Jughead Jones

Created by Bob Montana and John L. Goldwater

We all know JUGHEAD JONES, right?

Archie Comics?

Archie’s pal?

From Riverdale?

Doesn’t like girls?

Loves food, particularly hamburgers?

Wears a crown-like beanie?

Sarcastic? Occasionally snarky? Laidback? Slightly off?

Been around since 1941 or so?

What I didn’t realize was that Jughead’s had a jones (sorry) for private eyes for decades. And over the years he’s dreamed about being one.

But the most compelling evidence was displayed in Pep Digital #51, a digital reprint collection of stories culled from the last few decades featuring Jughead (and other members of the gang) playing detective. Some of them happen “for real” and are set within the Archie continuity of the day, and others are pure, alternate-world fantasies, with a healthy dose of gentle parody sprinkled on top. Certainly nothing particularly hard-boiled (for that, you’d have to check out Archie Comics’ comic book eye Sam Hill) but in every case, they’re sorta fun, in a goofy, nostalgic Archie Comics way.

The centrepiece of the collection is “Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye,” a four-part story arc which finds Jughead, inspired by all the detective movies he’s seen lately, hanging around the back of Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe in a trenchcoat, living out the fantasy and actually taking on a few cases — the payment seemingly always coming in the way of food. It’s obvious the writer, Alex Simmons, knows a thing or two about genre — the titles alone are shout-outs to Chandler, John D. MacDonald and Hammett (twice).

Also included in the collection is “Crime Stopper” a tale from 1987 wherein Jughead fantasizes about being Slim Jim,  ace detective for the Riverdale police, while “Crime Time,” essentially a one-page gag about Jughead going all CSI while investigating the theft of the last slice of pie.

The two-part “The Detective” finds Jughead making like his favourite TV gumshoe, Sam Spud, to investigate counterfeit “Gooby Bars.” His loyal companion, Hot Dog, helps him crack the case. It shares its rather generic title with another story in the collection, probasbly the weakest of the bunch, in which an oblivious Archie is the world’s greatest detective, Herlock Soames (complete with deerstalker cap) and Jughead takes on the role of his snarky righthand man “Lefty” Flotsam, as they investigate some foul play at the Lodge “manse.”

My favourite, though, is probably “Private Eye, Eye” Jughead attempts to write a hard-boiled detective novel featuring Charlie Eye, full of such over-boiled  “I melted like an ice cube on a hot stove,” “kissably pursed lips” and”I drank” in her loveliness like a parched petunia.” Unfortunately, Reggie gets his hands on the transcript, and Jughead’s in for some serious ribbing.

Not that this collection rounded up all of Jughead’s forays into the shamus game. In “Peter Goon, Private Eye” from 1960, Jughead gets temporary amnesia and thinks he’s private eye Peter Goon, an obvious riff on TV’s Peter Gunn.

Nor were his jaunts into GumshoeLand limited to comics — the sixties cartoon show had an episode entitled “Private Eye Jughead.”

COMICS

  • JUGHEAD’S DINER
    (1990, Archie Comics)
  • PEP DIGITAL #51: JUGHEAD JONES: PRIVATE EYE (August 2013, Archie Comics)
    • THIS ISSUE CONTAINS:
      “Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye Part One: The Thin-Malted Man”
      (August 2010, Archie’s Pal Jughead #202)
      Written by Alex Simmons
      Art by Rex Lindsey, Jim Amash
    • “Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye Part Two: Well, Well, My Lovely” (September 2010, Archie’s Pal Jughead #203)
      Written by Alex Simmons
      Art by Rex Lindsey, Jim Amash
    • “Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye Part Two: A Tan and Sandy Snooze” (January 2011, Archie’s Pal Jughead #204)
      Written by Alex Simmons
      Art by Rex Lindsey, Jim Amash
    • “Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye Part Four: Shadow of the Pod Man, Man”  (March 2011, Archie’s Pal Jughead #205)
      Written by Alex Simmons
      Art by Rex Lindsey, Jim Amash
    • “Crime Stopper”  (1987, Jughead #22)
      Art by Doug Crane, Rod Ollerenshaw
    • Crime Time” (April 2005, Archie’s Pal Jughead Comics#163)
      Written by Mike Pellowski
      Art by Pat Kennedy, Al Millgrom
    • “The Detective Part One and Two” (December 2007, Jughead & Friends Digest #24)
      Written by George Gladir
      Art by Bill Yoshida, Barry Grossman
    • “Private Eye, Eye” (February 1996, Archie’s Pal Jughead #77)
      Written by Frank Doyle
      Art by Stan Goldberg, Mike Esposito
    • “The Detective” (February 1980, Archie Annual Digest #37 )
      Written by Frank Doyle
      Art by Stan GoldbergRudy Lapick
  • JUGHEAD’S FANTASY
    (October 1960, Archie Comics)
    “Jughead gets temporary amnesia and thinks he is private eye Peter Goon; A parody on TV’s Peter Gunn. Written by Sy Rei
    Art by Samm Schwartz, Marty Epp

TELEVISION

  • THE ARCHIE SHOW
    (1968-69)
    30 minute episodes
    Two stories per episode

    • “Private Eye Jughead” (June 28, 1968)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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