I’ve been meaning to do this series for quite some time. I’d like to do several posts on my personal heroes, both real and fictional. Since this is the person that originally prompted this idea, I’m going to start here.

So, please let me introduce you to my personal hero, Archie Andrews.

Ok, I know some of you are thinking, “Why Archie?” Those are the kinder ones among you. But seriously, there are some wonderful things to love and respect about that rascal of a teen from Riverdale, MO. Let’s make a list:

1. He’s a really good kid when it comes down to it. Most of the trouble he gets into is related to his clumsiness, which actually makes him more endearing. But there’s something to be said for a good guy trying to do the best for his friends and neighbors. It’s not often that this sort of character makes and retains popularity in any culture, yet for some reason we like stories that might revolve around preventing an old lady from losing her fortune to a local con man, assisting in an understaffed nursery, or planting trees in a deforested area.

2. He’s the lead singer in a rock band. I make no secret of the fact that if it weren’t for my blasted and ironic inability to sing, this is really the career I was born for. I have the energy, I have the passion, I have the moves. Archie also has the voice. Not a great voice, mind you, but one passable enough that, while they are nowhere near as popular as Josie and the Pussycats (another Archie Comics property), they still are a fairly in demand entertainment. Thanks to the inclusion of the wealthy Veronica Lodge, trips to places as far flung as Alaska, California, and even India are not uncommon, nor impossible for the Archies. Did I mention that he managed to get the band named after him with no argument?

3. He’s been shamelessly dating two women for almost seven decades. I mean, he doesn’t even hide it. And he randomly dates other girls in between those two, who are not only not upset at him, but fight over him! I’m tempted to agree with Banky in Chasing Amy that Archie is attempting to get both together in a three way. If he hasn’t already. And when Betty or Veronica isn’t available? Well, there’s any of the other girls at Riverdale High, including Cheryl Blossom, the hot red head from upscale Pembrooke. While I freely admit that I prefer Betty Cooper to Veronica Lodge, Cheryl’s in a class by herself. None of which matters, because Archie doesn’t seem to have to make a choice!

4. He’s a letterman in roughly 78 sports. Now, I’m not much of a sports fan, we all know this, but I can at least respect athletic ability, and Archie has it in spades. While not as good as Reggie Mantle or Moose Mason, Archie still holds his own on most competitive fields. I suppose when you spend 67 years in high school, you have the opportunity to get really good at your school sports, but there has to be at least some iota of actual talent there for this to work at all. From hockey to soccer to surfing, Archie knows sports.

5. He has a love/hate relationship with every adult in Riverdale. While being a genuinely good guy helps him quite a bit, his clumsy nature often causes problems for people like Mr. Weatherbee, Miss Grundy, and Hiram Lodge. The interesting thing is that despite his mistakes and foibles, Archie seems to continually gain their goodwill. This is partially attributed to different writers taking different interpretations of the characters (another rant on how Betty in the latest Betty and Veronica is a lot like a Lost character I know), but mostly seems to be that while, for example, the ‘Bee considers Archie the bane of his existence, he still also acts in a protective and almost fatherly manner to the wayward teen, and they seem to enjoy a structured kind of friendship both in and out of school, somewhat related to Weatherbee’s status as a Marine. Archie gets a similar reaction from Mr. Lodge who can’t stand the kid, yet realizes that the awkward boy treats his daughter like the princess that Lodge himself would have her be, and gives him the benefit of the doubt on several occasions because of it. Being able to annoy every person of responsibility and still be liked by them is a huge success in my book.

6. Travel to fabulous destinations. Archie Andrews is far more well-traveled than I am. While, again, we have to understand that he’s had almost 70 years to do this, it’s still quite a bit for the middle-class son of a home maker and a mid-level business executive. Still, Archie has been to places as far away as Japan, Scotland, Italy, and Zambia. He’s traveled all over the United States and North America. He seems to wing it with Veronica to popular travel destinations on a regular basis, often bringing his friends with them. This man knows how to travel, and he does it both frequently and well.

There’s so much more to say about a great man like Archie Andrews (like having a best friend named Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones), but I think this is more than enough to give a good idea of why I might consider this kid from the comics to be a role model of sorts. He lives a life of fun, but tempers it with responsibility. He doesn’t shrink away from hard work or good deeds, but this is no hindrance to his social life. He tries to make the most of his place in the world, and does so with grace and good will.

Archie Andrews, you are a bro among bros, a gentleman’s gentleman, and one of my personal heroes.

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