By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Chris Sims at The Comic Alliance highlighted the cover to Archie #608, which points in the direction of a decidedly different type of crossover between Archie and his gang and Josie & The Pussycats – specifically, the eponymous Mr. Andrews and Valerie, so uh, memorably played by Rosario Dawson in the 2001 Josie live-action film.
As Sims points out via a column by former Milestone Comics editor-in-chief Dwayne McDuffie, this isn’t the first time a member of the Archie creative team has tried to introduce an inter-racial romance to the staid Riverdale scene, only the first successful attempt. In 1992, McDuffie says, Betty & Me writer Matt Wayne wanted to give Betty Cooper a beau of her own to give Archie some competition for her affection (a twist on Betty and Veronica’s never-ending battle for Archie’s heart).
Wayne’s candidate was to be college freshman Dexter Howard, a young black co-worker of Betty’s. As another twist, Dexter wasn’t going to be a “bad guy,” but would instead befriend Archie despite their competing interest in Betty. Unfortunately, McDuffie says, the idea never got off the ground, as Wayne’s editor, Daryl Edelman, had the story soundly rejected by one of Edelman’s superiors:
[Edelman’s superior] hated the stuff, wanting to know why Dexter was so much more accomplished than Archie, “What is he, super-Negro?” (at least, “Negro” is what everyone who told me this story reported him as saying. I have a sneaking suspicion that they were trying to save my feelings). Darryl was very upset and told off his boss, but to no avail. He was ordered to change the story in the cheapest way possible: Dexter was to be re-colored white. Unfortunately, this fooled approximately no one. Archie’s offices were flooded with four or five letters congratulating them on their progressive move of adding that “cool, black guy” to Betty’s cast. Uh oh.
Wayne was subsequently fired after only two issues. Read the Post Race & Comics Roundup: Archie’s Romance, Milestone’s Return & The Great Ten