Monday, July 11, 2011
Bob Montana's Archie
This is the oldest Archie comic book story I have. It's by Bob Montana, from Pep Comics #31, 1942. From a humble beginning as a backup strip Archie took over the MLJ Comics line, and probably in the nick of time. As a reader turned the page of this issue from the last page of Archie he came across a Paul Reinman "Bentley of Scotland Yard" page showing a corpse impaled on a church steeple, dripping blood. MLJ cleaned up its act a lot with Archie, and probably had more than a few critics of the violent, gore-dripping comics of its wilder years before the publishers turned the company over to the Riverdale gang, and the pre-teen/teenage readers.
Montana, who drew Archie until the end of his life at age 54 (too young!) in 1975, did the newspaper comic strip version, which I read religiously. My newspaper dropped the strip shortly after Montana's death. I've included some early Archie newspaper strip originals by Montana I found on Heritage Auctions.
In this story we have the first appearance of Veronica's dad, Mr. Lodge.