It's an interesting cover because it would never be done today, and it wouldn't have been done for at least the last two decades. I guess at this point they were still establishing Jughead as a woman-hater, but his character as well as his relationship with Betty have evolved to the point where this joke no longer applies.
- Jughead has had many instances in which he clearly likes girls; he's just not a horndog about it.
- Jughead would not be depicted as even getting into a situation such as this.
- Betty would not in any way be attracted to Jughead.
- And most importantly, Jughead would actually have no trouble putting his arm over Betty these days. The two have a platonic friendship and are probably closer than any two platonic people in Riverdale who aren't Archie and Jughead.
So I'm gonna ask you Archie historians, how did this happen? When did this evolution take place? Jughead and Betty were the only two members of the Riverdale Gang to debut with Archie in PEP COMICS #22, and they didn't say a word to each other. How did we get here? How did they go from Betty Cooper, Archie-chaser, and Jughead Jones, woman-hater, to Betty and Jughead, best intergender friends without actually any romantic tension?
I await your responses. Meanwhile, enjoy this depiction of Jughead and Betty by Jill Thompson!