As a fan of the more bizarre corners of the Archie Universe -- which seem to be getting stranger every day -- I'm always pretty excited when a reference to their more obscure efforts show up in their comics, especially when they're done with some absolutely beautiful art. Case in point, a variant cover for the upcoming Life With Archie #26, in which former Supergirl artist Jamal Igle draws Pureheart the Powerful and his crew of Super-Teens!

Check out Igle's take on Archie's super-heroic alter-ego and the solicitation for the issue after the cut!

For those of you who may not be familiar with short-lived Archie comics from fifty years ago, Pureheart the Powerful was the publisher's attempt to capitalize on the super-hero craze that was raging in the mid-60s. Archie, of course, was Pureheart, a super-hero who possessed phenomenal powers as long as his thoughts remained chaste -- which, for noted girl-chaser Archie Andrews, presented quite a problem.

Joining him for these adventures was his nemesis, Evilheart (better known as resident jerk Reggie Mantle), Superteen (Betty Cooper, whose powers were granted by her "magic ponytail" [?!]), and Captain Hero (Jughead, who was mostly concerned with super-eating). Veronica's alter-ego, Miss Vanity, wasn't introduced until the '90s in a comic with an awesome cover by Stuart Immonen, so she gets left out of the classic line-up.

Unfortunately, the SuperTeens don't actually appear in the issue itself, just existing as a fun variant by Igle. Here's the official solicit:


"Archie Marries Veronica" – Archie settles in as president of Mirth Records but is soon disillusioned when he discovers that the "talent" may not be so talented after all. Recovering from his gunshot wound, Clay discovers what it's like to be on the other side of physical therapy. Meanwhile, Reggie is given a choice by his reality show producer: up the drama with fake fighting between him and Betty or face cancellation. How will Betty take this?

"Archie Marries Betty" – A series of robberies continue to hit Riverdale and Jughead is worried the Chok'lit Shoppe could be next. Will the robber be caught before it's too late? Reggie's head is still spinning from the suddenness of his father's heart attack and to top it off he's been saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the family business. Can he make his father proud? But not everyone is filled with worry as Cheryl recovers from cancer and may have just met a potential mate. Is love in the air?

Script: Paul Kupperberg

Art: Fernando Ruiz, Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy, Jim Amash, Bob Smith

Cover: Fernando Ruiz

Variant Cover: Jamal Igle

On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: 1/9

48-page, full color comic

$3.99 US.

Still, even though I'd like those super-heroes to show up and sort out a few of those soap-operatic problems for everyone (poor Cheryl!), it's pretty cool to see them back in action. Especially since they seem to be charging up to fight a pull-quote that I wrote last week.