When you think of America's Typical Teenager, you might think of the Chocklit Shop, some Wise Guy Jokes from Reggie, Jughead eating fifty hamburgers, the low-key cold war between Betty & Veronica, or the eternal mystery of Cricket O'Dell's nose. But that's not all that Archie Comics Publictions Inc., formerly MLJ, would have you associate with our red-headed teener! Oh no. Archie has all kinds of adventures. Restaurant adventures, TV cartoon adventures... Ham Radio adventures? Yeah, you heard me.
Are you ready to join members of the amateur radio business community, the American Radio Relay League, the students of Riverdale High, and assorted Vikings and safecrackers in an exciting and fun, thrill a minute trip into the world of amateur radio?? Please speak clearly into the microphone. Thank you.
Dear Mom and Dad. Ham Radio is great and your kids will love it! They'll use maps, they'll learn to spell, and even something something computers something, which, as we all know, are a ticket to success in our high-tech world. Also Ham Radio is a swell hobby that will safely isolate your child away from bad influences like beer, Madonna, and those heavy metal teens down the block. And now, set your frequency to... adventure!
Exploding volcanoes! Fleeing peasantry! Desperate struggle for survival! And Archie is... nowhere around. Archie isn't stupid.
However, they can't escape the volcano eruption as it interrupts a minor league baseball game, agitating Dilton. Now who here is surprised that Dilton Doiley is going to be featured prominently in this comic about Ham Radio? Nobody? Good. Let's continue.
Carlos down in Central America is one of Dilton's ham radio friends! He's also probably Dilton's cocaine supplier, but we'll get into that later. Right now it's time to get to the ham radio and call Carlos, and yes, Dilton has a key to the school because he's president of the ham radio club, and as such, is a symbol of trust, reliability, and one hundred percent wouldn't-dream-of-getting-into-shenanigans nerd.
Wow, when you're president of the ham radio club, they just let you take valuable school property home! Sign me up, I need to borrow the band saw from shop class.
Let's fire up the rig and see if we can get through. If I don't have those eight kilos by Monday, there will be PROBLEMS
And here's Carlos - Central American ham operator, volcano survivor, and apparently the single point of contact for an entire nation looking to get in touch with Aunt Sally up in the States.
Ham radio operators are a vital link in the worldwide disaster communications chain - a link that depends on ham radio operators being next to their ham radios at all times, hopefully dressed in the traditional costume of their region.
Meanwhile, Veronica wrote an operetta about "Viking lore," which we can only assume means Minnesota's 1975 season that saw the team win their third straight NFC Central title. AND a big shot Hollywood director is in town to add whatever possible help a film director could be in mounting a high school drama club stage show! Exciting! How WILL they tie ham radio into this?
You're having a film director as a house guest? Before you know it, dinner will require eight takes and endless rewrites!
By the way, here are two Archie Comics characters that you've never seen before and you'll never see again, the Feebly twins, products of an ill-advised scheme to clone Edd "Kookie" Byrnes.
And amateur radio once again sails into the forefront as Dilton realizes he's Ham Pals with our famous film director! You know if YOU were into amateur radio, YOU'd be the one having the fun of sending and recieving postcards from all over the world, postcards that basically say "yes, I heard you!" Even a rich guy like Hiram Lodge is a radio ham. As opposed to his daughter, who is a normal ham. And that's the last time I'll make THAT joke.
TIPS FOR ASPIRING COMIC WRITERS: be sure to call attention to important plot elements early on in your story so that when they're needed later for important story mechanics, the reader won't be confused. Just, you know, don't be too obvious about it, mister LOOK AT THAT CAR and THE GYM IS DOWN BY THE RIVER, DID YOU CATCH THAT?
This Riverdale High production of the famous SCTV skit "The Vikings And The Beekeepers" is going to be the BEST production of "The Vikings And The Beekeepers" ever! (it's a pretty low bar)
Dilton drops some insider slang on ol' O.O.- but gets nothing but static! That ham be frontin'!
Okay Dilton, think about this. You've been talking to somebody on the radio who claims to be O.O. Wellonmellon, but you have no way of knowing if the radio O.O. is the REAL O.O.! THIS guy might be the real one and your ham O.O. might be the fake! Postcards? They don't mean nothin'!
Remember, ham radio nerds will let other ham radio nerds use their ham radios whenever and wherever needed! It's all part of the Ham Radio Code! No, not the dot-dash-dot code, the OTHER code.
Just think, in a few short years we'll be able to bypass this whole tiresome ham radio packet nonsense, and just use our computers to send messages to each other directly. Or we could, you know, just call people on the telephone, I guess, if you want to be boring and normal about it.
Just hold on there a minute, glamorous Hollywood bikini babes! I'll be with you in a moment! Right now I have to spend my important Hollywood movie star time talking to a complete stranger on the other side of the country on my ham radio, as all us top Hollywood movie stars do!
Well it might look like this O.O. is the fake O.O., but then again, who knows? Motion picture financing is hard to come by sometimes!
Remember those slight earthquake tremors Archie mentioned a few pages back? Remember how Riverdale is on an active fault line? Sure you do!
This is a weirdly judgemental caption right here. Let 'em enjoy their shivering timbers while they can, I say.
Does Riverdale have a Lake Pulver? It does now, I guess!
Okay.. it DID have a Lake Pulver. Not any more.
Recall, if you will, how the script cleverly worked into the narrative both the location of the gym and its proximity to the river, leading us right here to the payoff!
Look, I get you're having to bang out a 28 page script about Archie and ham radio, but these labored literary-reference puns aren't helping.
Will the amateur radio skill sets of Dilton and Mr. Lodge save the day? You know it, baby!
Shocked nurses, harried ham radio nuts, police tracking down the next target of the Mad Bomber by sticking pins in a map, and lonely campers just looking for someone in a plane to fly over them - they're all part of the Riverdale Emergency Network, which swings into action every time Archie gets near a new piece of priceless ceramic sculpture at Mr. Lodge's house!
Maybe next time the set designer for Veronica's Viking operetta will remember to include some oars for that longboat. I'm just saying.
The Feebly twins are rescued, the Riverdale gang is safe, Mr. Lodge is low on fuel, and everybody meets back at Stately Lodge Manor where the fake film director has defeated Smithers in hand to hand combat, blown the wall safe, and stolen Lodge's sports car, the very sports car our attention was directed towards earlier in the story! What's the only course of action? To the Radio Shack! Either the one in the mall, or the one in the shopping center by the interstate, it doesn't matter!
Or you could just... use the phone? Telephone lines are powered at the phone company independent of local utilities! Quit trying to jam your ham into everything!
Thanks to ham radio, Archie is reduced to being a bit player in his own comic. Thanks, technology! And now, a short intermission.
Would YOU like to be a HAM RADIO operator like ARCHIE and his friends? Make sure to tell us your age and your teacher's name! We need to know who your teacher is. We'll explain later.
Right here is the point where we think, this guy disguised himself as a famous film director, spent weeks at god knows what expense worming his way into Mr. Lodge's social circle, and arranged for a private plane and a pilot to be waiting for him, all to steal whatever jewelry Lodge had in his safe. Seems like they might not be getting a good return on their criminal investment here.
Do you still want to be a ham radio operator just like Archie? Then you'd better start working on that pitching arm!
Sadly, all his ham radio knowledge will not protect Archie from being whacked on the skull by a suitcase full of pearls.
And it's Dilton's knowledge of not only ham radio but also of light airplane airfoil dynamics that eventually saves the day. The lesson is, don't overspecialize!
We'd all be lost without Ham Radio. I mean, most of what happened could have been accomplished with telephones and regular two-way radios and even primitive 1995 email, but, sure, let's let ham radio have its moment in the spotlight.
Remember when getting our long distance electronic messages meant hooking a computer up to a ham radio and typing your callsign into somebody's desktop computer terminal? There's a reason so many people were happy to sign up for AOL!
Sure, you too can talk to movie stars and film directors over the radio! The only catch is, you're now Dilton's best friend, and you have to listen patiently as he drones on about single-sideband suppressed-carrier modulation. Enjoy!
And now, as a special treat, here's Ham Radio's "Secret" Code!
How "secret" is this "secret" code? Well, it's been around since 1844 and it's been used by every single person, group, agency, service, and organization that uses radio. That's how "secret" it is.
Until next time, di-di-dit dah-dah-dah di-dah-di-dit dah-dah-dah dah-dit dah-dah-dit!
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