Robert Montana

Graduating class of 1940

A transfer from Haverhill, MA High School, Robert "Bob" Montana completed his senior year at Central. He graduated with the Class of 1940 and went to New York where he enrolled at the Phoenix Art Institute. In December, 1941, Pep Comics No. 22 introduced a four page tale about an adolescent named "Archie Andrews". The stories were so popular that an entire comic book - Archie No. 1 - was released in November, 1942 just as Bob entered the Army. In 1946, after serving four years with the US. Army Signal Corps, Bob began "Archie" as a daily newspaper comic strip, drawing it until his death in 1975 at the age of 54. At its peak, "Archie" appeared in more than 700 newspapers world wide. The "Archie" comic books remain the largest selling non-superhero comic book in the world with over two billion comic books issued every month. A curator of the Museum of Cartoon Art once described Archie as "...one of the classic icons. In panel format, the "Archie" strip is a blueprint for every modern-day teen sitcom from "Dobie Gillis" to Happy Days". And the character of Archie, with his admirable resourcefulness, though constantly lacking money, is as significant a contribution to Americana as Huck Finn or Penrod or the creations of Horatio Alger Jr." Though Haverhill High also claims him, "Montana never quite explained in his rare newspaper interviews which of his 'Archie' characters were drawn from real life." Nobody really knows. However, it was through the encouragement of an Art teacher at Central (believed to be Lorain Ryder) that Bob pursued an art career. Without that support, "Archie" might never have been created.