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The Riverdale gang once fought Santa over pollution

Today we look at the time Archie and the gang had to convince Santa Claus not to give up because of the pollution of the world.

This is a feature called “A Political World”, where we shine a light on 20th century comic book stories that came out when the comics weren’t political at all, unlike the comics today. ‘hui.

This time around, we take a look at 1971 Pep Comics # 261’s “Christmas Past”, by (apparently) George Gladir, Gus LeMoine and Joe Edwards, where Archie and the teens from Riverdale have to convince Jingles the Elf to convince Santa Claus not to. not give up on Earth because of pollution.

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Pep Comics is one of those rare comic book titles where, when it underwent a drastic change in the function of the comic book itself, the title still fit. Encouragement Comics, you see, was introduced by the MLJ comic book company, which was named after the first names of the three guys who owned the company – Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit, and John L. Goldwater. Like every other pulp fiction publisher who got into the comic book game, MLJ was all about superheroes and Encouragement Comics debuted with the company’s most famous superhero, The Shield, who was America’s first great patriotic superhero (debuting a full year before Timely’s Captain What’s-His-Name). The series also featured The Comet, who was a revolutionary superhero in his own right (for some not-so-happy reason). However, a few years later, the series introduced a save feature on a teenager and his life. Archie Andrews quickly became so popular that he became the main actor in Encouragement Comics (One of the strangest times in company history was when Archie and the Shield shared the comic book cover. So you’d make them interact in such a bizarre way, that obviously a super- hero and a goofy teenager don’t really do it too well together).

Eventually, Archie took over the magazine ENTIRELY and the company was renamed Archie Comics. However, unlike, say, Action comics, Police comics, Tales to amaze, Tales of Suspense, Journey into the mystery Where Adventure comics, the name of the series, Encouragement Comics, worked pretty well for Archie Comics’ new comic-centric humorous approach. So it remained in use until its demise in 1987 (although Archie continued to use the name for some of their giant comics in the early 1990s).


At the start of legendary artist Archie Dan DeCarlo’s time in the business, he (along with writer Frank Doyle and inker Rudy Lapick) introduced Jingles, a working brownie / elf for Santa that only kids could see. . He would visit Archie and the gang every year (which, of course, doesn’t really make sense since the gang never seems to get old and yet Jingles would visit him year after year) and engage in all kinds of nonsense ( different artists would draw it differently every year. It was kind of funny).


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George Gladir was one of the most prolific Archie writers of all time. If Gladir hadn’t worked at Archie’s with Frank Doyle, who wrote arguably the most comical stories of any 20th century American comic book writer, then Gladir might have the honor himself! Still, Gladir was a remarkably prolific writer, and after starting with Archie Comics in 1959, he still delivered scripts until his death in 2013. Besides a keen sense of humor, Gladir was particularly good at keeping his stories up to date. day. The Archie comics are generally unusual in that they try to maintain a fairly timeless quality, on the whole, so that their digestive system can work. You see, Archie Comics is the company that came up with the idea of ​​selling summarized versions of their comics in supermarkets (a young Tom DeFalco specifically came up with the idea). Archie was able to make these summaries work due to the fact that Archie’s stories from different eras can very well coexist with each other. However, even with that in mind, Gladir has tried to keep his Archie stories between timeless and always “up to date,” which is no easy task, but it is a task that Gladir has been successful for over 50 years.

The artist of the story, Gus LeMoine, is a mysterious figure in comic book history. I only saw two comic book creators who even said they’ve met the guy in person. This led people to believe he might be a pseudonym, but LeMoine later made the famous Quick willie jackson, an Archie style African American comic series (VERY Archie style) and he had some issues with the publisher of that comic, and the comic book publisher interacted with LeMoine a lot and then talked a lot of him, so I tend to believe he wasn’t a pseudonym, and it’s possible he was the first prominent African American comic book artist for Archie Comics. Again, I don’t know the guy well enough. I wish I did.

Finally, the inker was Joe Edwards, another prolific artist who worked at Archie for decades, most famous on the recurring character he created called Lil ‘Jinx, a precocious little girl who was born on Halloween (all as Edwards’ son, Ken), hence the nickname.


The story begins with Jingles visiting and disgusted that he arrived right in the middle of the smog. He explains to teens that their pollution is ruining the planet …

He then drops the bomb. He thinks things are going so badly that he will recommend that Santa Claus suspend his operations this Christmas!

The teens are shocked, they have to convince Jingles to change their mind. They explain that the world NEEDS the Christmas season to give them something to break into the cynicism of the world …

Jingles is unmoved, as he feels like they are actively allowing this pollution to happen …

Teens, however, insist that they will do their best to fight to change the world’s habits …

Jingles agrees to give them a year to make a difference ….

And, of course, the pollution luckily ended in 1972. Phew.

Okay friends I’m sure you have any suggestions for some interesting political stories from the ‘good old days when comics weren’t political’, so send me any suggestions at [email protected]!

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson