Season three of Riverdale is going strong, with more murder mystery and soap opera drama than ever before. The once-wholesome characters of Archie Comics are about as far from PG as they can be at this point, with new dark twists and evil deeds revealed at the end of each episode. But just how far have those Archie characters come from their innocent comic book origins? We take a look at that very question here in our list of the 10 biggest changes Riverdale made to Archie Comics canon.
10. The Southside Serpents, Biker Gang
One of the most deadly forces on Riverdale is the F.P. Jones-lead biker gang, the Southside Serpents. But their original appearance in comics doesn’t make them out to be dangerous at all. In fact, they’re kind of cute. The Southside Serpents aren’t so much a gang as they were a group of kids with matching snake sweaters. Yes, matching snake sweaters. They intimidated Archie and the gang when they were kids, but not by any threats of violence. Instead, they were just a group of cocky kids, desperate to prove that they were stronger and faster than others by constantly showing off. We may think of them as very West Side Story now, but in their origin, they were a lot closer to Annie.
9. The Blossoms, Psychopath Family
Pretty much every member of the Blossom family has done some seriously messed up stuff on Riverdale. From the murdering of Clifford to the obsessive Cheryl to whatever old-timey creepiness Nana Rose got up to, the Blossom family casts a long and eerie shadow. Not so in the world of Archie comics, though. Yeah, Cheryl can occasionally come off as a mean girl, but she (along with the rest of her family) is pretty well adjusted. At the very least, she never gave anyone a pig’s heart as a creepy present. We don’t think so anyway.
8. The Pussycats, High School Pals
The origin of Riverdale’s best band looks a lot different in the comics. Josie McCoy, who was not the daughter of Riverdale’s mayor, was just a girl with a dream, who brought the Pussycats together after searching for other musicians. In Riverdale, Josie and crew were friends from the beginning. To be fair, this is a lot more watchable on a CW drama. Adding a friendship that came before the band makes the tension within it even more interesting. After all, being betrayed by a bandmate is one thing. Being betrayed by a friend is quite another.
7. Fred Andrews, Single Dad
When we first meet Fred Andrews on Riverdale, he’s going through a tough divorce. Mary, his wife, is living in Chicago, and he’s caring for his son on his own. In the comics, however, we see a much more traditional life for Fred. Not only is he still with Mary, but he’s kind of a ’50s TV stereotype of a father. He’s dopey, married to someone way out of his league, and overweight. We’ve got to hand it to Riverdale on this one, they’ve created a more real version of a father, especially one raising a family in today’s world. He’s flawed but wise, caring but realistic. And for that, we relate to him a lot more.
6. Hiram Lodge, Mobster
In the original Archie Comics, and even in their 2015 relaunch, Hiram Lodge is a lot nicer than his Riverdale counterpart. Don’t get us wrong, he’s not exactly a hero, but the “bad guy” that he is is a lot tamer, closer to Ebenezer Scrooge than he is Tony Soprano. Would he cheat a couple people out of jobs? Maybe. Would he have people murdered? Well, probably not. Unless, of course, there’s always been a monster side of Hiram hidden behind the panels of Archie Comics. It’s worth Googling some fan theories.
5. Archie Andrews, Fighter
The Archie Andrews of Riverdale isn’t afraid to get a few bruises. In fact, he often goes looking for them. Whether it’s as the leader of the vigilante group The Red Circle or as a bodyguard for Hiram Lodge, Archie Andrews takes on a lot of bloody-knuckle roles on the show. In the comics, however, Archie is more of a lover than a fighter. Most of his injuries come from his absurd clumsiness, not serial killers or gangsters. In fact, more often than not, comic book Archie’s injuries are either of emotion or pride. There are a ton of Archie Comics storylines that end with Archie’s heart breaking. On Riverdale, however, it’s his ribs.
4. Ms. Grundy, Seductress
If Miss Grundy was in more than just the first half of season one and a brief second of season two, this would be the number one item on the list. In Archie Comics, Miss Grundy is a kind-if-strict matronly music teacher. She is well into her sixties, and about as traditional as a person can be, even by 1960s standards. So, just imagine how much of her character had to change to make her the young, sultry femme fatale that she is on Riverdale. Although, we did get a small mention that this wasn’t the real Grundy, and that a more comic-accurate version has lived in the world of Riverdale. But don’t get your hopes up that that mystery ever goes anywhere. The mystery of Grundy-not-Grundy has vanished from the show.
3. F.P. Jones, Gangland King
Forsythe Pendleton Jones the Second is a pretty strange name for the King of the Southside Serpents. But in the original Archie Comics, his character and name fit pretty well. Jughead‘s dad was very traditional, with a tendency to be more stuffy and conservative. He did occasionally have trouble keeping a job, like in Riverdale, but he never made money off of illegal activities. Like Fred Andrews, the original F.P. character was a stereotypical sitcom dad. He was wise and mature, and a bit less dopey than Archie’s dad. Just like Fred, though, we’re glad for the change. It’s a lot more interesting to watch a bar fight than a guy doing his taxes.
2. The Black Hood, Serial Killer
When a character gets changed between Archie Comics and Riverdale, you can usually count on them keeping a semblance of their morality. They just get more exciting; kind teens become action heroes and grumpy old businessmen become monsters. But in the case of the Black hood, Riverdale has COMPLETELY reversed the morality of a character.
In the ’40s, Archie released a book about the Black Hood, who was… a superhero. Yes, the Black Hood was a crusader for justice in his original incarnation, battling street-level crime in the same manner of Batman or The Phantom. Since those days, the comic character has darkened a little bit, especially in the storyline in which he got addicted to drugs. But no Black Hood comic has even touched the level of evil of Riverdale’s version. We’d put him right at the top of this list if it weren’t for…
1. Betty And Jughead, Lovers
This one has to take the cake, as any Archie fan knows. Riverdale kept the Betty/Archie romantic tension alive, which is straight out of the comics. But Jughead and Betty? Together?? No Archie fan could have ever called that before season one of Riverdale began. Of course, that’s not to say that they’re not a worthwhile couple. Betty and Jug’s story is one fraught with drama, heartbreak, and deception, one that keeps us rooting for them and doubting they’ll last at the same time. But in the comics, that relationship is nowhere to be found. In fact, when Archie Comics relaunched, Jughead came out as asexual. Still, it just goes to show you how versatile the Archie Comics characters are. Whether they’re dating on Riverdale or best buds in Archie, Jughead and Betty are fun, watchable characters, absolutely worthy of the decades they’ve spent in existence.
Actually, that pretty much goes for everyone on this list.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed between Riverdale and Archie Comics? Is there anything that didn’t change that you wish could? Let us know in the comments section below!