Archie Comics Double Digest #257, which arrived in my mailbox Tuesday, leads off with a Bob Bolling-illustrated Little Archie story—not written by him, as so many were, but bearing his distinctive rounded drawing style. (Things flow and rolling in Bolling stories; even his people are round and pudgy.) Bolling’s still alive, in his mid-‘80s. When did he do this story? (A wonderful appreciation of Bolling, “Bob Bolling and the Pursuit of Melancholy Innocence, by Jaime Weinman, can be found here.
This is one of those nostalgia-packed trad Archie digests meant to hold the line against all the progressiveness and innovations in the non-digest Archie titles. There’s a snow-shoveling story, a generation gap story, two Monkees-style Archies stories (from when that hallowed band was a trio of Archie, Reggie and Jughead), a modern-art-is-bunk story (“How d’you know if they’re upside down?”). Besides Little Archie, the ‘50s Archie also-ran Wilbur (“America’s Son of Fun”) is represented. The Archies stories, complex arrangements of wacky gags, quick-changes, fantasies and a perceptible plot, are drawn by Bob White, in a style that really stands out nowadays. Not as much as the pair of Harry Lucey stories (“Hall of Fame” and “The Christmas Game”) do, however. Most of the stories here, in any case, are drawn by Stan Goldberg. Samm Schwartz barely gets a page in edgewise.