Written and Illustrated by Various
Published by Archie Comics
Let’s face it, Waldo Weatherbee, the long-suffering Principal at Riverdale High School and the “me” of the Archie and Me comic book, is one of THE great but unsung comics characters!
He’s like the great character actors of the 1930s and ‘40s, whose appearances in films always raised even the worst picture up in estimation by a notch or three. He’s a large man with an egg-shaped head, with little round glasses perched on his nose, and what may or may not be the most pointless and ridiculous teensy little hairpiece ever.
He is a man of infinite patience, good humor, and fairness but with a temper to be reckoned with when pushed too far. He has to put up with a lot from all of his students, but most especially from the perennial thorn in his side, Archie Andrews.
This, of course, is what led to the very existence of the long-running comic that premiered in 1964 and now this current collection of same.
Joe Edwards has become one of my favorite Archie artists over time and there is a lot of Edwards’ work on display here, both for story and artwork. There’s also some choice art from Little Archie artist Bob Bolling and, of course, it wouldn’t be an Archie book without at least a little work from mega-prolific Archie scripter Frank Doyle.
Considering that Mr. Weatherbee is Archie’s school Principal, it should come as no surprise that most of the stories here are built around variations on school themes. There’s the football game, baseball season, the class election, the science class, detention, and lots of running in the halls. But just to break things up a bit, “the Bee” and Archie also interact at summer camp in a number of stories.
The whole gang’s present, of course—Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie. But the emphasis this time is on the hapless teenager (think Donald O’Conner circa 1945) and his relationships and run-ins with the slow burning authority figure (think Edgar Kennedy). It was a clever idea then and the stories—despite some repetition in reading them all in a row—certainly retain a great deal of fun today.