Lovefool 07.24.11 | Model Behavior, Indeed

This week, Lovefool returns to Riverdale to hang with Archie Comics’ fashion superstar, Katy Keene.

 

 

 
So I wrote about Riverdale last column and I’m about to kind of do it again. Last time ’round, I finished my column, sent it off and then had a chat with Jason Green, Fearless Editor, about how I really wanted to talk about Katy Keene in some depth but didn’t want to talk too much. JGFE hit me back with a wave of enthusiasm rarely seen in my inbox. There are seven extra pieces of punctuation on “Why haven’t you done a column about Katy Keene yet?” Well. We here at Lovefool Industries (consisting of me and the cat hanging around at the time and, credit where it’s due, JGFE most days) aim to please and the new Katy is definitely the sort of thing we get a little frothy over.
 
Katy Keene may be easy to dismiss. She’s not a complicated character, despite a backstory designed to give her depth. In the revival, Katy is thrust into stardom by chance, meeting a model scout on the streets of Chicago, and then further pulled in by the need to support her sister after the untimely death of her parents. In true Riverdale fashion, that’s almost skimmed over in order to get to the pages of pretty outfits, but you can hardly fault them for it Katy’s adventures in Glamland are so fun. Who wants to deal with that sad stuff? Her high school sweetheart dumps her for her refusal to put her career on the back burner to spend time with him, leaving her almost conveniently unattached.
 
She works her way into the industry on personality, almost, winning roles by being sweet almost as much as being attractive. We see her start out in print ads, moving on to runway and exotic beach shoots while breaking into acting and music. It defies belief, a little bit, Katy’s meteoric rise to stardom. But if you think that while you’re reading the book, you’re overthinking it. Katy Keene: Model Behavior, the Andrew Pepoy helmed big break back onto the scene after decades of semi-neglect, is a delightful four color romp. She sails through life with a one-two punch of charm and looks, dressed (by fans!) to the nines and taking care of her mischievous sister.
 
It’s not all work for our heroine, though, despite her attempts to always put her career and fans first. She has a lot of industry friends, as well as the occasional visit from people back home, and a healthy relationship with her sister. So where’s the conflict? Why keep reading? Because Katy looks amazing, changes clothes every thirty seconds, has a sister that’s completely adorbs, her boyfriends are hot and famous, and her houses get better and better. Katy Keene is our childhood daydreams brought to life, starring the kind of sweetheart that we wish we could be. One could argue, if one wanted, that Katy Keene is popular for the same reasons the Twilight books are: a lot of people apparently want to be caught between a hot vampire and a hot werewolf in a seemingly endless love triangle and a lot of people secretly want to be fabulously dressed and always kind models/actresses/singers with loads of boys fighting over them and tons of famous friends. We here at Lovefool don’t judge and may or may not have had a Robert Pattinson calendar at our desk at one point that was a stop on a tour of our house during a party once. It’s okay.
 
Katy is not only completely perfect in every way, she has heritage behind her. A big part of the Katy Keene books is the fan-designed couture that she and her costars appear in, and it’s rumored that distinguished names such as Calvin Klein and Betsey Johnson dressed Katy before they got big. Katy’s been published off and on since Bill Woggon created her in 1945, starting as a guest in some of the other Archie books before spinning off eventually into her own specials and annuals. For a while, you could get Katy Keene pens, pin-ups and paper dolls before she faded away again. Given that she hasn’t been as constant as some other Archie characters, it’s easy to imagine Katy as a bit on the side for Archie Comics, but she’s had her own fan club (twice) and her own conventions, both independently and later as part of San Diego Comic Con. It can be argued that Katy is the standard for modern romance comics, for those moments when we don’t want to imagine ourselves as butt-kickin’ and would rather just be superstars.
 
So. Everyone’s crazy about Katy. Maybe, inspired by Ms. Keene, I’ll go ahead and change out of my gym shorts and leave the house. And, maybe, more inspired by Katy, I’ll be nice to everyone I meet out there. In the meantime, we here at PLAYBACK:stl may be leaving Riverdale for real this time, unless my buddy, Bryan, over at Rude Chapbooks has something up his sleeve, but we’ll be keeping it in mind. | Erin Jameson
 

 

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