A major bone of contention between my wife and I is the debate that threatens to pull our marriage apart (well, not really, but you know what I mean). It centres around one question:
If Archie was suddenly murdered, who would his murderer be?
We have defended our theories in public and in private. We have tried to gain the support of others in the hopes of winning the argument by sheer volume, but alas we are still locked in this bitter battle. So it has come to this, our final plea to the internet and its readers.
I, John, will be arguing that Archie Andrew’s murderer could only be one of two people: Betty Cooper or Jughead Jones. Katherine will be arguing that the only possible murderer is Veronica Lodge. We beg that you help us decide. Who is the true killer?
JOHN: Ahhhhhhhhh, Archie Comics, how I loved them as a child. I cannot think of a comic series that has united Millennials more than the Archie Comic books. As a kid growing up in rural BC every one of my friends had Archies, in fact it was noticeably weird if they didn’t have a Archie collection. Kinda like toilet paper in that way, you only notice it if it isn’t there.
KAT: I remember coveting my best friend’s Archie collection when I was a kid. She had a huge shelf full, and every time I came over I would find one and bury my nose in it. It got to the point where she would try to hide them when I came over, since she wanted to go out and do something other than, you know, read Archies.
JOHN: A couple Thanksgivings back, I happened to stumble upon an Archie comic on the coffee table at Katherine’s brother’s place. At this point I hadn’t read an Archie in years. As I casually flipped through the pages, I was suddenly struck by a revelation: Betty is creepy as heeellll. I came to the conclusion that if Archie was going to be murdered by anyone, it would definitely be by Betty. Later, I developed another theory, which I’ve included below.
KAT: And so began one of the biggest arguments of our marriage. John staunchly insistent that Betty had done it, while I knew for a fact it HAD to be Veronica. Of course, there are always those who insist that it was neither of these women, and that Jughead was the murderer. Below, we’ve decided to lay out our arguments for you. One of the most interesting parts of this debate (and it’s a debate we’ve brought up at quite a few parties now) is just how well we all think we know these characters, and just how angry we get what the wrong character gets accused of MURDER….
JOHN: Ahhhh, Betty Cooper, my first fictional crush. What wasn’t to love about her ? She was beautiful, smart, caring and loyal. Very much the girl next door. She had such an effect on my life, and the lives of many prepubescent boys, that Betty Cooper became the standard against which I judged all potential girlfriends: the Betty Cooper standard. My impressionable mind was also influenced by the Betty prototype that cropped up as a love interest in films. I also felt sorry for Betty, and sympathetic towards her cause. She loved Archie and I (we) knew that they would be perfect for each other, if only he could see it.
Betty’s unhealthy obsession could be linked to “morbid jealousy”, which could easily lead her to conclude that “If I can’t have him, than no one can.” Her unhealthy reliance on Archie’s affection is the fuel that drives her day-to-day existence. Without his affirmation she ceases to exist.
This is how I see the murder happening:
Archie calls Betty telling her that he has finally seen the light, he finally knows who should be the future Mrs. Andrews and he can’t believe that he didn’t see it sooner. Betty’s heart flutters in anticipation to hear the words that she has longed to hear, to finally be rewarded for her diligence and faithfulness. But, instead, Archie tells Betty that she is his best friend and he needs advice on how to propose to Veronica. Of course she is supportive and graceful with this heart-breaking news, but that is also when she makes her decision. She has to kill him. She has to stop him from making the worst decision of his life. It is a true crime of passion, and who could really blame her after so many years of neglect? After seventy five years of playing second fiddle to Veronica, Betty can’t take it anymore. She shows up on his doorstep shortly after getting off the phone. She’s holding her hand-made, life-sized Archie replica. She beats him with it until she knows all life has left his body. Then she sits down beside him and holds his limp body as she waits for the cops to arrive.
KAT: I disagree with John entirely. Betty? A murderer? She couldn’t do it, even if she wanted to. Her entire life has been based on doing the right thing, no matter what the cost. Even when it has meant losing Archie time and time again, she’s always made the right decision.
Besides, she’s gotten used to the disappointment.
Veronica, on the other hand, always gets what she wants. Whether it’s an expensive new outfit (something Betty could never afford) or the cute new boy in town, Veronica always gets her way. That’s why it would be so utterly shocking if, one day, Archie said “no”. Archie, the one who was always there for her to run back to when she was tired of whatever cute new boy she happened to be chasing. Archie, the boy whose affection she would usually only win so she could rub it in the face of her best friend and enemy, Betty Cooper.
You see, for Veronica it was never just about the conquest of winning Archie, it was also about making her ultimate frenemy, Betty, suffer. You see, Veronica is a bit of a psychopath. She manipulates and lies to get what she wants. She flies into a rage when her plans have been spoiled and, without a doubt, she considers herself better than everyone else in her town.
That’s why Veronica could never allow Archie to reject her. It’s also why no one could ever know if Archie ever refused her advances. For Veronica, to be rejected by Archie is more than being spurned by a loved one. It means losing, and Veronica never lets herself lose anything.
This is how I see the murder happening:
All of his life, Archie has pursued Veronica above any other woman, while she only seemed to keep him around as a backup. She’d string him along, but then she’d turn around and break up with him whenever a new cute boy happened to be in town. The more he thought about it the more he realized, there was only one girl who had always been there for him. The girl who was always cheering at his concerts, nursing him back to health when his clumsiness got the better of him, reminding him that even when no one else believed in him, she did. One day Archie just woke up. He realized Veronica didn’t care. She had never cared. She didn’t want him, she just wanted to beat out Betty at anything she wanted. “Screw Veronica,” he thought to himself. But it wasn’t enough. He had to tell her personally, to her face.
It’s late when he arrives at her house to tell her the news. She listens quietly as he tells her his new epiphany and she clutches the vial she keeps on her person at all times, in case such an occasion every arrived. She orders the butler to bring them both drinks, but when she picks them up, she slips something tasteless and traceless into his drink. Hours later, Archie dies in his sleep and the death is ruled a freak accident. When Veronica hears the news from a sobbing Betty she smiles to herself, content that she won her battle with Betty one final time.
KAT: Ideally, we would end our debate here and ask you to cast your ballot below. However, there is one last character who comes up every time we invite this debate. John will explain below why so many people turn to Jughead as a valid answer in the “who killed Archie” debate.
JOHN: One of my favourite characters in Archie comics has to be Jughead Jones, the essential best friend. Jughead was the poster boy of a best friend, and maybe the poster boy for a laissez faire/” I don’t give a crap” attitude that every movie bad boy has. Nothing seemed to bother Jughead, it seemed his life motto was “water off of a duck’s back”, at which point he would drool thinking about duck. He simply lived the good life of eating whatever he wanted, and not caring a crap what people thought of him.
But, perhaps this was all a front. Perhaps Archie comics are actually a lot darker than we thought.
Many of Jughead’s key characteristics signal that he is clinically depressed: the eating, sleeping, and lack of interest in life are all red flags. But I couldn’t help but wonder, is there anything specific fueling his depression? Then it struck me: maybe Jughead was in love with Archie. The vast majority of Archie comics take place in a society that, if not outright homophobic, rarely, if ever, mentions same sex relationships (until much, much later issues).
When you think about it, it all begins to make sense: Jughead’s complete disinterest in women, his key role in so many plots concerning Archie, not to mention his unhealthy obsession with hot dogs (Freud would have a field day with that!).
Much like Betty Cooper, Jughead has had to keep his true feelings on hold for 75 years because Archie Anderson is too selfish to pull his head out of the clouds and recognize the love Jughead has kept hidden in plain sight.
This is how I see the murder happening.
Unlike Betty, Jughead does not kill Archie in a fit of unbridled rage and passion. Instead he is calculated and efficient. He knows his love can never be (after all, he has been key witness to Archie’s obsession with women for many years), but he just can’t live with the thought. On a typical afternoon, Jughead lures Archie to lunch at Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe. Jughead is careful to be the one to grab their burgers from the counter, where he adds enough rat poison to kill ten Master Spinters. For once, Jughead eats slowing, waiting to make sure Archie dies first. He wants to make sure his beloved friend passes safely onto the other side. Finally, after consuming his fill, his dead body collapses onto the familiar pile of burgers, never to eat again.
JOHN‘s entire life revolves around his wife KAT, who he realizes is probably right about everything in life, including this.