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Comic Book / Life With Archie: The Married Life

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Love or or death...Betty or Veronica...the end or just the beginning...the road taken or the road not taken...
Dilton Doiley

Life With Archie: The Married Life was a storyline in Archie Comics that ran for 37 issues from 2010 to 2014.

Following on the heels of the Archie Marries Veronica/Betty storylines, the series follows Archie's life post-marriage. Each issue contains one comic set in the timeline in which Archie married Veronica, and one set in the timeline in which he married Betty.

The comics differ from the norm in several ways, being printed in magazine format and having Darker and Edgier storylines, with Soap Opera plot twists and situations.

Not to be confused with Afterlife with Archie, which is a zombie apocalypse comic.

This comic contains examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: Before a mayoral debate begins, Ruskin, Moose's opponent, unknowingly turns on the microphone on his lapel, allowing the entire audience to hear his shady dealings with Lodge and Mirth.
  • Adapted Out: Archie's children with either spouse don't appear due to his untimely death.
  • Alternate Continuity:
    • Not only do the two stories display different futures, but Archie Loves Betty sometimes differs from Archie Marries Betty. Most noticeably, Miss Grundy in Archie Loves Betty dies without seeing Archie and Betty become teachers.
    • Two new continuities were spawned from the Marries timelines (circa the 10th Anniversary Special), following up on the Babies Ever After of the original.
  • Alternate Universe: Dilton apparently keeps track of them.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Reggie and whichever of the girls Archie does not marry.
    • Moose and his blind yoga instructor, Ilana.
    • Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy in the Archie Loves Betty stories, until Miss Grundy dies.
    • Jughead and Midge. Or Jughead and Big Ethel.
  • Big Applesauce: Archie and Betty spend some time living in New York City.
  • Big "NO!": Archie screams out this trope in issue #36 as he sees Wendell's gun pointed at Kevin before jumping into the fray and in the line of fire.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Archie dies in issue #36, however Wendell, the busboy who killed Archie and now intends to do the same to Kevin, is stopped by the police and apprehended.
  • Book Ends: Issue #36 starts with Archie's chocolate soda getting knocked by the hand of one of his girls and spilled on the table when he was a child...and ends with the shot of chocolate soda spilled on the table as a result of his knocking it onto the table before Taking the Bullet for Kevin.
  • Break the Cutie: Betty undergoes a serious depression after Archie picks Veronica over her. Not even dating Richie Cunningham, Zack Morris or Troy Bolton lifts her out of it.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Veronica undergoes a serious depression after Archie picks Betty over her. It becomes so severe, Mr. Lodge tries bribing Archie to leave Betty for Veronica.
    • Cheryl Blossom is stuck waiting tables, until she gets breast cancer and has to come back to Riverdale.
  • Broad Strokes: The final story in which Archie dies serves as a conclusion to both timelines. As such, the whole thing is written and framed to keep things as ambiguous as possible so that the story could plausibly have occurred in either timeline, such as neither Archie nor Reggie ever explicitly identifying their respective wives by name, Archie's wife only being depicted from the neck down in his "what-if" spots in which they have children, and even the final shot from a dying Archie's perspective where he sees both Betty and Veronica mourning over him, to whom he utters "I've always loved you" in his dying breath. A single panel during the subsequent time-skip even has one of the girls speaking candidly about how they have been coping after their husband's death, which is purposefully framed so that the reader cannot see which of the two potential spouses are talking.
  • Call-Back: In Midge's debut appearance, she becomes attracted to Jughead after a misunderstanding from Archie and Reggie.
  • Canon Foreigner: The series gives Reggie an older brother named Oliver who is a journalist in Alaska.
  • Canon Welding: The more fantastical Little Archie stories were canon in the sense that they were being told through the filter of childish imagination and in the sense that they actually happened thanks to Ambrose being a powerful dimensional slider who inadvertently took the gang to alternate realities where their imagination could play out for real.
  • Continuity Porn: Ambrose shows up and discusses the Little Archie stories with Archie. Little Jinx also appears.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Mr. Lodge, at least for the first half of the story arc. Sabotaging Archie's marriage to Veronica in one universe and destroying Archie's musical career in revenge for breaking Veronica's heart in the other. He gets better, though, and eventually dedicates himself to philantrophy around Riverdale.
    • Also Fred Mirth.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Sophie "Soapy" Waters, one of the new students at Riverdale High.
  • Darker and Edgier: In the first issue alone, Moose and Midge break up in order to avoid further Domestic Abuse, Miss Grundy contracts a fatal disease, and the Betty of the Archie Marries Veronica timeline has lost the will to live (as did the Veronica of the Archie Marries Betty timeline). Same goes for some issues leading up to the penultimate issue, as Heteronormative Crusader and busboy Wendell injures Kevin's husband Clay Walker and seeks out for Kevin's life, all the while shooting gay employees in the Southport Mall; and by the time he catches up to Kevin in the Chocklit Shoppe and is prepared to shoot him, Archie jumps into the fray before Taking the Bullet for him, leading to Wendell's arrest.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Archie does this to Betty and Veronica in both universes as he is dying of a bullet wound towards the end of issue #36.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While the Archie Gets Married storylines resolve to Babies Ever After endings pretty quickly, the Life With Archie series is suggesting that there will be a lot of work to get there.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: By killing off the Archie of this comic line, Archie Comics got to draw publicity from killing off a 70+ years-old comic character, without actually changing anything in the Archie Prime universe since the original Archie will still be alive and well. Notably the 10 Years Later storyline continues in the original Marries timeline where Archie never died.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Jughead, of course, unless he's being serious or has to make a point, but Ilana is also drawn like this.
  • Fake-Out Opening: After Reggie is wrongfully arrested for fraud, extortion and bribery in issue #6, issue #7 opens with him behind bars and ranting about how the "lousy coppers" will never get him to talk. Turns out he's not actually in prison, just re-enacting his "prison routines" for Jughead, who points out that "I don't think the three hours you spent sitting on a bench in the Riverdale police station count as hard time, Reg."
  • Foreshadowing: The mysterious busboy identified only as Wendell is stalking Kevin and his husband Clay Walker and hates getting his picture taken. This is because he doesn't want to be identified as the Heteronormative Crusader who shot Clay during one of his robberies in Riverdale and is now going on a rampage by shooting down gay employees at the Southport Mall, not voting for Kevin on gun control, and attempting to off him when his plan of rejecting Kevin as senator fails.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Jughead and Midge are only in a relationship for a few months at best but got married pretty fast in the Betty!verse. Though they had known each other since high school, they didn't interact with each other much back then.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Dilton.
  • Frame-Up: Reggie becoming The Scapegoat for Lodge Industries' attempt to wash themselves of Mayor Ruskin's corruption. Later, as his last act of spiteful revenge against Mr. Lodge, Fred Mirth frames Veronica for all the business cons he's pulled. Fortunately, both of them were cleared of charges.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Mr. Lodge from the Veronica 'verse goes temporarily mad due Dilton revealing to him the existence of the multiverse.
  • The Hero Dies: Archie himself towards the end of the story.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Archie is shot to death saving Kevin Keller from assassination.
  • He's Got a Weapon!: In issue #36, Archie shouts out in panic, "HE'S GOT A GUN!" when he sees Wendell pull out the gun from his pocket in his attempt to shoot down Kevin while unseen.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In both 'verses:
    • Reggie hooks up with the "loser" of the Love Triangle.
    • Midge and Moose break up, and start going out with Jughead (with different outcomes, however) and new character Ilana, respectively.
    • Pop Tate sells his shop to Jughead. After a bad start, Jughead gets a business partner that offers to turn the shop into a massive franchise, which Jug has reservations about.
    • The original mini-series ended with Archie and his spouse siring twins, one that looked like Archie and the other her mother.
  • Intrepid Reporter: In the Betty!verse, Reggie goes to work for his father's newspaper and eventually becomes this, chasing scoops around the country. It especially shows when Veronica's flight disappears and Reggie tries to find out the truth.
  • Karma Houdini: He had noble intentions (rebuild and modernize the building) but no one apparently ever caught on that Mr. Lodge hired someone to sabotage and eventually burn down Riverdale High School. That same saboteur was never shown getting apprehended either. Especially jarring since at least two people might have died in the fire: namely Archie (accidentally trapped in a closet) and Moose (knocked out by the saboteur after being caught in the act). It was fortunate that one of Archie's students was there to save both.
  • Left Hanging: Several plot threads are left unresolved toward the end of the comic.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Moose helps Betty get through to a problem student of hers, because the girl has a reading disorder like he did.
  • Married to the Job: Betty getting so engrossed in her multiple responsibilities in school causes a rift between her and Archie.
  • Merging the Branches: Rather than telling the same story twice, the death of Archie is carefully written to make it vague which universe it is taking place in so that it can plausibly be happening in both at the same time. Although not very successfully, as the story showed Mr. Weatherbee's lady friend, Nancy's pregnancy, and Cheryl still recovering from her breast cancer, which only happens in the Betty!verse.
  • Mood Whiplash: Presented itself as a tween magazine with light-hearted articles that didn't sit well with the darker and edgier content of the stories. Eventually such content was dropped.
  • The Multiverse: Confirmed as of issue 18.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Fred Mirth's arrest was only mentioned in passing.
  • Oh, and X Dies: The fact that Archie was going to die was announced already in April 2014. The details of how and why was then revealed in July.
  • Older and Wiser: The series focus on Archie and his friends' adulthood and most of them move on from their old personalities such as Jughead becoming a hardworking man and finally finds love, Reggie is no longer the narcissist he was and Moose learning how to control his temper.
  • One-Steve Limit: This is probably why Archie's father is Demoted to Extra here, since Fred Mirth is a major antagonist.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Calling him a hero is a bit of a stretch in these continuities, but Mr. Lodge becomes less unscrupulous once he breaks off his business dealings with Mirth. Ultimately, at the end Mr. Lodge makes it his mission to save Riverdale, which is in financial ruin because of Mirth.
  • Pair the Spares: Reggie with whichever girl Archie doesn't pick.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Both Jughead and Kevin hold Archie's lifeless body in this way while the former cradles it in his lap as the entire crowd weeps and holds each other close.
  • Previously on…
  • Rule of Symbolism: After Archie dies, the final shot is of a spilled chocolate milkshake, something Archie always had been associated with.
  • Running Gag: Of the Once Done, Never Forgotten type, people repeatedly mentioning Reggie's loss to Kevin during high school elections.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Jughead, when Veronica goes missing.
  • Saved by Canon: Subverted, thanks to the multiverse, the fact that Life With Archie is an expansion of a storyline that ends with Archie and his wife living happily together with two kids does nothing to protect Archie from being killed before he can have kids.
  • Shout-Out:
  • She Is All Grown Up: Jellybean appears in the Betty-verse, now a college student.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Leads to the death of Miss Grundy.
  • Spiritual Successor: A melodramatic comic titled Life with Archie also ran during the 1960s and '70s, but took place while Archie and his friends were still highschoolers.
  • Split Timelines Plot: The comic alternates between a timeline where Archie married Betty, and one where he married Veronica.
  • Supreme Chef: Jughead turns out to be as good at making burgers as he is at eating them, which is really saying something.
  • Take a Third Option: So, is Archie going to end up with Betty or Veronica? Turns out, either one is canon.
  • That's What I Would Do: During a field trip to a museum, Archie had to look for three of his students that played hooky. Knowing that their leader is a music lover like he was, Archie correctly guessed where they went off to...because he pulled a similar stunt when he was their age.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: In Issue #36, although it's more like "They Wasted a Perfectly Good Chocolate Soda" towards the end of the issue when Archie dies saving Kevin from assassination.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Mr. Lodge does this in both universes, as he actively tries to sabotage Archie and Betty's life together because Veronica is too heartbroken and depressed to become the businesswoman he wants her to be, and also trying to manipulate Archie and Veronica into getting a divorce because Archie's influence is making Veronica too kindhearted to become the businesswoman he wants her to be. (And yes, that means Archie can't win either way)
    • Archie used to be a lax teacher and lets his students do what do they want, but after the museum incident, he decides to toughen up and go a little more stricter with them.
    • Ambrose in the 10th Anniversary Special, both in comparison to his "Little Archie" character and The Married Life version.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Although he remains a bit edgy, Reggie is essentially a very nice guy in both stories.
    • Cheryl Blossom lost most of her jerkassery after her seriously humbling experiences in LA and going through breast cancer.
    • Mr. Lodge eventually goes through this after he learns about the multiverse from Married Veronica-verse Hiram Lodge and Dilton, as well as realizing that Fred Mirth is trying to stage a takeover of Lodge Industries. He quickly puts Veronica and Jason in charge of his corporation and dedicates the rest of his career to being extremely philantrophic to Riverdale.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Archie in both scenarios, and, surprisingly, Reggie.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The "Evil" Dilton really does think he's doing what's best for humanity by giving them unlimited free energy, but he's too blinded by ambition to realize what the "Good" Dilton had figured out; said invention would only lead to the destruction of the multiverse instead.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Nancy was suspected to be having pregnancy symptoms around the same time as Midge. But not only was this never mentioned again, she and Chuck were shoved into the background for the remainder of the series.
  • Wham Episode: Issues 10 and 18. And #36.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?:
    • Chuck and Nancy make a comic based on their adventures at Riverdale High (named "Smalltown High" in one continuity and "Smalltown Kidz" in the other). In a slight subversion of the trope, everyone thinks it's a great idea and the comic becomes a success.
    • Played somewhat straighter when Reggie gets the idea of a reality show with him and Betty, and Betty asks who'd be interested in watching them.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • Most of the Riverdale cast look exactly as they do when they were younger in the main series, except for Dilton, who looked like he aged far more years than his friends. Jason Blossom as well.
    • Ilana looks nothing like she did in her first appearance in Archie #605 — there she had black hair and angular features and wore Cool Shades to illustrate her blindness, while in this series, she has brown hair, softer and rounder features, and is always drawn with Jughead-style Eyes Always Shut.