The World of Archie Comics Archive | Alexander Street

The World of Archie Comics Archive

The World of Archie Comics Archive offers access to the backfiles of 100+ publications from Archie Comics, spanning the early 1940s to 2020. As well as Archie, this collection includes other major titles such as Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, Betty & Veronica, and Jughead.

The World of Archie Comics Archive is an unprecedented digital collection offering access to the runs of more than 100 publications from Archie Comics, one of the longest-running, best-known comic stables, spanning the early 1940s to 2020. Alongside the flagship title, Archie, other prominent titles, which have pervaded wider popular culture, include Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, Betty & Veronica, and Jughead. These series follow Archie and his friends as they embark on many adventures in the small town of Riverdale.

Also included in this database are some of the earliest superhero comic series originally published in the 1940's and 1950's, such as Blue Ribbon Comics, Top-Notch Comics, and Zip Comics.

The evolution of these publications across more than eight decades offers insight into changes in society and in attitudes pertaining to, for example, issues of race, class, sexuality/gender, and politics. The archives are also key sources for research in many aspects of comics studies and popular culture history, including the development of the genre, comic art/narrative techniques, and the marketing of comics to particular demographic groups.


Benefits and Key Features

  • Coverage spanning the early 1940s to 2020 – 8 decades of content*

  • Variety of publication types, from comic book series to graphic novels, annuals, and one-shot comics

  • Digital backfiles of more than 100 titles, including major, long-running series, as well as rare, influential early superhero comics from the 1940s.

  • Page-image, color digitization maximizes the rich visual content of this material, while detailed article-level indexing enhances the searchability and navigability of this resource

  • Cross-searchable with ProQuest’s Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels where institutions have access to both resources

* Policy is to include each issue from the first and to scan from cover to cover. Due to the rarity of this material, however, there will be some gaps (issues or pages).


Comics: A Growing Research Field

Comics are an increasingly popular source type in research and teaching, not only within dedicated Comics Studies departments but in many other disciplines, including American Studies, Media/Communications, Women’s and Gender Studies, History, Literature, Cultural Studies, and Sociology. Libraries rarely have good print backfile holdings of comics, however; the availability of primary sources for comics studies has not kept pace with the growth of this field. The World of Archie Comics Archive provides a large volume of this increasingly studied content type, for which there are few existing digital sources.

Archie Comics titles have been used in a wide variety of research and teaching topics, including sex/gender roles, sexuality, youth culture, textual analysis, cold war culture, depictions of witchcraft/Wicca, and comics in literacy development. This collection may be used, for example, to:

  • Explore the representation of feminist liberation and patriarchy in Sabrina

  • Trace the rise of American youth culture in the 1940s-50s issues of Archie

  • Examine how the influence of the Cold War on everyday life in America is represented in the Archie comics

  • Study the use of layout and graphic design elements as narrative devices

  • Consider the evolving portrayal of sexual diversity over the decades – e.g. asexuality (Jughead), homosexuality (Kevin Keller)



Archie Andrews will soon turn 100. So what is the continuing fascination readers have with he and his pals in Riverdale? Archie represents the quintessential American teenage life since its inception in the 1940s. The gang experience lives that are recognizable to many but which have changed over the decades, just as the nation has. Beyond the eternal triangle of Archie, Betty and Veronica, an African American girlfriend was introduced along with other characters of color. Then gay characters appeared. All of this demonstrates how closely the writers and artists listen to the world around them which makes digital Archie a critical source for scholarship in the humanities whether in literature, history or American Studies.

James P. Danky co-author, “Wisconsin Funnies: 50 Years of Comics," Future of Print Project, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I especially liked the WWII-era comics (not at all the light-hearted version I grew up with in the 1960s!) and have recommended them to a colleague who teaches a WWII literature course. I think there are also good options for comparing eras, which I do in many of my own courses.

Karla Stouse Senior Lecturer, Indiana University - Kokomo