PEP COMICS #22 - December 1941
It was a different time, and comics were in the early stages of their birth. Superman and Batman were only 2 years old, when Archie made his first appearance in Pep Comics #22 on Newsstands in October of 1941.
Besides Archie, we also see the first appearance of Jughead and Betty. It's only fitting that in the very first panel we see Betty swooning as Archie shows off for her.
This first Archie story, in appearance, looks like it was influenced by the Little Rascals TV show, which was nearing the end of it's comedy reign. The characters look younger, and haven't been fleshed out yet of course, and it even says Archie would rather be called 'Chick'.
Bob Montana, the original Archie artist, would eventually set the standard for how they looked that would last, in most ways, to this very day.
Pep Comics had been around since January of 1940, featuring MLJ's 'The Shield' super hero (the inspiration for Simon and Kirby's Captain America), as well as the Hangman, Madam Satan (drawn by a very young eventual Archie artist Harry Lucey) and others.
Superhero's were all the rage at the time, so no one had any idea that one day this Archie character would be the emphasis for the whole company!