Look, I don’t have to tell you how huge Game of Thrones is. If you’re reading this then you’re probably a fan of the franchise and well-aware of all the buzz. Although, what you might not be aware of is Archie Comics’ parody comic of Game of Thrones from 2015.
You heard that right, an Archie Comics parodied Game of Thrones. Written by Angelo Decesare, pencils by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Rich Koslowski, colours by Glenn Whitmore, and lettered by Jack Morelli, the parody, titled ‘Game of Phones’, takes the elements of Game of Thrones and injects the classic Archie style into the mix. The result is a fun parody, with plenty of Archie’s unique brand of humour and heaps of Game of Thrones references.
If you’re looking for the violence, nudity, and swearing that the television show offers then you won’t find it here. This parody plays it on the safe side. Which perfectly fine in the context of what the comic sets out to do – make you laugh at the mostly serious TV show.
The comic doesn’t waste time getting right into things. On the very first page the comic plays around with the show’s famous opening credits. We get Archie humming the opening theme and there’s even a gag about the credit’s model-like aesthetic. It’s a splendid way to set a humorous tone and gives the reader a great idea of what to expect going forward.
We soon see that the world of this parody, appropriately called Riveros, is truly bizarre. It’s clearly a fantasy world but at the same time we’re taken out of the world with the inclusion of mobile phones, American Football, and the mention of high school. While I was mildly irked by these inclusions, I had to stop to remind myself that it was a parody and by no means did it have to play by the rules of the show. As we’ll soon see, mobile phones – which they call Raven Phones and are emblemed with a raven on them – play a major role and help move the tale at a pace akin to that of Season Seven of the very show it is parodying. Overall, this weird amalgamation helps give it its own identity and learn heavier into the humour.
The weird world sets up a story that shares many similarities with Season One of the show but in a truly Archie fashion. There’s still the struggle for power, but it’s with the teenage motivations of being crowned Prom King or Queen of Riveros High School. Everyone wants to be it, and they’re willing to lie and cheat in order to reach this goal.
Each of the Archie characters is cast as a Game of Thrones character, albeit with names combined and altered slightly. Archie becomes Archie Starch; Veronica becomes Veronica Lodgister; and Betty becomes Betty Cooparian, just to name a few. In most cases, they’ve been cast quite well, with characters sharing overlapping traits or in most cases you don’t have to draw a low bow in order to make them work.
But names and actions are just half of the equation when it comes to a great parody. The characters have to look the part too. Archie Comics regular Fernando Ruiz does just that. He keeps one foot firmly in the Archie house style to make it instantly recognisable as an Archie comic in the familiar fantasy garb of the HBO series. Even though Jughead is still wearing his signature crown hat, he has decked out in a simplified Jon Snow outfit, which has then be coloured to ape Jughead’s usual purple outfit.
Ruiz takes the look a step further by giving each character hairstyles to match their corresponding character. Jughead has the long shaggy hair of Jon Snow, Betty’s long blonde hair, or the mop haircut of Reggie. It doesn’t matter that their not the same colour as the character’s from the television series, the fact that Ruiz has gone the distance to make sure that fans will easily figure out who everyone is without relying on the dialogue.
While it doesn’t break the wheel, Game of Phones is a fun parody. Fans will enjoy it for its clever references, which come thick and fast, and there are more chuckles than not. The story also does a fantastic job of taking the Archie signature style and transforming it into the world of Game of Thrones in a way that makes a lot of sense. The result might be an odd world of fantasy and smartphones, but it’s a place worth visiting.