Archie looks like Justin Bieber now

A look back at the best and worst nostalgic character redesigns

Archie looks like Justin Bieber now
Archie looks like Justin Bieber now
13 Jul 2015

Archie looks like Justin Bieber now

Tom Moore, the cartoonist best known for his work on Archie comics, died in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on July 20. Moore, 86, had been diagnosed with throat cancer and had opted out of treatment. The news comes just a week after the new Archie made his debut in the new ARCHIE #1 comic, in which he has exchanged his buck teeth and centre part for a chiseled jawline and a faux hawk.

While it will take us awhile to get used to Archie’s Bieber-like visage, we have to admit that Fiona Staples’ artwork provided a much-needed refresh to the series, whose 1950s-style visuals feel more archaic every year. Even Betty’s gone through an overhaul, having taken on a more tomboyish appearance than her predecessor (now, can they reveal what the new Veronica, Reggie, Moose, and Ethel look like already?).

The students of Riverdale High aren’t the first old-school characters to receive a 21st-century makeover, though. Check out our favourites (and least favourites) here. 

Dora the Explorer
Dora the Explorer
13 Jul 2015

Dora the Explorer

The new, aged-up Dora caused an uproar when she debuted in 2009. Dora with MAKEUP? JEWELLERY? How’s she supposed to explore when she’s wearing BALLET FLATS? In response to the confusion, Nickelodeon responded that the tween Dora was only a spinoff, not a replacement, of the original character. In the new show (aptly titled Dora and Friends: Into the City), Dora would leave Mother Nature for school, which is arguably much tougher to navigate than the actual wilderness.

Our verdict: Downgrade. While the new Dora is cute, she lacks some of the spunkiness of her iconic predecessor. 

Alvin & the Chipmunks
Alvin & the Chipmunks
13 Jul 2015

Alvin & the Chipmunks

UGH. The whole appeal of the 80s chipmunks is that they didn’t look like actual chipmunks. Get these 3D critters away from us!

Our verdict: Downgrade. We don’t know a single person born before 1995 who thought that this revival was anything other than an obvious money grab. 

My Little Pony
My Little Pony
13 Jul 2015

My Little Pony

At first, we hated the new designs. The ponies’ large heads, anime eyes, and excessive accessories did not bode well for a revival of such a beloved franchise. But after a couple of watches, we have to admit that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is much smarter, more original, and better written than the old 80s cartoons. Once you get used to the show’s aesthetic, you’ll realise that the new character designs are much more distinctive than the old ones, which had a far less diverse range of hairstyles and facial expressions.

Our verdict: Upgrade

The Paddle Pop Lion
The Paddle Pop Lion
13 Jul 2015

The Paddle Pop Lion

Maybe it’s been awhile since we last ate a Paddle Pop, but since when has their mascot looked so…Indiana Jones-like? Apparently, the Paddle Pop lion, named Max, has had his own film and TV series since 2007. While this isn’t who we’d exactly associate with a rainbow-coloured popsicle, we have to applaud Max for being one of the few food mascots to star in a franchise of his own.

Our verdict: Upgrade

The Care Bears
The Care Bears
13 Jul 2015

The Care Bears

Eh, no. Just no. Ironically enough, cuddly characters look less squishable in 3D than they do in traditional 2D.

Our verdict: Downgrade. The old cartoon versions were much more expressive. 

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog
13 Jul 2015

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic with a hipster scarf? NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS.

Our verdict: Downgrade. Tails’ new belt gear is kind of cute, but Sonic is a runner. Wouldn’t a scarf just get in the way? 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
13 Jul 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Ninja Turtles are, by definition, trippy and weird. But at least the old cartoons shrouded some of that weirdness with loveable character designs. The Michael Bay versions were straight-up ugly. (Before you accuse us of romanticising the ‘90s or hating change, answer this: can you imagine any of these guys saying “COWABUNGA” without sounding like a huge creep?)  

Our verdict: Downgrade

The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls
13 Jul 2015

The Powerpuff Girls

The character designs for the Powerpuff Girls Dance Pantsed special, which aired in January 2014, aren’t bad, per se – in fact, the pastel colour palette and facial expressions are a lot more nuanced than the original. But the animation lacked some of the energy and joy of the original. Prettiness doesn’t count for everything, we suppose.

Our verdict: Downgrade in motion, upgrade in still form. 

Paddington Bear
Paddington Bear
13 Jul 2015

Paddington Bear

We’ve gotten so used to the image of Paddington Bear as a teddy bear that it never occurred to us that on screen, he would look like a real bear. Which led to some, er, cognitive dissonance once the film was released. Isn’t Paddington supposed to be chubby and sweet? Why does he look like he’s about to eat us? 

Our verdict: Downgrade overall, but er, extra cuteness points for being voiced by Ben Whishaw? 

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