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If Courtney Ran Archie Comics Social Media

I often complain about Archie Comics and their pandering social media practices, which got me thinking… what would be different if I controlled Archie Comics social media accounts?

To be clear, I do love Archie Comics for what they produce. A lot of their comics are great escapes from the typical superhero stories that pop up twice a month. Their comics remind me of high school and stress that comes along with it. But as an Archie fan, there are definitely some changes that I would like to see the company make in order to enhance the reader experience, including:

1. Toning down the frequency of advertisments

I understand that Archie Comics, from a business perspective, wants to advertise up-and-coming comics. That’s how I found out that Josie and the Pussycats, Betty and Veronica, and Reggie were getting a new comic, so I have no real complains there.

However, this advertising can be excessive on social media.

For example…

Archie Comics shared on Facebook that they will be at New York Comic Con this yea, but instead of accompanying this post with a photo related to New York Comic Con, they instead chose to include a visual advertisement for Archie Meets the Ramones. It’s just not relevant.

The company also over advertises their upcoming comics on social media, an example being the heavy advertising that led up to Josie and the Pussycats first issue (which came out on September 28). Almost every post for the days up until that point was about Josie and the Pussycats, and while I understand the company’s desire to get fans excited for the comic, forcing advertising down fan’s throats is too excessive.

2. Doing memes….but having them make sense.

i-hate-archie-comics

This. ^

This the exact thing I hate when it comes to companies trying to appeal to teens/trending topics.

How does this make any sense to someone? I get the beginning is a “funny” reference to Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and their song “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but every unoriginal asshole on the Internet uses that joke.

The second part of the tweet is a reference to Mean Girls (one of my favorite movies ever)… another joke I’m totally over.

That last little “buy our comics” bit is so sad and so desperate. This makes me imagine some grown man, probably in his 40s, getting no help from his children on what’s hip, so he’s stumbling around trying to figure it out himself.

How can you do a relevant meme with Archie? Well, the running gag on their Tumblr is that Archie himself runs their social media. If they wanted to be relevant, then they easily could have done a #DescribeYourselfWithThreeFictionalCharacters post. They could have either done three incarnations of Archie himself OR gotten creative and thought of three other characters that might be similar to Archie.

Conan O’Brien chose Archie for one of his three fictional characters, so this would have been the perfect opportunity for the company’s social media page to jump on the trend.

You can be relevant without pandering.

3. Posting fan art.

This one is a little bit of a difficult one.

I feel that Archie could benefit from fan involvement by sharing fan art, but I know the company would never do that. Years ago, they tried suing Fanfiction.net because people were writing fan fictions about their characters, citing that the action would “dilute and tarnish their character.”

You read that right. The company that has had Ashlee Simpson referenced in their comics, did a crossover with Glee and the movie Sharknado, thinks that fans writing stories about characters romantically and/or sexually together would tarnish their character.

Sure, Jan.

I feel like if they did contests for fan art or stories through their social media pages, they could get more fans involved, and it would be a great way to showcase talent.

4. Doing Facebook Live Q and As with writers and artists.

Tumblr recently did a Q and A session with writer Mark Waid, which was very interesting. It made me wonder why these kind of live events don’t happen more often.

Hell, Archie Comics could even do it as a promotional live event with Riverdale with the actors answering questions on the set. This would be a great way for fans to be able to ask questions and feel connected with a comic book brand that has been in their lives for a long time.

These are just some of my ideas with what I would do to run Archie Comics social media. This was mostly in fun, but I think if they did do some of these things, their social media presence would be less cringe worthy.

What changes do you think Archie Comics should make in regards to social media? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Demographic Pandering: Why this Annoying Practice Simply Doesn’t Work

The media has failed the current generation of teenagers.

Rather than trying to draw in teens and tweens with engaging and compelling stories, big media outlets (such as comics, television, and movies) often choose to pander to the teenage demographic with memes and pop culture references instead.

Although it’s a sentiment that not everyone will agree with, I wholeheartedly believe that teenagers deserve better from their media.

I often mention during my Archie reviews that Archie Comics tries to pander to the younger demographic, not only through the comics themselves, but through social media. Pandering, is, in simple terms, when a media company attempts to target and draw in a specific demographic (usually teenagers) in hopes that they will utilize or purchase their product.

I usually only call out the pandering I see with Archie because I see it happening all the time on their social media (especially on Tumblr and Facebook), but obviously this is a problem with companies and properties across the spectrum.

The reason why the practice of pandering frustrates me so much? Because companies can reach their target demographic without the pandering nonsense. In fact, if the pandering is too excessive, companies may even scare their target demographic away.

A perfect example of pandering gone wrong is the truth.org commercials, which use outdated Internet memes to scare teenagers away from smoking. The sad truth is that these kinds of PSAs will do very little to lower smoking rates among teenagers and young adults. The real way to get kids and teens to stop smoking? Be honest about the facts and don’t try to become friends with the audience.

The buddy-buddy tactic makes companies kind of look like this:

To use Archie comics as a further example, the only current incarnations of the comics that I haven’t seen pandering in is Jughead.

Jughead’s dream sequences are normally the only time the comic uses pop culture references, which I really like because it seems realistic. After all, who wouldn’t want to dream about a high tech future or a Game of Thrones like adventure? Unlike Jughead, Archie overuses hashtags and heavily promotes their social media accounts.

I understand that Archie Comics wants the young demographic to be a part of the comic, but it’s a little weird to see Archie turn towards me and say “Hey! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr @archiecomics! And don’t forget to send ideas for the #LipstickIncident!”

If you ask me, it’s all a little unnecessary.

It’s possible to sell teenagers compelling stories and dramas without pandering, the best example of this likely being Degrassi.

For those who have never been a teenage girl, or never got into it, Degrassi is an almost thirty-year-old (you’re reading that right – next year is Degrassi‘s thirtieth anniversary) teen drama that tends to focus on hot button issues that teenagers might deal with such as STDs, teen pregnancy, and gun violence. Not only did the show feature the issues that would effect teenagers, but all the kids on the show were actual teenagers that usually never had any other acting experience prior to the show, making the viewer experience that more real.

Now I usually don’t have much to complain about since I’ve seen and enjoyed almost every episode of the series, but the original incarnation of the series did not feature any pop culture references, and sadly, with the show’s latest incarnation, Degrassi: Next Class, it’s clear to see from the intro that the show threw the unofficial no-pop references rule out the window.

Now you may be thinking “Okay Courtney, but this is for teenagers! How else are you supposed to be able to relate to them?” How about with compelling stories and only having minor references to anything of today? I understand that the use of technology is pretty huge and discussing it is a great way to keep teens safe, but the intro for the new show really screams “we don’t know what the original intent of the show is anymore!”

One of my favorite stories (and what got me into the show itself) were the episodes “What a Girl Wants (1)” and “What a Girl Wants (2)” from Season 10 of Degrassi: The Next Generation. These episodes told the story of rich girl Fiona Coyne, who was being abused by her boyfriend, Bobby. It pained me watching Fiona suffer with alcohol addiction, eventually even hurting Adam Torres (the first transgender character on the show) by ignoring the fact that he was a boy. The story deep with many levels, and it was relatable for anyone who has experienced a similar situation (like me).

No pop culture was involved in these episodes, sans the use of a cellphone, which Fiona used to circulate photos of herself that made her appear more hurt than she really was (for sympathy, of course). Fiona is a really good example of a multilayered character, and I was happy to watch her story arc as time went on.

Degrassi did a very good job of using technology, but not pop culture, to create good stories.

Another good Degrassi example?

Degrassi High‘s season 2, episode 10 “Showtime (1)”. For a long time, this was the only Degrassi episode that featured a character suicide (Claude Tanner). It was a very serious episode, and it even opened with the actors discussing suicide and how the show dealt with the tragic story line. It was a really good episode, and one I would recommend anyone to watch.

Series like Degrassi prove that compelling storytelling and teen dramas can come hand in hand, so it upsets me when I see obvious pandering in not only the newest incarnation of the show, but in all media targeted at teens.

The next generation seems doomed to deal with corporate pandering and a lack of storytelling for the long haul.

Just in case you’re doubting how bad the issue has become, I leave you all today with a video that perfectly exemplifies how horrifying pandering has become:

And yes, this is a real ad posted by Nickelodeon.

What are your thoughts on demographic pandering? Let me know in the comments!

 

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‘Orange is the New Black’ Review: Power Suit

Summary: 

The newcomers stir up ethnic and domestic conflicts, but Maria sees an opportunity. Judy’s special treatments raises eyebrows.”

Review:

The main plot points this episode are with Ruiz, the race issues that are brewing in the prison since the Latin population is growing, Caputo trying to deal with the sizing issue, Piper trying to still act tough with the help of Red, and Judy King making her stay at Litchfield.

I’m very glad how they are developing Ruiz as a character. It was nice to see her background and more about the father of her child. It helped us see that it’s in his nature to be quiet, she understands that, and they do have love for each other. With this flashback, you also see her father, who is El Leon, and why she isn’t really trying to take sides in the race wars. I liked that we got to see how tough Ruiz is, and the ending where she and Blanca are kind of joining forces brings some promise of what might be coming in future episodes.

Caputo dealing with the sizing issues is a nightmare to watch. It was hard to feel sympathy for him because any time he’s trying to help the cause, it seems like he’s making it worse. On what planet does he really think that port-a-potties and ear plugs are a good solution for being one hundred plus people over capacity? The only good thing to come from this was the mention that they should hire retired veterans as COs, especially disabled ones. Their reasoning for it is really shitty, but if this were to happen, maybe Bennett would be coming back. I hope this happens because Daya needs that closure.

Piper is still acting tough and “gangsta”, and it’s still annoying. I do love that she tries to act tough in front of Red, who responds by immediately shutting that stuff down. I wasn’t really a big fan of how she tried to get her roommate to be her “secret service”. It was really embarrassing to watch, and it made me kind of cringe since it shows how much she’s the writer’s favorite.

Judy King is probably my favorite person at Litchfield right now. The fact that she’s just taking advantage of the fact that she’s getting special treatment is pretty funny since it seems like she’s asking for it. She does mention that she doesn’t want anyone that would be a threat or problem as her roommate, which ultimately leads to Yoga Jones being her roomie. It will be interesting to see if she will stick to her guns about not wanting to fully be immersed in the special treatment that comes with that room.

There’s a few little roommate wars that are mentioned in this episode, such as the issues between Cindy/Tova and Alison and the issue between Red and Dwight. There’s also small mentions with Daya and her mother about Ceasar that I’m not going to get too much into, but their relationship is pretty toxic.

The one between Tova and Alison, who isn’t named until later (I had to find her name while rounding the Internet) is definitely supposed to show a religious war, which I feel is not necessary for this story. I understand that religious scuffles do happen, and are happening right now in countries worldwide, but it’s unnecessary for one the main plots in OITNB.

When it comes to Red and Dwight, I can definitely understand how snoring can get annoying. The whole situation between the two was funny, but I hope that this does put a slight end to it. This short plot serves only as comedic relief in an overall serious episode.

Finally, I was hurt and bothered when Maritza and Flacca made fun of Pennsatucky when she asked about the ducks. The ducks were a grooming technique and a good indicator if a guard is going after inmates or just Pennsatucky. It killed me the way that they made fun of her since she showed a lot of strength asking about it. This whole rape plot with Pennsatucky is a strain on me. Every time she tries to get better, something is pushing her back, It’s hard to heal from that.

How did you guys like the episode? Let me know in the comments!

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‘Orange is the New Black’ Review: Work that Body For Me

[Warning: this review contains Orange is the New Black season 4 spoilers]

Synopsis:

With a major security breach and a lot of new inmates, Caputo has to call in the big guns. Things get a little to real for Crazy Eyes and Lolly”

Review:

I was very uncomfortable with the grooming (which is when a sexual predator tests to see how far they can go with their victim without getting caught) and eventual rape scene between Pennsatucky and Coates in Orange is the New Black season 3, so I was a bit hesitant to start season 4. It’s very difficult for a survivor to watch these heinous scenes,  so I’m cautiously watching this new season.

The first episode of the new season mainly focuses on Caputo, who is busy dealing with new issues as prison warden (such as the hole in the fence with the prisoners leaving, a guard walking off, new inmates, making the prison overcapacity, etc.).

The episode also featured a side plot with Lolly and Alex, who kill the guard (and hitman) that tried to strangle Alex. The pair then attempt to figure out what to do with the body. Also, Maureen and Suzanne (I refuse to call her Crazy Eyes) ran away from the lake and hid in the forest, and Litchfield’s new, famous inmate Judy King (who I’m guessing is the Martha Stewart of Litchfield) is getting special treatment in prison due to her celebrity status.

My favorite side plot out of the three was the one featuring Maureen and Suzanne. Though I do like that Alex is seeming to slightly accept Lolly (something that I really like since Lolly is an interesting character that could be explored further) Suzeanne and Maureen had very sweet moments. The two’s relationship reminds me a lot of Misery (the book and the movie), with Maureen being a huge fan of Suzanne’s erotic fiction and wanting her to write more. I also enjoyed that Suzanne is eventually not comfortable with their “escape”, mentioning that she didn’t know that she was supposed to be gone forever and that she wanted to be back at the prison in time for dinner. I like that the writers are trying to show that Suzanne can stick up for herself in some situations.

The Alex and Lolly plot is interesting, because although Lolly was the one that essentially killed the guard, it was Alex who went back and suffocated him. She cries while she’s suffocating him, which shows that she does have compassion, as well as fear. It is good to see characterization with Alex. I had two main reasons for not really liking this plot though: the jokes that were made about sending the pictures of dead Alex and what the duo did with the body. After they see that the guard was getting texts from Kubra demanding photographic evidence of her death, he then asks for a picture of her breasts, which Lolly describes as a “Cosby dream shot”. I always find rape/rapist jokes to be in poor taste and that specific one was not good for me. What they end up doing with the body though is, with the help of another inmate, cut it up and bury it under the garden. A lot of blood was involved in this scene, but it wasn’t too graphic.

The episode also included minor scenes that called backs to the previous seasons. Morello talked happily about her wedding and being able to have sex with her husband, and Boo tried to tone down the talk because it was making Pennsatucky uncomfortable. There was also a nod to Poussey and Soso being a thing, and the two end up talking about whether or not black people can be racist.

The one that I disliked from this episode (and it dragged forever) was Piper being seen as “gangsta” and trying to act tough in the prison. I don’t like Piper, and her trying to be tough was really annoying. I just wanted to hit her –   she’s about as tough as I am (which isn’t much) and she’s supposed to be the one that audiences feel sympathy for? Her characterization is very odd as the seasons go by.

Overall, I did enjoy the episode but I’ll have to see how the rest of the season goes before I decide if I’m going to keep watching.

Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Courtney’s Pull Box: ‘Archie’, ‘Jughead’, ‘Starfire’ & More!

I have a pull box at the comic book shop I frequent, which ensures that I will get all of my current favorite comics immediately when they come out. In addition to this I can get discounts on graphic novels and a free comic on my birthday! Pull poxes are great, so I highly recommend talking to your comic shop to see what they offer.

My current pull box list includes the following comics:

  • Archie  – current incarnation with no digests (older comics)
  • Jughead – current incarnation with older comics at the end of issue
  • Starfire
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Disney Princess
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman

Even though I love getting these comics, some of them do have their problems. Occasionally these comics will frustrate me or include something I don’t like, so I’ve decided to summarize each comic and explain the pros and cons of each one.

Check them out below!

Archie

Summary: Archie is now set in modern day Riverdale High. Archie and Betty have been together since kindergarten and are absolutely enamored with one another…that is, until the #LipstickIncident. The whole school is abuzz trying to find out what happened, but things get further complicated when Archie lays eyes on new girl Veronica Lodge, whose famous millionaire family just built their mansion in town. Will Betty be able to convince Archie that Veronica is not all she seems to be?

Pros: This series proves that Archie characters will always translate well in nearly every situation. Bringing these characters into modern times may encourage younger readers to be more interested in reading comics,  and older fans will be happy to see that Archie can still be interesting and new.

Archie has been redone in a new art style that works amazingly well, much like how Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina did –  each have their own distinct styles, but still work very well.

The Archie characters are still who they always have been, regardless of the era: Archie is still the clumsy, slightly clueless lead that makes him the perfect every man, and Veronica is still the spoiled, rich girl who always gets her way thanks to her father and his money.

Cons: Some of the references to modern day things are a little difficult to deal with. I felt really ridiculous typing out #LipstickIncident, and it felt as if the writers were trying too hard to get teens into this series.  At the end of the first comic Archie even directly asks the readers for their suggestions on how he could get out of his predicament by using @archiecomics on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

There’s no need for the writers to pander to the audience by relying on hashtags and self promoting – people will send in their suggestions if they find it good enough.

Jughead

Summary: When the principal is replaced with a military-type tyrant who changes everything about their school (including stricter policies and the food), it’s up to Jughead and the gang to find out what happened to Mr. Weatherbee and stop the new principal’s rule.

Pros: Jughead is done in the same art style as Archie, and like Archie it ended up translating really well. I thought Jughead looked cute in this art style when I read the first issue of Archie, and after reading Archie I wanted to see more of him. The story is perfect for Jughead since it puts him in a new situation where he looks like a bad kid. To be honest, I mainly bought this comic because Jughead is Archie Comics first openly asexual character, which is awesome because I always did imagine him that way. Jughead is seemingly more in love with food than people, and he’s only ever been seen with a few girls throughout his run,  so I was happy when it was announced that he was indeed asexual.

Cons: The story really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere yet. There’s been a few things Jughead has done to further the plot, but as of right now the story seems to be slightly more focused on his dream sequences having references than plot development. These dream sequences are all very similar and each seem to cement the fact that Jughead is asexual. I would still recommend this series, but I hope that the story goes further.

Starfire

Summary: Starfire has escaped from being a prisoner and has come to Earth. She tries her best to blend in with normal people and gets a job at the aquarium, but ultimately she ends up being a hero for the planet. Starfire tries to learn about the Earth, which you can see through her very cute thought process of idioms.

Pros: I am in love with the art style of this comic, and this is the cutest interpretation of Starfire that I’ve ever seen. Some of her outfits match her very sweet thoughts and personality, while other outfits are bold and reinforce the fact that she is still very strong. I really love this story because Starfire is the perfect fish out of water character, and the way she interacts with people and discovers things is really sweet and cute.

I really loved this comic all the way around, and I’m sad that it’s ending soon.

Cons: The New 52 story line has a huge plot hole. Half way through the comics Starfire meets Grayson, who, according to the New 52 line, she hasn’t met. She was never in the Teen Titans so she doesn’t him, but in this story, she apparently mourned over him and knew him. I didn’t miss any of the Starfire comics either, so I was very confused by this –  it didn’t make any sense.

The New 52 plotline also altered the fact that Starfire’s sister was the one who sold her to where she was imprisoned, instead having Blackfire and Starfire being very close.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Summary: Sabrina Spellman is just your average teenager growing up in the 1960s… except she is half mortal, half witch. She lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, and her cousin, Ambrose. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Sabrina must decide if she wants to be a mortal or a witch.

Pros: This story is definitely darker than the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series that aired in the 1990s. It has a similar art style as Afterlife with Archie, but it has a Rosemary’s Baby feel to it, especially in the first comic. Sabrina looks more like her older comic incarnation, which looks wonderful with this art style. The art is very creepy and perfect for Sabrina’s story. If you like creepy stories then I definitely recommend this series, but if you don’t, then I would incline you towards Archie and Jughead.

Cons: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is amazing, but release dates for this series are very long and sparse. It’s hard to keep up with when this series will be released unless you are constantly checking Facebook for the next release date.

Issue number 5 is set to be released on May 18th.

Disney Princess

Summary: These are short little comics that feature a large range of Disney princesses, each of whom has her own story, making it difficult to accurately summarize these comics. These comics are unique in that they are held vertically, rather than horizontally.

Pros: This is definitely the cutest comic that I’m currently reading. There’s no fighting or action, and it’s a perfect comic for those who want to get into comics but don’t know where to begin. I had low hopes of seeing Snow White (one of my favorites) since she is an older princess, but I was so excited when I saw her in this comic! There’s good mix of the older princesses and the newer princesses, so Disney fans old and new will feel right at home.

Cons: There are no cons since only one issue of this comic is out, and as such there isn’t much to judge on.

The Legend of Wonder Woman

Summary: This is Wonder Woman’s origin story as told as far back as the beginning of the Amazons. Readers are treated to a young, mortal Diana who is destined to be queen. However, Diana shows the strength of her mother, and she wants to be trained.

Pros: There’s only two issues of this comic out right now, but I already love it. Diana as a child is the absolute cutest thing I’ve ever seen, but at the same time she’s very strong. I love the art style, which is a lovely mixture of Greek-style art and comic book art. It makes a beautiful collaboration and it’s something I could stare at forever.

Cons: There are only two issues of this comic currently out, so as of right now there are no cons.

Which comic are you most likely to pick up? Let us know in the comments!

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