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HistoryEdit

Archie Comics started out in 1939 as MLJ Comics, named after the first initials of its three founders: Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit, and John L. Goldwater.

Early MLJ titles featured generic superheroes remembered in the lore of comic collectors' trivia. The Shield was the first flag-themed superhero, a year before Captain America. The Comet was the first superhero killed in the line of duty.

The Hangman (the Comet's younger brother) might be the most brutal superhero of the 1940s. Roy the Superboy preceded Superboy by half a decade, and Steel Sterling was dubbed "the Man of Steel" beforeSuperman. None remained popular. In 1941, a teenage humor strip called Archie began as a new back-up feature in Pep, replacing Madam Satan. Striking a popular nerve with emerging youth culture, Archie and his gang were such a hit that MLJ changed its name to Archie Comics in 1946.

In the 1950s and 1960s, cartoonist Dan DeCarlo ceased work on Atlas Comics' Millie the Model and brought his influential style to the Archie Comics universe. DeCarlo is primarily responsible for the modern look of the Archie characters, and the creation of popular Archie spin-off comics Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats.

The enduring Archie legacy has spanned dozens of Archie titles, including spin-offs, digest collections, and magazines focused on particular characters. Some of the older series feature Archie and his friends cast as superhero versions of themselves or playing spies in a parody of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Some series, such as Life With Archie and Archie at Riverdale High, feature straight adventure and/or mystery stories.

In May 2007, Archie debuted what they call a more "dynamic", realistic art style since its title characters' debut in Pep Comics #22 (December, 1941), also features longer serialized stories.

The Archie characters have been continually successful in other media since the comic's inception. The Archie Andrews radio program debuted May 31, 1943, and ran on various networks until September 5, 1953. The Archie newspaper comic strip was launched on February 4, 1946, and was drawn by Bob Montana until his death in 1975. In 1968, Archie was adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon series by Filmation, The Archie Show. In 1969, the teen bubblegum pop band, The Archies, earned a gold record with their #1 hit "Sugar, Sugar". In 1974, a network television pilot was made in an attempt to bring a live-action Archie show but was unsuccessful.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Archie characters were authorized for use in a series of Christian comic books written and drawn by Al Hartley for Spire Christian Comics.

Several attempts have been made to revive MLJ's original superhero line, without success. Recently at Comiccon 2008 it was announced that the characters have been licensed to DC.[citation needed] J. Michael Straczynski will be using his run on The Brave and the Bold to fully integrate these characters into the DC Universe, saying "The goal is to really give them a leg up on that process .... once they’ve appeared in 'The Brave and the Bold,' they can be used by the rest of the DCU books, and some of them may get their own titles".[4]

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