Monday, May 11, 2009

Is This Makeover Good or Bad?

Tip of the Day: I hope you all had a great Mother's Day! You know what Moms like for gifts? Books of course!

Today I have some big news on the teen girl front. I may be a little late to put all the pieces together for my report, but it's probably still news to those of you so busy with your own writing that you haven't had time to keep up with celebrity makeovers. This well-known teen girl has had a radical makeover: nose job, major orthodontia, the whole works. Take a look:

Here's the original Big Ethel from Archie Comics. I'm guessing this cover is from the early or mid-1960s.

And here's this month's cover of Jughead (still selling tons of copies a month decades later, talk about a backlist):

In fact, she's not even Big Ethel anymore. Now she's just Ethel.

I can kind of see the point. The jokes where the mere fact that Big Ethel is ugly was the punchline don't hold up over time. And now that a girl doesn't need a man right out of high school to provide her with financial security, Ethel's grasping desperation comes off as flat out weird. So why didn't they just gently retire the character? Why the makeover?

A big Archie digest recycles a lot of old comics. No fear that today's girls won't receive the full historical impact of 40s, 50s, and 60s era Betty, Veronica, and Ethel's lack of goals other than boy chasing. New Ethel is right next to Big Ethel in the digests, so that may be some of the reason for the makeover.

Personally, I'm in favor. The "she's ugly" jokes were tiresome ... yet I'm strangely happy that Archie comics is leaving Ethel's official height at 5'10". I'd be even happier if they'd stop making her Jughead's doormat! But it looks like her main storyline is still the same, so apparently all that dental work didn't change Ethel on the inside.

Actually, some earlier makeovers made Ethel much prettier than this month's cover, but the artists seem to have scaled back the glamour. Reader input, I wonder? (You can see the wide variety of new Ethel looks at

What do you think of the makeover?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Tori said...

I've been an Archie comic fan for many years (I don't dare say publicly how many I have), so you can bet I wasn't about to pick "D", step away from the comics! :)

I am glad that Ethel got a makeover. Her storyline is a bit dated, but she's so sweet ... not that I think Jughead should go out with her, but he could be a little kinder! I remember once there was a story where Archie went out on a date with Ethel, and they both had an amazing time. And the story was written in such a way that it didn't seem out of character for either of them. Very sweet. It's a good lesson in believability for writers! :)

DeenaML said...

Hee hee! I chose D -- but am just kidding! Of course you should think about these things!

It is so fun to see all the kids at the library going crazy for the old comics. Tin Tin is HUGE! As are the new Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys comics!

Kristina Springer said...

I used to have HUNDREDS of Archie comics. Loved them! Wow on Ethel-- I didn't know! But I remember seeing awhile back that Betty looked different too-- much more glam than the tomboy she used to be. (Is she still a tomboy in the recent comics?). And on that cover you posted Jughead looks a little beefier doesn't he?

Kate Fall said...

So far the votes are way in favor of Ethel's makeover.

And now I'm off to read a new Rod Serling's Twilight Zone comic ... I mean, graphic novel.

Emily Marshall said...

I'm all for makeovers!!!!