Even if you've never read any of the comic books, you're probably at least a little familiar with the Archie Comics characters. Or, you at least know that Riverdale is based on them. But just how far has the crew from "the town with pep" come form their innocent comic book days? Let's take a look at how your favorite Riverdale characters compare to their original Archie Comics counterparts.
The initial Archie characters were first created in 1941. And while they've had many makeovers and updates over the years, no change was quite as big as the creation of Riverdale.
While the Riverdale gang is definitely reminiscent of their original comic counterparts, they're definitely darker, quirkier, and have a lot more depth.
Archie made his debut as "America's typical teenager" in 1941. He was portrayed as a clumsy guy who enjoys playing guitar and impressing girls. Riverdale's Archie first appears the same way, but gets much more dark and angsty as the seasons go on. As far as appearance goes, KJ Apa with his dyed red hair is pretty spot-on to the original.
Veronica Lodge was always portrayed as the rich, spoiled new girl who plays with Archie's emotions and undermines her supposed best friend Betty Cooper. When she made her Riverdale debut, she basically followed the description perfectly, but as the show's seasons endure, Veronica gets a bit more kind and tries her best to grow from the "old" Veronica. As far as the casting goes, Camila Mendes is a dead ringer for the original comic book character.
Unlike Archie and Veronica, Jughead Jones is quite different from his comic book counterpart. While he's portrayed as an analytical "outsider" in both the show and the comic, the show gives him much more of an edge. Comic book Jughead is lazy and mostly just cares about food, while Riverdale Jughead is a tortured soul trying to write a novel and solve a murder mystery alongside his best girl, Betty. As far as appearance goes, Cole Sprouse is a believable Jughead, rocking a similar tousled appearance and a beanie version of the original character's signature crown.
Similar to her comic counterpart, Riverdale's Betty Cooper is portrayed as the girl next door. She's smart, kind, charitable, and begins the series with a crush on Archie (how naive). However, while the comics keep the fighting over Archie plot alive, Riverdale kills that pretty quickly when Betty and Jughead realize they're kindred spirits early in season one. When it comes to Betty Cooper's appearance, it's hard to tell Lili Reinhart apart from her comic counterpart.
One of the later additions to the roundup of Archie Comics characters, Cheryl didn't appear until 1982. She was portrayed as a rich, vain, and manipulative girl who would stop at nothing to get what she wants. Riverdale's Cheryl is pretty similar, right down to the red hair! Madelaine Petsch adds more depth and layers to Ms. Blossom than the character ever had in the comics.
Toni Topaz is portrayed in the comics as a pink-haired tough girl who likes to eat. In Riverdale, she has much more depth as a member of the Southside Serpents but still is known for her signature pink hair. Appearance wise, Vanessa Morgan totally nails it.
Kevin Keller made headlines in 2010 when he became the first openly gay character in the Archie Comics universe. He was new to Riverdale High, and his father was in the military. In Riverdale, Kevin is also openly gay but grew up alongside the gang and is best friends with Betty. His dad is the sheriff. Casey Cott portrays Kevin on the show and is just as clean cut and handsome as his original comic counterpart. The only difference, really, is the hair color!
In the comic world, Josie was introduced in 1963 as the lead singer and guitarist for "Josie & the Pussycats," a series about the best teen band in town. She's described similarly to Archie Andrews himself. While that might all be true in the Riverdale world as well, Josie has yet to really have had some deep character development, so it's hard to say. As far as looks go, Riverdale Josie rocks similar outfits to her comic double, but their appearances couldn't be more different.
Reginald “Reggie” Mantle is described in the comics as a "self-absorbed, wisecracking jokester" who is Archie's rival. He tries to steal Veronica away from Archie, but no one could love him as much as he loves himself. In Riverdale, he's the captain of the varsity football team, is also pretty in love with himself, and definitely makes a move on Veronica when Archie's not around. However, as we've gotten to know him more in the TV world, he's become more like-able than his comic counterpart. Looks wise, Charles Melton resembles his original comic self — but, let's be real, is way more attractive.
Ethel is portrayed in the comics as a boy-crazy girl who's particularly obsessed with Jughead. On Riverdale, she's got a lot more depth, as many of these characters do. She helps Betty and Veronica get revenge on a particularly garbage-like boy. She teamed up with Josie to ruin Veronica's chance of being school president. And most recently, she's a key player in a dangerous game called Gryphons & Gargoyles. She did share one desperate kiss with Jughead, but she's much less interested in him on the show. As for her appearance, Shannon Purser looks nothing like her comic counterpart.
In both the comics and in Riverdale, Moose is portrayed a dumb jock but a "gentle giant." The major difference is that in the books he's overly devoted to Midge, while in Riverdale, he's more into Kevin. Besides his hair color, Cody Kearsley makes a pretty good Moose.
In the comics, Midge is a kind young lady and longtime friend of Betty and Veronica. She's highly devoted to Moose and develops a mean streak when other girls get near him. Midge from Riverdale was also Moose's girlfriend, but had very little character development other than that. She was murdered by the Black Hood during the Carrie musical, in which she played Carrie White as an understudy. As far as appearances go, though, Emilija Baranac is a dead ringer for the original comic version of Midge. What a wig!
Perhaps the character with the biggest difference between the comics and the show is Miss Grundy. In the comics, she's a strict and prudish older teacher, while in the show, she's a young, attractive predatory teacher who sleeps with male students. It turns out, however, that Grundy's real name is Jennifer Gibson; she stole the name from an elderly woman who died years prior. It's kind of difficult to compare the two appearance-wise considering everything is not as it seems. Will the real Miss Grundy please stand up?