Short Story Month: Jughead, asexual puppetmaster

Archie (Short Story Month #1)

As everyone is no doubt aware, Riverdale is the cartoon page’s version of David Lynch’s Lumberton, where monsters hold sway and Kyle McLachlan discovers the terror that is sexual longing. The town’s idyllic 1950’s facade disguises its true self, a roiling, oozing melange of male impotence, psychosexual class warfare, and biting satire.

Here, we find Jughead Jones — Riverdale’s asexual puppetmaster, the Puck to Veronica’s Titiana, forever toying with his “friends” for his own sick amusement — playfully engaging in the tenants of Marxist dogma as he highlights the antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests and desires between people of different classes. Veronica — representing Riverdale’s highest caste as scion of Mr. Lodge, the dark lord of capitalism — displays the instinctual ignorance of her class, praising a  “work of art” without giving thought to the artist’s true intent. So hellbent on proving herself a cultured citizen of Riverdale’s kleptocracy, she immediately proves herself the fool by inanely glorifying a framed likeness of foodstuffs (likely also adorned with infantile digestive juices), venerating the piece as worthy of joining the revered heights of Pollock and Dali. Jughead, the “artist” in question, effortlessly strips away Veronica’s affectation by revealing the true intent behind the art, that of proving the watcher an ignorant famewhore. Veronica’s face in the second panel betrays her horror of being proved a laughingstock. Meanwhile, Jughead’s garb continues his artistic attack, his shirt being emblazoned with a bold S, which we take here to represent the word sucker. 

No doubt Mr. Lodge will soon wreak vengeance upon the artistic community for this slight to his daughter’s vanity, insisting that all art which stains Riverdale’s walls be submitted to committee for evaluation of its overall worth to the community. His wrath thereby destroys the concept of artistic integrity and subjects the township to the banality of groupthink, thus ensuring his hold over the citizenry will continue uninterrupted for decades to come.