|First appearance||Pep Comics #31|
|Significant other(s)||Hermione Lodge|
|Relatives||Hermione Lodge (wife), Gladys (sister or sister-in-law), Veronica Lodge (daughter), Leroy (nephew), Marcy (niece)|
Hiram Lodge is a fictional character by Archie Comics. He is married to Hermione Lodge and they have a daughter, Veronica Lodge. He is also the richest man in Riverdale (in fact, according to one story, the Lodges founded it). Bob Montana, creator of the original Archie characters, knew the Lodges, a Massachusetts Brahmin political family because he painted a mural for them. Montana used that name when he created the character of Hiram Lodge. His name is also probably intended to sound vaguely Masonic: "Hiram" being the name of the Masons' legendary founder and "Lodge" being the term used for a Masonic chapter. (However, there is nothing in the strip itself to indicate that Lodge is a Freemason.)
A common theme of the Archie comics is Mr. Lodge's ongoing feud with Archie Andrews and his disapproval of his dating Veronica. Hiram tries to avoid Archie whenever possible because it seems that whenever Archie visits the Lodge mansion, something (usually something expensive or Mr. Lodge himself) gets damaged. He lets Veronica date Archie in spite of that, because deep-down he does like Archie and knows he treats Veronica well. He also fears Veronica may be spoiled by other, wealthier young men. Ironically, Lodge spoils Veronica quite extensively himself. Mr. Lodge is also able to accept Archie because in various stories he has saved Mr. Lodge from a number of thieves, blackmailers, and underhanded business rivals who were trying to rob him or steal various priceless treasures Lodge owns. On at least one occasion, Archie and Jughead save Mr. Lodge and his butler, Smithers, from death. In one Archie comic, both Lodge and Mr. Weatherbee are digging up the ground under Weatherbee's desk for "treasure" only to find out that it was all a "treasure map gag" by Archie!. In one story, Lodge asks Archie and Jughead to act like they are his sons in order to secure a business deal with clients, who come from a place where people do not respect a person without sons. They take advantage of this, and take Lodge's brand new car for a spin to show off. Both the "sons" order around Veronica, Smithers to a point where they cannot wait to beat them. However, a typhoon breaks out when the clients attempt to leave. And when they walk near the car, a tree breaks and is about to fall on them until Archie and Jughead save the day. This causes Lodge to secure the deal faster, and in his Joy he says "You did great, Sons!" much to Veronica and Smither's chagrin.
Hiram Lodge is a millionaire, but in one story, Veronica contradicts this, saying that "Daddy has billions." This is likely due to the extreme rise of wealth in the real world since the introduction of the Lodge family, which would mean that in order to maintain the pretense that the Lodge family is one of the richest in the world Hiram would have to be a billionaire. In the comics, this is explained by the take-over of the Blossom corporation, owned by Cheryl Blossom's father, who went bankrupt in one story; his company was soon bought out by Hiram Lodge to save the Blossom family and their remaining wealthy (the Blossom family are no longer richer than the Lodges and Mr. Blossom now works for Mr. Lodge). He is usually portrayed as an industrialist rather than a financier or banker and is frequently involved in international business ventures. He has a keen eye for unusual business opportunities that many other people write off-in one story, after a fellow businessman thought he had outsmarted Mr. Lodge by selling him a garbage dump for $2,000, Lodge easily retorted that he had covered the dump with artificial snow and turned it into a ski resort, which made him over $2 million in its first year of operation, a revelation which the other businessman did not take well.
The stories are contradictory as to his childhood. Some suggest he was born to old money, stating he grew up with spoiled children and that he is descended from the founders of Riverdale. Others state that he built his fortune on that of his in-laws, and having gone to public school (thus insisting Veronica to go because he himself did and went on to become successful on his own right). He had also served in the army at some point in his life. He eventually married Hermione Lodge, who also came from money, and built on the resulting fortune.
Although politics and political talk hardly, if ever, happen in the Archie world, at least one story-line hinted that Hiram was a conservative. The storyline involved the Archie gang being shrunken, and having to take a paper airplane to another side of the room they were in. When it was all suggested they lean to the left, Veronica quipped that her dad hated anyone who leaned to the left.
Note: In some 'Archie' stories dating from the 1960s, he is referred to as J. P. Lodge, and in his first appearance in Pep Comics #31, he is referred to as Burton K. Lodge.