People We Look Up To #3: Reggie Mantle

"You know what I hate more than Archie? Nothing! Nothing on Earth!"

“You know what I hate more than Archie? Nothing! Nothing on Earth!”

I have read my fair share of Archie comics in my day, and I’ll thank you not to judge, but one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that I was never a fan of Archie. Archie was a two-timer to the nth degree. Archie would have a picture of Betty on his wall in one frame and then a picture of Veronica in the same place during the next comic frame. He’d still be laying down on his bed like nothing had happened. He was so much the two-timer his skill had approached the level of ninja and even they (the ninjas) were getting a little frightened. The only thing that made Archie comics good was they still gave you a hero. They gave you someone who represented you (if you were me, or like me) in the Archie world.

Whenever Archie was hanging with the gang, trying to figure out how to invent the first ever family comic threesome, and Reggie walked in, my eyes got a little extra sparkle. They sparkle as it is, it should be noted. I’d be sitting there on the bus or in a cabin at Diabetic Camp (that’s another blog altogether. I haven’t brought myself to terms with what happened at Segregation Camp yet) or in one of the back hallways of a shopping mall, despising Archie for spending his teenage years giving two women a fancy new complex with a lifetime warranty, when Reggie would bust in and actually tell Archie what an asshole he was. He even had dark hair like me. It was the greatest feeling in the world, seeing a guy who could almost pass for me telling it like it was to the person I detested the most.

they always say Reggie was the jerk, but what was the real story?

they always say Reggie was the jerk, but what was the real story?

Reggie actually cared about everyone else in the gang and was a pretty swell guy once you took Archie out of the picture. When Archie was there, though, suddenly people wanted to rag on Reggie for not being a TurboNerd like Archie was. Notice the trickery. What did Reggie get for being the Rainy Day Man? He got a couple of dates thrown his way, but you imagine the whole time they were there she talked about Archie and the date likely ended early.

Reggie is someone to look up to because, more than any other character in the Archie Universe, he hit Archie in the face. I bet the people drawing the comics thought they were a waste of their talent and really enjoyed penning those wonderful frames. They probably got to take turns, evenly distributing the vigilante justice frames amoungst the artists to soothe their savage hearts. It’s really nice to know that if a place like that exists there is room for a man such as myself. A man who will have no fear of telling another man when he’s being a scuzz. One of the most memorable comics for me was Reggie saying Archie had done a wonderful job decorating his locker to reflect his personality at the start of the school year. While everyone else had things on their lockers, Archie’s was blank, just like his conscience. Reggie reminds us that even though we don’t enjoy the main character of a story we can find comfort in the people who have to deal with that person. I think that’s an important lesson.

You know you want to.

You know you want to.

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