“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
– Madeleine L’Engle
Part of the reason why I fell in love with reading is because of Archie comics. My dad was such a huge fan and we (my siblings and I) inherited his love for this quirky bunch from Riverdale. I remember spending hours poring over different editions of Betty and Veronica, Archie, Little Archie, Archie in the 40’s, 50’s, etc. My siblings and I couldn’t get enough of Pop Tate’s and Riverdale High that we even incorporated Archie characters in our role-playing games.
It’s been more than ten years since I last read an Archie comic book. This reunion with the gang in Archie, The Married Life, couldn’t have come at a better time. In this series, Archie finds himself in parallel worlds with two different loves and destinies. As the writer of the series points out – after 68 years of dating, wouldn’t we want Archie to finally settle down?
Since I’ve only reached my late twenties, it was kind of fun to see how the characters I met as a kid are also now growing up like me. What surprised me, though, is that the storyline was different from the Archie in my childhood. I found myself pleasantly surprised – it really did show that Archie and his friends were growing up. And not just simply growing old, getting jobs and moving out – but it was about that struggle of finding yourself when you’re thrown out into the world and away from everything familiar.
“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”
– Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
One thing I loved with this fresh take on the series is the character development – how did they all cope and move on from high school? As it was told in the story, some people feel like their lives peaked in high school and after that it was one disappointment after another. For some, leaving high school meant reinventing yourself and starting over. But either way, it’s still about moving in to unchartered territory, a time to test the waters and see if you’ll sink or swim.
“Finding that person that you can bounce off of – that will make you better than anything you can do alone – is a great moment.”
– Glen Hansard on Marketa Irglova
My favorite love story from the series would be the one about Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy. People would sometimes say that we spend so much time not saying what we want. I think there’s some truth to that. In a way, that’s what their love story for me was like. Yes, it’s still a case of the-person-I-love-was-right-under-my-nose-all-this-time. But for me, it was also about missing out on what makes us happy – not because the opportunity wasn’t there but because we denied ourselves of it.
“Maybe maturity – he thinks – is merely accepting the tally of all the disappearing options in life.”
– Miguel Syjuco, Ilustrado
One of the most powerful lines from the movie, Up in the Air, was, “How much did they pay you first to give up on your dreams?” Though George Clooney’s line was meant for a middle-aged man, I think this is something a lot of twenty-somethings have been grappling with. Even I find myself pondering about it.
I guess we can see how complex the lives of our Archie characters have become. The series takes you through a journey of disappointments, heartbreaks and confusion yet it also leads to a homecoming where joy, love and hope wait. In the same way that Archie Andrews tells us not to give up on our dreams, Benjamin Button (movie version) comforts us with his words, “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
And with that, I leave you with Switchfoot’s song This is Your Life. The interesting thing with this fan-made video is that it features scenes from the movie Into the Wild. How apt. How emo (haha :p). How twenty-something.