One of the most popular runaway hits of this past television season was The CW's Riverdale. Premiering in January 2017, Riverdale is a film noirish adaptation of the classic Archie Comics that first hit the shelves way back in the 1940s. When those comic books were originally released, they were marketed as light-hearted family entertainment in the same vein as the Andy Hardy film franchise which reigned supreme at the box office at the time. Now, in 2017, the same characters that appeared in those comics have been modernized for the teen demographic with a much darker premise laced in murder, lies, and deception. This definitely ain't the same Archie that your ma and pa were reading back in the day.
Even though the overall tone of the Archie Comics universe is drastically different from the tone presented on the show, there are still some noticeable connections between the Archie Comics and Riverdale. Even if some of those connections are hard to find. Of course, the slight changes for the live action adaptation are easy to notice. The awkward average looking Archie becomes the hunk that is KJ Apa, the energetic comic relief of Jughead becomes the brooding Cole Sprouse, and the elderly prude that is Miss Grundy becomes the much younger cougar portrayed on the show who's lusting after Archie. The actual connections to the comics which appear on the show are usually a little more subtle. Not forgetting where its material came from, the first season of Riverdale is littered with several little nods to the original comic books and when you notice them for the first time, they will shock you.
15 Riverdale: A Town With "Pep"
As expressed in the welcome sign that we first saw in the season premiere of the series, the tagline for the town of Riverdale is that it is "The Town with Pep!" Apart from being a happy-go-lucky tagline used to cover up the town's much darker underbelly, the word "pep" is actually a direct reference to the very first issues the Archie gang graced comic books. The characters of Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones first appeared in issue #22 of Pep Comics in December 1941. Pep Comics was an anthology series housed under MLJ Magazines Inc. during the 1930s-40s Golden Age of Comic Books. In addition to housing the first platform for the now world renowned Archie characters, Pep Comics also housed the first superhero death to appear in comic book history (The Comet).
14 Riverdale High: Est. in 1941
During the first episode of Riverdale, upon first meeting new student Veronica, Betty gives the raven-haired River Vixen a tour of the school. During this tour, Betty mentions in passing that Riverdale High School was first established way back in 1941. Coincidentally enough, the Archie comic book universe was first established way back in 1941 as well. That landmark issue of Pep Comics #22 that saw the debuts of Archie, Betty, and Jughead originally hit the shelves in December 1941. The high school wasn't seen or mentioned in the six page comic strip, but this is clearly a nod to the debut of Pep Comic's biggest moneymaker. Interestingly enough, Archie wasn't even mentioned on the cover's issue, and yet Archie would become one of the highest grossing comic book characters of the 20th century.
13 Jughead's S on His Chest
For many of the Archieverse characters who appear on the show, the appearance which they are normally associated with had to undergo some sort of minor or drastic update for the modern audience. For instance, Jughead's signature crown was updated for Riverdale into a hat that looks like a crown. Because a guy walking around town wearing an actual crown all the time in 2017 just looks weird. However, to make up for these changes, the showrunners decide to add in some small nods to the characters comic book outfits. Again, for instance, for the first episode of Season 1, Jughead wears a t-shirt with an S on his chest modeled after the sweater with an S on the chest that the character often wore in the comic books.
12 The Pembrooke
During the original run of Archie Comics, it is revealed that Jason and Cheryl Blossom attend a prestigious school called Pembrooke Academy, which resided in a city that sat right next to Riverdale called Pembrooke. On the show, both Blossom siblings attend Riverdale High--or attended, in the case of the late Jason Blossom--and even live in Riverdale, but Pembrooke still gets a minor shoutout on the show. In the wake of her father's financial and legal troubles arising to monumental levels, Veronica Lodge (or Ronnie as she's affectionately known) and her mother are forced to move out of their home and into the Pembrooke apartments. Even with the slight change, the Blossom family still hold a holier than thou attitude towards the average folks residing in Riverdale.
And speaking of the ol' Pembrooke apartment building, this particular apartment building happens to house a doorman whose name should sound familiar to those who know anything about the Archie comic books. While the name Smithers may mean nothing to anybody watching Riverdale without any knowledge of its predecessor, his name is a direct reference to Smithers the butler who worked for the Lodge family in the comic book issues. It is rather fitting to see Riverdale pay homage to Smithers in this capacity seeing that his role on the show still sees him serving Veronica and her family. The showrunners clearly sought to keep the Lodge family as intact as possible even if Hiram Lodge is in prison for the entirety of season 1.
10 Instagram Easter Eggs
During the third episode of the show, Veronica peeps the slanderous Instagram post about her from Chuck Clayton. The sneaky showrunners behind Riverdale decided to use this as an opportunity to sprinkle in a few Easter egg references to the comic books for those fans with a good eye for detail. A closer inspection of this scene tells us that the names that comment underneath the nasty Instagram post are all minor characters from the comics who are yet to make appearances onto the show yet. These characters would include Toni (spelled as Tony in the episode scene) Topaz, Frankie Valdez, Angel Angelino, Debbie Dalton, Marie Rodriguez and Cricket O'Dell. For those who are familiar with the comics and have good enough eyes to see that tiny print on Veronica's phone (or at least did some intense zooming in from their computers), they were in for a nice treat.
9 Zombie Jason Blossom
For the opening scene of the 5th episode of the show, Cheryl Blossom tiptoes through her mansion until her dead brother's corpse lunges at her until she awakens from her nightmare. Eerie way to open an episode of a show more focused on teen drama than anything regarding the supernatural. Even though this is a scene more akin to another CW show, this actually is a moment that wasn't all that far off from the Archie universe portrayed in the comic books. In 2013, a comic book series was released called Afterlife with Archie that focused on a Riverdale that was undertaken by a zombie apocalypse. This sort of scene would fit right at home along those comic panels. Either this scene is a creepy hint at foreshadowing or perhaps the closest we will ever get to seeing Riverdale duplicate the same zombie apocalypse that happened in the comics.
8 Archie and His Music
Archie's newfound interest in song making appears to be a new creative decision on behalf of the folks at Riverdale, but only because Archie's musical interests from the comics have been long forgotten. Which is a shame because Archie's musical endeavors extend far beyond the page itself. In the comics, Archie actually had his own band composed of all of his friends which he called The Archies. Yes, it's a little bit egotistical to name the entire band after himself, but that is beside the point. The bigger point is that when the characters of Archie Comics reached the small screen for the animated series, The Archie Show, they played a song called "Sugar, Sugar" which legitimately went on to become a hit single on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the number one spot in 1969.
7 Little Archie
During the second episode of the first season, Archie and Betty are talking and he recalls how he tried to propose to her when they were little kids. Betty's response at the time was "Oh, little Archie..." What appears on the surface to merely be a really cute throwaway line was in actuality a nod to a series of Archie universe comic books which ran from 1953 to 1983 across 180 issues. This series of comic books was called none other than Little Archie. This was a clever, subtle little way to reference the long running comic book series, even if it is a little weird to think that a little kid could come up with such a grown up response as "Oh, little Archie."
"Little Archie" isn't the only nickname of Archie's that works as a callback to the comics for the show. While this next one isn't a reference to a comic book in particular, this next one continues a recurring gag that was ongoing in just about every iteration of the Archie universe. In the comics, "Archiekins" was often used as a pet name for Archie from Veronica. She started off using it as a means to sweet talk Archie or convince him to do something he did not want to do, but as years progressed, Veronica would normally refer to Archie exclusively as "Archiekins." This sort of tradition continues on the show, where at one point, Veronica calls Archie "Archiekins" in order to convince him to sing in front of everybody at the school dance.
5 The Sabrina Tease
During the Season 1 finale of Riverdale, Jughead's dad, FP Jones, sits in a jail cell reading a comic book called Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1. On the surface, there is not much of a reason to care about this little tidbit. That is until we learn the true meaning of what this could entail. In Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1, there is a little asterix which reads that these stories are told by Sabrina. Sabrina happens to refer to one Sabrina Spellman, better known as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Sabrina has always been a substantial part of the Archie universe, first appearing in issue #22 of Archie's Mad House before being given a plethora of her own spinoffs in television, movies, and comics. Riverdale producers have constantly teased that Sabrina may make an appearance on Riverdale and this little nod could be a healthy case of foreshadowing.
4 Vegas the Dog
On Riverdale, Archie happens to own a dog named Vegas. Not many people know that Vegas the Dog has a long history in the Archie Comics universe. Way back during the original run of the comics, Vegas was introduced as a gift to Archie from Betty after she picked him up from a dog shelter. Since then, Vegas has remained as a supporting part of the comics as a staple of the Andrews family household. It is worth noting that Vegas is best remembered by Archie fans for his shocking sacrifice in a recent issue of Afterlife with Archie. When Jughead's dog, Hot Dog, becomes a zombie in issue #4, Vegas fights off Hot Dog to save his master and dies in the process. If those comics are supposed to be believed, Vegas might meet a gruesome end on the show. Also, there might be a zombie apocalypse on the show, which is weird to imagine.
3 The Wolf Masks
In the 6th episode of Riverdale, Archie opens his trunk to find a wolf mask. Not much significance is given to the moment, until Archie sings on stage later on and chokes. When he looks to the crowd, he sees his team of football mates all wearing creepy looking wolf masks. It is a weird moments that much of the show's fanbase is still struggling to fully understand. Then, after some long thinking and research digging, some managed to come to the conclusion that this just might be a reference to a point in the Archie Comics where Reggie pulls a prank on Archie by wearing a wolf mask. Whether or not such a moment ties into a bigger story for the show remains to be seen.
2 75 Years
In the 10th episode of Season 1, Veronica mentions that the payments between Blossom Maple Farms and Lodge Industries had been going on for the past 75 years. If the number 75 sounds like an oddly specific number, that is because it is. If we are to know anything about Riverdale and its writing by now, it is that nothing anybody says or does is a coincidence and more often than not, it happens in reference to the comic books of ole. This seems to be the case as recently, back in December 2016, Archie Comics celebrated its landmark 75th anniversary on the stands. Since this parallel sounds almost too coincidental to be, well, a coincidence, we should think that this was the writing team's little nod to the comic book's monumental anniversary.
1 The Final Shot
The final shot of Season 1 gave us one major bombshell of an ending. In the season finale's closing moments, Archie's dad, Fred, gets shot during a seemingly random robbery at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe diner. Fred's fate remains up in the air until Season 2 airs, but the season ends with his son cradling Fred's limping, fading, bleeding body. The shot echoes a similar shot from a fairly recent issue of Archie Comics that saw another important character from the cast get shot. Back in 2014, for issue #36 of Life with Archie, Archie finds himself jumping in front of a bullet to save his friend and newly elected Senator, Kevin Keller, from an assassination attempt. The bullet killed Archie, who died in the arms of his best friend, Jughead. While we don't know yet if Archie's dad is dead, considering how both shots seem to eerily parallel each other, Fred's fate doesn't look to good at the moment.