"I must have punk on the brain!"

§ November 27th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "I must have punk on the brain!"

Jughead #327 (February 1983) – art by Stan Goldberg

Now you’d think with “Punk vs. Funk” on the cover, it’d be Jughead fighting George Clinton, but no, it’s the Riverdale gang’s encounter with punk rock culture. It begins in the school newspaper’s office, as Archie is complaining to Betty about punk fashions.

“Some of the punk hairdos are becoming,” says Betty, looking out the window at a couple punk-types. Stick-in-the-mud Archie disagrees: “Yeah, they’re becoming, all right — they’re becoming utterly revolting!”

One of the punkers overhears Archie’s comment, and responds:

Archie is stunned, stunned, I tell you:

Archie is convinced that Jughead needs saving from the pervasive evil of the punk lifestyle, and dashes out of the editorial offices to catch him. Along the way, Archie runs into Veronica, who is also concerned with Jughead’s recent personality change. “Betty acts as though it weren’t important,” Archie tells her. “Maybe the punk movement is getting to her, too,” responds Veronica. OH NO IT’S CATCHING.

And it’s not bad enough that Jughead is a punker, but Jug’s pal Hot Dog is in on it as well:

Archie and Veronica confront Jug directly, only to find that the change is even more extensive than they feared:

Jug..er, “Captain Thrash,” his unnamed girlfriend, and Hot Dog (new punk name: “Vicious”) brush off Arch and Ronnie, as they announce their intentions to head to Dingy’s for some grub. “‘Dingy’s!’ That’s the notorious punk hangout!” exclaims Archie, who decides to pay this clearly dangerous and disreputable den of sin a visit.

As it turns out, Dingy’s is just an open-air hot dog/burger stand, which you can tell is dangerous and “punk” because there’s a little pool of spilled liquid on the counter. Archie asks the proprietor, presumably “Dingy” himself, if he’d seen “Captain Thrash,” who directs Arch to “Club Chaos” just across the street. “You better not go over there looking like that, Jack — or you’ll be sorry!” warns Dingy.

There’s never been a warning that Archie hasn’t ignored, and he finds himself facing an unspeakable tableau of social decay and teenage rebellion:

He’s introduced to slamdancing, which in this panel is being demonstrated by people apparently in their 40s:

Even after having the dance explained to him, just a panel or two later Archie misinterprets events in the mosh pit:

Archie tries to tackle the guy, but before the subsequent kicking of Archie’s ass can begin, Jughead personally steps in:

…and throws Arch out of the club. Jughead wants nothing more to do with him: “I’ve got new friends! We share the same beliefs and goals! So leave me alone!”

Defeated, Archie believes his friend is lost to him forever. But the next day at school, he witnesses a horrifying sight in the paper’s office:

Archie and Veronica bust in, ready to save Betty from being punkified, but Betty has a surprise for them:

Sacrifices were made:

But Jughead’s time in the punk rock world has left him sympathetic to their plight:

And apparently their quest to give punk rockers a more positive attitude was successful, since Riverdale has been mostly cleansed of punker influence ever since. Well, there was that brief period when Jughead was a skate-punk:

…but that may be a story for another time.

READ MORE ABOUT IT: The Onion’s AV Club looks at Archie Comics’ other attempts to address popular culture, including a brief look at the same story I just related above (which features another great panel from the story).

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