Sunday, August 31, 2008

Okay, Who Came Up With This?

Meet Little Ambrose:

That's him at the top of the ladder. More to the point is the chap at the bottom of the ladder. That's Little Archie, aka, Archie Andrews, the character who sold more comic books in the Silver Age than anybody. And what is he doing? Well, it looks like he's rather cleverly painted the ladder so that Little Ambrose can't come down.

From this you might assume that Little Ambrose was some hate-worthy villain like Reggie or Lex Luthor or even Gladstone Gander.

But no. Little Ambrose was the youngster in Archie Andrews' neighborhood that Little Archie bullied. And I am not kidding about that. Consider these scenes from that first issue:



And incredibly:

Little Archie made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Horrific characterization for one of the most important comic book characters of all time. Little Archie and Archie himself were always good characters; when they joined the Superhero craze, Archie became Pureheart the Powerful, but in Little Ambrose, Archie should be Brutus the Bully.

Fortunately Little Ambrose did not survive past his inaugural issue; I assume that he had appeared in the Little Archie mags as well. I'm pretty sure he did not appear in any of the teenage Archie mags in the Silver Age. There is nothing particularly wrong with the character of Little Ambrose; he's the underdog who comes out on top. That's admirable.

The problem is making his tormentor Archie.