Comics – Phantom of the Funhouse

Cheryl-Blossom-35
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: Jim Amash
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 35
Cover Date: October, 2000
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition. This is the final issue that’s available in digital format as of this writing.

Cheryl, Betty, Jason, Archie, and Veronica are at the beach (which beach isn’t clear). Betty is excited over finding “another interesting shell”, but Cheryl (whose eyes switch between blue and aquamarine in this story) is sarcastic about it. Apparently, they’re here shell collecting, but Cheryl isn’t interested in it unless they find pearls.

Cheryl says there’s no adventure in shell collecting. Jason asks her what she has in mind. She says something exciting. He spots an abandoned funhouse by the water, which excites her. Have they never noticed this before?

Jason wants to check it out. Archie makes note of the “Keep Out!” sign, but Cheryl and Jason try to pressure him into it. He gets pissed and gives in. Ronnie convinces Betty to go along with it, because…they can’t talk the others out of it. Solid reasoning. Jason, helping Betty down the hill, says they’ll have “lots of fun”. You know what kind of “fun” that he has in mind. Betty notes it’s getting kinda dark. The sun is setting.

Cheryl tells Betty to stop complaining and live a little, which irritates Betty. Betty tells Cheryl that there’s nothing wrong with being careful. Cheryl says there’s nothing fun about it either. Jason picks Betty up and carries her. The gang enters the funhouse by walking on the tongue of the scary monster whose face is on the front.

In the funhouse’s control room, a mysterious person wearing a cape watches the “foolish brave souls” on monitors and laughs evilly (while broadcasting it to the gang and scaring Betty).

It’s dark, but then Cheryl leads them into a hall of mirrors.

Betty likes her “weird” look, but Cheryl’s ready to move on to the next room.

The mysterious person has prepared a “trap” for his “little mice”.

The gang goes into a big empty room. The door slams shut, and the lights go out. Betty complains to Jason.

Ronnie cries. Cheryl tells her to shut the fuck up. Ronnie yells at her. The mysterious person turns on the lights and has them fall through holes in the floor. This is incredibly fucking sloppy. Not only is everyone standing precisely on top of the holes, but the lips covering the holes are removed and fall behind the holes – while the teens are standing above the holes! This makes no sense!

They fall through tubes and land in chairs, which turn and then take them on a ride. The continuity of who’s sitting where is utterly horrible from one panel to the next. It gets worse when Ronnie asks where the chairs are going, the mysterious person answers while Betty is on his monitor, and then Cheryl tries to calm Betty down.

Chery is amused by the “cheesy” creatures at first but is then scared by a giant spider. Archie points the way out, and Cheryl is the first to leave. The tunnel makes them tumble.

They’re dumped out, dazed. Cheryl feels sick. Betty says at least they’re out. Archie points out the exit. Betty and Cheryl hug each other warmly and speak in sync as lovers do. Betty admits to Cheryl that the experience was fun. Interestingly, these two panels seem to indicate Cheryl is taller than Betty. Anyway, the designer of the funhouse (an old man) arrives and thanks Betty. Cheryl’s angry, but Betty again says it was fun – and without “all that virtual reality and computer stuff”.

The designer explains this funhouse was very popular with the kids long ago, but then a big company bought the property and closed it down (but apparently did absolutely nothing else with it, including cutting the power). Then they opened a video arcade down the beach. Without the funhouse, they had no competition. Righteous anger (and visions of money) burns within Cheryl, and she decides to call the bank. Archie notes “that ‘look'” in Cheryl’s eyes to Betty, and Betty bets Cheryl buys the funhouse. Doesn’t Cheryl have to be 18 to do that? Not that I’m complaining; I’m just pointing it out, because she apparently went from 16 to 18 in two issues.

Sure enough, on the opening night, the funhouse (on the newly-named Blossom Boardwalk) is a hit, and the designer thanks Cheryl. Apparently, Cheryl had told Ronnie that she’d be “thrilled”. The designer says Cheryl “even made the entrance scarier”. The monster’s face has been replaced with Ronnie’s face, looking scary and baring sharp teeth. Ronnie’s pissed, and Cheryl laughs. There are also tents and a Ferris wheel on the sandy beach (or possibly where the water is supposed to be).

This story was okay, I guess, but the logic was shaky. I loved the Betty/Cheryl friendship moments, though.

Comics – Something Fishy

Cheryl-Blossom-33
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Jim Amash*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 33
Cover Date: August, 2000
Length: 6 pages

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

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Before we even get into the story, I need to address the note at the bottom of the first page. It’s advertising Sabrina: The Animated Series, which had, by this point, already aired its final episode around six months earlier. What was the point of advertising the TV series in the comic books, anyway? I guarantee any kid that was reading Archie Comics at that time already knew about Sabrina: The Animated Series. Were they desperately trying to get more people to tune in and get a second season made?

Cheryl (who has aquamarine eyes in this story) is at Pembrooke Beach. A guy seems to compliment her, which initially flatters her, but she soon takes issue with his wording.

The guy, Philip, is a marine biology student and is into collecting seashells. Cheryl’s facial expression indicates…surprise/confusion at this.

Cheryl is into him and offers to help him find some shells. He accepts. She tries flirting with him, but he’s oblivious and gets distracted by a pod of whales.

Cheryl gets irritated with him but then gets an idea. She gets on her cell phone and calls someone named Christy at Christy’s Costumes. We don’t hear the order, but Christy says she’ll “be there in 30”.

Christy arrives with a mermaid costume. I notice there’s a blue sports car parked next to Christy’s green van, but there’s no indication that it’s Cheryl’s.

Cheryl’s plan is to get Philip’s attention by pretending to be a mermaid. Christy goes along with it, despite her concern that the rock that Cheryl wants to sit on is “kinda far from shore”. Cheryl sits on the rock, and Christy puts the fish tail on her (while also telling her that the sea water is going to ruin it) and leaves.

Cheryl tries attracting Philip, but he ignores her in favor of a female starfish lover named Shelley. As the couple walk off together, Cheryl stews in anger, and a sea lion falls in love with her.

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

Comics – The Reel World

Cheryl-Blossom-33
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Jim Amash*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 33
Cover Date: August, 2000
Length: 5 pages

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

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

At the headquarters of a knockoff of MTV, two producers or whoever are looking through stacks of photos of girls and decide Cheryl is the girl that they want. The guy says she’s rich and beautiful, and he heard she “once” was one of the Sugar Girls. The woman asks if she’ll fit in with “the rest of the other girls” (odd wording) that they picked for the summer episodes of a knockoff of The Real World. I never watched The Real World (though I was aware of it). Cheryl has aquamarine eyes in this story.

Before we move on, I have to talk about a major reveal. According to the slip of paper that’s attached to Cheryl’s photo, she’s 16 years old. That was her age all of the way back in “Hollywood or Bust“. There’s no way that less than a year passed between then and now. Also, assuming Cheryl is just on the cusp of turning 17, that means the earliest story that came out while “current Cheryl” was already of driving age was “He-Mail” from issue #24. But “Sugarworld” from issue #21 is referenced. That issue came out when Cheryl was, at most, 15 years and 8 months old, which makes her lie that she was 20 in that story all the more ludicrous. Come to think of it, when’s the last time that we saw Cheryl drive anywhere? As far as I can tell, not counting in her “Cinderblossom” dream, that was in “Radio Daze” in issue #4, which came out three years earlier. There’s been no sign of her blue sports car since, and Jamie’s been driving her everywhere since “Sugarworld”.

Anyway, the producers or whoever argue about Cheryl (the “rich, spoiled brat”) living with “totally different” Sandy, Monica, and Lesley. They will be living together in the beach house for a whole month while on camera. I think this is official confirmation that the whole beach house storyline that Dan Parent wrote has been wiped from continuity, since this is the same network, but the producers only know about Cheryl having been in the Sugar Girls; there’s no mention of her previously having a nationwide hit series on their network. Anyway, the TV ratings will be fantastic, so it’s a go. Well, y’know, they’ll have to actually call Cheryl and ask (and get her parents’ permission), but the story skips over all of that.

Anyway, Cheryl arrives at the beach house, and the guy introduces her to the other girls. Sandy is a cheerful girl with a puppy, Monica plays the guitar left-handed, and Lesley is a bookworm that mumbles.

Cheryl also meets Candy, their camerawoman and adult supervisor. Cheryl shoves Sandy aside and mugs for the camera. The guy announces the beginning of the “summer episode”. Just one episode?

On Day #1 (which I guess is the next day), Cheryl comes downstairs, wearing a party dress. Sandy is making breakfast. Monica asks about the dress.

Cheryl says “Every minute of Cheryl Blossom’s life is a party!” Monica says it’s too early for this. Cheryl tells Sandy that she’ll have her eggs sunnyside up. Sandy is surprised but agrees to it. Lesley is shocked by the messy bathroom and asks who used it last. Which floor is the bathroom on? Anyway, Cheryl says she did and says Lesley “can straighten up now”. Monica is angry.

Sandy and Cheryl sit down to eat breakfast. Cheryl loves it and tells Monica that she’s “quite the little cook”. Cheryl wipes her mouth, tosses her napkin on the floor, and is going to hop into her bikini and hit the beach.

In the next panel, after Cheryl has already changed into her bikini, only then does Sandy ask Cheryl about her dirty dishes. This is a common problem in Archie Comics. I’ve talked about it before. Due to the desire to keep the flow of the story moving, characters have a very short conversation over a long period of time. Anyway, Cheryl says Sandy can do her dishes for her and leaves.

Five days later, the producers are viewing the footage and are excited for an upcoming fight, since Monica said last night that she’s sick of Cheryl’s shit and is gonna confront Cheryl.

The girls confront Cheryl on Day #6. Cheryl has an idea on how they can work something out.

On Day #7, the producers wail about their ruin, because Cheryl is paying Sandy, Monica, and Lesley a lot of money to be her servants, which pleases them. Lesley is even wearing a blossom shirt.

This story was okay, but I feel it could have been longer and gone more in depth with the concept.

Comics – Crocodile Rock

Cheryl-Blossom-33
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: Jim Amash
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 33
Cover Date: August, 2000
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Another issue, another personnel change. Jim Amash takes over on inks, and Stephanie Vozzo is the new colorist.

Cheryl, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, and Jughead are flying to Australia. The pilot announces their arrival. Everyone is excited. Betty and Ronnie have lady-boners for Australian guys. Reggie and Archie have boners for Australian girls. Jughead is excited for the food and imagines shrimp on a barbie. Between that and three “G’day, mates” on the first page, I anticipate this story will heavily play up stereotypes.

After they exit the plane, Archie awkwardly exposits by way of thanking Cheryl for taking a break from editing her teenzine, Fresh, and deciding to manage their band. This isn’t a reference to anything; we’re just now learning Cheryl has “decided” to become the manager of The Archies. No further information is given. Anyway, they’re in Darwin. Ronnie talks shit about Cheryl’s management skills, but Archie sticks up for Cheryl and flirts with her, which makes her giggle. Ronnie continues talking shit about Cheryl, but Cheryl (who has aquamarine eyes in this story) dismisses Ronnie’s “petty jealousy”.

Betty cheers Cheryl on. Reggie asks Cheryl where their gig is. Cheryl says the Outback. Jughead gets the wrong idea. Reggie buys and shows off a hat, and Archie refers to him as “Crocodile Dummy“. Cheryl spots their guide, which is news to Betty.

Their guide is a knockoff of the Crocodile Hunter. Ronnie and Betty recognize him and get lady-boners. Cheryl explains he’s going to take them through the Outback to their gig location, and it’s being filmed for a “Crocodile Rock” special for his series. He uses a bunch of Australian slang, confusing Ronnie, but Betty “came prepared” with a book called Aussie Slang, and Holly provides numerous footnotes.

By nighttime, Ronnie is impatient. They stop to camp for the night. More slang (confusing Ronnie) and footnotes. Archie and Betty pitch a tent. Cheryl says they’re camping here tonight, and then they’re off to “Ayer’s Rock” [sic] for their gig. Ronnie’s pissed. Their guide shows her a skink, which freaks her out.

Cheryl makes fun of her, but then cawing scares all three girls. Ronnie and Betty grab hold of Cheryl in fright. It’s just a kookaburra, though. Reggie and Archie sit by the fire. Archie’s roasting a sausage and says the girls are overreacting. Reggie says something just grabbed his new hat. As Cheryl hears more wilflife sounds, she apologizes to her friends, saying maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The next morning, the Croc opens the girls’ tent and wakes Betty and Cheryl. They’re tired and irritated (they didn’t get much sleep) but get out and have something to drink. Where’s Ronnie? Cheryl asks the Croc if there’s nothing that frightens him. He says they’re one thing and gives a few characteristics, and Cheryl’s imagination scares her. As they pack up, Archie discovers a kangaroo has Reggie’s hat.

Reggie chases the kangaroo, and the others change their clothes in the meantime. I don’t know about the others, but Cheryl and Betty have now each worn three sets of clothes in 24 hours or less. Are they sweating a lot? Anyway, Cheryl yells at Reggie to come the fuck on, or they’ll be late for their gig. She offers to buy Reggie a hundred hats.

On the road, Cheryl asks the Croc about the animal that scares him. Before he can reply, he spots a crocodile caught in a dingo fence and brings the van to a screeching halt. They get out. He goes over and frees/wrestles the crocodile, and Betty and Cheryl get lady-boners. Reggie thinks he’s “off his nut”. Cheryl suddenly has bright blue eyes.

That afternoon, they arrive at Uluru. Ronnie is somehow surprised and angry, even though Cheryl had explained it to her last night. They have to get up there on camels. One of them spits on Reggie’s face.

Cheryl jokes to Reggie about him wearing “Cam-el #5“. Ha. As they get closer, Cheryl realizes this is going to be “cool after all”. Was she secretly in doubt about all of this? Her eyes revert to aquamarine. She mentions the “camera gal”, who we’ve seen in only one panel on page 3. Where is she? Isn’t she supposed to be documenting their adventure? Anyway, Cheryl says every newscast and paper in the world will cover it. Seriously? Every news outlet in the world is gonna cover an American teen garage band performing in the Australian Outback? Anyway, the Croc spots his feared animal and declares they must turn back. Ronnie can’t look. Cheryl doesn’t believe it.

He warns her to not go near it. Cheryl reaches into a tree to get it and can’t believe he’s afraid of…a koala “bear” (they’re not actually bears). Cheryl takes the koala in her arms. Betty loves the koala and shivers. Cheryl spouts a bunch of Aussie slang at the Croc (footnotes are provided), and then The Archies rock on Ayers Rock. The Croc cuddles with the koala. The kangaroo shows up wearing Reggie’s hat and surprises him. I’d be surprised, too, if a kangaroo managed to cover the same distance as a van. Anyway, Cheryl joins the band on the rock, even though she doesn’t seem to contribute to the performance, and there’s no sign of an audience or news crews of any kind. The end.

This story was okay, but, as predicted, it fell into stereotypes. Cheryl managing The Archies is an interesting idea. I feel it could have been done better, though.

Comics – Bug Off

Cheryl-Blossom-32
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Holly G!*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 32
Cover Date: July, 2000**
Length: 5 pages

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

**The indicia for both this issue and #31 say May, but this issue is cover-dated July. Issue #31 came out in February. Issue #32 came out in April.

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

At Fresh, Cheryl is working, and a nameless employee comes by with “a new shipment of the latest hair accessories”. Cheryl opens it, curious of what will be the new trend. She freaks out at first but then realizes they’re hair clips that look like real bugs. That trend actually debuted in the 1990s and was nothing new at the time that this story came out. By the way, Cheryl has aquamarine eyes in this story.

Cheryl comes home and announces her arrival. Jason whacks Cheryl in the head with his video game magazine, thinking her bug clip is real. They argue. That was fucking rude, dude.

Jason thinks the trend is “totally gross”. Apparently, a single hair clip costs “a good chunk of change”, and Cheryl got multiple. It’s unclear if she paid for them herself. Anyway, she goes to her bedroom and looks in the mirror. She declares her new bug clips are going to be “the rage of Pembrooke High” tomorrow. I guess that’s the official name of her school now.

The next day, at school, Heather and another girl mistake Cheryl’s hair clip for a real bug. She corrects them. They argue.

In science lab, Ms. Hampton makes the same mistake (speaking of mistakes, I guess that was her in “Crimson & Clover“), and Cheryl tiredly corrects her. The class laughs.

After school, Cheryl angrily corrects Jamie before she can finish her sentence.

On the ride home, Jamie (who has blue eyes) apologizes. Cheryl apologizes to Jamie for snapping and explains what happened at school. Cheryl has Jamie take her to Riverdale Park for an afternoon picnic with Archie. Isn’t the park usually called Pickens Park?

When Cheryl arrives at the park, she compliments Archie on the “lovely” picnic. She sits down and angrily corrects him, screaming, before he can finish his sentence about the “bug” in her hair. He nervously offers her a peanut butter sandwich.

Jughead arrives and starts to warn Cheryl about the bug in her hair. Archie tries to warn him about warning Cheryl. Cheryl angrily tries to show Jughead her hair clip, but she picks a real bug off her hair (which first shows up in that very panel). She freaks out and runs away. The confused bug sits on Jughead’s shoulder as the glutton helps himself to a sandwich.

This story was pretty stupid. It was already years behind the times, but it also relied on literally everyone mistaking plastic hair clips for real bugs.

Comics – Gopher Broke!

Cheryl-Blossom-32
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Holly G!*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 32
Cover Date: July, 2000**
Length: 5 pages

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

**The indicia for both this issue and #31 say May, but this issue is cover-dated July. Issue #31 came out in February. Issue #32 came out in April.

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

On a “lovely spring morning”, Cheryl (with Sugar) is checking out her “little beauties” outside: a bush of roses named Cheryl Blossom Rose. Cheryl has aquamarine eyes in this story.

Cheryl loves sniffing the little buds, but then she freaks out when they start disappearing before her eyes. Sugar spots a hole in the ground and repeatedly lets out a “Yip!” of anger, calling Cheryl’s attention to it. Sugar growls. Cheryl wonders what could’ve made such a large hole. Her guesses include a giant worm, a big smelly rat, and a humongous snake. With Sugar in her arm, Cheryl gets the fuck out of there.

She goes to the house (more like mini-mansion) of the groundskeeper, Yoshi. He wishes her a good morning, but she’s in a panic. He tells “Miss Cheryl” to calm down and goes with her to inspect. He determines her rosebed has a gopher feeding on it. Sugar changes up her barks to “Arf!” Cheryl screams to Yoshi to get the gopher.

Later that day, Clifford and Penelope are sitting in the mansion, regarding newspapers about stocks. Cheryl’s been stomping around all day, and Clifford asks Penelope what’s wrong with her. Penelope explains. Clifford says each of those roses costs over a hundred dollars. The word “hundred” is written much smaller than the other words and is slightly raised, which makes me think it was a last-minute substitution for another word. “Mr. Yoshi” arrives with the gopher, who is female. Cheryl is thrilled. Yoshi explains the gopher is feeding her two babies.

Cheryl cries over “the poor fuzzy things” and tells her parents to call the Blossom architects and gardeners.

On another day (I guess), Cheryl is admiring as the gopher family enjoys its large new home (with the Cheryl Blossom Roses planted around it). Sugar is confused. Clifford is aghast. How is he just now learning about this? Penelope, amused, tries to comfort him by saying Cheryl named the “chubby one” (the larger of the two kids, I assume) after him.

This story was very sweet. Cheryl did a nice thing for that gopher family. And it’s nice to learn more about the staff that work on the Blossom estate.

Extras

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Fresh Summer Fashions!” (illustrated by Holly G!) with the following contributions: “Ms. Mod” by Tamara Berstein of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; “Gorgeous in Green” by Jessica Cortel of Dallas, Texas; and “Daytime Cutie” by Maddy Hazelwood of Westport, Connecticut.

Comics – No Other Mother

Cheryl-Blossom-32
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: John Lowe
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Holly G!
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 32
Cover Date: July, 2000*
Length: 11 pages

*The indicia for both this issue and #31 say May, but this issue is cover-dated July. Issue #31 came out in February. Issue #32 came out in April.

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Okay, so, as you can tell from the credits, Holly G! has taken over from longtime colorist Barry Grossman as of this issue. Furthermore, as of last issue, the yearly output has been reduced from ten issues to eight issues. I’ll save my speculation as to why for when I do the series recap, but it’s clear that something happened around the turn of the decade.

On Wednesday, at 11:38 AM, in Pembrooke High study hall, Cheryl is sitting in a large chair and reading a book or magazine, so Jason and his unnamed friend don’t see her as they walk by, but she overhears their conversation. Why the detail of the day of the week and the exact time, especially when there’s no exact date mentioned? Also, “Pembrooke High”? The school has usually been called Pembrooke Academy (specifically, the Pembrooke Academy for Young Ladies and Gentlemen). I know it was called Pembrooke High once, but I assumed that was an error. Anyway, Jason’s friend is impressed with a gift that Jason bought, which Jason describes as “a very special gift for a very special lady”. Cheryl (whose eyes are a dark blue in this story) guesses Jason must be talking about their mom’s birthday gift. Cheryl gets pissed when they describe Jason as “definitely her favorite”.

Cheryl remembers, ever since they were babies, Jason has always tried to get more attention from “Mommy”. She vows to not let that happen this time. She pulls her laptop from her bag and goes online to buy her mom a “cooler” birthday present than Jason’s. It seems she’s using Wi-Fi to get online, so she’s likely using an iBook laptop. That was hot shit back then. You could get online without a cord! Anyway, after Cheryl sees stuff that her mom already has, she decides to buy a new surfboard as well as earrings to go with her new ring. I should point out that Holly has already failed in her duty as the series’ new colorist, because Cheryl’s eyes are now green.

45 minutes later, Cheryl comes across and buys a new ruby-studded collar for Sugar. The bell rings, ending study hall. Cheryl cries as she realizes she didn’t buy one thing for her mom. As she leaves study hall, she wonders what she can get her that’s special. Jason’s impressing students with his gift, but Cheryl can’t see it, and she’s pissed that Jason’s going to outdo her again. Cheryl decides she needs a “fresh mind” to help her out and makes a phone call.

At Riverdale High, Betty, Veronica, Archie, Reggie, and Jughead are told over the PA system via a paid announcement to report to Pop’s Chocklit Shop after school for something “urgent”. They’re confused, but they’re going to Pop’s, anyway.

Later that afternoon, as Ronnie and Betty leave school, Ronnie wonders about the weird announcement. Betty theorizes maybe “Pops” needs them. The guy’s name is Pop, not Pops (hence the name of the business is Pop’s). Archie is driving Reggie and Jughead and offers the girls a ride, despite the fact that they’re going in opposite directions.

At Pop’s, the gang frantically rushes in, and Archie tells “Pops” that they’re here. Ronnie and Betty are worried, but Jughead asks about the blue plate special. Pop just points at a booth. Ronnie’s pissed. Betty frantically asks what’s going on. Reggie grins at the “nice surprise”. Why is the story being so secretive? We know it’s Cheryl.

Sure enough, a distressed Cheryl (who’s enjoying a chocolate milkshake with a cherry on top) says she really needs their help. Archie and Reggie are glad to see her. Ronnie and Jughead are pissed. Betty (whose jacket changes from green to blue) continues to be confused.

Archie, Betty, and Ronnie join Cheryl in the booth. Jughead eats elsewhere. Reggie comes by with two milkshakes (a strawberry for himself and a vanilla for Betty). Ronnie’s angry about Cheryl’s reason for summoning them and refuses to help. Art error: the napkin dispenser and the salt and pepper shakers disappear from the table for the rest of the scene. Archie says, when it’s his mom’s birthday, he fixes things around the house for her. Correctly?

Betty says she always makes her mother breakfast in bed for her birthday. Cheryl loves both ideas but explains they have a “crack team” of estate handymen and women, and her mom has her breakfast in bed every morning. Archie never thought being rich would make gift giving tough. Cheryl agrees. Reggie suggests he “entertain” Cheryl’s mom with his “extraordinary talents”. He means, of course, singing.

Cheryl politely declines. Jason arrives. Betty is happy to see him. Cheryl’s upset, believing he’s here to boast about his gift for their mom. Jason asks Betty if she remembers what today is. Betty worries that they had a movie date that she forgot about. Jason says it’s the anniversary of the day that they met. As you’ll recall, Betty was already familiar with the Blossoms in their first appearance, so they didn’t have an origin story; they were just suddenly there. However, that story occurred at the beach, and this story is after spring break, so things work out. Of course, they aren’t gonna say exactly how much time has passed, but it realistically can’t be more than two years, max. Anyway, Jason gives Betty the gift, which she’s delighted to get. Cheryl starts to put things together. Betty opens the gift; it’s a “Betty” necklace with diamonds in the “B”. Betty finds it beautiful and decides to cook a special home-cooked dinner for Jason. Jason says everything that Betty does is special. Reggie is upset, but Cheryl is happy for them.

That night, at home, Cheryl is reading a gift catalog. Jason comes home in a lovesick daze. I’m guessing Betty did more for him than cook. Cheryl asks him what he bought their mom for her birthday, but Jason forgot. This pleases Cheryl, whose eyes revert to dark blue. She says they have only two days. So Jason met Betty two days before Penelope’s birthday. Jason asks Cheryl what their mom said was the best present that she ever got. They both realize the answer simultaneously.

Two days later, they rush into their parents’ bedroom, holding a present, and loudly wish their mom a happy birthday. Kinda rude. Clifford remains asleep. Penelope is pleasantly surprised and opens it. She starts crying, calling it wonderful. It’s two images in a frame; on the left is a family picture that Jason and Cheryl drew together when they were five; on the right is a new photo of the two of them. They jump into bed on either side of her (Clifford has somehow disappeared) and hug her. Penelope hugs Jason while holding the frame with her other hand and says her “babies” are the best gift that she ever received.

A blurb below the final panel plugs the “all-new” Archie’s Weird Mysteries TV show every Saturday on the Pax network. The show had already aired in its entirety by this point.

This story was very nice, but I could see Jason’s gift not being for Penelope from the start. I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be for Betty or Cheryl.

Comics – In Your Dreams

Cheryl-Blossom-31
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 31
Cover Date: May, 2000
Length: 6 pages

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

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

One night at (2:00 AM), as Cheryl sleeps (with Sugar lying on top of her bed cover), she dreams of being alone on a tropical island with the man that she loves, which she considers paradise. Oh, her “sun-kissed sweetheart” (who doesn’t have a suntan at all) is Jughead. He brings his “little beach bunny” a coconut shell full of coconut milk.

Cheryl wakes up at 8:00 AM (six fucking hours later) and gasps in horror at her nightmare. She’s disgusted at almost kissing Jughead. She resolves to have no more cold pizza before bed. Interesting character quirk. Oh, Cheryl’s eyes are aquamarine in this story.

The next evening, a maid named Marie (who may or may not be this Marie) brings Cheryl her evening snack on a tray. It’s a single slice of cold pepperoni pizza and…some yellow stuff next to it. Maybe it’s cold garlic sauce to wipe the pizza slice across? Anyway, a tired Cheryl yawns and refuses it, declaring “No more cold pizza before bedtime!…Ever!” She goes to bed, believing “Dreamland will be Jughead free!”

Cheryl dreams she’s a stylish, sexy Indiana Jones knockoff. When she grabs the “Golden Diamond Idol”, it sets off traps, so she has to get out of the “spooky” cave. She’s saved from falling into a hole by Jughead (as a male Indiana Jones knockoff). Cheryl is about to kiss her “hero”.

Cheryl wakes up in horror and wonders what her problem is. Sugar looks at her, concerned and uncertain.

During the day, Cheryl goes rollerblading with Archie.

At night, she goes clubbing with Reggie.

When she’s about to fall asleep in bed, she believes she’ll “at least” dream about Archie “or even” Reggie.

Cheryl dreams she’s Princess Leia as she and Jughead (as Han Solo) run from Stormtroopers. Jughead is about to get them across a dead end, and Cheryl is about to kiss him “for good luck”.

Cheryl wakes up in horror. Artistic note: Cheryl’s bedsheets and pillow covers are different than they were on the first two nights. I wonder if this is a subtle way of indicating Cheryl is trying to change her dreams.

The next day, Cheryl is on a date with Dilton at a cafe. Dilton apologizes, noticing Cheryl doesn’t seem to be enjoying it. Cheryl tells him that it’s not his fault. She explains about her “terrible dreams” (without going into detail) and how she’s “kinda tired”. Dilton says, according to some research that he’s done, dreams can be what we fear while we’re awake, and the best way to rid yourself of these fears is to face them. Cheryl leaps out of her chair, knocks over her drink, hugs Dilton, calls him a genius, and thanks him. Dilton is overjoyed.

Then…things get confusing. Cheryl (who now has blue eyes) sees Jughead sitting at the counter and eating a burger. She dreads kissing him. So this scene occurs at Pop’s. But is Cheryl’s date with Dilton at Pop’s? Is the “cafe” sign in Pop’s window, or is it meant to be another location? Did we just jump to another scene at another location? There’s no caption letting us know. It’s very confusing.

Anyway, Cheryl sexually assaults Jughead (which he totally deserves) and is grossed out and runs away. Jughead is confused and asks Pop if he should have eased up on the onions. Pop laughs. If this is the same scene/location as the date, what does Dilton think of Cheryl kissing Jughead?

That night, at home, with yet another change of bedding, Cheryl dreams she’s royalty in ancient Egypt, being waited on by Archie and Reggie.

At the bottom of the final panel is a plug for the “all-new” Sabrina: The Animated Series, which had already been broadcast in its entirety by the time that this issue came out.

This story was okay, I guess, but its premise falls apart when you remember Cheryl had already been freaking out over Jughead potentially kissing her.

Comics – Crimson & Clover

Cheryl-Blossom-31
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 31
Cover Date: May, 2000
Length: 6 pages

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

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

In science class, the teacher (who I thought was Ms. Hampton but probably isn’t) reminds her class of the upcoming science fair. She wants them to start thinking about their projects. Cheryl loves doing science fair projects, especially because she won two years in a row. Wait, Cheryl’s won two years in a row? She hasn’t even been attending Pembrooke Academy that long. Well, I know she has in terms of real-world publication, but she hasn’t been back that long in universe, has she? No more than one verified year, since it’s been established that she has been with Fresh and had Sugar for at least a year already. Maybe her move away and back was so brief that she actually was able to win the science fair for the past two school years, and this would be her third. Or maybe Holly was subtly erasing Cheryl’s move away and return. Who knows? Anyway, Cheryl’s classmate (who has a sort of Bunnyesque haircut but isn’t Bunny and seems to have a vaguely Asian appearance) claims Cheryl won only because she spent more money.

Cheryl says she’s just jealous, because Cheryl’s project ideas are so innovative. The classmate brings up how Cheryl hires scientists to do her projects and outspends them. They leave the science lab. The classmate insults Cheryl, and other students start laughing. Cheryl screams at her for insulting her intelligence.

Cheryl vows to spend only $20 on the science project and win this year’s science fair. The classmate is confident that she’ll win. Cheryl touts “the ‘Blossom’ brain” on her way out of school.

On the limo ride home, Cheryl’s troubled. Jamie picks up on it and brings it up. Cheryl tells Jamie that she’s right as always.

By the time that they get back to the Blossom estate, Cheryl has finished her explanation. Jamie tells Cheryl that, as her “ol’ granny” said, “Nature can be the richest resource that’s free!” Cheryl is confused. Jamie explains Cheryl has acres of flowers, herbs, and shrubs on the Blossom estate. Jamie says, back in England, Granny would make remedies from the flowers in the fields. Wow, backstory on Jamie! That’s neat. Can we have more, please? Anyway, Cheryl is inspired and hugs Jamie (who looks somewhat uncomfortable), who made her science project “bloom with possibilities”. Why not “blossom with possibilities”?

Anyway, Cheryl researches in a library (she wears reading glasses), collects stuff outside and inside, and works, even sitting on Sugar’s bed, much to Sugar’s confusion. Oh, the landscape outside Cheryl’s bedroom in this story? Rolling hills.

On the day of the science fair, we finally learn Cheryl’s classmate’s name: Heather. Heather’s project is a model of a solar-powered airplane, which earns her a “very interesting” from a judge. Cheryl’s project display is labelled “Blossom’s Botanical Beauty Science”. Cheryl wanted to support the idea that nature is science’s greatest resource.

Cheryl demonstrates on the judges the different ways that herbs and flowers may be used as facial masks, foot soaps, and scalp revitalizer. The judges are impressed and award Cheryl 1st prize. They like her eco-friendly message instead of the overuse of expensive, high-tech projects. Heather accuses her of cheating. Cheryl reveals she spent less than $20. She picked most of her ingredients from the fields and made all of the remedies herself. Heather awkwardly asks Cheryl for a chamomile and mint facial. Cheryl obliges. She also suggests (with an odd grin) that Heather try her homemade toothpaste. Is it really toothpaste, though?

This story was pretty nice. It’s good to see a competent Cheryl that doesn’t do herself in, and moments of friendship between Cheryl and Jamie are always nice to see.

Extras

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Fairytale Fashions”, featuring the following contributions (illustrated by Holly G!): Princess Pretty by Tanya Foerster of Glendale, California; “Ruby Red” Gown by Missi Trask of Yakima, Washington; and Hair & Gown by Jennifer Shin of Fountain Valley, California. In this last one, Cheryl is posing with Sugar, which is cute.

Comics – Highland Spirit

Cheryl-Blossom-31
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: John Lowe
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 31
Cover Date: May, 2000
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Here we are with the actual first issue of the year 2000.

Cheryl, Penelope, Jason, Archie, and Mary are visiting “the homeland of [their] family trees”, Scotland, during spring break. Cheryl is really excited. Jason is really bored and lets out a yawn. Mary tells Penelope that it’s “so very important that they know their roots”. Penelope says both the Andrews and the Blossom clans lived in “this part of Scotland”. She doesn’t get any more specific than that, but, judging by the title, we can narrow it down to the Scottish Highlands.

Okay, this is cool. We get some backstory on Cheryl and Archie’s families. I remember reading this story back when it first came out. Archie being Scottish is actually fairly well documented. I remember reading an old story in a digest (probably from the 1960s or early 1970s, judging by the artwork) where Archie and Veronica had an argument about her taking his name when they get married (she didn’t want to). Archie declared “Andrews is a fine Scottish surname!” Also, the same month that this current story came out, there was an episode of Archie’s Weird Mysteries titled “The Day the Earth Moved” that touched on Archie and Fred’s Scottish roots. Cheryl being Scottish, on her other hand, had never been established before (at least as far as I’m aware). For the record, Blossom isn’t a Scottish surname, but it is a surname.

There’s a confusing moment where someone yells “Mom!” from off-panel. Then we suddenly see the group riding in a limo toward the “ancestral home” of the Blossom clan, which we had just seen them standing not too far from. It’s really weird and confusing. Anyway, when they get out of the limo, Jason just hopes the place has cable TV. Cheryl asks if he’s not the least bit interested in their history. Jason doesn’t think it’s fair that Cheryl got Archie, but he doesn’t have Betty with him. Cheryl says it “just so happens” that Archie’s family and theirs are “entwined in history”. Jason screams to his mom that he’s bored.

Cheryl bets the castle is filled with “armour” and tapestries. Jason doesn’t give a fuck – until Brigit, the caretaker’s daughter, welcomes them. Jason gets a boner and asks her for a “private tour” of the castle. Cheryl (who has aquamarine eyes in this story) grabs Archie’s arm and runs off to check out the library and start researching their roots.

The library is huge. Cheryl guesses, since their families were from the same region, maybe they knew each other. So…was she just joking earlier when she said they were “entwined in history”? Archie finds a prominently-placed book titled The Clans of Scotland, and they sit at the table and read it. Their families had a feud. Penelope comes and invites them to a game of golf. Archie accepts. Cheryl says she’ll join Archie after finishing this chapter. Archie gets all mushy with her and calls her his “sweet Scottish shortbread“. Cheryl calls Archie a “romantic rogue”. Gag me.

Anyway, Cheryl reads about Sharon Blossom, a strong-willed teenager that fell in love with the “handsome” Aubrey Andrews. See what they did? Their ancestors’ names sound somewhat similar to their own names. In Cheryl’s imagination, they even look exactly like herself and Archie. That’s all that’s written about them, but Cheryl feels all romantic about the “Romeo and Juliet” romance. She wonders what happened to them. Then Cheryl checks her watch and realizes she better get over to the golf course and join Archie.

She grabs a golf club (because everyone carries exactly one, I guess?) and heads out, but it starts to rain. She thinks she spots Archie. Obvious to us (but not her), it’s actually the ghost of Aubrey Andrews. He looks and is dressed exactly as he appeared in Cheryl’s imagination. Well, isn’t that just the most amazing coincidence ever? He gives her some plants or something that he collected. She tries to kiss him but passes right through him. She freaks out when she realizes he’s a ghost.

Elsewhere on the green, the ghost of Sharon Blossom (looking and dressed exactly as in Cheryl’s imagination, of course) finds Archie. She has been searching for “Lord Andrews” “all through eternity”. Really? And you didn’t find him elsewhere on the golf course? Archie gets a boner. Sharon asks him for “that kiss” that he promised her “so long ago”. Archie doesn’t know what’s going on but, eager to make out, decides to “play along”. He passes right through Sharon and freaks out when he realizes she’s a ghost.

Cheryl and Archie run into each other and are happy to see each other. They compare their experiences on their way back to the castle.

Cheryl has a theory and rushes to the library. Archie follows. She checks a book titled Scottish Legends. According to it, every time that there’s a rainstorm, the ghosts of Sharon Blossom and Aubrey Andrews are seen searching for each other. Archie finds it sad and bets they really loved each other. Cheryl wonders if they could help.

They go out on the castle’s grounds. Cheryl’s plan is for them each to go back to where they were and convince the ghosts to meet at this spot. They do it and reunite Sharon and Aubrey within minutes. It turns out that Aubrey was waiting for Sharon on the heather hill “for ages”, and Sharon was waiting for Aubrey on the green glen. So…was she lying when she said she was searching for him? Anyway, Cheryl is delighted and starts crying and suggests they go tell their moms.

Penelope and Mary are having tea in the castle. Cheryl and Archie run in, and Cheryl tells them what happened. Penelope guesses Jason has played “one of his ghost tricks” on Cheryl again. Cheryl insists her story’s true. Mary guesses, next, they’ll be telling them that they’ve seen a loch monster. Mary laughs, and Penelope joins in. Cheryl and Archie are shocked to see a monster rising from the lake outside the window.

A blurb below the final panel plugs the “all-new” Archie’s Weird Mysteries TV show every Saturday on the Pax network. The show had been airing for at least four months by this point.

This story was pretty nice, but it felt rushed, and the central problem was very easily resolved. It seems Sharon and Aubrey were just a couple of dumbasses. The story deserved to be issue-length and go into greater detail.