Though the cover of the 2021 Archie Halloween Spectacular proudly states that the comic features an all-new lead story within its pages, it’s not as if you can tell unless you’re an absolute Archie die-hard. That is to say, over the 80 years that Archie comics have been in existence for, there’s been very little change to its basic, family-friendly formula of innocent hi-jinks, all wrapped up in an instantly familiar art style. Not that it’s a bad thing, of course; there’s a timeless appeal to the gentle humour strips featuring Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica (as well as some spookier guest stars such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch).

This issue’s opening tale sees Archie cursed with a real pumpkin for a head – and getting into trouble when no one believes that it’s just a mask he’s wearing. Next up is Season of the Witch, in which (witch?) Jughead is up to no good (of course). Next up is The Problem with Pumpkin, a story featuring Reggie and Archie’s rivalry and finally, a charity haunted house is featured in Halloween Horror.

It’s comfort food in comic form; warmly nostalgic, laidback and mildly amusing. Sure, you won’t be laughing out loud or shocked at any of the antics that the Riverdale teens get up to, but that’s definitely part of the appeal. As with most Archie comics, this year’s Halloween Spectacular is gentle, clean-cut fun. A light, breezy read to ease you into the Halloween spirit.

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