When comic-book store owner Dave Luebke heard that after 67 years, the carrot-topped everyman of the comic world, Archie, was proposing to va-va-voomy rich girl Veronica instead of girl-next-door Betty, he decided to protest by selling his copy of the series's rare first issue.
Luebke's Archie Comics No. 1 was expected to sell for around $30,000 when Dallas' Heritage Auction Galleries offered it yesterday.
"Betty is it. Not Veronica," said Luebke, whose Richmond, Va., store has more than 1 million comics in stock. "This is serious."
And, he said, 99 per cent of his customers agree that perky, blond Betty is the clear choice over shiny-dark-haired Veronica in the seemingly never-ending love triangle.
The Archie Comics website shows Archie proposing to Veronica on bended knee on the cover of No. 600, which hits comic-book stores Aug. 19. That begins a six-issue story arc that takes place in the future - when the perpetual high-schoolers have graduated from college, said Victor Gorelick, editor-in-chief of Archie Comics.