Sound Effects In Archie Comic Books

I know I’ve been going Archie crazy, but I think this one’ll probably do it for a while. As you know, I’m a great admirer of Dan DeCarlo’s work, and Archie comics take me back to the good ol’ days like nothing else can. IMHO there can never be too many Archie posts, even nonsensical ones like this one.

DeCarlo (December 12, 1919 – December 18, 2001) became chief artist at Archie Comics in 1975, when the characters’ creator, Bob Montana, died, leaving in May 2000 after 43 years of work. He was a master at framing a scene, clearly portraying the action, and conveying the appropriate emotions of the characters…. not as easy a task as you might think. Take a look at any comic books of a similar genre (in other words, not superhero, action or horror comics), and you’ll quickly see how superior the Archie comics were in terms of illustration. There were a ton of Archie knock-offs (i.e. Tippy Teen, Swing with Scooter, Go-Go and Animal) but none come anywhere close to the original, thanks in large part to DeCarlo’s fabulous artwork.

So, as final salute to DeCarlo, I’ve collected a bunch of panels with wonderfully silly sound effects and action from the Betty & Veronica comics. Indeed, these characters were not static figures outlined in ink. They were dynamic and real. What better way to demonstrate DeCarlo’s fantastic ability to make these characters come alive than this? Enjoy.


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Paul Castiglia writes:

I worked on staff at Archie Comics for nearly a decade wearing a variety of hats including editor, writer, promotional director and archivist/historian. After I left the staff job I continued to freelance for the company…

It is in my roles as both an editor and archivist that I reach out to you today to share some important information. Your “sound effects” post is wonderful because it really points out how much sound effects not only take an integral part in the telling of the story but also how much they add to the fun.

However, it is important for me to note that while Dan DeCarlo may have contributed something to the sound effects, it is more likely that in most cases Dan didn’t contribute to the sound effects.

In most cases, most of the sound effects are first indicated by the writer in the script, and then are added in to the art by the letterer after the pencil artist has drawn the figures in each panel. The pencil artist may write in sound effects (in plain text) to indicate their location in each panel but most of the time it is the letterer who determines the shape and lettering style for the sound effects and who actually renders them, inking the outlines.

Archie has employed many letterers over the years. It is highly likely that the majority of the panels you posted were lettered by Bill Yoshida; some may have been lettered by Archie’s long-time editor Victor Gorelick as well.

Just thought it important to point out the likely source of the sound effects. There is no question that Dan DeCarlo is one of the most important figures ever in Archie Comics history (and I’m honored to say he was a lovely man and friend as well), but if he were still with us I’m sure he’d also point out the role that others played regarding the sound effects in Archie Comics.

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