The death of Archie Andrews in “Life With Archie” this week has created a lot of buzz – perhaps the most media attention given to a comic book death since the death of Superman in the early 1990s.
Superman, of course, came back to life. While there had been comic book deaths before that (Jean Grey, Jason “Robin” Todd and Barry “The Flash” Allen among them), Superman’s death and resurrection was a big event, and since then we have seen a lot of deaths or apparent deaths – Batman, Captain America, Professor X and various X-Men, Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm, just to name a few. For most, death is just a temporary inconvenience. Yet it remains a go-to device for publishers; the big Marvel event this fall is the death of Wolverine. And while Marvel says there’s no “exit strategy” in terms of bringing Wolverine back to life, he’ll obviously return in time for, say, the next Wolverine movie.
Archie’s death is a bit different; while Superman, for example, was killed by the brutish, alien Doomsday, Archie dies from a gunshot in a storyline that involves gay rights and gun control. So definitely some real world issues that have caught the media’s attention.
The Archie that dies is the grown-up Archie; it’s not even clear to me whether Archie Comics is saying this is Archie’s fate or just a possible future, since there had been two possible time lines in the series, one where Archie ends up with Veronica, the other with Betty. At any rate, the adventures of the teen-age Archie continue.