Riverdale is usually shown as being a medium-sized town (possibly a suburb of a bigger city), with all the usual amenities of shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The climate, appearance and geography of Riverdale varies from story to story. Riverdale has been shown to have beaches, lakes, rivers, farmland, woodland, mountains, plains, and four distinct seasons with changes in climate. The local populace is usually fairly friendly.
Some pointers regarding Riverdale's physical location are the fact that it has a beach (and therefore is a likely a coastal city) and receives snow in the winter. Riverdale has never faced earthquakes or hurricanes, although one plot from the 1990's involves a tornado hitting Riverdale. There does seem to be a river passing through the city because in one story, "The Roly Poly Robber," a bridge is shown connecting two districts of the city. The city is, however, not home to any major port or dockyard. Some portions of the city are hilly.
While Riverdale's location was never clearly defined, other nearby towns include Greendale, home of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (who once lived in Riverdale but eventually moved); Midvale, the hometown of Josie McCoy and the characters associated with Josie and the Pussycats (although in the film the characters come from Riverdale); Pembrooke (hometown of Cheryl Blossom and her friends and family); and Springfield (not necessarily the Springfield associated with the cartoon series The Simpsons, although Archie and friends do appear briefly in one episode). In one strip, a letter sent to Riverdale has "U." where the state should be, and a zip code of 10543 (which in real life is Mamaroneck, New York, the home of Michael Silberkleit, an Archie Comics editor). It is worth noting that there is a neighborhood of the Bronx known as Riverdale.
Often, clues as to its location that appear in certain stories contradict others. In one story, Riverdale is shown on a small map as being in about the same place as Des Moines, Iowa. One plot in the 1990s involved Jughead possibly being forced to move to Ohio, in which Betty, looking at a map, comments that Ohio is extremely far away. Another story says that the beach is not on the ocean, but rather on a lake with no other land in sight, perhaps one of the Great Lakes (there is at least one real Riverdale in that area). In the live-action film adaptation (Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again), Riverdale is explicitly portrayed as being located in California.
In one of the issues of Archie and Jughead Digest, when one of the readers wrote in with the question of "Where is Riverdale located?", the editor replied that "Riverdale is more of a state of mind than an actual physical location. It could be anywhere that kind people live and just have fun, like Archie and his friends. It could be in the Midwest, or along the Eastern Seaboard, or even a town in Canada, Mexico, or England."
Creation and receptionEdit
Archie creator Bob Montana created the fictional town of Riverdale based on his experience living in his hometown of Haverhill. But the comic series is deliberately vague about Riverdale's location. Charles Phillips and John Goldwater argue that this added appeal to the setting, especially among U.S soldiers abroad who found that Riverdale reminded them of home. Whereas earlier versions of the comic eluded to regional landmarks, the series quickly scrubbed any distinguishing features of the town to broaden its appeal.
While the more recent Archie comics have been deliberately vague about Riverdale's location, it was not ambiguous in the earliest run of the comic. In Jackpot Comics #5 (Spring, 1942), written by Archie's creator, Bob Montana, the story has the gang going on a river trip. One panel says "...the good ship "Peter Stuyvesant" settles into the Hudson, as Riverdale High clambers aboard for a happy trip to Bear Mountain." The ship is named after Peter Stuyvesant, a historic figure of New York City and New York state. The Hudson River flows by Manhattan. Bear Mountain State Park is up the Hudson River, not too far from New York City, and there is a section in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, on the Hudson known as Riverdale.
Notable places in Riverdale include the following:
- Riverdale High School, where Archie and his friends attend Grade 11, along with its many classrooms, cafeteria, gymnasium, athletic field, chemistry lab, principal’s office, and school newspaper office.
- Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe, the soda shop frequented by the teenaged cast.
- Pickens' Park, the community park named for the fictitious Civil War hero General Pickens.
- The Lodge Mansion, the large and luxurious home of wealthy Veronica Lodge and her parents.
- Homes of other members of the gang, including the Andrews residence, Jones residence and Cooper residence.
- Dilton Doiley's science lab, a home-based setup where Dilton invents and conducts experiments.
- Chuck Clayton's studio, where Chuck draws his cartoons at home.
- The beach, where Archie and the gang spend much of their time in the summer.
- The Riverdale Mall, a source of shopping and entertainment, particularly for the girls.
- In The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" (Episode 2F02), several Archie Comics characters, including Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Moose Mason and Jughead Jones, make a brief cameo appearance. After Sideshow Bob's stooges pull up to the Simpsons' house, toss Bart and Lisa Simpson (who had been investigating Bob) out of their car, and deliver a warning to "Stay away from Sideshow Bob!", the Archie gang, in one of the show's frequent non sequiturs, pull up to the Simpsons' house and toss Homer Simpson out of their car. Moose warns Homer to "Duh, stay out of Riverdale!" Later in the episode, Homer is reading an issue of Archie Comics and mutters, "Stuck-up Riverdale punks, think they're too good for me!"
- Archie Comics's official interactive map of Riverdale (ArchieComics.com)
- "Where's ?? In Riverdale?" (ArchieComics.com)
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