Recently I’ve been going through the title Betty and Me, not by choice but by necessity. Since I’m not an Archie’s fan I expected to see Archie in a black sweater with an R on it for the next 200 issues. But that isn’t what I saw. The primary artist for that title Dan DeCarlo, an artist who embodied the “Archie style” for decades, mixed things up. This WWII veteran born in 1919 changed his art to keep up with fashion from the 1950’s to the 1990s. Think about it, the easiest thing to do would be to keep Archie, Betty and Veronica in the same outfits forever. But he mirrored the culture with his art to keep it relevant.
Betty and Me #1 from August 1965 features Betty with a ponytail in a frilly, high waisted bikini. The ponytail look captures a 1965 sock hop.
Betty and Me #11 from December 1967 shows Archie in a blue v-neck sweater with a turtleneck, slacks and penny loafers. The psychedelic 60’s wasn’t quite in middle America yet.
Betty and Me #22 from August 1969 (Cover to the right) features Betty in bell bottoms with bold colored flowers. Flower power anyone? Issue 28 has some epic pants as well.
Betty and Me #33 from February 1971 has Betty in an outfit that the one of the Brady Bunch girls would be proud to wear.
Betty and Me #54 from December 1973 has toned down the flowers in favor of strips. Betty is in a one piece striped romper while Archie is glued to the color television. NBC says that the majority of American households had a color television in 1972.
Betty and Me #72 from February 1976 has Archie in a leisure suit, probably from Sears and Roebuck. You know they have a money back guarantee.
Betty and Me #98 from December 1978 has Betty in long red, white and blue tube socks with short gym shorts like she is going to play basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Betty and Me 113 from August 1980 has Betty in a full length dress that looks like she stepped out of Little House on the Prairie or a Holly Hobbie painting.
Betty and Me 130 from September 1982 shows Betty with her hair flopping over a headband in the front like Olivia Newton John from Let’s get Physical.
Betty and Me 137 from January 1984 (Cover to the right) shows Betty in a full Flashdance costume with leg warmers and all.
Betty and Me #149 from January 1986 has Betty in a “Cosby sweater” a year and half after the show aired. Cosby sweater might mean something different today so let’s say a brightly colored sweater to keep the Riverdale gang safe.
Betty and Me #185 from August 1990 has the pair in biking shorts before Princess Diana made it popular a few years later.
Considering that Dan DeCarlo was a prolific artist with thousands of books and covers to his credit he could have gotten by with less. It was impressive to see how he paid attention to the current trends and styles of the day to keep his work up to date. When you look at Mr. DeCarlo’s work now its like going through fashion trends of the day.
by Ron Cloer