Here’s a shocking admission to kick things off: As a kid, I loved soap operas. Sure I watched The Price Is Right when I stayed home sick from school, I’m pretty sure that’s a law. But, I’d also stick around to watch Young and The Restless afterwards. My mom’s favorites were Days of Our Lives and General Hospital and even though I would roll my eyes, there was a part of me who relished the time when she would fill me in on everything I missed.
It’s been a long time since I sat down to watch a soap opera, but that’s because I found something else to fill that void, comic books. Believe it or not, the difference between a soap opera and a long running comic book series is about spandex thin. All the pieces are there: Over-the-top dramatic dialog, love affairs, family sagas, sometimes supernatural elements, villains who become good guys and vice versa.
Now, I know that saying Brave and The Bold is the same as The Bold and The Beautiful is a hard sell. But, I think the following suggestions will be a more gentle transition from daytime television to the world of comics.
Plain and simple, Strangers In Paradise is the quintessential soap opera comic book. In just the first couple issues we’re introduced to a love rectangle, a mental breakdown of epic proportions, infidelity, amnesia, and a wee bit of felonious assault. There’s very little that this series hasn’t touched on in it’s 14 year run. Yet, with all this going on, at the core of this story is the tale of friendship between Katchoo (it’s a nickname and it gets an explanation) and Francine. The dynamic between Katchoo’s wildness, impulsiveness, and rebelliousness, and Francine’s kindness, romanticism, and self-consciousness forms a strong foundation that is able to sustain all the soap opera antics, and there sure are a lot of them.
I’m convinced when the first multi-celled organism squirmed out of the primordial ooze, it had an Archie Digest in its hand. Everyone knows what Archie is. Now, here’s the thing, that’s not what this series is. This is a sort of reimagining of those classic Riverdale stories in a more dramatic and modern light. Now, considering the age of the characters some of the drama does skew a bit towards the high school variety, but what this series does a wonderful job at is presenting a fully realized Riverdale. Just like Salem from Days of Our Lives or Genoa City from Young and The Restless, Riverdale is a town full of characters with their own intersecting dramas unfolding every issue.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts about these recommendations in the comment section. Or if you have some suggestions yourself, drop them down below.