story of Remi, a young innocent boy who lives a poor life in a village with his Mom. Things suddenly just go plain rotten for this kid. His Dad returns and wants to get rid of him, due to them going broke since the Dad cannot work due to an accident. So after it is revealed Remi is just an orphan, he is sold against his mother’s will to a traveling performer (and that is just the roughness in the first five episodes). The rest of the series chronicles the hardship-filled adventures of Remi as a traveling performer, dealing with the death of the loved ones he meets, and his search to find his real mother.

The writing is fairly solid, although the formula seems repetitive at times: something good starts to happen and then we take it away and kick Remi a little bit while he’s down, so we can cheer him getting back up again. However, this works because he is a purely lovable innocent character, and we want him to win, we want him to finally find happiness at the end of the series. The animation is standard 70s Japanese, and TMS does what, in my opinion, is best for at the time and animates European locations (as they do a fine job of in Lupin III, The New Adventures of Zorro, and others). Nobody’s Boy Remi as mentioned is a nice breath of air from the usual anime stereotypes, as well as a blast from the past. Check it out this weekend!

That’s it for this week! See you in two!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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3 Comments



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  2. Billy

    Archie is a great character who will always be around in one form or another. Also, I think sopmehow I’ve seen that show (Nobody’s Boy), but I have no idea where. 😀



  3. I never was really into Archie and the Riverdale crew. Betty and Veronica annoyed me as a kid and the only character I actually liked was Jughead lol



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