It was 1941 when the first Archie Comics characters appeared on the market, although the original company, MLJ Comics, had been founded two years prior, in 1939. Given the tension and strife of World War II, some light-hearted comic relief with Archie and friends was just what the world needed. The gang has been with us for almost 80 years now, and generations of fans have chosen their favorites and least favorites, the couples we prefer, and the love triangles we shake our heads at. With the release of The CW’s Riverdale in early 2017, the popularity of Archie and friends is back in a big way,
At the end of the day, there are just some characters that are polarizing, right? And some that we can just agree are awesome, yes? We certainly hope so, as we have attempted to do the near impossible: read on for 15 Archie Comic Characters, Ranked Worst To Best.
15 Moose Mason
We can all agree that Moose Mason, the "friendly" giant, is actually jealous, possessive, violent, dangerous, and a full-blown bully. As trivially as his possessiveness toward girlfriend Midge Klump is treated in the comics, can we really deny that his response (punching people into oblivion) is unacceptable? Once we can acknowledge this, it is fair to objectively state that Moose is the worst character in the Archie Comics franchise.
Now, to be fair to Moose, it is later implied that he suffers from dyslexia, which could explain his insecurities, feelings of inferiority, and the need to make up for his perceived stupidity through demonstration of brawn. He also has a big heart, protects his "lil’ buddy" Dilton Doiley, and is generally depicted as a sweetheart.
But being a sweetheart does not justify violence, however "sweet" the intention behind it may be. At the end of the day, Moose will beat people up on a whim, and violence is just not okay.
14 Reggie Mantle
Followed closely behind Moose is Reggie Mantle: player, snob, chauvinist, self-server, user, and full on self-centered-grade-A-jerk. If it wasn’t for the fact that Moose punches people so hard they black out, Reggie would certainly get number 15 on this list. Reggie is often dishonest, and has several times tricked or manipulated Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, and Moose Mason. Anytime someone get in the way of his ego, Reggie will lash out for self-preservation; although this usually doesn’t work in his favour.
In Reggie’s defense, we have always needed him. As the ultimate male antagonist, he has added so much to the story by demonstrating to readers that being the most attractive or the richest does not always mean you get what you want, as well as providing never-ending pulp to the storyline of the Archie Comics franchise.
But our need for him in the storyline does not mean he doesn’t deserve number 14 on this list, as an all-round scumbag character.
13 Archie Andrews
Our choice for number 13 may infuriate some, but it is important to remember that this list is meant to be objective. And if we look at the characters objectively, then the protagonist of the franchise - one Archie Andrews - fully deserves the spot.
Archie has always been a polarizing figure, and it cannot be denied that he’s a bit of a cad. Knowing full well that Betty Cooper is madly in love with him, he uses her to pad his ego or as a distraction. He's also been a four-timer with Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and Valerie from the Pussycat Dolls, on top of the many, many, many other girls he has dated in the last (give or take) 78 years.
Sure, he’s a nice guy. But his treatment of girls is downright despicable most of the time, and the fact that he gets away with it makes it all the worse.
12 Principal Weatherbee
In many ways, Principal Waldo Weatherbee is your typical high school principal; favoring the kid who gets into the most trouble. While this is understandable in many cases, as the most troubled kids are often those who need more attention, in Archie’s case, the additional attention is definitely unnecessary.
Mr. Weatherbee is also an old stick in the mud and has a very short temper. Yet this sort of "big" personality adds comic relief to the story, and oftentimes does challenge Archie’s easy teenage life.
At the end of the day, Principal Weatherbee is just a facilitator of Archie’s quest for attention. As harsh as this may sound, his close relationship with Archie Andrews fully backs up our accusation, having many times called Archie his "favorite student." Is this inappropriate or cute? For the sake of the comics, it may be cute. For the sake of this list? It places him at number 12.
11 Cheryl Blossom
Depicted as selfish, egotistical, mean, and snobbish, Cheryl Blossom often seems to use Archie merely to anger Betty and Veronica. It is unsurprising, then, that she has many times involved herself with Reggie Mantle, usually as part of a greater scheme to raise herself above the others.
Yet her appearance brings excitement into the storyline, and Cheryl is often seen usurping both Betty and Veronica as they get so involved with competing with one another that they forget about her. This means Cheryl can be quite clever, as well as indirectly responsible for strengthening the friendship between Betty and Veronica.
She is, however, downright mean, and values money and her status above all else. With her bright red hair, confident demeanor, and glamorous appearance, Cheryl is the character we love to hate. We can appreciate the spice she brings to the comics while at the same time denouncing her rather terrible personality.
10 Midge Klump
Even though Midge, girlfriend of Moose Mason, is sweet, sassy, and kind, she has her faults-- the greatest of which her lack of loyalty! While Moose has no right to be beating anyone up, regardless of his relationship status, and Midge certainly tells him this angrily several times, actions often speak louder than words.
Knowing full well that Moose is jealous of Reggie, Midge will often accept Reggie’s advances, dance with him, go on dates with him, and kiss him. If she really is "going steady" with Moose, she certainly doesn’t show it the many times she goes out with Reggie. Sometimes, we even get the impression she is dating Reggie to make Moose jealous-- obviously an unnecessary step, as Moose can get jealous of his own volition. On the other hand, Midge could also be arguably deemed one of the most feminist characters of the franchise, for her disregard of labels and her scolding of Moose’s violence.
9 Hiram Lodge
Hiram Lodge (Veronica’s "Daddykins") is snobbish, mean, and short-tempered. So why doesn’t he fall among the ranks of Reggie and Moose?
Well, Mr. Lodge is arguably one of the most interesting, complex, and hilarious characters in the Archie Comics franchise. He insists on placing his daughter in public school to quash her own snobbishness, he is often found helping the needy, he is generous in allowing Veronica’s friends to practically live at the mansion and host parties, and he treats Veronica like a princess-- with boundaries.
The best thing about Mr. Lodge, though, is his temper-- his fits of rage and long rants about his Achilles’ heel; Archie Andrews, encouraged by his trusty butler, Smithers. Archie will often run out of the house, chased by Smithers, and Mr. Lodge will keep us laughing with his long-winded rants. For his clever quips and good parenting, Hiram Lodge has been place around the middle of our list.
8 Sabrina Spellman
Many don’t know that the legendary Sabrina the Teenage Witch actually originated in the Archie Comics franchise in 1962. Indeed, her life often intersected with the lives of the mortals (Archie and the gang), and she was a friendly acquaintance with many in the core group of Archie Comics characters.
Sabrina is quite the lovable character, but often feels like an outsider, as the only witch at her school and among her friends. This means that she has to keep a lot of secrets from her mortal boyfriend, Harvey, and is forced to spend most of her time with her two slightly crazed aunties, Hilda and Zelda, along with her talking pet cat, Salem Saberhagen.
The greatest thing about Sabrina is that she uses her magic for good. As a genuinely good person, Sabrina recognizes when someone is in need, and is willing to use her magic to give them a pleasant surprise.
7 Josie And The Pussycats
Another side series that many don’t know originated from the Archie Comics franchise are Josie and the Pussycats, who are ranked together.
Josie and the Pussycats appeared in the comics first in 1962; a girl band consisting of the sweet Josie, the brainiac Pepper (who was later replaced by down-to-earth, street smart Valerie), and the ditzy Melody. The three of them make up the ultimate girl power trio, but each has their own likeable personality to add to the mix.
We like Josie for her mediating response to crisis, and how down-to-earth she is depicted in the comics. Valerie, meanwhile, has the sharpest of minds-- being the primary song-writer of the group, and the one usually to get the group out of trouble. And of course, there is everyone’s favourite, Melody. Essentially a comic book version of the typical Marilyn Monroe character, Melody is always providing comic relief with her mixed-up sayings and inadvertent mistakes.
6 Pop Tate
There may be questions as to how the legendary Pop Tate may have found himself ranked in the top six, but Pop Tate is an essential character to the overall Archie Comics storyline, and without his presence (or his Chok’lit Shoppe), imagine all the adventures we would have missed out on. He serves as the listener for the gang, a shoulder to lean on, and provides a safe place to hang.
Essentially, without Pop, there wouldn’t be the gang. Where would the whole group meet for a milkshake? How could the famous image of Archie, Betty, and Veronica sipping on the same milkshake have come to fruition?
Pop Tate gets credit for facilitating the friendship of Archie & friends, he serves as a friend to the otherwise oft-alone Jughead, he is also a somewhat consistent, non-judgmental adult figure in the teenagers’ lives. His role in the group dynamic of the comics is essential.
5 Kevin Keller
As a relatively new character, first introduced in 2010, there’s not a whole lot to dislike about Kevin Keller. He’s nice, good-looking, loves food, fashion, and theatre. He also has an awesome, tight-knit bond with bestie Veronica Lodge.
Kevin Keller gets placed so high on this list for more than just his personality traits. His presence is also important for what his introduction into the series represented. As the first openly gay character in the Archie Comics franchise, Kevin’s introduction was a watershed moment. According to one CEO of the Archie Comics franchise, “Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books."
So, not only do we love Kevin Keller for the several likeable qualities he exhibits, but also for the fact that he’s making Archie Comics more relatable to a larger demographic.
4 Dilton Doiley
You may have been wondering when super genius Dilton Doiley might appear on this list. Well, here he is. As the most intelligent student at Riverdale High, with an IQ of 198, Dilton is there for friends and acquaintances in need of a helping hand with their homework. Dilton also happens to have his own laboratory in which he works until the wee hours of the morning. This means he has won several academic awards throughout the series, and given the extent and complexity of his inventions, if it were real life, he should well have been awarded a Nobel Prize by this point!
And, despite our opposition to Moose Mason’s violence, Dilton and Moose as BFFs is actually quite adorable. Dilton’s skills with girls leave much to be desired, yet this only makes the character more lovable. In later years he actually gets together with none other than Cheryl Blossom. Maybe nice guys do finish first!
3 Betty Cooper
She helps the poor, the elderly, children, animals, is a good friend to the popular kids and the not-so-popular kids alike, is smart, beautiful— the list could go on forever. Betty is essentially perfect; her greatest downfall being her love for Archie. In the earliest Archie Comics renditions, Betty was portrayed as the typical "dumb blonde," but she soon became many readers’ favorite character as a down-to-earth, multi-dimensional "girl next door." This is likely because she is engenders so much empathy-- who doesn't know how it feels to pine after a friend? We often get snapshots of Betty's insecurities when she writes in her diary, but her good-natured personality always wins out over her jealousy in the end.
Betty might possibly be too perfect, and in some ways, it's hard for many of us to relate to her lovely, unselfish personality. Even so, her friendship with Jughead is adorable, her love for Archie is incomparable, and her friendship with Veronica is enviable! All this together definitely puts her in our top three.
2 Jughead Jones
Why does everyone love Jughead so? Could it be his totally relatable love for food? Or perhaps his tendency to take long naps? Maybe it’s his super-cool hat, his real name (Forsythe Pendleton Jones III), his disinterest in girls, his combination of humour and wisdom, or his best friend/pet/sheepdog, Hot Dog.
Perhaps it is all of this combined that earns him the runner-up spot on our list. The various traits that make Jughead who he is also make him an incredibly independent character. He is a lone wolf, often straying from the crowd, doing what he wants, and not caring what others say. This is a good message to send out to young, impressionable readers, and it has certainly resonated with us.
Perhaps our least favourite aspect of Jughead is in his treatment of Ethel Muggs, who is madly in love with him, and whom he harshly rejects several times throughout the comic franchise. But in all fairness to Jughead, having officially been identified as asexual in 2016, his disinterest in Ethel at least makes sense.
1 Veronica Lodge
Team Betty will surely be up in arms with our choice of Veronica Lodge for the top spot on this list. Nonetheless, Veronica gets number 1 because she is probably one of the most multi-dimensional characters in the franchise.
On top of being mean, narcissistic, snobbish, vain, jealous, petty, and ignorant, Veronica is also charming, funny, strong, passionate, smart, and generous. Despite being absolutely filthy rich, she hangs out with the public school kids, invites them over for parties, is best friends with Betty Cooper despite being insanely jealous of her, and is in love with Archie Andrews.
We love Veronica because she has as many bad qualities as she has good qualities. She’s always learning, and we get to learn alongside her. For any human being who has felt jealous or done something they’ve regretted, Veronica represents a perfect mix of bad and good, thus making her one of the most relatable characters in the series.
Disagree with our ranking of Archie Comics characters? Tell us why in the comments!