Here's another fine volume in the Library of American Comics series from IDW. Our hats are off to its creative director, industry veteran, Dean Mullaney, and his crack team. Bob Montana was the Jack Kirby of the Archie Universe, creating the visual and situational template that has endured for nearly 70 years. His work on these strips is absolutely outstanding and it probably represents his career high as an artist; leading to the conclusion that he must have been pretty pumped about appearing in the newspapers. The strip is built from the ground up on the assumption that a significant number of the strip's readership would be unfamiliar with the comic book appearances of the freckled teen and his gang and so have the added value of providing a sort of "origin of Archie." The big surprise reading this sumptuous, oversize 300+ page horizontally formatted, hardcover volume is how good they are! These are really great comics, that pretty much do it all: in addition to the expected gags, teen antics and domestic humor, there are stretches wherein these classic Archie facets are integrated into Roy Crane inspired serial adventures. This volume is really worth celebrating in that – believe it or not – this is the very first time these strips have ever been collected, and so will be – finally – getting the notice they deserve. The level of artistry on display in these strips will go a long way towards solving the riddle of Archie's longevity: he got off to a great start (and, it is worth noting here, Bob Montana shared his studio during these years with the greatest of all Archie artists, Harry Lucey, who obviously was inspired by Montana's work).