I have to thank Amy Sullivan of political aims for the link in the previous post to the Hal Lindsey comic.
She reviews Alan Wolfe's The Transformation of American Religion in The Washington Monthly.
In the course of that review, she describes the old Spire Comics versions of Archie comics:
In the days before VeggieTales, we read Christian versions of Archie comic books, in which Betty, Veronica and the whole gang traveled the world proselytizing.
Mainly what I remember from the Spire edition Archies was the same thing I remember from the plain old "secular" ones: Betty and Veronica were hot. So much so that I didn't pay much attention to the goofy, parochial version of the Christian life that these comics presented.
Now, thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, you can turn with me to see for yourselves the strange spectacle of Archie's Parables. The entire comic is online — in a 4.1 megabyte .pdf file — here.
You might think that this would involve a retelling of biblical parables as re-enacted by the gang from Riverdale High. It doesn't. Instead, Archie and friends act out a bunch of their own fables, use a lot of church-y evangelispeak and pray a lot. But the moral of these fables is not necessarily Christian or even complementary to Christian teaching, as in the first story in which Archie, as a medieval knight, goes off to fight a dragon (using a fire extinguisher):
JUGHEAD: The dragon's running away!!!
ARCHIE: That's the way it is with evil — when you stand up to it, it always retreats!!!JUGHEAD: But the dragon's still alive —
ARCHIE: Maybe we can't get rid of ALL the evil in the world — but we CAN drive it out of the neighborhood!!!
And speaking of driving undesirable elements out of the neighborhood …
The second "parable" is called "Showdown at the Little Red Schoolhouse." The Old West setting includes recasting Jughead as "Pronto — my faithful Indian companion!!!"
Sheriff Archie is summoned to the schoolhouse where there's big trouble: "They've had their hands full ever since they started to bus students across the prairie!!!"
The school teacher, Betty (still hot, but in that repressed, fundamentalist way), explains the problem:
"Oh, Sheriff — when they took the BIBLE OUT of school, more and more PROBLEMS came IN! Now we have books that say we all came from MONKEYS — and the students are starting to ACT like it!
Sheriff Archie comes through by turning the local book store (Sign: "Filthy Books") into a "Christian book store." This includes a scene of Archie and "Pronto" unloading good, wholesome, white Christian books from a covered wagon that reads "Fleming H. Revell" on the side. That's the parent company of Spire Comics. Nice touch.
Good old Archie — Maybe we can't get rid of ALL the scientists and black students in the world — but we CAN drive them out of the neighborhood!!! (All triple exclamation points original.) Such lovely Christian sentiments.
Several other Spire Comics classics are readable online from the same folks here, including Archie's Date Book and the aforementioned Hal Lindsey classic.