My cousin introduced me to Archie comics when I was about eight years old. I was particularly intrigued by the LIFE WITH ARCHIE series that parodied the sixties spy craze. The series was called "The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E." and lasted only about as long as the spy craze itself. Still, it was enough to get me reading the other titles and sticking with the line even as the super-heroes and spies gave way to the hip "Archies" era. I bought all the records (and actually got a very nice email from Ron "Archie" Dante a few years ago!) and eventually joined the Archie Club, something I never even did with Marvel's MMMS! As you can see, I carried my official Archie Club press pass in my wallet for many years. The absolute only time I heard from the Club again was in 1970 when I received in the mail the flyer seen here.
Over the years, I never really left Archie even though I never bought much of the company's output again. I did buy the various trade reprints and special editions and I even had ocassion to wear my nifty Archie Club pin again when I appeared as Jughead opposite radio's Archie, Bob Hastings. I played Jughead twice in re-creations with Bob at the Cincinnati Old-Time Radio Convention in the mid-nineties but ultimately, I lost the role to Hal Stone, radio's original Jughead when he became a regular at the Cincinnati show. More about Hal later.
Speaking of Jughead, if you're in Cincinnati, you can meet his current writer, Craig Boldman at the Cincinnati Public Library today (Saturday, Sept 17th) along with previously noted underground legend Justin Green and various other Ohio Valley comics creators at the opening of an exhibit in celebration of comics revolutions.