13 COVERS: A Celebration of SUMMER, by the Gang at ARCHIE COMICS

Summer officially begins! Betty & Veronica: Beach Bash! #1 is out this week! And Archie’s editor-in-chief Mike Pellerito and a coterie of creators pick their summertime faves…

By MIKE PELLERITO (AND PALS)

It’s the best time of the year – summer! To me, Archie and summer are synonymous; all the stories of the gang at the ocean, or at the Lodge Olympic-sized pool, tire swings at the lake, boardwalks, carnivals, camps, and beach parties! Kids (and the young at heart) for decades have brought piles of Archie comics to read in all the places Archie and the gang are visiting in the comics. Here are 13 COVERS from over the years that catch that perfect Archie summer vibe!

Luckily, I don’t have to rank these, but as far as covers go, this layout might be one of the best. Archie’s Pals N Gals #9 (1959) by Harry Lucey is the quintessential late ’50s early’ 60s Archie look.

Archie legend Dan Parent has done so many iconic covers so it was hard to pick one. I finally asked him to pick one and he went way back to Betty and Veronica Summer Fun #1 (1994) with inks by the great Henry Scarpelli. It’s sooo good, and I love that neon logo; I think we have to bring that back.

I feel like Archie Giant Series Magazine #140 Betty and Veronica Summer Fun (1966) by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick is one of those covers that comes up as a favorite so often we just have to include it. It feels fun with the bright yellow sky, the girls look happy, the outfits are so intricately designed. Despite its simplicity there are funny things happening in the background with the surfers crashing in the waves, and Dan even drew a caricature of himself on the lower left!

I asked Archie legend Bill Golliher if he had a favorite pick and he said: “Archie & Friends Summer Lovin’ #1. The issue from this summer (2022) was the first time I actually got to draw the classic jalopy. When I started with the company, Archie had already switched to the ’65 Mustang, so this throwback was a lot of fun.” It’s a beauty, and Tito Pena, Archie’s resident color genius, did a great job.

If you’ve enjoyed Archie over the last 10-15 years, you’ll see a lot of stories by Bill Galvan (check out Archie Freshman Year to see one of his best stories). Bill’s art captures the fun and youth of the characters so perfectly. When he told me his favorite summer cover, I was thrilled because it’s one of my favorites from him, too. Archie Comics Annual Digest #263 (2015) inked by Bob Smith and colors by Tito Pena, captures all that youthful energy of Archie, Betty and Veronica. Back then, our social media team took the book to the beach, and we got a perfect shot of the cover read in its natural beach habitat!

The Kennedy Bros. (Pat and Tim) are the wonder twins of Archie Comics; they bring excitement and wild imagination to their comics with a lot of inspiration from the old guard. You can see a lot of Harry Lucey inspiration in their work. The K Bros chose World of Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #88 (2019) inked by Bob Smith with colors by Tito Pena. They said, “We liked that there was a Norman Rockwell feel to it; very small-town America that you don’t see much anymore. I think that’s the appeal of Archie stories.” An ice cream truck used to come by the Archie office every day around 3pm and the staff ran out to get ice cream very similarly. I still have an ice cream truck in my neighborhood, and it’s one of the reasons summer is so great! But I digress…

Another K Bros cover that stands out is World of Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #110 (2021), inked by Bob Smith and colors by Tito Pena. Only those two could illustrate such a wildly fun water park like this!

Archie and Friends: Endless Summer #1 (2020) was the brainchild of Stephen Oswald, our production manager and huge Beach Boys fan, who worked on this homage to that album cover. Jeff Shultz tightly penciled the image (instead of the traditional pen and ink) and Tito Pena rendered his beautiful digital colors over it. The result was an awesome double page cover. Anytime we take this approach – like an homage to Rockwell’s self-portrait or Hopper’s “Nighthawks” painting — we get great results.

Another individual who’s great at drawing incredibly complex covers while making it look simple is the great Rex Lindsey! Jughead #204 (2010) came to mind as something fun and different. Rex is probably most associated with his work on Jughead. Outside of another all-time great Archie artist, Samm Schwatz, Rex probably has had the greatest impact on the character since his creation.

Rex can seemingly draw anything. No matter the complexity, he finds a way to make a clear and fun composition, and this one is really wild. We had a colorist try a different look for this story arc and Tyra White delivered big time, and with help from Tito Pena it looks outstanding. I loved the look of these covers.

I wanted to dive into the modern Archie comics, too. We have some amazing talents working on these, but it really all started with Fiona Staples. Her reimagining of Archie was a moment of perfection and this cover, the Archie #1 (2015) convention exclusive, is a perfect way to honor the classic with a new modern look. I can’t tell you home much I loved working on bringing the modern Archie to life with all those books.

Another great modern cover variant was Betty and Veronica #1 (2016) by Bilquis Evely. The layout, the colors, the looks on the girls faces; it screams, “Summer is here and so is a bold new era!”

We just released The Best Archie Comic Ever #1 (2022) which is basically a love letter to big summer blockbusters and all the wild fun of Archie Comics. Tim Seeley and Matt Herms created a perfect image to capture all that energy!

Finally, the new Betty and Veronica Beach Bash (2022) graphic novel features a classic Dan DeCarlo cover from Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #154 (1968) with the gang having the kind of party we wish we were at! I love when Tito gets to recolor old covers with new color sensibilities; it feels perfectly retro and fresh at the same time.

Speaking of fresh, I bet you thought I’d mention some of those infamous covers with skimpy bikinis, an inadvertent joke, or Archie saving Betty from some people he had to beat, um . . . up, well you can Google those yourself!

MORE

— Dig This Beachy 1964 BETTY & VERONICA Story Drawn by DAN DeCARLO. Click here.

— Dig This SNEAK PEEK at BETTY AND VERONICA: DECADES — THE 1960s. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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4 Comments

  1. I love the Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #154 (1968) cover. Josie (from Josie and the pussycats) is on the cover in the background dancing. Dan DeCarlo seem to have fun added his Josie creation (based on his wife, Josie) to the festivities.

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  2. I was always amazed that Betty Cooper was supposed to be this poor little girl but in every story she could afford a different swimsuit.

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  3. Archie Andrews is now 81 years old, Betty! Time to give up on him!

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