Ever since its premiere earlier last week, Riverdale has been a topic of conversation. The risk-taking new teen drama by the CW has already grabbed the attention of media critics and comic fans alike. Within the first episode alone, the series has already touched on some controversial themes.
Riverdale is loosely based off the Archie comic book series. Archie Comics has been an on-going, comedic comic book series starring a goofy red-head and his rag-tag team of friends. Since its beginning in the late 1940’s, it has always been a family-friendly weekly read for people of all ages.
However, in 2015, Archie Comics got a contemporary reboot, this time targeting an older demographic. Keeping it’s fun and upbeat nature, the comic book sheds light on common obstacles an average millennial will face while coming of age.
Since the release of the reboot, popularity of the Archie series has skyrocketed. The comic book is currently written by Mark Waid, who’s most notable work was Marvel’s 2013 run of Daredevil. It already has multiple spin-off series, including Josie and the Pussycats, Afterlife with Archie, and Jughead.
Although the comic book may have been given a much-needed update, it is still not an equal counter-part to Riverdale. The comic mostly consists of light-hearted and comical events. This is a stark contrast to darker tone of new CW series.
Despite the actors in Riverdale having a striking resemblance to their comic book counterparts, the character themselves are dissimilar. Some of the most notable character changes are in Jughead and Archie.
In the current run of the comics, Archie does not have any romantic or sexual relations with his teacher, Miss Grundie, nor would that ever happen in the Archie Comics universe. Many fans are outraged and disturbed by this subplot in Riverdale, due to the fact that Archie is no younger than 15-years-old in the series.
Another reason why fans are upset with Riverdale is because of a huge character difference in Jughead, who is played by Cole Sprouse in the series. In the standalone spin-off of the Archie series, Jughead, the character was revealed to be asexual.
So far, the producers of Riverdale have not made a comment on whether they will keep Jugheads asexuality cannon in the series. However, actor Cole Sprouse has actively fought on this issue, saying that asexual representation in mainstream media is important and needs to be talked about.
With most of the drastic changes that Riverdale has made to the beloved comic book series, fans and critics alike have mixed opinions. Some praise the CW for its edgy take on the series we knew and grew up with. Others criticize its scandalous subplots and call it a perversion of its original form.
With murder mysteries and a student-teacher relationship bordering on statutory rape (Seriously, isn’t Archie only a Sophomore in this series?!), it’s easy to see how some people think that Riverdale may be trying just a little too hard to escape its original conservative narrative. With a fan-base spanning over several decades, it’s easy to see why Riverdale has been a hot topic for both old and new fans alike.