(Sy Barry, Joe Edwards, Joe Giella -- from an October 2006 Berndt Toast Gang get together)
Writer Mark Evanier writes eloquently about Joe here.
I was fortunate enough to hear the story of Archie from Joe. Joe was there, in the MLJ offices, with Bob Montana and John Goldwater, as they were hashing out ideas. Publisher Goldwater (whose first name was the "J" part of the "MLJ" publishing acronym) wanted a new comic book story, maybe something like the Andy Hardy series of movies. But what would it be? What do teenagers want? How do you appeal to them?
He turned to the then-twenty year old Joseph Edwards.
"Joe, you're a young guy. What do you want?" asked Goldwater.
"Three things," said Joe, counting on his fingers. "Girls, of course -- money, so I can take girls out -- and a job, so I can make the money to take out the girls."
Bob Montana created the initial look of Archie Andrews, Jughead and Betty Cooper for Pep Comics #22, December 1941. By the next year, Archie had his own title.
Archiecomics.com has more on the story of the beginning of the icon, written by Jeffrey C. Branch, at its Web site.