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PART FIVE OF FIVE
Return of the SuperTeens!

RECAP: The Pureheart Age of Comics had begun in October 1965 in "Life With Archie" #42's "Enter Pureheart!" But then, in November 1967, the Pureheart line was abruptly canceled. As the Pureheart family lay dormant, years turned into decades, and it seemed as though Pureheart The Powerful's fabled "PH Factor" had permanently erased all memory of Archie's Super Teens from Riverdale. It looked like Pureheart, Captain Hero, Super Teen and Evilheart would never be seen again. Then, 40 years later...
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The whole Pureheart gang returned in 1994, in a four-issue mini-series from Archie Comics. These extra-sized issues reprinted the best of the old Pureheart tales, including every character's "origin" story -- but the real excitement about these books, for Pureheart fans, is that they each contain a NEW story featuring the whole Pureheart gang. Each new story is drawn by top comic artists known for their superhero work, and not generally associated with the Archie-verse. Below are several panels from these stories, followed by a look at the THREE NEW superheroes introduced in the Archie's Super Teens series.

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by JOE STATON


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by BRETT BELVINS and TERRY AUSTIN


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by SCOTT BEADERSTAT and MIKE ESPOSITO


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by STUART IMMOMEN

MISS GRUNDY as THE INCREDIBLE GRUNDY!
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SOLOMON GRUNDY INCREDIBLE HULK GERALDINE GRUNDY
BORN ON A MONDAY

"Archie's Super Teens" also featured the debut of several NEW characters in the Pureheart Universe, starting with Archie's homeroom/English teacher. In the Golden Age, Solomon Grundy was a Green Lantern villain. As far as I know, Solomon was not related to Geraldine Grundy aka Miss Grundy, Archie’s .teacher. In one story, Miss Grundy’s first name is said to be Grisensnable, but she is usually referred to as Geraldine Grundy. Did you know Miss Grundy was a pickle factory worker before she became a teacher at Riverdale High School! (Obviously, the school has the highest of standards.)

As a teacher, Miss Grundy personifies the prudish battle axe with a heart of gold. She pushes her students to excel, but deep down she's secretly quite fond of them. It was only fitting that when Miss Grundy joined the Pureheart superhero set, it was as a spoof of a certain "hulking" character similar to Solomon Grundy in strength and intellect... The Incredible Grundy!
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MOOSE as MIGHTY MOOSE!
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.Marmaduke "Moose" Mason is Riverdale's resident dumb jock. Known for his bulging biceps and flaccid report cards, Moose joined the Pureheart Family as Mighty Moose. This character was seen only once, in the panel shown below. Mighty Moose seems to be having a bit of trouble with shrinkage. (No, not THAT kind... I mean uniform shrinkage!)
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VERONICA as MISS VANITY
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ARCHIE COMICS HOUSE AD
From Archie Giant #142: Archie's Superhero Special, 1966


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ARCHIE #122 ARCHIE'S GIRLS B&V #67 SUPERTEENS #4
.VANITY, THY NAME IS... VERONICA

Poor Veronica! She's been with Archie since day one, but the entire superhero thing somehow managed to pass her by completely. Veronica, miss a fad? Unthinkable! Just look at Ronnie on the cover above center, copying Jackie Kennedy's hairstyle when it was all the rage. The girl has a passion for fashion! If half of Riverdale had gone superhero crazy, then it was only right that Veronica Lodge become a superhero too, just like Pureheart's other pals and gals!

I don't want to put down Veronica's fashion sense, so I'm not going to say which female recording artist (known for .dressing like a tramp) was the inspiration for Ronnie's superhero costume. All I'm saying is that pictured right is a woman wearing a vintage 1980s Halloween costume of this person, and she doesn't really look "like a virgin" in it. Is she vogue-ing? Good Lourdes! That's all I'm saying.

Anyway -- with the unnamed person described above as her inspiration, Veronica finally got all super and stuff in "Archie's Super Teens" #4 (1994, cover above right, panels below), when our Miss Lodge became... Miss Vanity!
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The RETURN of CAPTAIN HERO!
The new adventures of Pureheart and company didn't end in the 90s. This March, Captain Hero is making a comeback! It all starts when Jughead uses his imagination -- and reader, as you know after reading this series on the secret origins of Captain Pureheart, when characters in the Pureheart Universe use their imaginations... they become superheroes!

In Jughead #172, in a new story titled “Super Stomach,” Jughead imagines what it would be like to have a super-stomach, which would allow him to indulge in one of his passions -- eating -- all day, every day! Pictured below is a rough from the story by Craig Boldman, regular writer on the Jughead title. Thanks for the page, Craig! (Jughead #172 goes on sale March 22, 2006.)
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The WRAP UP!
Archie as Captain Pureheart The Powerful! The character and his world began as a dream, took shape as a reoccurring fantasy, and finally broke through into Riverdale reality. If the continuity of the Pureheart Universe seems to be in an ever-changing flux, blame the PH Factor. Don't blame the writers -- there was only one! That's right, the same person -- Frank Doyle -- wrote every single story set in the mid-1960s Pureheart Universe! But that was back in the days when FUN mattered more than "continuity."

Where is Captain Pureheart today? Oh, he's still around. He just changed back to a certain red-haired teenager, and busied himself with appearing in the ten zillion Archie titles currently being published. When will Pureheart, Super Teen, and Captain Hero return again? When they are needed, of course. That's what superheroes always do. They show up in the nick of time, fight the good fight, and save the day. Just imagine!
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COMING NEXT on DIAL B for BLOG:

SUPER-ARTIST CURT SWAN!