"I'm so sad. I don't know what to say."
Those are the words of fictional character Betty Cooper on her blog on the ArchieComics.com website. Betty was reacting to the news that Archie Andrews has finally made up his mind and will propose to Betty's rival, heiress Veronica Lodge, in the first part of a six-part story that begins in the 600th issue of the Archie comic book.
What in the world led the redheaded Everyman of Riverdale High to pop the question after 68 years of dithering? Perhaps he finally became less intimidated by Veronica's overprotective father when he realized that his old jalopy is now worth more than all of Mr. Lodge's General Motors stock put together.
Tens of thousands of fans have flooded various websites with their opinions on the demise of the familiar love triangle. On one message board, 35 percent of the people said Archie should marry sweet "girl next door" Betty, 15 percent extolled the hidden virtues of the spoiled Veronica, and a staggering 50 percent of these news-savvy individuals said, "Betty? Veronica? I thought Archie chose Judge Sotomayor! Hey, when's the next election? I can't wait to vote."
I haven't bought a new issue of an Archie comic since 1972 (an issue of "Reggie's Wiseguy Jokes"), but I do follow the newspaper strip online, I still have my 1969 Archie lunchbox, I'm adding to my collection of vintage Archie comics, and my son faithfully watches "Archie's Weird Mysteries" on Saturday mornings, so I'm still interested in the outcome of the storyline.
It's fortunate that Veronica already has 10 of everything she needs to set up housekeeping, because no matter where your gift registry is based, comic book bridal showers are flooded with live sea monkeys, Charles Atlas exercise manuals, ant farms, hovercrafts, real-looking log cabins, Polaris subs, x-ray glasses, and Hostess Twinkies.
Don't kid yourself into thinking that romance is the only area in which Archie is wishy-washy. He's still trying to decide whether to tape the ceremony with VHS or Betamax. He's so woefully far behind the times, he can't decide whether the guests should be divided into "bride's side" and "groom's side" or "Whigs" and "Tories."
If Archie and Veronica really do tie the knot, what would the publisher do to keep the dramatic tension in the strip? I know the obvious answer is to devote the collector's item issue 1200 to "Veronica Pees On A Stick, Part 1 of 12," but let's be realistic. At the rate they're going, the only one who would be interested in Veronica's eggs is a paleontologist. I guess they could always do the "Veronica adopts Africa" storyline.
One thing is certain. Regardless of the religious affiliation of the clergyman performing the ceremony, he will solemnly intone, "If there is anyone present who knows why we should not stomp and burn that stupid 68-year-old hat of Jughead's, let him speak now or forever hold his peace!"
Of course lots of twists and turns can take place by Part Six of the proposal storyline. Maybe the status quo will be restored. Maybe Archie will elope with Betty. If a wedding does materialize, it will certainly put pressure on comic-dom's remaining confirmed bachelors, such as Mickey Mouse. ("Andrews, you dirty rat! M-I-C...see you in a dark alley...K-E-Y...Why? Because now Minnie will want a doggone ring...")
Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.