It’s Archie Esoterica week! You have probably heard about Archie marrying both Betty and Veronica in the new Life With Archie title, showing how each of those paths would turn out; I believe there is a third storyline where he marries Valerie from the Pussycats. But did you ever imagine that he would marry Big Ethel?
That’s what Big Ethel envisions on the cover of one of the wacky Christian comics written and drawn by 70s Archie mainstay Al Hartley, who got permission to use the characters in these comics published under an imprint called Spire. I suppose the intent was to rack them side by side with non-proselytizing comics and hope people didn’t notice?
The actual content of the comic is pretty innocuous, a series of Ethel-focused stories in which she conducts a personal inventory, concluding that something is missing in her life. Fortunately, Dilton Doiley recognizes her dilemma and sets her on the path to righteousness.
I have never been a great fan of comics with a heavy-handed agenda, but Hartley’s Spire comics are actually pretty decent - especially compared to the hateful stuff that Jack Chick used to crank out.