If there is something – or someone – that will always make me fondly remember my childhood/pubescent years, it is Archie Andrews. Mention Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle or anyone from Riverdale and I am sure to get a little teary-eyed with sentimentality as well.

I first discovered Archie comics when I was in Grade 4, I think. My granduncle tagged me to a department store where I saw a stack of Archie comic books and after flipping through a couple, I instantly fell in love and gave my granduncle the cute puppy face look so he’d buy me some.

The moment I got home, I read all my copies in one sitting and just couldn’t get enough. I pestered my granduncle to bring me back to the department store the next day so I could get my hands on some more Archie comics.

It was an addiction since then.

One of the reasons why I love Archie and the gang – apart from sentimentality’s sake and the fact that it reminds me of the good old days, of course – is that it made my younger years a little more exciting. I was a huge nerd and I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was in grade school. I actually fancied being part of Riverdale and that I personally knew Archie, Jughead, Betty and everyone else. It was a make-believe world that I loved being in because it made me experience the fun and exciting American teen life (prom, trick or treat, slumber parties) simply by flipping through the pages.

While the lead character is Archie Andrews, I didn’t really relate to him (2 girls fighting over me? LOL) and I didn’t want to be in his shoes when I was a kid. I thought he was a little too carefree, lost and mischievous to be idolized. I thought he was too regular and being regular wasn’t something I aspired to be when I was small. I also didn’t understand why he was such a big hit with a lot of the girls. His hair color alone made my eyebrow zoom up.

The one that I completely adored was Betty Cooper. I loved her because she was cute, sweet, smart, resourceful, creative and passionate. I liked how she knew how to fight for Archie, but knew when to stop or how not to be so desperate about the whole situation. It’s interesting to note that Betty’s birthday is June 29, which makes her a fellow Cancerian. Now that’s why I love her so much!

Veronica Lodge on the other hand I hated with so much passion. I wanted to shave all her hair because she could get anything that she wanted just because she’s rich. It was so unfair how she got to successfully lure Archie into her arms all the time because of her looks and wealth.

And then there’s Jughead, the monster eater/sleeper with that tiara LOL and that Pinocchio nose. Apart from the nose, I never really understood why his eyes were always closed.

There’s also Reggie Mantle (the conceited jerk-hunk), Ethel Muggs (the ugly one head-over-feet in love with Jughead), genius Dilton Doiley, dumb jock Moose Mason, Midge Camp (Moose’s girl who’s Reggie’s crush), Professor Flutesnoot, Mr. Weatherbee and the Miss Tapia-looking Ms. Grundy!

When I grew a little older and got tired of my Archie digests, I donated all of them to my lovely lola who rented them out at her sari-sari store. And what do you know, it proved to be a hit with the neighbors. Seeing the neighbors read my Archie digests was actually bittersweet. While I was glad there were other people I could talk with about the gang, I also felt a little bad since the digests that I used to super take care of and buy with saved allowance were then just being carelessly read by neighbors. Oh well.

Another great memory I have connected with Archie is one concerning a classmate, who scootered his way to my house to bring me a stack of Archie digests. I ignored him and his digests. And now I regret it.

Of course, I kind of regret giving away my Archie digests (and double digests too!), especially because they no longer cost just P50 nowadays. However, what we’d been through are just erm locked inside my heart and my mind’s eye and no one can take that away from me. Except for me, that is, because I have bad memory. Good thing Archie and the gang never really grow up. It’s interesting to note though how they have caught up with the times and are now huge fans of camera phones, e-mail and the like.

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