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The Saturday Comics: Archie by Spire Christian Comics

3 Mar

March 3, 2012

A few weeks ago I chronicled the newspaper adventures of Archie Andrews, all-American teen. Along with Jughead, Reggie, Betty, and Veronica, the Riverdale gang have been entertaining the country for decades. From the fifties through today, their stories have never really changed but have never gotten boring. In a sense, they are timeless. Like Peanuts, they have an inner morality that never gets preachy and never favors any one group or creed over another.

Except during the 1970’s.

Here is a portion of a comment posted on my previous blog by master commentator Daniel, to whom this post is dedicated:

I VAGUELY, nebulously remember when Spire Comics ( ? ) picked up the rights to the Archie characters, & their adventures / misadventures, etc., also had candy – coated religious & moral lessons inside the comic coating. Like a Jack Chick religious tract w / out all the anti – Catholic, anti – Jewish / pro – Protestant sentiment, or the invitation to make a ” decision ” inside.

I had to know more. Here is what wiki has to say:

Spire Christian Comics was a line of comic books published by Fleming H. Revell starting in 1972. In 1981 Hugh Revell Barbour started his own company, Book Bargains, which soon became Barbour & Company. Barbour acquired the rights to republish many of the titles in the Spire Christian Comics line under the NEW Barbour Christian Comics imprint, keeping the comics in print until 1988.

Most of the Spire Comics were written and drawn by Al Hartley, who was working for Archie Comics at the time. Due to this connection, he was able to get permission to use the Archie characters in many of the comics.

What you are about to see is scary. These are Archie comic books that look and read exactly like regular Archie comic books, drawn and written by a regular Archie comic book creator, but instead of the wholesome Archie hijinks they are full of Archie hijinks with a pro-Christian bias. I am not against Christianity or religion, but I am against this sneaky method of proselytizing. Imagine a Superman Comic drawn by George Perez in which Superman extolls the virtues of Scientology and you’ll see what I mean.

Got to love the bearded stranger.

You can find many more scans of complete issues right here.

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