I suppose it says something about the universality of comics, of their ability to build bridges across cultural divides, that we see this news regarding Archie getting licensed in India. More so than for really any other comics characters, I’d assume that the hijinks of Riverdale High students would be too distinctly American to translate past our majestic purple mountains and amber waves of grain. But, as I often say, my expectations exist only to be surprised every day.
Just listen to this…
“Western, especially American culture, has always fascinated Indian teenagers. Much of what happens in the Archie Comics storylines differs from the life of the average Indian teenager. That is what makes them so appealing. In the past, Indian teenagers were not allowed the kind of freedom these characters have, to be sociable with each other, and so reading about it was aspirational, like a fairytale.”
Those are the words come from Rajiv Sangari, the CEO of Kids Media India, as he spoke to the Hindustan Times regarding his company’s purchase of Archie’s Indian licensing rights. He has sights on putting that red-headed goofball’s face on around 800 types of products, including clothes, puzzles, games, back-to-school items and make-up kits (hey, maybe even a postage stamp like the USPS just recently gave Archie.) Apparently, something around one million copies of Archie sell yearly in India, without any changes to make their content translate better. There hasn’t even been a Hindi translation!
This whole thing bring SPIDER-MAN INDIA back to my mind… that really strange Indian kid-targeted re-branding of the wallcrawler. As I recall, the Green Goblin was more of a demon, Spidey got his powers through magic and he also wore slippers and baggy white pants over his usual get-up. Could you imagine Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica getting a similar make-over? I don't know, I could imagine this little ditty below easily fitting into a Bollywood musical. == TEASER ==