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PART TWO OF FIVE
The Pureheart Age of Comics!

RECAP: With a costume inspired by Superman and a name that may have been taken from the Mighty Mouse Universe, Archie as Pureheart The Powerful made his debut in the October 1965 issue of "Life With Archie." In that story, the super-powered Pureheart character wasn’t supposed to be “real,” he was just regular Archie Andrews as he had imagined himself in a dream. But continuity in the Pureheart Universe was far from consistent. In another story, Archie became Pureheart by calling on the "PH Factor," which transformed him into a superhero and also wiped out all memories of his superheroic exploits. Not only did no one know that Archie was Pureheart -- no one even knew Pureheart existed at all! (At least, most of the time.)

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ARCHIE #117 ACTION #285, FEB 1962 B&V #118, OCT 1965
JUST IMAGINE!

As it turned out, Mr. Andrews wasn’t the only superheroic dreamer in Riverdale. To say the least! Over in the Cooper household, young Betty Cooper -- she of the eternal crush on Archie -- was ALSO having .heroic fantasies. But unlike Archie's boyish dreams of power and glory, Betty's superheroic fantasies evidenced a far more feminine perspective. While Archie as Pureheart wanted to save the world -- Betty, as usual, just wanted to save Archie!

Virtually nothing in the Pureheart Universe was an original creation. "Super Betty" was obviously based on Supergirl (pictured above center), and she also shares her name with a fan magazine (left). But get this -- I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog and author of this article, believe that the title of Super Teen's first story was inspired by, of all things, an ad .campaign!

Not just any ad campaign, of course, but the famous “Just Imagine! series of ads promoting DC’s Justice League of America (pictured right). The original JLA title had launched in October 1960 with the tagline “JUST IMAGINE! Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder woman, Aquaman, J’onn J’onzz Manhunter from Mars have banded together as the JLA!”

Below, from Betty and Veronica #118 (Oct. 1965, cover shown above), is the splash page showing the first appearance of Betty Cooper as... Super Teen! It's written by Frank Doyle and drawn by Dan Decarlo. Her uniform is a basic Supergirl knockoff (sans cape), the first caption repeats almost verbatim the opening of the Superman TV show, and the story is titled (you guessed it) “Just Imagine.
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But Super Teen isn't all that interested in your standard superheroics. Oh sure, she wants to arrive in the nick of time and protect helpless victims with her super-strength in principal... but just look what Super Teen imagines this would be like in practice!
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.Super Teen's origin story, or what passed for Super Teen's origin story, was told in Betty and Me #3 (Aug 1966, cover pictured right) by Frank Doyle and Dan Decarlo. One day the gang goes camping, and Archie falls off a cliff and lands on a rock ledge below. He lies there, unconscious, and then the ledge began to crumble. Danger!

Archie's friends, including Betty Cooper, watch from above. They don't know what to do. Betty is frantic that her Archie is about to die! Daringly, she leaps down to save him, and somehow her pony tail gets caught in a branch. But don't worry -- twisting her ponytail is how Betty transforms into the super powered heroine, Super Teen! Below, she's seen doing just that...
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JUGHEAD as CAPTAIN HERO!
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Jughead as Captain Hero #1 Jughead as Captain Hero #2 Jughead as Captain Hero #3
.CAPTAIN HERO TO THE RESCUE!

Jughead's heroic alter ego had two first appearances -- his same debut story ran concurrently in both "Archie Giant Series #142: Archie's Superhero Special" (Oct 1966, cover seen right), and his own title, Jughead as Captain Hero! Most stories were by writer Frank Doyle and artist Bill Vigoda. Archie and Betty had taken a slightly humorous approach to superheroics, and Juggie, as usual, went even farther.

Just as Archie calls upon his "inner goodness" to transform to Captain Pureheart The Powerful, and Betty becomes Super Teen by twisting her ponytail, Jughead had his unique method of becoming Captain Hero -- he recited a mystic incantation over his beanie! It went like this (story by Frank Doyle, art by Dan Decarlo):
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.Another dream! What are they putting in the water in Riverdale?!?!? It seems to have given Forsythe "Jughead" Jones some major power fantasies, because Captain Hero had whatever .super power was convenient or necessary. He had lots of powers.

Left, Capt. Hero utilizes his "inner ear short wave radio waves." Below, he demonstrates abilities like those of Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Super Heroes (pictured right), who can change his shape into anything. When a big metal ball is menacing Riverdale, it's Captain Hero to the rescue, as...
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Jughead as Captain Hero #4 Jughead as Captain Hero #5 Jughead as Captain Hero #6
LITTLE ARCHIE as LITTLE PUREHEART!
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LITTLE ARCHIE #1, 1956 SUPERBOY #124, OCT 1965 LITTLE ARCHIE #40
SUPER KID STUFF!

Younger versions of existing heroes were nothing new to comics. Little Archie had been telling stories of the young Mr. Andrews ever since Little Archie #1 (July 1956, cover by Little Archie's main creator, Bob Bolling, shown above left). In the mid 1960s, Superboy's title often .showcased tales of the Man of Steel as a baby, including "Superbaby's First Fight!" from Superboy #124 (Oct 1965, cover pictured above center).

So, it was only a matter of time before Little Archie retroactively reflected his older self's recent heroic transformation, and Little Archie became Little Pureheart! The character only had three appearances in total -- below are two panels from the first one, in Little Archie #40 (fall 1966), showing what happens when Little Archie "calls upon the power of his inner goodness."
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PUREHEART CONQUERS THE WORLD

Shown left is a SPANISH edition of "Archi," featuring the debut of "El Heroico Archi" in Archi #167. This story was translated from the original, written by Frank Doyle with art .by Bob White and Marty Epp.

The Spanish cover blurb reads: “El Heroico Archi se enfrenta al peligroso... Cubo De Hielo" The original cover, seen right, had read: "Enter Pureheart, teenage superhero, to battle the diabolical super-fink.... The Ice Cube!”

Now that Archie's supporting cast -- including his younger self -- had been turned into superheroes, what would happen next? You guessed it, reader! It's time for Riverdale's three super teens to unite against evil! Be here tomorrow as Pureheart, Captain Hero and Super Teen team up to battle crime and injustice together as... THE UNITED THREE!


CLICK HERE FOR PART THREE!

The TRILLION DOLLAR DEBUT of the UNITED THREE!
SECRET ORIGINS of
CAPTAIN PUREHEART
PART 3!