Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Harper Lodge Returns in ARCHIE #665

Remember Harper Lodge? She is a relatively new Archie Comics character. She is Veronica Lodge's famous cousin from out west. She is a clothing designer. She writes children's books. She writes an advice column called "Dear Jewel." And she is physically disabled. She originally appeared in ARCHIE #656, where she impressed the Riverdale Gang and literally knocked Reggie Mantle off of his feet! She has made two cameos since then (here and here), but she regained much of the spotlight in ARCHIE #665.

It seems that Harper is in Riverdale so that she can visit her cousin Veronica and so that she can work with Chuck Clayton on her latest writing project -- a graphic novel called "The Powers That Be," which features new superheroes patterned after Harper and her friends. Harper's superhero identity is The Gem. It seems that she wears a powerful gem on her ring-finger, which acts as some sort of cosmic key for her wheelchair. She can transform the wheelchair into all sorts of different vehicles and weapons, plus it can time-travel.

Harper also creates a series of "handi-capable" heroes, each designed after one of her disabled friends. I noticed that none of the designs were patterned after a person with an intellectual disability. Hopefully, that's something that can be addressed during the upcoming ARCHIE reboot!

Much of the drama involves family tension between Harper and Veronica. Basically, Veronica is a snoop. She comes across a script that portrays her as an ugly villain, which causes her to rage for a while -- before discovering that Harper purposely created a fake script because she knew that her cousin is a snoop.

There's also romantic tension as Reggie tries to cope with jealousy over another guy in Harper's life!

Lastly, we briefly met Harper's parents. It was obvious from the beginning that Veronica's cousin isn't the most Caucasian of characters. There was speculation about her racial heritage in the comments section of these two blog posts (here and here). It turns out that her mother is of Indian heritage. So now we know!

Harper & Parents
The Big Question: Will Harper Lodge fade away once ARCHIE reboots? I hope not. I understand that the nature of Archie Comics' primary titles will be changing soon, but I really like this character. It would be nice if she had a recurring presence in the relaunch. But it would be even cooler if she continued having adventures in the various digest magazines too!

"Writer's Blockheads" was written and penciled by Dan Parent, inked by Rich Koslowski, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Glenn Whitmore.


Anthony said...

She's Indian? Nice... now I can update the blog post I did on her!

Jon said...

Half! ;)