Comics – Penny for Your Thoughts!

World-of-BV-Digest-25Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 25
On-Sale Date: May 10, 2023
Length: 5 pages

Oh, look, another obscure character rescued from the dustbin of history. Penny Parker is a young, blonde woman that I can’t find much information on. Apparently, she debuted in Blue Ribbon Comics, Vol. 1, No. 13 (cover-dated June of 1941) and lasted for three issues before being dropped. It’s unknown who created her or wrote her stories. It’s unknown who drew and inked her stories; the first story is signed “Irving” and dubiously credited to Irv Novick at GCDb, but it doesn’t look much like his work but does look similar to the Penny Parker stories in #14 and #15, and they have an unreadable signature that is not Irv Novick.

Here are the synopses for her three stories (which total 12 pages):

“Penny is a young society girl, but one who’d rather work out in the gym than go to her own coming out party. When she uncovers a thief disguised as a reporter at the party her parents throw for her, she is given the idea to start her own detective agency with her trainer, the pugilistic Pug.”

“A man is killed by a golf ball to get hold of some I.O.U.’s he has on him.”

“A multimillionaire is murdered in his library.”

Before we get into the new story, here’s a bit of an oddity: the press release on May 10 listed the two new stories in the correct order, but the second press release on May 12 listed the stories in reverse order. Was the Penny story originally meant to go first, and the Ginger story was meant to go second?

The opening blurb reads “Not satisfied to be a socialite, Penny Parker trains to fight crime & have fun at the same time!”

Betty, Veronica, and Ginger are at a gym. They see a young blonde girl training in a boxing ring. Betty and Ronnie are immediately impressed/shocked, and Betty asks Ginger who that is. Ginger, who doesn’t know, is impressed as well. Penny’s coach (Pug?) taunts her. Penny knocks him out with an uppercut.

After Penny gets out of the ring, Betty jokes with her. Penny says she’s “pretty competitive” and introduces herself. She wants to be a police officer one day and figures it’s never too early to train. They leave the knockoff of Gold’s Gym. Ginger invites Penny to share a soda with them at Pop Tate’s. One soda for four people?

At Pop’s, it turns out that they each got their own soda. Ronnie cuts the outing short, because they have to get ready for the Riverdale Ball. A disappointed Betty asks if they have to go. Ronnie says yes, because they’re going to debut the new debutante. She adds she was last year’s debutante. She invites Penny to join them. After they leave Pop’s, Penny agrees and says she’ll meet them there. Ronnie then realizes she didn’t tell Penny where it was, but Betty is sure she can look it up online.

At the Riverdale Ball, Ronnie, Betty, and Ginger are sitting together at a table. Ronnie says “Anybody who’s anybody is here!” Really? At a ball located in Riverdale? This ain’t the Waldorf Astoria, Ron. Is Cheryl here? Anyway, Ronnie then insults Betty and Ginger and says she doesn’t see Penny anywhere. Ginger notes Penny is up on the stage, receiving this year’s debutante award. Ronnie is shocked.

Ronnie realizes Penny is “one of those Parkers”, “of the billionaire Parkers”. Ginger points out that they’re even richer than Ronnie’s family, which angers Ronnie. When Penny gets off the stage, Betty congratulates her. Ronnie says it’s amazing that she wants to be a police officer. Penny, holding her bouquet of roses, says a detective would be her ultimate goal. Ronnie seems to take issue with her choice, saying she can be anything that she wants. Penny, suddenly without her bouquet, says she can’t think of anything more rewarding.

Sometime later, Ginger and Betty are at the gym and see Ronnie boxing. Betty guesses Ronnie figures, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That doesn’t even make sense, considering Ronnie wasn’t looking to beat Penny at anything.

This story was pretty fun. It’s kind of odd that they reintroduced Penny Parker but de-aged her character and made her only an aspiring detective, but this isn’t the first time that Archie Comics has done this. They did it to Katy Keene in 2005, but that was quickly dropped, and Katy was aged back up.

Anyway, this issue doesn’t have an Archie Encyclopedia entry for Penny, but Archie Comics did post it online three days later, confusingly calling it an “Update” while also claiming it was “from” The Archie Encyclopedia (considering it includes a panel from this story, I’m betting it’s the latter). To add to the confusion, the entry is basically a synopsis of her debut story from 1941 (but using modern artwork, including the aforementioned panel), but the new story is at odds with that. Well, anyway, the entry confirms her trainer is still named Pug, and it also establishes her first name as Penelope.

Comics – Ginger’s Ails

World-of-BV-Digest-25Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 25
On-Sale Date: May 10, 2023
Length: 5 pages

Betty and Veronica are outside and see Ginger walking along. Betty asks Ginger what brings their “favorite Hilldale resident here to Riverdale”. That’s some damn clunky exposition. By the way, Ginger’s last appearance failed to mention she lives in another town and instead made it seem like she and her friends live in Riverdale. Actually, Ginger’s town used to be called Hillwood, not Hilldale (and Ginger’s last name used to be Snap, not Snapp). Anyway, Ronnie asks “What situation have you gotten yourself into now?” Ginger just needs a bit of advice. The Hilldale Spring Fling dance is coming up (it was already summer in Ginger’s last appearance), and she hasn’t decided which guy to invite. She pulls out her phone and shows them a picture of Ickky, who’s “as sweet and can be”, but they’re “just friends”. Betty and Ronnie reject him.

Ginger “can always count on” Tom. Betty finds him cute. Whiz (last name Baker, according to GCDb) is the quarterback of the Hilldale football team. “Every girl” wants to be seen with him. Ronnie has an idea: Ginger picks the one that she’s absolutely the most interested in, and she and Betty will accompany the other two. Ginger agrees, because she knows she can trust the girls. She decides to take Whiz. She’s basically assuming he doesn’t have a date already.

On dance night, Whiz is glad that Ginger “wised up” and decided to go to the dance with him. This angers Ginger. So Whiz is basically a blond Reggie. Whiz sees Ickky (who is mistakenly given light blue hair for one panel) with Betty and Tom with Ronnie and gets a boner over the girls. Ginger calls him out for doing this in her presence. Whiz suggests they dance. Ginger is already beginning to wonder if she made the right decision. Ginger decides the guys are having “almost too good” a time with Betty and Ronnie and excuses herself to grab some refreshments. Whiz decides to catch up with the guys. Ginger decides Tom and Ronnie are “a little too close” for her comfort, intentionally trips, and spills her punch on Ronnie’s dress. Tom helps Ginger up. Ginger apologizes to Ronnie for “that tiny splash”. Ronnie’s pissed.

Ginger is pissed at Ronnie. Ronnie says they were just dancing. Ginger is also pissed at Betty and Ickky. Betty compares Ickky to Dilton (of course) but says he’s a much better dancer. She admires guys with brains. Ickky admires blondes. Gingers grabs a fire extinguisher and sprays Ickky. Ronnie and Betty confront Ginger over her behavior. Whiz finds Ginger and asks her what the fuck is going on.

Ginger says maybe she made a hasty decision and admits it was hard to choose between the three of them. Archie knows the feeling. Oh, yeah, he’s here with “one Cheryl Blossom”, who introduces herself. Ronnie is surprised to see Archie. Betty asks Archie and Cheryl what they’re doing here. Archie says Cheryl told him about the Hilldale dance and suggested they meet up here (despite neither of them living in Hilldale or attending this school, if it is indeed being held in the school). Reggie comes by with two cups of punch and demands to know what Cheryl is doing with Archie, since she’s here with him. Ronnie is surprised to see Reggie. Ginger finds this “all too confusing”. Ickky says there’s one common denominator that they can take away from all of this: “there’s just something about redheads”. Tom and Whiz smile. Betty and Ronnie are surprised. Reggie is angry. Ginger, Archie, and Cheryl are shocked, but Archie says “I don’t think any of us would argue with that!”

This story was pretty dumb. Ginger came off as very jealous. Cheryl came off as a two-timer. Archie has his history. So they all get lumped together in a generalization. The part that bothers me the most, though? How did none of these fuckers notice each other until now?!

After the story is the same two-page Archie Encyclopdia entry from Ginger’s last appearance.

Comics – Party Panic!

World-of-Archie-Digest-129Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Archie Jumbo Comics (Double) Digest, No. 129
On-Sale Date: April 26, 2023
Length: 5 pages

Another new Archie story, another old character dusted off. Thankfully, it’s not a superhero this time. It’s Ginger Snapp. You might recall her from “Fashion Fantabulous!“, which was also written by Tom DeFalco.

Ginger was a short-lived comic book series that ran for ten issues from 1951 to 1954. It was basically a female Archie knockoff series created by Archie Comics in the hopes of duplicating Archie‘s success. It, um, didn’t work.

The story is preceded by two pages from The Archie Encyclopedia (a reference work that came out on September 28, 2022) with profiles of Ginger Snapp, Dottie (according to the page, later known as Patsy, although Grand Comics Database indicates she was named Patsy from the start), Ickky (last name Jones, according to GCDb), and Tommy Turner.

Here’s the shorthand version:

Ginger: a female, non-freckled Archie/Veronica hybrid from a fairly affluent family (probably around Reggie’s level)

Patsy: her black-haired freckled friend

Ickky: Dilton with the lower back of his head shaved

Tommy: a heterosexual Kevin Keller

Ginger excitedly runs out of her house and tells Ickky and Patsy that she needs them to help her plan a party to celebrate her summer job. Ickky is impressed, because “the summer has barely started”. Why is a summer story coming out in April? Anyway, Ginger says that’s “silly” and clarifies she finally managed to convince her father that she deserves to take the entire summer off. She wants to celebrate, because she doesn’t have to work this summer. Patsy slaps her five and says she’s her hero. Ickky is confused.

In the house, Ginger’s mom (Lotta, although she’s unnamed here), who has short blonde hair and glasses, tells her husband, Fred, that she’s so happy that he agreed to let Ginger take the entire summer off. Fred (basically, a fat Mr. Lodge without the glasses and mustache) says he plans to teach her a lesson. He predicts Ginger will regret this decision as soon as she needs spending money. This upsets his wife.

Outside, Ginger says they’re going to need a band. Patsy wonders if The Archies are available. Ickky would prefer Josie and the Pussycats. It’s clear that he loves them, but I wonder in what way. Ginger brings up food. Patsy can help plan the menu. Ickky will ask Pop Tate for a deal on the catering. Tommy and Dotty walk by. Who’s Dotty? As far as I can tell, she’s a new character (short brown hair and brown eyes) using Patsy’s variant name. Anyway, Ginger asks them if they’ve heard about the big party, despite only recently telling Ickky and Patsy about it.

An angry Bunny storms over to Ginger. Who’s Bunny? According to GCDb, Bunny Clarke is Ginger’s rival. She seems to be Veronica with brown hair. She heard about the party (how? when?) and demands to know why she hasn’t received an invitation. Ginger says she didn’t print out formal invitations. Bunny pushes Ginger to a printing business and says they need to design, produce, and mail them. Who the fuck prints out and mails formal invitations for neighborhood parties? It’s 2023! And why is Bunny pushing Ginger to a print shop before they’ve even designed the stupid things?

At Pop’s, two characters named Monk and Thorny compare invitations (Monk is definitely from the Ginger title, but I could find no info on Thorny). Ginger’s invited “everyone in the school district” to her party. In the background, Archie, Betty, and Veronica are sitting at a table and conveniently holding up their invitations.

At Ginger’s house, Ginger stands next to a tall pile of papers and tells Patsy that she can’t believe how many people RSVPed. Patsy will tell Pop to increase the food order. Ginger suggests ordering a tent in case of rain. Patsy says that’s a great idea. Fred, walking by, is surprised.

On the night of the party, Ginger’s backyard is packed with teens. Pop is cooking burgers and hot dogs on a grill, and The Archies are performing. There’s no sign of Reggie, but maybe he’s just off the side of the panel. There’s no sign of any cords, microphones, or an amplifier. More importantly, however, why the fuck are The Archies together? Betty and Ronnie had quit and formed their own band with Jola.

Anyway, Ickky tells Ginger that this is the greatest party of all. Patsy adds everyone loves this idea of a job-free summer. Fred comes out of the house and screams at his daughter.

Ginger goes into the house. Fred points to the stack of party bills on his desk (which seems to be in or near the kitchen). He tells her that she’ll need at least a dozen summer jobs to repay him with interest. So convenient that all of those bills arrived (in paper form!) on the night of the party. Ginger says he can count on her. He allows her to enjoy the rest of the party, because she’ll be “paying for it for years”. When Ginger goes outside and resumes dancing, Lotta asks him who is going to regret what decision. The captions in the final panel read “End” and “For Now!” Are they trying to set something up?

This story was pretty meh. It felt outdated with its massive use of paper. Also, Ginger doesn’t really bring anything different as far as characters go. This could have very easily been a Veronica story.

Comics – Cheryl Blossom Series Recap


I’ve been thinking for quite a while how to structure this recap, and I decided, after providing some background on Cheryl, I’ll go in chronological order: specials, miniseries, and ongoing series; the ongoing series will be divided into chunks based on school semesters and summer vacations; the overall recap will be divided between the Dan Parent and Holly Golightly eras.

As I recap the entire series, I’ll give my thoughts on how well that I think the stories could still be considered canon. We’ll discover how Archie Comics treated the canonical status of this series within just a few years soon enough, but I want to speculate on how much of it could still be considered canon now in 2023.

I’ll conclude this recap by talking about my plans for Cheryl reviews on this blog going forward.

Note: All months stated are the actual release months, not the cover dates.


Cheryl Blossom was introduced in 1982, the creation of Dan DeCarlo, as a third love interest for Archie Andrews. The creation of Cheryl Blossom was supposedly a response to the gradual (relative) sanitization of Veronica Lodge over the decades as compared to her early decades. Cheryl and/or her brother Jason appeared in roughly two-dozen stories (usually written by Frank Doyle and drawn by Dan DeCarlo) in various Archie Comics titles before disappearing suddenly two years later in 1984. Rumor has it that Cheryl was ditched after Archie Comics received one complaint from a parent.

In 1990, during an experimental time in Archie Comics’ history, a new title named Archie’s Explorers of the Unknown (written by Rich Margopoulos) was launched. It was a spoof of DC Comics’ Challengers of the Unknown. The premise was Archie was reading a book called Explorers of the Unknown, whose characters reminded him of his friends in Riverdale. So it’s basically a noncanon title with the exception of it being an in-universe book filtered through Archie’s imagination. While not part of the actual team, Cheryl Blossom appeared as Blaze, the Explorers’ CIA contact. Blaze appeared in the first three issues before disappearing from the narrative. She later appeared in the inset on the front cover of issue #6 in 1991, advertising the “1st Year Anniversary Issue!” with excitement. It turned out to be the final issue. The one thing that we can insinuate from this series is, even though Cheryl had stopped making canonical appearances in 1984, she might not have officially moved away from Riverdale until 1991.

Cheryl Blossom suddenly returned to Riverdale (having retroactively been stated to have moved away) at the end of the Love Showdown crossover event in 1994, cowritten by Dan Parent and Bill Golliher. This was followed up on with Love & War in Archie’s Love Showdown Special #1 (by the same writers) in November of the same year. The format (reprints of 1980s stories framed as flashbacks within a new story) would be copied by the Cheryl Blossom Special issues the following year.

The Dan Parent Era

Specials / Summer Fun (1995-1996)

The four Cheryl Blossom Specials were, presumably, meant to test the waters for more Cheryl content. They continued in the same format as before: new stories serving as framing devices for flashbacks to classic 1980s Cheryl stories.

For many readers, this was their first time reading the old stories. In some cases, they were censored, which I do not approve of.

After a few Specials, it became clear that Cheryl could headline a miniseries of her very own, so there’s some overlap between them.

Cheryl Blossom Special #1 (release month unknown, 1995) featured two new stories:

Coming Distractions” had a typical plot of Cheryl, Betty, and Ronnie having movie dates with Archie at the same theater on the same night. The ass-kicking at the end was very satisfying.

Seymour No More!” introduced a crush from Cheryl’s past (Seymour Flopsy) that I honestly could have done without.

Also included was a decoder puzzle titled “That’s Romance!”

Cheryl Blossom Special #2 (release month unknown, 1995) featured two new stories:

Life’s A Circus” had Cheryl dating a circus performer.

Faith, Hope and Cheryl!” was the first time that we saw Pembrooke Academy since Cheryl’s return and involved Cheryl babysitting some kids for extra credit.

Cheryl Blossom (Summer Fun) #1 (June, 1995) featured “Hot Fun in the Summertime!“, where Cheryl was a lifeguard at the beach (and fired for no reason), the return of Seymour Flopsy, Cheryl’s parents meeting Archie, and her dad taking a liking to Archie.

Cheryl Blossom (Summer Fun) #2 (July, 1995) featured “Tough Turf“, where it’s revealed Cheryl was a member of a sorority…in her high school, and Archie got hired as a groundskeeper on the Blossom estate. The story ended with Betty and Ronnie preparing to infiltrate Pembrooke’s beach.

Cheryl Blossom (Summer Fun) #3 (August, 1995) featured “Beach Blanket Blossom“, which was about a stupid inter-beach war, which was rendered moot when both sides agreed to let each other visit each other’s beaches, anyway. Bunny was officially first called Priscilla in this story, and she developed a sudden and unexplained attraction to Jughead.

Also included was “Stuck With You“, a short story in which Cheryl and Jughead were stuck in an elevator together, and Jughead sexually assaulted Cheryl and then used it as bribery to get her breath mints.

Cheryl Blossom Special #3 (November, 1995) featured two new stories and a short:

All I Want for Christmas is…Everything!” had Cheryl giving her visiting cousin Elaine a makeover, regretting it, and getting her taken back to Europe by her angry parents. Also, the Riverdale gang attended the Blossoms’ Christmas ball.

“Gift Rift” involved Cheryl buying a bunch of Christmas presents for herself.

It’s Their Miserable Lives!” involved Cheryl throwing a New Year’s Eve party for everyone and taking away the wrong lesson from her guardian angel showing her a possible future.

Cheryl Blossom Special #4 (February, 1996) featured two new stories:

Don’t Rain On My Parade!” had Cheryl trying to upstage The Archies at the Riverdale Day parade.

The Big Yak Flack!” involved Cheryl going to Tibet to learn a secret recipe for yak stew from a monk, so she could win a recipe contest at Pop’s, but she was disqualified on a technicality (substituting hamburger to avoid killing a yak). She also gained a new pet yak, which was never seen again.

Could it happen today? Sure, mostly, but “Stuck With You” is very problematic and wouldn’t happen, and Cheryl would just get footage of Elaine on her cell phone, edit it digitally, post it, and send Elaine’s parents the link.

Cheryl Gets a Job (1996)

With Cheryl proving herself with the Specials and a miniseries, another miniseries was inevitable. The premise was simple: Cheryl wanted a new sports car, but, rather than asking her dad for a handout, she followed Jason’s example in trying to get a summer job and earn the money herself.

Cheryl Blossom (Gets a Job) #1 (April, 1996) featured “This Heiress for Hire“, where Cheryl worked the drive-thru at a fast food place, got fired for no reason, went on a national newscast, and spun it to her advantage for free publicity.

Also included was “On The T.V. Spot”, a short story in which Archie interviewed Cheryl.

Cheryl Blossom (Gets a Job) #2 (May, 1996) featured “Goodbye, Snob…Hello Job!“, where Cheryl worked at a day care, at the Riverdale Zoo, holding traffic signs for the Riverdale Highway Department, and finally getting hired by Hiram Lodge.

Cheryl Blossom (Gets a Job) #3 (June, 1996) featured “Take This Job and Love It!“, where Cheryl worked for Hiram Lodge, delivered pizza, sold men’s clothing, and caught a criminal. She got her sports car and decided to become a bounty hunter (this was never followed up on).

Also included was a puzzle titled “Last Dance Crossword”.

Could it happen today? Sure, but Cheryl would post about her firing from her fast food job on TikTok, and she would just use phone apps to find work.

Cheryl Goes Hollywood (1996)

The premise of this miniseries was simple but drawn out to a ridiculous length: Cheryl wanted to make her own movie and get noticed.

Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) #1 (September, 1996) featured “She Ought to Be in Pictures!“, where Cheryl got the idea in her head to make a movie, which morphed into a Dangerous Minds knockoff, and she made a ton of wrong decisions. The Riverdale gang was cast in her movie.

Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) #2 (October, 1996) featured “Movie Madness“, where Cheryl’s film was stolen by thieves, she retrieved it and gained free publicity, and she went to premiere the film at a film festival in Turkey. The Riverdale gang followed her after not being invited.

Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) #3 (November, 1996) featured “Hollywood or Bust“, where Cheryl’s film premiered and was trashed by the critics. She spun it as a parody and was praised. Jason humiliated her on national television, but she humiliated him right back.

Could it happen today? I suppose, but the thieves stealing a physical film print would be changed to hackers encrypting the footage with ransomware. Honestly, though, Cheryl would likely just make the movie with her friends, using equipment that she buys or rents, edit it herself, and premiere it on YouTube (maybe with a special screening at the local theater). I see modern Cheryl as an influencer and indie filmmaker.

With Cheryl’s third miniseries a success, it was inevitable that she would get her very own ongoing series.

Spring Semester, 1997 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #1-4)

Cheryl Blossom #1 (January, 1997) featured “Join the Club“, where Cheryl and Jason inherited the old Millbrook Country Club and its property when their Aunt Melinda died. Cheryl convinced her dad (who was named Frank in this issue) to let them keep and run it, but he hired a woman named Louella McGruff to supervise the club. Club Blossom opened for business, hosting knockoffs of celebrities such as Madonna, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and the cast of Friends. The interior rock club was known as House of Cheryl. Cheryl sort of helped get Madonna’s baby delivered, and the club got a ton of free publicity and business as a result.

Cheryl Blossom #2 (February, 1997) featured “Inn Big Trouble!“, where the inn was apparently haunted. Louella was revealed to be a psychic. A Hillbilly family named the Clumpitts was introduced, living in a treehouse on the inn’s property. I really could have done without them. Talk shows shown included Sally and a knockoff of Larry King Live.

Cheryl Blossom #3 (March, 1997) featured “Home Un-Improvement“, where Cheryl was a “tool girl” on an episode of a This Old House knockoff that taped at the inn. Heavily inspired by Home Improvement. Involved the Clumpitts believing aliens had landed and crashing a concert.

Cheryl Blossom #4 (May, 1997) featured three new stories:

Radio Daze” involved Cheryl hosting an advice show on the radio but getting fired due to Jason’s dickery. Pop culture references included Howard Stern, Baywatch, and Pamela Anderson. Cheryl’s blue sports car made its final appearance.

Sibling Rivalry” involved Cheryl and Jason trying to find humiliating pictures of each other to feature in the local paper.

Picture This!!” involved Cheryl hiring paparazzi to photograph her with celebrities (including knockoffs of George Clooney, Winona Ryder, Alicia Silverstone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Claudia Schiffer, and David Copperfield) to bring attention to her inn.

Could it happen today? Honestly, a lot of it probably wouldn’t. Cheryl running the inn might still happen. Celebrity and TV references would have to be updated. Stories inspired by Home Improvement and This Old House are just outdated, though, and I can’t imagine today’s Cheryl listening to Howard Stern or getting excited about hosting a radio show. She’d just start her own podcast. Also, the humiliating photos would be posted online, and Cheryl would be trying to attend exclusive parties and get selfies with celebrities for her Instagram.

Summer Vacation, 1997 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #5-6)

Cheryl Blossom #5 (June, 1997) featured three new stories:

Cheryl in the Morning” involved Cheryl cohosting a knockoff of Live with Regis and Kathy Lee and her father getting her fired. Knockoff celebrity guests included Jenny McCarthy and Martha Stewart.

Getting Along Swimmingly!” involved Cheryl trying to seduce the new swimming instructor at her inn.

Looking for Mr. Mumps!” involved Cheryl searching for her missing teddy bear.

Cheryl Blossom #6 (July, 1997) featured “What a Disaster!“, where Cheryl tried to make a disaster movie. As before, the end result wasn’t received well, but Cheryl spun it into positive press. The inn benefited as a result. Honestly, this felt like a condensed rehash of “Cheryl Goes Hollywood”.

Could it happen today? The two main storylines probably wouldn’t. Again, I don’t see modern influencer Cheryl being excited about cohosting a daytime talk show, and I think her movie would be made more smoothly today (and it wouldn’t be a disaster film, since those aren’t exactly popular right now).

Fall Semester, 1997 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #7-9)

Cheryl Blossom #7 (August, 1997) featured three new stories:

Educating Cheryl!” involved Cheryl creating a knockoff of The Rules and trying to covertly make a how-to video. Jason brought back Seymour Flopsy, but, with help from her friends, Cheryl told him to fuck off, and this marked his final appearance (thank Goddess). Cheryl then accidentally revealed her plan, pissing her friends off.

What a Doll!” involved Cheryl trying to sell a doll of herself on a knockoff of the Home Shopping Network. There was a manufacturing defect, but that actually helped sales.

Wedded Blitz!” involved Cheryl hosting a wedding between two soap stars (from an All My Children knockoff) at her inn. She exposed the cheating groom and got free publicity.

Cheryl Blossom #8 (October, 1997) featured three new stories:

Masquerade Madness” involved Cheryl hosting a masquerade ball at her inn. It also featured the return of Sidney Snavely, a character that, technically, hadn’t made an appearance since the 1980s, trying to make Cheryl fall in love with him. While she seemed to fall in love with him, and the end of the story promised more to come, this was never followed up on, which is good, because that was so random and came right the fuck out of nowhere.

Makeover Mayhem!” involved Cheryl going on national television to give makeovers, and Jason tried to sabotage her by getting the Clumpitts. Cheryl pulled it off and managed to humiliate Jason on national television as well. This was the last that we saw of the Clumpitts (thank Goddess).

Babysitter Blossom!” involved Cheryl getting stuck with babysitting the Madonna knockoff’s baby.

Cheryl Blossom #9 (November, 1997) featured three new stories:

‘Ti$ the Sea$on” involved Cheryl and Jason trying to learn the meaning of Christmas (with help from Betty and Cedric, respectively).

Snow Way Out” involved guests being stranded at Cheryl’s inn while it was snowing. Cheryl was desparate to entertain and hold on to her guests, but she ended up driving them to leave.

Deck Those Halls!” involved Betty, Archie, and Jughead decorating Cheryl’s inn, but it was upstaged by the Clumpitts’ decorations (though they didn’t actually appear).

Could it happen today? A lot of it wouldn’t. A story based on The Rules? Nope. Cheryl would sell her dolls online and market them on her social media accounts, not go on television. Cheryl wouldn’t care about two soap actors getting married (and the soap would have to be updated, anyway). Cheryl would just give makeovers on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, not go on television. A celebrity dumping her baby on Cheryl wouldn’t fly today. Cheryl’s stranded guests could be entertained by their phones.

Spring Semester, 1998 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #10-14)

Ah, the “Cheryl goes to Riverdale High” story arc. Two issues of set-up and three issues (actually, more like 2.5) of Cheryl actually attending Riverdale High.

Cheryl Blossom #10 (December, 1997) featured “Who’s That Girl?“, where Cheryl, motivated by comments from Betty and Ronnie, adopted a fake persona to prove she could be somebody without her looks, fame, and wealth.

Cheryl Blossom #11 (January, 1998) featured “Undercover Blossom!“, where Cheryl continued her ruse and illegally enrolled herself at Riverdale High. After her scheme was discovered by Mr. Weatherbee, Cheryl was exposed at a school dance, and her parents forced her to finish out the school year at Riverdale High. Cheryl got to talk about her scheme on a national teen talk show.

Cheryl Blossom #12 (February, 1998) featured three new stories:

Stop The Presses” involved Cheryl being forcefully assigned by Ms. Grundy as co-editor of the school paper (alongside Betty). Cheryl somehow got an issue printed with bullshit stories about the students and faculty, complete with embarrassing photos. Betty and Dilton got back at her next month.

Talent who needs it?” involved Cheryl meeting Brigitte for the first time and being invited to sing at the school’s musical assembly. Unable to improve her singing voice, Cheryl decided to lipsync (on advice from Jason) but was exposed when the tape jammed.

Wigged Out” involved Cheryl wearing a bunch of different wigs to school, which pissed Ronnie off for some reason, and then Cheryl fell in a mud puddle. It was just a gimmick for readers to vote on their favorite style, so it could be spotlighted in a future issue.

Cheryl Blossom #13 (March, 1998) featured three new stories:

Spring Blossom!” involved Cheryl offering to help Betty get funding for the annual Riverdale High Cherry Blossom Festival. She did but then made the festival all about herself. Betty and Ronnie managed to get funding and hold their own competing festival, and then they and Dilton got petty and publicly humiliated Cheryl, potentially putting her life in danger as well.

What a Nice Trip!” involved Cheryl getting noticed for tripping and falling on live national television while out jogging. After some fuckery of trying to get on the show and also suing the show, it was revealed her dad owned the parent company, and she got grounded as a result. An overall stupid story.

Spaced Out!” involved Cheryl bribing a kid to get a star that was named after him, because it was next to a star that was named after Archie. Cheryl’s star disappeared.

Cheryl Blossom #14 (May, 1998) featured three new stories:

Cheers To You” involved Ms. Grundy again hounding Cheryl to pick an extracurricular activity, despite the fact that the school year was almost over. Through a series of contrivances, Cheryl got on the school’s cheerleading team right before the state cheerleading competition. As usual, her ego got the best of her, but they got stuck in traffic and didn’t make it to the competition, anyway. Spotting news helicopters, Cheryl had the team put on a show.

Family Matters” involved Cheryl trying to sabotage her returning cousin Elaine’s looks, but it backfired, and Dilton fell for Elaine. Despite this, Cheryl’s parents punished her by making her up the same way and forcing her to go out in public, which got a laugh from Betty.

That Makes Scents” involved Cheryl creating a rose-scented perfume that was so overpowering that it doubled as a mosquito repellent at her end-of-school party at her “country club”. Somehow, Cheryl was unable to successfully spin this to the press. This was, seemingly, the final appearance of Cheryl’s inn (if that’s what it was meant to be; otherwise, the final appearance was in “Deck Those Halls!” in issue #9).

Could it happen today? A lot of it wouldn’t. Cheryl would never be able to illegally enroll at Riverdale High (now or then); her parents would just decide to send her there to teach her humility. Modern Cheryl would weaponize her social media accounts to humiliate her classmates and get out of doing forced extracurricular activities. The lip-syncing story was already painfully outdated back when it was printed. Cheryl accidentally suing her dad didn’t even make sense to begin with, and she wouldn’t care to get on a TV morning show, anyway.

Summer Vacation, 1998 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #15-17)

Cheryl Blossom #15 (June, 1998) kicked off a three-issue summer story arc and featured three new stories:

Cheryl’s Beach Bash!” involved Cheryl, through a series of contrivances, getting to host a knockoff of MTV Beach House – with Bunny/Priscilla, Cedric, and Sidney Snavely joining her. Despite Sidney being there, he did basically nothing, and the previously implied budding romance between him and Cheryl was never referenced. The Riverdale gang was hired to interact with the Pembrooke crowd and look after Cheryl, and Louella McGruff was hired to look after all of them. Mr. Blossom bought Pembrooke Beach and opened it to the public.

Party Hardly” involved Cheryl inviting Brigitte to sing on her show and then getting carried off by the wind.

Hula Hoot!” involved Cheryl and Jason getting Louella to teach them how to hula dance, so they could impress the guys and Betty, respectively, but it devolved into a stupid battle.

Cheryl Blossom #16 (July, 1998) featured three new stories:

Lights, Camera, Action!” involved a volleyball game between the Pembrooke and Riverdale teens, which devolved into a brawl and sent ratings skyrocketing. America became divided over Cheryl, Betty, Veronica, and Archie.

Drive Out!” involved Cheryl premiering a new documentary about herself on the beach as part of her show, Jason trying to sabotage and humiliate her, and Cheryl outsmarting him.

Hair-Don’t!” involved Cheryl having a hair mishap with crazy glue and being shown on national television. This story was a follow-up to issue #12’s “Wigged Out”, which I’d already forgotten about. Final appearance of Louella McGruff.

Cheryl Blossom #17 (August, 1998) featured three new stories:

Cheryl Mania” involved Cheryl, Betty, and Veronica becoming nationally famous, but the concerned parents of the Riverdale teens pulled them away from the beach, ruining the show. A final goodbye party with all of the teens ended Cheryl’s Beach Bash on a high note, and then the network replaced it with a soap opera that ripped off the “storyline”.

You’re All Wet!” involved Cheryl being really immature and spraying people with a waterhose, but Jason got revenge on her.

How Crafty” involved Cheryl being driven insane by a Martha Stewart knockoff that her mother hired to redecorate the mansion (as well as Cheryl’s personal property). Cheryl fought back with flower power, overwhelming the crazy bitch.

Could it happen today? Not in this manner. Despite a brief revival in 2017, MTV Beach House no longer exists. If anything, Cheryl might take the initiative in creating a streaming beach house series and inviting musical acts to play on it and be interviewed by her. She certainly wouldn’t be introducing and playing music videos.

Fall Semester, 1998 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #18-20)

Cheryl Blossom #18 (October, 1998) featured three new stories:

Strike a Pose!” involved Cheryl and Archie taking romantic photos, so Cheryl could get a modeling contract. She didn’t get it, but she was hired as a junior editor for a new teen magazine, Fresh.

Eat Something!” involved Cheryl creating a heathy-eating-themed photo shoot to counter the trend of thin models. It worked and became a hit.

That’s My Mama!” involved Cheryl having to take care of an egg for a class assignment and finding a clever loophole. Her teacher, Ms. Hampton, debuted.

Cheryl Blossom #19 (November, 1998) featured three new stories:

Chill-Out!” involved Cheryl secretly flying Archie to a ski resort for a themed photo shoot for the magazine on his birthday. The others learned of it and followed, and Cheryl got grounded, but she still got a successful photo shoot out of it and managed to humiliate Ronnie and Betty.

Here We Come A Caroling!” involved Cheryl trying to enter a float in a Christmas parade, and it ended up crashing with Betty’s float, and neither of them won. Final appearance of Sidney Snavely.

All Malled Out” involved Cheryl getting a job playing Mrs. Claus at the local mall to give the female perspective.

Cheryl Blossom #20 (December, 1998) featured three new stories:

Cinderblossom” involved Cheryl having a Cinderella-inspired dream, which inspired some designs for a photo shoot.

Win Some, Lose Some” involved Cheryl filling in for a Vanna White knockoff on a Wheel of Fortune knockoff.

The Dresser” involved Cheryl buying a dresser at auction that she thought was haunted.

Could it happen today? Not in this manner. Cheryl’s new job wouldn’t exist, since there are no more monthly teen magazines in print. She would likely get hired for an online-only teen publication, assuming she hadn’t already started her own successful fashion and advice blog and vlog.

The Holly Golightly Era

Spring Semester, 1999 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #21-24)

Cheryl Blossom #21 (January, 1999) featured three new stories:

Sugarworld” involved Cheryl secretly trying to join a world-famous pop group but getting found out by her father (shocking, I know!) and forced to quit. Cheryl’s chauffeur, Jamie, made her first appearance.

Puppy Love” involved Cheryl’s mom getting her a cute new Pomeranian puppy to cheer her up from her funk after the events of “Sugarworld”. Cheryl named the puppy Sugar Blossom after her short-lived stage persona.

Dog Gone” involved Sugar running off in Riverdale and Betty and Archie helping Cheryl find her.

Cheryl Blossom #22 (February, 1999) featured three new stories:

Big in Japan” involved Cheryl traveling to Japan to design a video game for girls. It fell into stereotypes and was already painfully outdated.

Psyc-Out” involved Cheryl, currently interested in New Age ideas, wondering if Jamie was psychic. Jamies was indeed psychic, but she faked losing her power when Cheryl wanted to use her to make money.

Brotherly Love” involved Cheryl giving Jason pointers on how to get Betty interested in him, mostly so she (and Ronnie) would hang out with him, leaving Archie to Cheryl. When the “plot” was discovered, Jason made Cheryl take all of the blame and forced her to apologize to Betty.

Cheryl Blossom #23 (March, 1999) featured two new stories:

Friendly Fire” involved Cheryl being invited as a guest on Teen Talk, Betty and Veronica’s cable access show, and being humiliated by Ronnie. Betty made amends with Cheryl, and the two of them became best friends, constantly hanging out together. Cheryl even threw a party in Betty’s honor at her mansion, which Ronnie crashed in order to apologize to Cheryl (instead of just doing it privately), winning back Betty’s friendship.

It’s in Her Kiss” involved Cheryl creating a new lip gloss for herself and wanting to try it out on Archie, but Jughead ended up attracted to her instead, and Betty and Ronnie (who had caught Archie with Cheryl) absolved Archie of all blame.

Cheryl Blossom #24 (May, 1999) featured four new stories:

He-Mail” involved Cheryl being computer-matched with Dilton in an inter-school online dating program. They fell in love with each other before meeting at the Riverdale High prom and, despite an initial reaction of mutual horror, hit it off and decided to continue their relationship.

“Pup Art” (a 1-page story) involved Cheryl sneaking Sugar into an art gallery by concealing her in her hair.

Stellar Behavior” involved Cheryl accompanying Jason to a movie premiere of a Star Wars knockoff.

Night School” involved Dilton advising Cheryl to listen to a tape of her notes while sleeping in order to pass a make-up Geography final, but Cheryl accidentally listened to the wrong tape and failed (for which she apparently suffered no consequences). Final definitive appearance of Bunny/Priscilla.

Could it happen today? No – or at least not in this manner. “Sugarworld” already was poorly executed, but there really aren’t any popular all-girl groups that Cheryl could currently join. One would have to be made up, or Cheryl would decide to form her own group. There are much more diverse games these days, so Cheryl designing a game for girls would feel outdated (honestly, it was outdated even then). She would just go to Japan for spring break, because she could, no explanation needed. Teen Talk would be a YouTube show, and Betty coming to Cheryl’s aid would involve her removing the video, not confiscating a tape before it could air. The band performing at Cheryl’s party would be updated from a Hole knockoff to something more modern. School dating programs probably aren’t a thing anymore for liability reasons. Cheryl and Jason attending a Star Wars premiere would have to be timed to the release of a new Star Wars movie, and who knows when that will happen? Cheryl would record her Geography notes on her phone and not accidentally listen to the wrong thing.

Summer Vacation, 1999 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #25-26)

Cheryl Blossom #25 (June, 1999) featured three new stories:

Creature Feature on Party Beach” involved Cheryl, Jason, and the Riverdale gang being secretly filmed for a low-budget movie without their knowledge while at the beach. When he was discovered, Cheryl threatened the filmmaker with legal action and got them paid for their acting.

Jungle Blossom” involved Cheryl saving her mother’s rainforest benefit, but she tried to humiliate Ronnie, and it backfired on her.

Beauty and the Beach” involved Cheryl lusting after bodybuilders and taking an interest in Moose, ending with her about to be attacked by a jealous Midge. Oh, and Archie, Reggie, and Moose were the main focus of the story.

Cheryl Blossom #26 (July, 1999) featured three new stories:

Take the Mummy and Run!” involved the mummy of the pharaoh Narmer, a new addition to the Blossoms’ museum, exposing a fraud to Cheryl and her mother, because his queen bore a strong resemblance to Cheryl.

Fashion Emergency” involved Cheryl giving Jason fashion tips as well as getting him a quick fill-in modeling gig at her magazine.

Skateboardin’ Blossom” involved Cheryl skateboarding to get Archie and Reggie’s attention at the beach while Betty and Ronnie watched.

Could it happen today? Yes, mostly, but Cheryl’s magazine job would be updated to an online publication.

Fall Semester, 1999 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #27-28)

Cheryl Blossom #27 (August, 1999) featured three new stories:

It’s a Maze Thing” involved Cheryl attending a charity function on someone’s estate and getting lost in a garden labyrinth with Veronica. The two of them bonded and cooperated to find a way out.

The Dating Game” involved Cheryl going on the game show, but she couldn’t decide on a bachelor, so she asked for help.

Identity Crisis” involved Cheryl and Jason attending a Halloween party at Betty’s house and getting into some shenanigans involving costumes.

Cheryl Blossom #28 (October, 1999) featured three new stories:

Holi-Daze” involved Cheryl, Ronnie, and Betty throwing competing Christmas parties on the same night. When Cheryl and Ronnie’s parties failed, they attended Betty’s party, and everyone had a great time.

Snowbored” involved Cheryl showing off her snowboarding skills and Ronnie talking Betty into trying to scare Cheryl away from Archie while wearing a stupid costume. It backfired.

Kiss of the Century” involved Cheryl, Betty, and Veronica each thinking they’d get a New Year’s kiss from Archie, but he got Dilton to kiss Cheryl, Jason to kiss Betty, and Reggie to kiss Ronnie.

Could it happen today? Yes, mostly, but The Dating Game no longer exists, and “Kiss of the Century” would be just “Kiss of the Year”.

Spring Semester, 2000 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #29-33)

Cheryl Blossom #29 (November, 1999) featured three new stories:

To Catch a Falling Star” involved Cheryl sneaking into a hotel to get an interview with a Ricky Martin knockoff for her magazine.

Behind the 8-Ball” involved Cheryl believing a fortune-telling eight-ball when it said she wasn’t prettier than Betty, so Cheryl sabotaged Betty’s looks – to no avail. Cheryl confessed everything, and Betty talked some sense into Cheryl.

The Dating Game: Viewer’s Choice” involved Cheryl and Jughead, accompanied by their mothers (her mother was named Rose in this story), going on a Hawaiian cruise. They initially avoided each other, but Cheryl waited on Jughead after he saved Sugar from drowning.

Cheryl Blossom #30 (December, 1999) featured three new stories:

C’est La Ski” involved Cheryl, on a ski trip, trying to convince a B*Witched knockoff, who’s giving a concert at the lodge, to let her perform with them. When that didn’t work, Cheryl, with the aid of Dilton and Sugar, took secret photos of the band for her magazine, but they sucked.

Fashion Victim” involved Cheryl buying a pair of platform boots despite Jamie’s concerns, secretly wearing them at school over her mother’s objections, hitting her head on a door frame, and ending up in bed.

Lost Love” involved Cheryl showering Archie with gifts when she didn’t get a Valentine from him. She also hit him.

Cheryl Blossom #31 (February, 2000) featured three new stories:

Highland Spirit” involved Cheryl, Jason, and Archie going with their mothers to stay at the Blossoms’ ancestral home in Scotland. While there, Cheryl learned about a forbidden romance between members of the warring Blossom and Andrews clans, and she and Archie got their spirits to finally unite.

Crimson & Clover” involved Cheryl, with inspiration from Jamie, winning the school’s science fair by spending very little money. Introduction of Cheryl’s rival, Heather.

In Your Dreams” involved Cheryl having recurring dreams about kissing Jughead, so she kissed him to cure herself of it.

Cheryl Blossom #32 (April, 2000) featured three new stories:

No Other Mother” involved Cheryl enlisting the gang to help her decide on a gift for her mom’s birthday, and she and Jason eventually got/made her a gift that she loved.

Gopher Broke!” involved a gopher stealing Cheryl’s pricey roses, but it turned out that she was feeding her babies, so Cheryl had a house built for them among the roses.

Bug Off” involved Cheryl wearing hair clips in the shape of bugs, which everyone mistook for real bugs.

Cheryl Blossom #33 (May, 2000) featured three new stories:

Crocodile Rock” involved Cheryl suddenly managing The Archies and booking them a gig in Australia. A knockoff of the Crocodile Hunter guided them through the Outback.

The Reel World” involved Cheryl going on a knockoff of The Real World and staying at a beach house with three other girls.

Something Fishy” involved Cheryl dressing like a mermaid to impress a marine biology student. It didn’t work.

Could it happen today? A lot of it wouldn’t. Ricky Martin would have to be updated to a modern singer. The Dating Game no longer exists. B*Witched would have to be updated to a more modern all-girl group (if one exists these days). “Bug Off” was a riff on the butterfly hair clip fashion trend and was outdated when it was published. The Crocodile Hunter knockoff would have to be replaced (perhaps with his daughter), or else the story of Cheryl managing The Archies would have to occur elsewhere. The Real World no longer exists; Cheryl would likely be the one to create a streaming series with a similar concept.

Summer Vacation, 2000 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #34-35)

Cheryl Blossom #34 (June, 2000) featured three new stories:

A Midsummer’s Magic” involved Cheryl encountering Sabrina in the present day and telling Jason about when she first met her at sleep-away camp as a child. An ill-conceived and poorly-executed crossover with the Sabrina title.

Are You Like a Millionaire?” involved Cheryl creating a quiz for the readers of her magazine, which was heavily dependent on her readers knowing and caring who Cheryl’s friends are. A quiz for the readers thinly disguised as a story. Final appearance of Fresh.

Seal it with a Kiss” involved Cheryl rescuing a stuck seal at the beach. The seal followed her home, and she tried to keep it as a pet, but her dad found out and forced her to return it to the ocean.

Cheryl Blossom #35 (July, 2000) featured three new stories:

Phantom of the Funhouse” involved Cheryl and the gang exploring an abandoned funhouse on the beach. After an exciting experience and meeting with the creator, Cheryl bought the funhouse and reopened it.

Got Your Goat” involved Cheryl advising Jason to wear a fake goatee to appear more mature to Betty. It didn’t work.

P.I.P.” involved Cheryl, Betty, and Veronica, who were suddenly running a professional bodyguard service, being hired to protect a Christina Aguilera knockoff.

Could it happen today? Most of it could, but the crossover with the tie-in title for Sabrina: The Animated Series would be made more generic / less show-specific today, Cheryl’s magazine job would be updated to an online job, and P.I.P. would be protecting a more current pop singer, like Olivia Rodrigo or someone.

Fall Semester, 2000 (Cheryl Blossom ongoing #36-37)

Cheryl Blossom #36 (September, 2000) featured three new stories:

Medium Well Done” involved Cheryl getting jealous of Ronnie having a “close encounter” with a ghost, so she roped Jason into pretending to be a ghost that she’d summon in front of the gang, but she ended up summoning the real ghost.

Pup Quiz” involved Cheryl taking Sugar to school during a thunderstorm, and Sugar ended up helping her during a quiz. Final appearance of Jamie and Ms. Hampton. Final definitive appearance of Heather.

Party Crasher” involved Cheryl inviting the Riverdale gang over to the mansion for a party while her parents were out of town for the weekend, getting away with it, breaking a vase that she thought was priceless minutes before her parents arrived home, and then stupidly confessing to the whole thing and grounding herself.

Cheryl Blossom #37 (December, 2000) featured three new stories:

Rock ‘n’ Roll Film!” involved Cheryl making a documentary film about the Sugar Girls for a class project, which she turned into a tell-all in revenge for the band not letting her back in, but Jason got the last laugh with a documentary that humiliated Cheryl. Final appearance of Pembrooke Academy. Final possible appearance of Bunny/Priscilla or Heather.

Artistic Differences” involved Cheryl getting her portrait painted by a famous artist but driving her crazy with her frequent outfit changes.

A Winter’s Tail” involved Cheryl and Sugar having a sled race against Jughead and Hot Dog. They took it seriously and won.

Could it happen today? Most of it could, but the Sugar Girls, again, would have to be updated to a more current (or made-up) band.

What Worked and What Didn’t

The series did a good job of bringing Cheryl Blossom into the 1990s and updating her. She was niced up a bit, which was necessary for her to be able to headline a series, but it worked. Of course, I, personally, had read only “Color Coded” prior to starting on her solo series at issue #20, and she wasn’t a mean, nasty person in that story, so I really didn’t notice a change.

I like that we got a look at Cheryl’s home life, which I don’t think was ever explored in the 1980s stories. We met her parents, who, oddly, were named Frank and Rose. I don’t know when, precisely, Archie Comics named them Clifford and Penelope, but Penelope was established enough that I used it in a fanfic that I published in mid-2011, nearly six years before Riverdale started.

Dan Parent started out by making use of Cheryl, Jason, and the few supporting characters that had been established back in the 1980s (Bunny, Cedric, Sidney) and building from there. After re-establishing Cheryl for the readers in the Specials and miniseries, Cheryl started her ongoing series by inheriting an inn. This was a good, interesting addition, but Parent didn’t seem to feel like running with it for more than a few issues, because it disappeared later the same year (or maybe, perhaps, the following year, depending on your interpretation). He put Cheryl in a new career as the teen editor of a fashion magazine (another good move).

When Holly Golightly took over the title, the teenzine job was pretty much the only thing that she carried over from Dan Parent’s run. The inn (and its cast of characters) never appeared again. Unfortunately, as cool as the teenzine job was, we really didn’t get to know any of Cheryl’s rather interchangeable coworkers, only two of which were given names (Walter and Aura), and they were one-offs. She basically rolled back Cheryl’s MTV star status in order to make her an MTV star again. And she ditched Cheryl’s car, having Cheryl rely on either Jamie or Jason for transportation – only to suddenly give her a Jeep toward the end of the series. She dropped Bunny/Priscilla as Cheryl’s Pembrooke friend with no explanation and introduced a new rival, Heather, only to not do much with her either. More consistency would have been nice. As it is, it’s hard to get a handle on Cheryl’s character when her situation kept getting retconned within her own title.

Several storylines were redundant (Cheryl making movies or starring on television); others felt rushed (Cheryl joining and soon being pulled out of a pop group, Cheryl managing The Archies) and deserved more space; others dragged on too long (Cheryl scheming to attend Riverdale High in secret).

The big, defining thing that Holly did, of course, was make Cheryl and Betty friends. I love that! It was so nice to see them hang out together and not always be antagonistic toward each other.

Another good thing that Holly did was pair Cheryl up with Dilton romantically. It’s an atypical pairing, but this odd couple surprised me. They go well together.

Overall, while both writers had their highs and lows, I prefer Holly’s writing to Dan’s.

Why Was It Cancelled

I don’t have circulation figures for the title, so all that I have to go on is direct market (comic shop) sales figures. It did well, eventually taking the top spot among the Archieverse titles. It eventually fell, but it was still outselling titles like Jughead, Archie & Friends, and Archie’s Weird Mysteries toward the end. I don’t know if those sales were reflective of the titles’ performances in all channels, but all three of the latter titles somehow outlasted Cheryl Blossom by years.

10 issues came out in 1997, 10 in 1998, and 10 in 1999. Only 7 issues came out during the final year of the title’s existence, and it took the entire year to do so, so clearly something happened. Sales dropped below 3,000 copies in the new decade, at least in the direct market, for the first time. It went back up above 3,000 copies with issue #34, and then it went down again. I would love to see the full circulation figures for this title.

Issue #37, which turned out to be the final issue, was originally solicited for October of 2000 but then resolicited for December. I don’t know why, but perhaps it was to remove any mentions of requests for letters or fan art. Maybe there was some kind of production delay. Who knows?

That’s all that I can say, really: Who knows?


Cheryl Blossom was an encapsulation of teen culture in the mid-to-late-1990s. It wasn’t always current, and a lot of the stories could have been handled better (or just not done at all), but I had a blast revisiting it.

The central theme/focus of the series was Cheryl’s seeking of popularity and celebrity status. If the series was done today, it would involve Cheryl carefully curating her online image on her blog, YouTube, and various social networking sites. She’d finance and make her movies and screen them locally, then sell them. She might still seek celebrity friends as a sort of validation, but I’d like to think she’d be more savvy in how she went about it.

So what’s next? Well, obviously, there are a lot more Cheryl stories to review. There are the Cheryl Blossom-era stories in other titles that were published concurrently with this title. There are plenty of Cheryl-featuring stories that came out after her title was canceled. There are a few 1980s stories that I still haven’t reviewed, but I will if I can get my hands on them. And there are the occasional new stories that have Cheryl in them (although I won’t be reviewing the AU ones where the teens are superheroes, which are very prevalent at the moment). Stay tuned. Blossom Power!

Comics – A Night at the Opera

Your-Pal-Archie-1Writer: Ty Templeton
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Ty Templeton
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Your Pal Archie, No. 1
Cover Date: September, 2017
On-Sale Date: July 26, 2017
Length: 8 pages

At Riverdale High School, Archie comes after Veronica in the hallway, saying he’s got it “all worked out”. She asks him what the fuck he’s talking about. He says plans for the weekend. They’re going on a picnic, where he’ll be serenading her with live ukulele music (he brought a picnic basket, drinks, apples, and a ukulele to school to illustrate all of this). Then they’ll cool off in her swimming pool. Before he can get any farther, she rejects it, stunning him. A few notes about eye colors before we move on: Archie has green eyes, and Ronnie has brown eyes, consistent with the previous story but inconsistent with the front cover.

Ronnie says she’s got tickets to the opera this weekend. Archie assumes he’s coming, but she quickly corrects him. She’s going with Prescott Tinsley III. Archie drops his shit in surprise. The last time that she took Archie to the opera, he spent the whole performance checking basketball scores on his phone. Ronnie says Prescott is “sophisticated enough” (compared to Archie) and tells Archie that she’ll see him on Monday. Reggie makes fun of Archie. Jughead chastises Archie for dropping food.

Later, Jughead and Archie are walking by Sal’s Grocery, and Jughead asks Archie to buy him a soda. Archie says all that he has is $5. They go into the store, and Jughead starts getting what seem like large bottles of soda off a shelf. He says that’s $5 more than he has. Took Jughead that long to reply to Archie, huh? I wish Archie Comics would stop stretching out short conversations over different locations. Anyway, Jughead goes to pay while Archie worries about his finances. Jughead buys Archie a lottery ticket for tonight’s big draw. Archie’s upset, because that was supposed to be his bus fare to get home. What happened to his car? Jughead says they have sodas and will have a “nice walk”.

Of course, it starts pouring. Jughead says it’s “lucky rain”.

Archie calls his dad, who comes to pick him up. Archie thanks him. Fred asks about the bus fare but understands as soon as Archie says “Jughead”. Fred asks Archie if he’s okay. Archie explains why he’s mad at Ronnie. Fred says Ronnie can be like that sometimes and tells Archie to not worry about it. Archie decides to write his own opera.

Later, Archie is in his room, composing on his acoustic guitar. Mary comes in with a box full of some of her favorite operas on CD. She asks Archie if these will help. He says not really. She pulls out one with selections from The Barber of Seville. Archie says he doesn’t have a CD player in his room. I guess he doesn’t have a computer, huh? Anyway, Mary guesses the tapes aren’t much help. Fred brings in his opera albums on vinyl records (including The Magic Flute, The Ring of the Nibelung, and The Marriage of Figaro). Mary says Archie can’t play those either, because he doesn’t have a turntable. Archie says these vinyl records are big enough to read the opera plots printed on the back.

At some point, Archie meets up with Betty, Jughead, and Kevin at Pop’s. Archie’s “done the research”, and these “ancient musicals are always about barbers and Vikings with magic swords who get married”. So far, all that he’s got is a title: Olaf Sword-Hands–The Hairdresser of Thor. Kevin loves Archie’s ambition but says Ronnie isn’t going to be impressed with any of this unless the opera is about her. Betty agrees. Archie is way ahead of them. He tosses his notes onto the table. Jughead “borrows” a “napkin”, but Betty says that’s not a napkin and asks what it is.

Archie says it’s the lottery ticket that Jughead bought him. Jughead completely forgot about it and says the draw was last night. I guess we went to the next day at some point, but it’s unclear when. While Jughead checks the numbers on his phone (betting Archie didn’t), Archie, Betty, and Kevin think of words that rhyme with Veronica, and Betty nearly references one of Phoebe’s songs on Friends:

A stunned Jughead informs Archie that he won.

Archie thinks Jughead’s kidding around. Jughead tells him to confirm it. Archie does, saying he thinks he just won fifteen-million dollars. To Be Continued…

This story was okay, but how much do you wanna bet the ticket was an illegal sale, due to Jughead and/or Archie being underage?

A bonus classic Betty and Veronica story, “Sand-wishes!”, is reprinted at the end of the issue, followed by a preview of the next issue.

Comics – Rock Candi

BVFF19Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Friends Forever, No. 19 (Rock and Roll #1)
On-Sale Date: March 8, 2023
Length: 5 pages

This is the first new Archie story written by Holly G! in around two decades. It’s a rather simple story, as they all are these days, but it’s an important one, one that has been a long time coming. Before we get into the story, though, I’m going to provide context, because the story itself doesn’t.

Archie-Show-16-band-3Archie-Show-04-BettyArchie, Reggie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead were put in a band called The Archies when The Archie Show premiered on CBS on Saturday, September 14, 1968. The band had been introduced into the comic books in 1967 in a prototype form (minus Betty and Veronica) in the story “Once Upon a Tune” in Life With Archie #60 (cover-dated April). The fake band (featuring Ron Dante on lead vocals as Archie and various backing vocalists and session musicians) had a real-life hit with “Sugar, Sugar”, which went to #1 in 1969, and “Jingle Jangle”, which went to #10. In 1970, “Who’s Your Baby” went to #40, and “Sunshine” went to #57. All of their music was standard bubblegum pop. Betty was stuck playing the tambourine. With one exception from the recorded output, Archie always sang the lead vocals. This remained the status quo in the comic books.

When NBC aired Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again on Sunday, May 6, 1990, as a movie of the week, it was a hyped event. It was the centerpiece of Archie Comics’ upcoming fiftieth anniversary celebration. It featured the gang reuniting to attend their fifteen-year high school reunion. The band got back together and performed “Jingle Jangle”. Again, Archie (Christopher Rich) sang the lead vocals, and Betty (Lauren Holly) was stuck playing the tambourine.

On Tuesday, September 7, 1999, I posted a fanfic that I had written called Betty Cooper: This is Who I Am. One part of the story involved The Archies breaking up due to Archie’s sexist behavior, and Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and Reggie formed a band called The Sugar Cherries. This was my way of dealing with my frustration of the status quo in the comics.

Avril-Lavigne-guitar-2002On Tuesday, June 4, 2002, Avril Lavigne released her smash-hit debut album, Let Go. Lavinge plays both electric and acoustic guitar. Her music career began around three years before the Betty Cooper of today was born.

Nearly five months later, on Sunday, November 3, 2002, a made-for-TV movie titled The Archies in Jugman aired on Nickelodeon. It functioned as a sort of sequel to the TV series Archie’s Weird Mysteries. As you can tell from the title, the characters are in the band. It’s not introduced in the movie; it’s just suddenly tacked on in the dance scene at the end of the film. There was a new lead vocalist providing Archie’s voice, but it was still Archie’s band, named after Archie, the new song (“It’s About Time”, composed by Matt McGuire) was old-fashioned bubblegum pop that the Riverdale High kids laughably rocked out to, and Betty was still stuck playing the damn tambourine.

Caleigh-Peters-guitarIn 2005, a sixteen-year-old girl named Caleigh Peters (the goddaughter of Barbra Streisand) recorded a few songs, some of which ended up in Disney films and/or on soundtrack albums that year, starting with the song “Reach” for the movie Ice Princess. While its actual release as a physical single is in question (despite various sites on the Internet calling it a single), and Caleigh’s musical career never took off (her self-titled debut album, set to come out that summer, was never released), a music video was filmed and featured on Disney Channel, showing millions of young girls that a girl just like them could rock out on guitar. This video came out in the year that the current version of Betty Cooper was born.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2006 (at least, for the direct market), in the story “Band Together” in Betty and Veronica Spectacular #73 (cover-dated March of 2006), Betty won a chance to take the stage and rock out with a Kiss knockoff band. She was a superfan, teaching herself how to play every song on electric guitar. She got painted up in the makeup and totally shredded on stage, leading Archie to declare “Oh, my goodness! Our little Betty is a rock and roll animal!”

In 2008 (the exact release date varies by source, but I found an old press release from November 14, although the album already seemed to be out by then), a new album called The Archies Christmas Album Featuring Betty & Veronica was released. It featured the return of original Archie vocalist Ron Dante as well as new vocalists for Betty and Veronica. And Betty was still on the fucking tambourine.

In 2011, a new prose novel series, xoxo, Betty and Veronica, began as part of Archie Comics’ seventieth anniversary celebration. It didn’t last anywhere near as long as the old Riverdale High novel series did. Of the three novels, We’re with the Band (supposedly released on May 12, although that was a Thursday), written by Adrianne Ambrose, featured Betty and Veronica leaving The Archies and teaming up with Nancy and a new character named Tina Starling to form an all-girl pop band, The Candy Hearts. Of course, status quo is god, so the band broke up at the end of the story, Betty and Veronica rejoined The Archies, and Betty took up her tambourine again, shaking that stupid thing while the band performed “Sugar, Sugar” and “Jingle Jangle”.

On Saturday, July 9, 2011, I posted a sequel fanfic to Betty Cooper: This is Who I Am titled Betty Cooper: Woman for All Seasons. It continued the musical career (such as it was) of The Sugar Cherries.

On Wednesday, February 15, 2012 (at least, for the direct market), in the story “Gaga for Baba” in Betty and Veronica #258, Betty, a huge Lady Gaga fan, began playing local venues in flamboyant costumes, going only by the name “B”. She became enough of a local sensation that she was booked to open for The Archies at a local concert. I haven’t read this story yet, but I’m willing to bet hilarity ensued.

After that, the experimentation basically ended, and Betty was back on tambourine in The Archies – even in the New Riverdale Archie and The Archies series. Those have ended, of course, and Betty hasn’t been off the tambourine for the past eleven years.

Until now.

The story starts with the band Rock Candi rehearsing…somewhere. The name Rock Candi is somewhat reminiscent of The Candy Hearts. The band consists of Veronica and Betty on guitars and a new girl (Jola Kitt; thanks, cover blurb) with blue hair and a heart-and-drumsticks tattoo (on the cover, anyway; it’s not visible in the story itself) on drums. Betty jumps off their amplifier. Trev praises their sound and says they’re “so ready for tonight’s show”. Betty sits down on the stage to relax, and Trev offers her some “hydration” (an orange drink). Jola calls Trev thoughtful and says, whenever she was taking lessons from his sister, Val, he was always there, helping out. Yeah, Trev is Valerie’s brother and an occasional love interest for Betty.

Betty suddenly feels down. Trev asks her what’s the matter. Betty still feels guilty for walking out on Archie and the guys. Ronnie angrily shakes her guitar (after already setting it down after practice) and tells Betty to “drop that guilt”. From her wording, we learn they play bass and lead guitar but not which one of them plays which. Thanks to the front cover, though, we know Ronnie plays bass, since her guitar has only four strings, and Betty plays lead, since her guitar has six strings. Oh, and then Jola just flat-out says Betty “totally shred[s] on lead”. She says the boys were crazy to just have her shake a tambourine “all these years”. Trev tells Betty that he agrees with “them” (I assume he means the girls).

They leave…wherever they were. As Trev parts from them, he tells the girls that he’ll see them at “the club”. Betty took her guitar with her, and Ronnie’s carrying something as well, but they left the drums and amp in the building. Ronnie has a “pre-gig sushi dinner” waiting for them at her place.

Shortly, at Lodge Manor, the girls are sitting down to dinner, Japanese-style. Betty says it’s gonna be so weird playing without the boys. Jola says she was there when Betty and Ronnie were “totally dissed”.

Flashback time! Last week, The Archies are rehearsing…somewhere. Betty, who has her own guitar already, says she wrote a song this weekend, and she’d really love to play it for the guys. Reggie declines, saying they don’t need a “sugar sweet love song”. Oh, you mean like “Sugar, Sugar”? Betty is upset. A pissed Ronnie screams at Reggie for not even giving Betty a chance. She heard Betty’s song, and it rocks. Reggie doesn’t believe it and tells the girls to leave the music up to the guys. He says the girls are doing just fine where they are. Ronnie says Reggie and Archie have never let Betty and her show their full potential. Archie tells her to keep him out of this. Ronnie says that’s the problem: Archie doesn’t get involved, so why should they? She heads out and tells Betty to come with her. Betty agrees and follows her. Jola, who has been hanging around silently this whole time, comes after them with an idea.

Back in the present, Jola tells Betty and Ronnie that band members need to respect one another, regardless of sex. Betty and Ronnie agree and give some pep talks for the band.

That night, on stage, Rock Candi rocks. Holly put the wrong number of strings on the girls’ guitars, though, and we don’t get any song lyrics.

When their set is over, Trev comes on the stage and gets the audience to cheer and applaud for Rock Candi. We learn Jola’s name (first name only) for the first time in the actual story. Reggie admits to Archie that he was wrong; the girls can really rock, and they’re good. Archie seems worried, admitting the girls are better than them.

This story was pretty good. As I said, it’s important, but it also feels rushed. It was crammed into only five pages. It should have been at least ten or eleven pages. There was a lot of awkward exposition and unanswered questions. Who is Jola Kitt? How does the gang know her? Why was she hanging out at The Archies’ rehearsal? Whatever happened to Ronnie’s keyboard? Still, I’m glad that this story finally – finally! – happened, and it’s so fitting that it was released on International Women’s Day.

Comics – Yacht’s Wrong With You?!

World-of-BV-Digest-23Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Steven Butler*
Inks: Lily Butler*
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 23
On-Sale Date: March 1, 2023
Length: 5 pages

*The credits are confusing for this story. Between the two boxes naming the penciler and inker, there’s an “and” symbol. I don’t know if this means both people did both jobs or if they just wanted to call attention to the fact that some relatives worked on this story together.

Another Archie story in 2023, another obscure character reintroduced. This one is so obscure that, again, I had to look elsewhere for info. Captain Commando was a patriotic superhero that debuted in 1942 and lasted only until late 1945 or early 1946. He was written by S.M. Iger and drawn by Alex Blum. The company then purged their superheroes to focus on humorous stories. According to the opening blurb of this new story: “Naval commander John Grayson is a champion of the seven seas! A peak physical specimen, his amphibious super-heroics make him the bane of evil on land or on the high seas!”

The story starts with Cheryl looking through binoculars at Veronica’s yacht, Sea Lodge, from her own yacht and being pissed that Ronnie dares to have a nicer yacht than her. She “simply won’t stand for it”. She actually growls in anger. She has hired Captain Scalliwag and his crew of pirates to commandeer Ronnie’s yacht and bring it to her. Captain Scalliwag laughs with an “Arr har harr!!” Are you seriously doing this, Archie Comics? Old-timey pirates in 2023? You didn’t even spell Scallywag right.

The pirates are paid actors, desperate for this high-paying gig. Captain Scalliwag breaks character and asks Cheryl what to do with Ronnie. Cheryl doesn’t know and doesn’t care. Captain Scalliwag assures his crew that “nobody will get hurt”. They get into character and launch their attack. Captain Swalliwag exclaims “Shiver their timbers!” Cheryl is startled by this.

The pirates get in their motorboat, go to Ronnie’s yacht, and board it. “Cap’n Scalliwag” introduces himself and claims Ronnie’s “boat” for “Lady Blossom”. Ronnie’s amused, figuring Cheryl would try something like this. She had commissioned a captain of her own. Captain Commando swings in on a rope from somewhere, exclaiming “Have at you, brigands!”

Captain Commando beats the shit out of the pirates until Captain Scalliwag begs him to stop and admits they’re just actors. Ronnie admits she did think they looked a bit “vintage”. So did Captain Commando.

Captain Scalliwag begs Ronnie for mercy and explains the whole thing. Ronnie says Cheryl has a way of bringing out the worst in good people. The male hero tells the attacked female that it’s her call. Well, isn’t that nice of him?

Later, Cheryl’s wondering what the fuck is taking so long and looks through her binoculars. Ronnie has hired the pirates to wait on her. She calls Captain Scalliwag “Captain Scalli-waiter”. Cheryl screams in anger and throws down her binoculars with such brute force that she shatters them to pieces. Ronnie makes a lame pun. The end.

This story was what you’d expect when dealing with pirates and a World War II superhero: completely fucking stupid. It makes Cheryl look extremely childish and petty. Notice there’s no mention of her life coach, who certainly wouldn’t approve of this behavior.

Comics – The Ultimate Test

World-of-BV-Digest-22Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: James Fry
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 22
On-Sale Date: January 25, 2023
Length: 5 pages

For those of you that might be wondering what’s going on at Archie Comics these days, there’s:

*the occasional horror-themed one-shot, usually starting with the title “Chilling Adventures Presents…”, which is basically Archie Comics’ way of saying “Hey, guys! Archie Horror is still a thing! Remember Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?!”

*the much-less-frequent one-shot devoted to Riverdale or New Riverdale (and I say it’s New Riverdale solely due to the more modern artwork)

*new 5-page stories leading the digests and the otherwise-all-reprint floppies (sometimes you get two or even three new stories in a digest)

*a weekly meta webcomic titled Bite Sized Archie (which is pretty funny but shouldn’t be taken at all seriously as far as canon goes)

*another weekly webcomic exploring a possible future titled Big Ethel Energy (currently on hiatus between “seasons” as of this writing)

And that’s about it as far as comics go. As far as Classic Archieverse continuity, not much is actually happening, since five pages really isn’t enough space to do much of anything.

Archie Comics occasionally tries to make headlines by introducing new characters whose sole purpose is to fill some kind of niche. These characters usually have some combination of traits (usually already represented individually in older characters) and make a big splash in their first appearance, only to be reduced to tag-along, hey-I’m-still-here status in their subsequent appearances.

The other thing that they’ve been doing is reaching deep into their history and publishing new stories starring rather obscure detective and superhero characters. These characters haven’t been seen in new stories in probably decades and, as far as I know, had never interacted with the Riverdale gang before. But they’ve been appearing in new stories, interacting with the company’s far-more-famous characters, for a few years now. The general fan consensus seems to be it’s being done to retain the rights to the characters. I find it annoying, though. Sometimes, the superhero characters interact with the superhero personas of the Riverdale characters (yeah, there’s a microcontinuity where that’s a thing). Other times, the superheroes are hired by or enlist the Riverdale characters for one reason or another. As a rule, I don’t consider the Riverdale-teens-as-superheroes stories canon for the Archieverse at large, but the other stories, where the superheroes show up and interact with the regular, non-superpowered versions of the Riverdale gang, are more of a gray area.

Such is the case with this story. It stars Mr. Justice. An opening blurb fills us in on who the fuck this guy is, because Goddess knows most people would be hopelessly confused otherwise. “An ancient spirit who molded his persona on the superheroes of today so that he might dole out justice. He is timeless. He is powerful. He is–Mr. Justice” If you want more info, here it is, courtesy of Wikipedia: “Mr. Justice, also known as “The Royal Wraith,” was the superhero moniker of Prince James of England, who was murdered by rebels in the 18th century. His spirit remained trapped in the castle where the murder took place until 1940. The dismantled castle was to be shipped to the United States until a Nazi submarine sunk the ship on which it was carried, thereby releasing the spirit of Prince James. He assumed corporeal form as “Mr. Justice,” and his main nemesis was Satan himself. He first appeared in Blue Ribbon Comics #9 (Feb. 1941), and was created by writer Joe Blair and artist Sam Cooper.” So, yeah, talk about reaching way back. Anyway, let’s get into the story:

It starts with four random students walking outside Pembrooke Academy and gossiping about Cheryl. Oh, fuck you. It was established a little over four months earlier that Cheryl attends Riverdale High. I’d chalk this up to the writers not coordinating with each other, but both stories were written by the same fucking writer! That writer is Ian Flynn, the company’s go-to person for writing new stories featuring all of these obscure characters (and who also writes the Sonic comics, first at Archie and now elsewhere). This fuck-up is yet another reason to not take this story too seriously.

Anyway, apparently, Cheryl “has turned over a new leaf”, all thanks to her “new life coach”, a superhero. Yeah, these schoolmates of hers just know this somehow. Oh, Pembrooke Academy is using uniforms again. I mention this, because, while there were uniforms in the 1980s stories and the 2010-2011 “Queen B” storyline (this is a correction to my previous misdating of the story), Pembrooke Academy did not have uniforms in the Cheryl Blossom solo series (1995-2000). By the way, Cheryl has green eyes in this story.

Anyway, the four students meet up with Cheryl. One of them, Bethany, compliments her appearance. Cheryl says she knows and asks about Bethany’s shoes. Bethany says they’re “the latest style from Milan” and asks Cheryl if she likes them. Cheryl gets enraged, says she loves them, and is pissed that Bethany seized upon a trend before she did. She says she could tear Bethany down to the bottom rung of the social ladder with a word. When Mr. Justice appears behind her, Cheryl suddenly gets happy for Bethany and thanks her for clueing her into the style. She walks away with a “Toodles!”, leaving the students scared (for some reason) and Mr. Justice with a headache.

Cheryl spots a new, handsome blond student and considers getting “the rumor mill churning”, so she can “have him isolated and friendless by lunch”, then she’ll “appear before him” as his “loving salvation”. Mr. Justice takes issue with this, so Cheryl decides to talk to the guy and see if they have any common interests instead, because that “seems to work for the townies”.

Soon, in class, a male student sitting with Cheryl expresses worry about the “hard” test on Friday. Cheryl can afford to “barter for answers” and suggests he make her an offer for enough for a passing grade. Mr. Justice appears with his disapproving look, and Cheryl is upset that he expects her to study and succeed on her own merits. That she reconsiders and decides it’s a “novel idea”, and her schedule is much lighter without the plotting and scheming. The guy sitting next to her is scared. Wait. Does he see Mr. Justice? Did the other four students see him outside earlier? If so, then why is no one else reacting?

That night, at home, a tired Cheryl is on her way to bed after a “fulfilling and productive day”. She feels like a new her. Taking Mr. Justice’s hand (somehow), Cheryl admits she was dubious when he appeared (no further backstory given), but she cheerfully says he’s been a “good sport”. Cheryl says step 1 of the program is complete, and there are “just” 278 to go. She says she’ll see him in the morning. Mr. Justice flops down in a chair in the hallway (somehow), exhausted (somehow). The end.

This story was really weird. It’d be a perfectly serviceable Cheryl story in 1983, but it feels so wildly out of place in 2023, because it undoes so much of Cheryl’s history and character development. If you want to consider this story canon at all, it’d be best to place it in 1980s continuity, during Cheryl’s first time in Riverdale.

Comics – A Winter’s Tail

Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Jim Amash*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 37
Cover Date: March, 2001
Length: 6 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

As of this writing, this issue is not available digitally, although the story itself probably is, due to reprints in more recent digests. For this review, I’m looking at my original copy of this issue that I bought in 2000.

So here we are at long last: the final story in the final issue of Cheryl Blossom. Well, let’s get into it:

Cheryl (who has blue eyes in this story) and Sugar are at Pop’s, sitting at the counter (Sugar is in Cheryl’s lap) Cheryl orders hot chocolate for herself and a chicken soup for her “little Sugar”. Cheryl had set her blue purse on the stool to her right (around the corner). It has a drawing of Cheryl on it, and her eyes are green there. Jughead, sitting to Cheryl’s left, takes issue with the double standard regarding Sugar, since Hot Dog has to wait outside for a doggy bag.

Pop explains how, last time, Hot Dog got into the storage room and ate hot dogs – which were kept in a cardboard box. Ew. Cheryl says her “little Sugar” is a very well-behaved pedigree dog. Jughead calls Sugar a “dust bunny”, which both Cheryl and Sugar are shocked by. Cheryl says Sugar is the purest of Pomeranians, and Poms are known as “the little sled dogs with big hearts”. Jughead says that “puff ball” couldn’t pull a rollerskate.

Cheryl stands up and says her Sugar can beat his “walking carpet” any day, sled racing. Jughead agrees to it and sets a sled competition for next Sunday.

At some point, Cheryl, Sugar, and Dilton meet outside. Dilton had designed and built a sled called Sugar Express. Cheryl questions Dilton about the sled design, because she wants Sugar to win this fair and square. Cheryl calls Dilton a genius and kisses him on the forehead, then she tells Sugar that they’ll start training. Sugar gives Cheryl an affirmative “Yip!”

Cheryl and Sugar run, jump rope, and do stretching exercises together to get in tip-top shape. Jughead watches TV and consumes junk food while Hot Dog sleeps. Cheryl and Sugar eat good balanced meals of fruits, veggies, and protein. Jughead and Hot Dog pig out on junk food.

On Saturday night, while they’re getting massages, Cheryl tells Sugar that they’re in the best shape ever and decides they’ll get to bed early.

At Jughead’s, confident of their “easy win” tomorrow, Jughead decides he and Hot Dog will “celebrate early” by watching four videos (including a knockoff of The Matrix) and eating hot dogs with the works.

On the morning of the race, a large crowd (their loyalties roughly evenly divided) has gathered to watch the sled competition. Archie wishes Cheryl good luck. Cheryl thanks him and criticizes Jughead for being late. Veronica tells Jughead to kick Cheryl’s ass. Jughead and Cheryl get on their respective sleds and talk shit to each other. Hot Dog yawns. Sugar gives him an angry “Yip!” Oh, Cheryl and Sugar are wearing matching white helmets with a blossom on them, which is cute. The race starts. Cheryl has Sugar go. Jughead stays put, much to Ronnie’s distress, because it’s “too easy”. He’ll “let Cheryl feel like she has a chance”, so “she does not lose so badly”.

Jughead finally has Hot Dog go, but he struggles. Jughead regrets eating “4 dozen frankfurters” last night. Cheryl excitedly spots the finish line and tells her “sweetie” to go, because they’re winning. Jughead, somehow close behind, spots a “wiener stand” (operated by Pop) and says he’ll buy Hot Dog ten, if they win. By the way, Grand Comics Database doesn’t indicate Betty is in this story, but she can clearly be seen next to the hot dog stand, which is next to the finish line. Anyway, Hot Dog excitedly heads for the stand too early. Cheryl and Sugar cross the finish line and are announced as the winners. Cheryl is ecstatic. She gets a trophy (which Sugar also touches) and tells “Juggie” to look on the bright side: if it was a wiener-eating contest, Hot Dog would be “top dog”. Jughead, sitting on the ground, is upset. A pissed Pop screams at Jughead, because Hot Dog is eating his hot dogs.

This story was very nice on its own, but I’m going to provide some context that will make it even better. I don’t know about overall sales from all sources, but, at least in the direct market (meaning North American comic book shops), Cheryl Blossom routinely outsold Jughead (the sole exception being Jughead #100 in October of 1997), all of the way to the end. Jughead’s only other wins over Cheryl were Jughead’s Double Digest #67 in February of 2000 and #70 in July of 2000. So it’s supremely satisfying to see Cheryl kick Jughead’s ass one more time in this story, ending her series on a massive high note.

And so concludes Cheryl Blossom, but it’s not the end of Cheryl Blossom herself, of course. There are plenty more stories to review. Also, I intend to do a series recap, so look forward to that.

Comics – Artistic Differences

Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Jim Amash*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 37
Cover Date: March, 2001
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

As of this writing, this issue is not available digitally, although the story itself probably is, due to reprints in more recent digests. For this review, I’m looking at my original copy of this issue that I bought in 2000.

Cheryl (who has blue eyes in this story) and her mother are at an art gallery. Cheryl is excited. She can’t believe her mom’s gotten “the famous groovy artist” Ms. H. to paint Cheryl’s portrait. Penelope says it wasn’t easy. Ms. H. is very busy. Penelope had to pull a lot of strings but says it’ll be worth it. Ms. H. only paints rock musicians and movie stars. To Cheryl, no other artist, except Ms. H., could capture Cheryl’s “uniqueness”. Among Ms. H.’s portrait subjects is Chrissy A.. Cheryl’s camo-outfit is by Angela Gong of Canada.

Ms. H. (a young woman with brown hair in pigtails, except for light blonde bangs) arrives to find “Ms. B” and “her oh so groovy daughter, C.B.”. Again with the “groovy”. Cheryl says it’s such a great honor to have her paint her portrait (take that as you will). Ms. H. is wowed by Cheryl’s look and compliments her “excellent” hair. She says this is gonna be fun. Penelope asks if there’s anything that Cheryl needs to do to prepare for the painting session. Ms. H. (who has brown eyes) tells Cheryl to pick out her outfit and do her hair and make-up and show up at her studio at 10 A.M., so they can start.

That evening, in her bedroom, Cheryl puts on an outfit (groovy outfit by Jill Fogel of Bronx, New York) and looks at herself in the mirror. Sugar, sitting on Cheryl’s bed, looks on in confusion.

She tries on various outfits, then talks to Sugar about her difficult decision. Sugar is confused. Cheryl sits on her bed. It’s 11:00 PM. We get a nice view of the outdoors in the window behind Cheryl: hills and trees – plus a waning crescent moon in the night sky. Realizing it’s getting late, Cheryl decides she better pick something.

The next morning, Cheryl and Sugar arrive at Ms. H.’s studio. Cheryl is wearing a stylish all-white safari outfit, and Sugar is wearing a matching white safari hat. That’s cute. Ms. H., for whatever reason, thinks Cheryl’s outfit looks like it’s from the ’70s – but then compares it to the Madonna knockoff. What? Cheryl says it was tough making up her mind, but this is her hottest new outfit.

Ms. H. says this is going to be fabulous and praises Sugar’s look.

The next day, though, Cheryl shows up in a completely different outfit (Sugar is wearing a red bowtie). Ms. H. asks about the “Western glam outfit”. Oh, is that what it was supposed to be? This is Cheryl’s “youthful charm” outfit. Ms. H. tells the “school gal” that she looks “super” and wipes away her work.

Unfortunately, as the days go by, Cheryl has changed five times, pissing Ms. H. off. Cheryl says the portrait “will probably hang in the Louvre“, so Ms. H. agrees to give it another go.

Ms. H. delivers Cheryl’s portrait to the mansion (Cheryl is wearing yet another outfit in it). Penelope thanks her. An exhausted Ms. H. says she stayed up all night, but it’s finished at last. Cheryl asks about going back to the Western glam look. Ms. H. flips her shit and makes Cheryl wear the portrait, destroying it. An angry Cheryl says artists can be so temperamental. Ms. H. runs away, screaming.

This story was pretty funny. Not much else to say.


After the story are 2 pages of Cheryl fan art with 7 named contributions and 6 honorable mentions – as well as an apology for not having the room to print everybody’s work. There’s no address given to send further submissions, so it looks like they used two pages in this final issue to print as much of the already received fan art as they could.