Forsythe P Jones III, better known as Jughead, is one of the mainstay characters of Riverdale in Archie Comics. The charm of Jughead and the other original characters lies with their status as perennial high school students, good natured characters, and humorous, uplifting stories. Even with such a consistent tone and characterization, a character with more than 75 years of history can have complications, variations, or different iterations. This is true with Jughead.
Several traits set Jughead apart from his Riverdale compatriots: a seemingly never ending appetite, especially for burgers and shakes; an odd choice in headware; and a laidback attitude. That attitude has often led readers to interpret the character as lazy when he is simply much more analytical and somewhat more detached from the wacky hijinx that provide a constant source of complication in his friends’ lives. Jughead has often surprised his friends and teachers with an intelligence that belies a lack of mental stimulation. He’s also known for his loyalty to best friend Archie and Jughead was among the first of Riverdale’s teens to welcome Kevin Keller. The two of them became fast friends after bonding over burgers at Pop’s as shown in Veronica #202 (September 2010).
For most of the character’s history he has shown little to no interest in dating. At different times Jughead has been the object of Ethel’s attraction. While he may have enjoyed the attention to some degree he was never as serious in his reciprocation. Writers experimented at other times with editorial consent with giving Jughead girlfriends, notably, Debbie, Joanie, and January McAndrews (the latter probably wasn’t in continuity) though these relationships were short lived.
Archie Comics rebooted its much loved characters in 2015 with the intent of making them more relevant and relatable to contemporary readers. As part of this effort writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson were given the task of working on a new Jughead series. In looking over the character’s relative lack of romantic interest, the oncoming creative team and the publisher decided that Jughead would identify as asexual. The acknowledgement came in issue #4 as Jughead and Kevin are walking between classes and discussing the authoritarian new principal who’s replaced Weatherbee. While the word itself comes from Kevin, Jughead expounds on why asexuality is beneficial to him. In this particular instance Jughead means “[his] not being hobbled by hormonal impulses” has helped him to see the new administration instituted by the principal for what it is. No spoilers here on what he means in case you decide to read the first arc.
Please visit Asexuality.org for resources and information about asexuality.
Jughead was created by Bob Montana and first appeared in Pep Comics #22 (December 1941). His asexuality is noted in Jughead #4 (2016). Art by Derek Charm from the cover to Jughead #8 and by Erica Henderson from Jughead #4.
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