When comic book store owner Dave Luebke heard that after 67 years, the carrot-topped everyman of the comic world, Archie, was proposing to va-va-voomy rich girl Veronica instead of girl-next-door Betty, he decided to protest by selling his copy of the series' rare first issue. It fetched $38,837 at auction Friday.
"Betty is it. Not Veronica," said Luebke, whose Richmond, Va., store has more than 1 million comics in stock. "This is serious."
And, he said, 99% of his customers agree that perky, blond Betty is the clear choice over shiny dark-haired Veronica in the seemingly never-ending love triangle.
The Archie Comics website, www.archiecomics.com, shows Archie proposing to Veronica on bended knee on the cover of No. 600, which hits comic book stores Wednesday. That begins a six-issue story arc that takes place in the future -- when the perpetual high schoolers have graduated from college, said Victor Gorelick, editor-in-chief of Archie Comics.
He said people all over the world are reacting to Archie's choice and "mostly everyone feels bad for Betty."
For those heartbroken by Archie's choice, Gorelick remains coy, advising: "I just tell them to stick with it. Read through it and you'll see what happens. A lot happens."
After the six-issue story arc, the gang will return to high school, Gorelick said.