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!