The New Archies, Segment 22 – Gunk for Gold

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Writers: Eleanor Burian-Mohr & Jack Hanrahan
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, November 21, 1987 (assumed)
Length: 11:21

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The segment opens with a soccer game. A player kicks the ball to Moose and tells him to go for the goal.

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Moose is initially confused but then thanks the kid, whose name is Biff. He makes a goal.

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The coach asks Eugene for a stat update. It seems this is the twelfth goal that Moose has scored for the other team. Oopsie.

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Ms. Grundy is trying to support the team, but Mr. Weatherbee laments this is Riverdale’s tenth year in a row losing to the Bainbridge Bongoes. Ms. Grundy says Veronica still has a chance to win this game.

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Unfortunately, that asshole Biff appeals to Veronica’s vanity, takes the ball, and then makes some trash talk at Archie.

Biff then scores the winning goal, ending the game. Ms. Grundy tries to kinda-sorta console Mr. Weatherbee.

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In the boys’ locker room, the coach tries to look on the bright side: they’ve played only three games. However, Jughead is all negative, pointing out that they’ve lost three. Holy shit, look at that huge stash of burgers. Jughead has a mountain of hamburgers in his fucking gym locker. That’s fucking nasty!

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The coach continues to try to be optimistic, but Biff shows up to insult them.

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Moose wants to beat the shit out of Biff, but Archie and Eugene somehow restrain him. Yeah, I don’t think so. Anyway, Archie’s still optimistic about their team, but the others aren’t and leave.

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Later, Archie’s hanging out at Eugene’s, and he’s frustrated that the team’s so down on themselves.

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Eugene feels the same but suggests Archie help him with a science project, claiming it’ll get their minds off soccer. How many science projects do these kids do per year? I seem to remember it being only a once-per-year thing, and I never enjoyed having to do it. Of course, knowing Eugene, he might be doing this just for fun.

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Archie agrees and then asks what this shit is.

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As Eugene explains, some of the pizza that Archie’s eating drops into an Erlenmeyer flask, contaminating the contents and turning them green.

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Eugene immediately notices and runs off with the contaminated substance. Please note the pizza has turned all of Eugene’s compound green, despite the fact that the pizza was dropped into only the one flask.

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Eugene dumps the compound in a trash can, which gets all cartoony and barfs it back out.

The gunk bounces around the room. Archie tries to grab it with a net but fails. Finally, he jumps on it…

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…and promptly bounces out the window.

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Archie’s having a great time.

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Show-off.

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Eugene comes outside and throws a football for Archie to catch. I find this very unbelievable. Why would Eugene have a football? For that matter, why does he have a basketball hoop?

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So Archie kicks the ball while spinning in the air and then just lands. I think Eugene might like his ball back.

Anyway, Archie loves the gunk. Eugene, the intelligent one, wonders what they can use it for.

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Fortunately(?), Reggie, who just happens to be hanging out near Eugene’s house, has an idea.

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Reggie’s plan is to smear the gunk on the soles of their gym shoes. Okay, so they’re ripping off Son of Flubber.

Archie asks if this is cheating, and Eugene asks if it’s the misuse of science, but Reggie rationalizes both of their concerns away.

They hear people coming, so Eugene puts the gunk in a locker to keep it safe. Um, take it home with you, you dumbass!

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They make a pact to keep this top secret.

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Before a game, Archie and Reggie give a pep talk about “magic feet” that even their teammates find lame.

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Veronica and Betty share a laugh over Jughead’s bouncing around while thinking nothing odd about it. They also bounce around themselves like it’s perfectly normal.

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So Riverdale does really well while also breaking the rules of soccer and the laws of physics.

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Not to worry, though: all authority figures are too jazzed up to care.

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The team takes its success on the road.

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They’ve even come up with a cheer: “We got the beat! We got the magic feet!” It makes the Walmart Cheer sound almost tolerable by comparison.

No, it doesn’t.

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Archie and Eugene are tired.

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“What the fuck’s wrong with you guys? We won the last three games! Yay, us!”

Archie says he thought winning would feel better.

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At another game, Jughead’s listening to Michael Jackson and moonwalks into the soccer ball.

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“Hold my burger, asshole. I gotta score a goal now.”

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Do school principals and random teachers regularly accompany school sports teams on away games? I’m guessing no.

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Riverdale continues to kick ass in the world of junior high school soccer.

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After the commercial break, Archie’s helping out in the school garden for whatever reason. Ms. Grundy praises the team. She says they’re only one game away from the championship. I smell conflict.

Ms. Grundy realizes Archie’s planting his gloves and asks what’s wrong. Archie tries to speak of “someone” having a hypothetical moral dilemma, and Ms. Grundy suggests “someone” look into his heart.

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Eugene comes by and catches the end of the conversation.

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Later, Archie and Eugene are spreading the gunk on the soles of their shoes. Eugene asks Archie if he’s looked into his heart yet. Archie says yes and asks Eugene the same question. Eugene says he thought they could look later. Well, aren’t you a badass?

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They’re startled by the rest of the team entering the locker room, but I guess they don’t get caught, because it moves on to the next scene.

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During the game, Ethel kicks the ball to Moose, but she does it in such a way as to show off. Apparently, as we’re led to believe, the gunk allows the team to perform weird tricks, like bouncing the soccer ball off all of the players (while not hurting them in the slightest).

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The stupid “magic feet” cheer has caught on.

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Riverdale wins another game and is now in the championship game.

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That night (I guess), at Archie’s house, Archie and Eugene look into their hearts. Archie calls up the newspaper to tell “the newspaper guy” (Reggie’s dad?) the truth. After Archie explains, he’s just laughed at. Archie shakes his head in sadness. Eugene tries to comfort him.

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The next day (I guess), at Pop’s, Archie explains everything to the gang (minus Ethel, because she’s not a main character). Veronica is in disbelief.

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To prove it, Archie gunks Jughead’s stupid hat. It bounces around for a bit and then lands right back on Jughead’s head, because of course it does. The gang is awestruck.

Archie says they’re going to the championship tomorrow. He brings up Biff. Wow, I’d forgotten about that asshole. Anyway, Archie asks if they should gunk or not.

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Ha.

Reggie protests. Archie gives a half-assed line about winning.

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That’s all that it took, apparently.

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The next night, at the championship game, the team is depressed.

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Well, except for Jughead. He doesn’t give a shit.

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So the team sucks without the gunk.

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Biff makes fun of their “magic feet”.

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Riverdale’s audience is disappointed.

So Riverdale continues sucking, and the Bongoes keep racking up points.

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Veronica says they’re no good without gunk. Reggie says he knew they should have used it.

Archie tries to give a pep talk, saying they still have half of the game left to go, but the others won’t have it and tell him to shut the fuck up. Archie lies his ass off, claiming they played the last two games without gunk. He gets Eugene to go along with it.

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This really shouldn’t fool anyone, but it does, because everyone on this show is a fucking idiot. They do the “magic feet” chant, even though they’re not wearing the gunk, because fuck this show.

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Ms. Grundy and Mr. Weatherbee join in, somehow hearing the team from way up in the bleachers.

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So the team suddenly plays unusually well. Jughead even jumps really high, as if he’s wearing the gunk, but he blends into the crowd, so I can’t really get a good screencap of it. The point is Riverdale suddenly rocks for no apparent reason except “morale”.

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I’m pretty sure this is illegal in any soccer game, but it’s too late in the story for the adults to start enforcing the rules. Let’s just get this over with.

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So the score’s tied 6-6. The coach informs them that they have 30 seconds to win or lose this game. Either way, they’re proud and all rooting for them.

The crowd keeps doing the “magic feet” chant.

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The Bongoes, led by Biff, try to get past the “losers”.

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Amani gets the ball and heads for the goal, uttering her first clear line of the episode.

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Bullshit!

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Ms. Grundy loses her shit over the victory.

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Why isn’t Amani on top? She scored the winning goal!

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It’s nice that Betty hugs her, though.

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Jughead asks Archie if they really did it without gunk. Does he mean the previous two games or this game? Because the visuals in the second half seem to indicate they’re gunked up (not that Archie would have been able to gunk them up without their realizing it). Archie just winks.

The team has its picture taken.

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Then we get this odd ending where Ms. Grundy is looking at the (black-and-white) photo in an album and saying “And that was the year Riverdale won the championship…fair and square.” Why is this segment suddenly turned into a massive flashback? Who is Ms. Grundy telling this story to? And why is she fucking lying? Even if the team didn’t use gunk in the championship game (which I’m still not sure about), they still cheated to get there. So, no, Geraldine, Riverdale did not win the championship “fair and square”.

This segment was pretty bad. Everyone was an idiot. No one questioned the powers gained from the gunk. No adults enforced the rules. Just…let’s move on from this. There are only four segments left.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – Sweetwater

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Writer: Brian E. Paterson
Art: Elliot Fernandez
Colors: Thomas Chu
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale One-Shot
Cover Date: April, 2017
On-Sale Date: March 1, 2017
Length: 10 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late. This can be blamed on two things: thunderstorms (today) and a drunken redneck country karaoke party with fireworks (yesterday). Imagine the worst goddamn country music that you can think of and then imagine it being sung by a bunch of drunks…while shooting off fireworks…pretty much right in your backyard.

Anyway, let’s get to the story. This is the first of four in this issue, which serves as a sort of prequel to the first episode.

Archie’s hanging out by himself at Pop’s. He narrates about stuff. Wait, who’s he narrating to and why? Anyway, he thinks about a movie quote. Betty left Riverdale for a summer internship in L.A. a week ago. He and Jughead had a falling out. With no school, no friends, and no football practices (Archie practiced football before the show?), he decided to help his dad full-time at Andrews Construction. He has a feeling that “there’s something big coming”.

So we get a montage. Basically, Archie bulks up (getting looks from the ladies in the process) and composes poems in his head.

One day, Fred decides to clean out the garage – after Archie has worked a ten-hour shift. Basically, Fred’s a packrat and doesn’t wanna throw any useless shit out. He has a Stratocaster from back in the day. Archie’s surprised that Fred used to play and wants to borrow it, but he has to be content with the acoustic guitar that his dad got him for his sixteenth birthday.

Then we get the flashback from the first episode where Ms. Grundy picked Archie up after work, but it doesn’t exactly match the scene in the episode. Every night, she picks him up after work, they drive out to Sweetwater River, and they fuck. Archie has some mixed feelings and is insecure. Typical teenage stuff.

One day, “Geraldine” drops him off at home and notices the guitar on his front porch. They go up to the porch, and he plays for her. She says he has potential and suggests “private lessons”. He agrees.

One day, toward the end of June, he stops by Pop’s after work, because he wants to surprise Ms. Grundy with dinner. Jughead’s there, typing on his laptop, and he invites Archie to catch up with him. He does. Suddenly, Jughead suggests they take a road trip down to Centerville on the Fourth of July to see fireworks, like they used to when they were kids. Archie agrees, although he’s not sure why.

On July 3rd, Archie’s hanging out with Ms. Grundy outside somewhere. They both love summer. He asks what she’s doing for the Fourth. She says going camping down by Sweetwater River. She invites him to come, and he agrees.

Then we get the July 4th flashback from Archie’s perspective that we saw in episode 02, except, again, it’s not quite the same, since the comic adds a campfire and a blanket.

They’re mostly silent during the ride home and tell themselves that it was a hunter, shooting a deer, or fireworks. Archie asks who’s lighting fireworks at 6:00 AM on July 4th, but, from what I’ve witnessed around here, idiots light fireworks at all times of the day, even before July 4th.

Anyway, then they hear the whole thing about Cheryl and Jason. Clifford looks way too blue-collar (literally) and shows more compassion in this comic than he did on the show. Ms. Grundy turns into a nervous wreck, suddenly feels it was all wrong, and makes Archie promise to keep quiet. She breaks it off with him and drops him off at home. He understands it’s right and for the best, but it still hurts like hell.

On July 6th, Archie’s with Jughead at Pop’s. He’d forgotten about their broken date. Jughead is upset and questions Archie about it. Archie nervously says his dad needed his help, but Jughead sees through his lie and leaves.

After that, Archie puts his poems to paper and realizes they’re song lyrics about dying young and losing friends.

By July 26th, he’s filled up the notebook with song lyrics.

On August 13th, he picks up his guitar (which he’d already picked up on July 26th) and “[writes his] guts out” until the last day of summer vacation.

Then Betty texts him. She’s back home from her internship and invites him to Pop’s. He considers telling her everything but doesn’t because of his promise to Ms. Grundy. He accepts her invitation.

Then we get what I guess is the beginning of their meeting at Pop’s from the first episode, but their outfits don’t match at all. Archie had ordered milkshakes (strawberry for him, vanilla for her). They hug.

He wonders how different that things might have been if he’d just been honest with Betty that night instead of pretending nothing had happened.

This was a pretty good. story. Apparently, it will be continued, but I’m not sure if it means on the show or in the next story in the issue (which isn’t a continuation).

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 7

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-7.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Jen Vaughn
Colors: Elaina Unger (pages 1-11), Matt Herms (pages 12-20*)
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 7
Cover Date: August, 2018
On-Sale Date: June 13, 2018
Length: 19 pages*

*Think about that.

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. It says Ang is working closely with Doc, something that wasn’t exactly clear in the issue itself.

Yes, I have read about the series’ cancellation with issue #10. It’s a shame, because I’ve mostly been enjoying this series. Maybe strong sales of the first trade, which comes out on July 24, will earn the series a reprieve? On June 22, I noticed a massive price drop for back issues (not for just this series but all of them): $0.99 for most back issues and $1.99 for current issues and some more recent back issues. That’s way more affordable than $3.99 per issue. Of course, it also means Archie Comics won’t be making as much per sale, but maybe it’ll convince more people to buy them?

Anyway, let’s get into the current issue:

The Vixens are doing cheerleading practice on an empty football field. Notably, Cheryl has brought the rest of the biker Vixens onto the cheerleading squad. Cheryl, Betty, and Veronica are on top – with Cheryl being slightly higher. It’s a cute pose.

Meanwhile, on the Riverdale/Pembrooke border, some guy with a beard finds fresh motorcycle tracks.

Back at Riverdale High School, in the girls’ locker room, Cheryl compliments her squad on a good practice but asks Toni to put in a little more effort next time. Toni slams her locker shut and says she doesn’t wanna be a fucking cheerleader, calling it ridiculous. According to Cheryl, it’s a way to “force camaraderie” amongst the Vixens and let them get to know each other better. Toni suggests they join Cheryl’s derby league instead, but Cheryl suggests Toni might not be tough enough. The point is Cheryl’s the motherfucking head cheerleader, end of fucking story. Toni questions everything, including Cheryl’s motives. Evelyn asks Cheryl about her formation. Cheryl says it was terrible.

Y’know, I just noticed the sheer length of Cheryl’s hair in this series. It goes down past her ass. Do any girls really wear their hair that long?

Later, Betty and Veronica are heading out the front entrance and notice a cop car. An officer is meeting with Mr. Weatherbee, Mr. Lodge, and Beard Guy (who decided to shave most of it for a five o’clock shadow look). Beard Guy (whose name is Mr. Williams) is questioning Mr. Weatherbee about Toni. Veronica asks her dad what’s going on. Mr. Lodge says they’ll discuss it in the car. He offers to give Betty a ride home and asks Mr. Williams to join them.

Seemingly a few hours later (seriously, it looks like it’s past sundown), Toni’s walking along a sidewalk, listening to music, and bitching to herself about Cheryl. Doc’s following her in his car and talking to Ang. There’s a trippy sequence where Toni apparently sees ghouls or some shit. What the fuck? Anyway, Ang shows up, scaring the shit out of Toni. Ang has Toni come with her.

Meanwhile, the girls are still riding with Mr. Lodge and Mr. Williams for who knows how fucking long (the limo’s headlights are on). Mr. Williams voices concerns over continued gang activity in the town, despite the Serpents being gone. Mr. Lodge explains Mr. Williams is the head of a neighborhood watch committee that will “crack down” on the town’s rules. Um, what are they gonna go? Record cell phone videos and call the cops? Anyway, Mr. Lodge gets Veronica to agree to this “for the betterment of us all”. Mr. Williams asks the girls if they know anyone that rides a motorcycle. Just then, Betty spots Toni running outside. Mr. Lodge asks if she knows her. Betty starts to say she’s their friend, but Veronica interrupts and says she’s a barely-known classmate. For some reason, this irritates Betty.

Ang brings Toni to Doc, and Toni is immediately pissed. Ang admits she’s been meeting with Doc instead of kickboxing. Doc claims he has “an in with the PD” and will keep them off their backs, so they can really help the people. He brings up Ang’s asshole ex-boyfriend and praises the Vixens. Ang, crying, begs Toni to give Doc a chance. Toni agrees but reserves the right to final judgment in case Doc pulls shit. Doc says she doesn’t have to worry.

As Toni gets out of the car, Cheryl observes the scene from overhead like she’s Batgirl or something. It’s unclear what she’s standing on, but the angle makes it clear that she’s watching from above. She’s drinking a soda or milkshake or whatever and is suspicious of the meeting.

Some blond guy is seemingly getting a text from Mr. Williams asking for info on Toni. He gets out of his car and confronts Toni about being out past curfew (which is now no longer 9:00 PM). He questions her. Cheryl skates by and covers for her, saying Toni is going to Cheryl’s house to study. That seems good enough for the guy, who tells the girls to stay out of trouble. Cheryl skates past them, tosses her cup to Toni (Toni has a “What the fuck?” look on her face; I’m with her; seriously, what the fuck, Cheryl?), and tells Toni to be at the beach tomorrow. That’s it. No specific time.

The next day, outside Bullfrog Beach (which we’ve never heard of before), the Vixens meet. Cheryl says it’s nice of the ladies to show up. It sure is, considering Cheryl’s vagueness about when to show up. And where, apparently. I’m guessing this isn’t their regular beach.

Anyway, Betty’s impatient and asks Cheryl what this is about. Cheryl says one of their own is “moonlighting” with the enemy. Veronica, equally impatient, asks Cheryl what she’s babbling about. Cheryl tells them what she saw. Toni says it’s not a big deal. Betty questions her about it. Toni starts to explain about Doc helping them, but Veronica says they don’t need help. Toni plays the race card and basically calls Veronica and Cheryl privileged white bitches.

Just then, a rival all-girl biker gang (because, apparently, there are two of those in Riverdale), the Thrashers, shows up. There are four of them. Apparently, Bullfrog Beach is Thrashers’ turf, and they’re gonna fucking rumble.

Betty claims they “must be understood” and says they “were just leaving”. That don’t work. The Thrashers’ leader declares “it’s on”. Cheryl cracks her knuckles and is eager to kick these bitches’ asses, but Betty begs her to not do it. Too late, though. It’s on! Evelyn shows up late and casually greets Sue, one of the Thrashers. This is Sue Stringly, one of the old Little Archie characters. Sue was a poor girl, and she and her family lived in a shack near the railway tracks, next to a coal mine. She was always upbeat and cheerful and never complained or despaired. She was apparently Veronica’s cousin. She later reappeared as a teenage secret agent that rescued Archie and befriended Betty (Agent B) and Veronica (Agent V). She also reappeared as an attractive teen in more normal continuity.

Anyway, none of that shit’s relevant here. The Thrashers are scared of Eve, so the leader tells Sue, Cricket (Cricket O’Dell, a teen with the stupid gimmick of being able to determine the exact amount of money that a person’s carrying by smell), and Pep (Pepper Smith, a pre-Pussycats friend of Josie and Melody) that they’re getting the fuck out of here. I guess it’s no longer on.

As the Thrashers are about to leave, Betty asks the leader (who still hasn’t been named) why they wanted to fight them. The leader explains they’re a gang that showed up on a rival gang’s turf wearing their gang colors. Betty suggests ditching those preconceived notions and joining forces. Cheryl face-palms. Betty gives a sweet smile, blushing, and it’s so adorable. The Thrashers’ leader puts on her helmet and tells the Vixens to stay off their turf. I need to point out that she has a picture of a hand flipping the bird on the back of her vest. That’s pretty funny.

The cops arrive. So does Doc. He has both gangs follow him (although the artwork seems to place only Betty, Cheryl, Veronica (I think), and one other person between Doc and the cops).

Anyway, following Doc has somehow allowed the girls to escape the cops. Ethel is appreciative, but Cheryl points out that Doc could have tipped the cops off. The Thrashers’ leader sides with “Big Red”. Toni apologizes to Doc. After the Vixens and most of the Thrashers leave, Doc pulls Sue (who’s trying to fix her apparently-broken bike) and shoves her into his car. He takes off.

Later that night, at Lodge Manor, Veronica works up the courage to ask her dad about what Mr. Williams is doing and if he (Mr. Williams) will find out where Abbey is. They talk about what they know or don’t know about Abbey. Mr. Lodge is pessimistic about her character, but Veronica says “She’s still a human being.” This seemingly convinces Mr. Lodge to have Mr. Williams look into it. He tells Veronica to get some sleep and then walks off, leaving her on the balcony. Veronica whispers “Who are you?” Is she referring to her dad, like asking “What game are you playing?”

Meanwhile, at Sugar’s Roller Rink, Cheryl is in the locker room, lacing up for her team’s next match (she’s #66). Eve and the Thrashers’ leader confront Cheryl about Sue’s disappearance. Eve even picks up Cheryl (well, as much as she can) and slams her against the lockers. Cheryl doesn’t wanna deal with this stupid shit from “undignified” “psychos” and forcefully tells the shorter Evelyn to put her down. Eve does. Cheryl wonders why the fuck they’re shaking her up about this. As the leader (who still hasn’t been fucking named) explains, “You call the shots. You get the heat.” Cheryl’s a bit flattered to be assumed to be the Vixens’ leader. She doesn’t trust Doc either and, referring to Betty as “America’s Sweetheart”, brings up the idea of putting aside their differences to find Sue. The leader agrees but says this doesn’t make them friends. Cheryl is fine with that. Cheryl has some “hips to check” and leaves the locker room with the girls. Basically, that was Cheryl’s way of saying she has to get whistles and cheers from the audience.

In the warehouse, Chester (I guess) throws Abbey and Sue into the back of a van and asks Doc how much that they’ll bring in. Doc says enough, but he has a photo of a winking Cheryl (with crosshairs over her face) and has plans to kidnap her as well.

This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated June of 2018); this one talks about the Neighborhood Watch Committee. Apparently, Riverdale has never had one before this one was formed on Mr. Lodge’s discretion. It’s comprised of business associates, legal counsel affiliated with Mr. Lodge, and trained volunteers. The new, earlier town curfew is 7:00 PM on weekdays and 8:00 PM on weekends. We learn Mr. Williams’ first name is Marcus. There’s a full-page ad for the first Vixens trade paperback. Finally, there’s the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #8, which has Veronica and Betty driving down a street. Veronica’s wearing a shirt with a skull on it. Betty’s wearing a shirt that says “Queen B” (um, Cheryl might take issue with that) and playing with a chain.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Romance 4Ever!

Archie-and-Me-Digest-8.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Archie and Me Comics Digest, No. 8
On-Sale Date: June 13, 2018
Length: 5

I’m sorry that this is late. It’s actually a substitution, due to various technical issues.

Archie, Kevin, Betty, and Veronica spot a film crew in front of someone’s house and wonder what’s going on. Veronica asks a camera operator. He says they’re filming a TV movie for the Hallstone Channel. It’s based on a book by Olivia Smithington-James. Betty and Veronica collectively lose their shit, because, as Veronica points out, that’s the pen name of “the one and only” Ms. Grundy.

Archie and the girls go into Ms. Grundy’s classroom (note: this issue came out during summer vacation). Archie (perhaps uncharacteristically) excitedly asks if Ms. Grundy’s still writing romance novels. Betty asks if they’re making a movie out of one of her books. Ms. Grundy happily confirms both. A footnote explains Ms. Grundy started writing romance novels in “the now-classic” Veronica #186 and tells the readers to check it out.

Okay, let’s take a pause from the story. Remember how, on the Introduction page for this blog, I explained “there is no continuity – until there is” and said there’s “the rare odd reference to an ancient story”? This is one of those instances. Veronica #186 was cover-dated March of 2008 and probably came out in late 2007. The story in question is an 11-pager called “Isn’t It Romantic?”, the lead story of that issue. It had mostly the same team as this story, except Parent did the pencils as well as the script, and Barry Grossman did the colors. Here’s the synopsis from Grand Comics Database: “A new romance author is very popular among the girls at Riverdale. Then a local bookstore advertises a book signing by the mysterious author only known as “GiGi”. But when looking for Miss Grundy, Veronica notices the unpublished novel’s text on Mr. Weatherbee’s computer and assumes he’s the author.” Apparently, for whatever reason, Parent decided to write a sequel to this “now-classic” story – and dragged it into current continuity as a result. (This isn’t the first time that this has been done; see my reviews of “Way Out West” and “Westward, Huh?“.)

On the Introduction page, I further wrote “Also, the characters’ years of birth have to, logically, increase by one every year, so they simply won’t have experienced things that the characters did, say, eighteen years ago. Technology, fashion, and entertainment are constantly changing, and so must the characters.”

Let’s assume the characters, as they are being published today, are in the summer vacation between their junior and senior years of high school. Veronica #186, therefore, would have been published around winter break in their first-grade year. Technology, fashion, and entertainment have changed tremendously for teens since then. In particular, technology has increased exponentially. We’ve gone through four new versions of Windows. YouTube went from 240p resolution to (theoretically) 8K and added 3D, 60 fps, 360-degree, and High Dynamic Range. Nintendo has gone through multiple handheld consoles. We went from the Wii to the Wii U to the Switch. We can pay using our cell phones. The PS3 slimmed down twice and then went away, and we’re now on the Pro version of the PS4. The Xbox 360 came out with new editions, only to go away and make way for the One and its new editions. 4K home theater projectors came out. Various sticks and other devices to watch streaming television came out. Blu-ray came out with an Ultra HD format for those that have 4K televisions. Cable is losing tons of customers and isn’t even on the radar of most of today’s teens, who prefer binge-watching shows on Netflix or watching sub-20-minute YouTube content created by their peers.

Then there’s Kindle Fire and the rise of the e-book. The point of all of this is it’s inconceivable that the Betty and Veronica of today would be at all interested in old Ms. Grundy’s Hallmark-worthy granny romance novels, not when they can go online and read fanfics or get cheap or even free original romance (of varying levels of heat) off Amazon. Hell, I used to hang out in a used bookstore in the mid-to-late-2000s, and I never once saw a teen girl buy a traditional romance novel; they were there for gaming tournaments.

But this is what Dan Parent’s going with in 2018, so let’s continue.

Archie guesses Ms. Grundy’s rich now, but she says it’s for television, and her publisher owns most of the rights (side rant: if you want to publish an original story, self-publish it; never go the traditional publishing route; the contracts have gotten worse, being horribly unfair to the writers, often taking away the copyright from them for life plus more and also often including “do not compete” clauses, meaning you couldn’t even write something else and self-publish it while under contract with a traditional publisher); she gets a small cut, and that’s it. Betty says that doesn’t seem fair (understatement of the year), since Ms. Grundy is doing the initial creative work. As Ms. Grundy wipes the chalkboard (um, no, it’s 2018; schools use dry-erase whiteboards), she claims, if the movie is a hit, she can renegotiate. How, pray tell, if your publisher owns most of the rights?

As the teens leave the classroom, Archie’s positively orgasmic over Ms. Grundy being “the Queen of Romance”. Betty just wishes Ms. Grundy would get all of the benefits that she deserves.

Later, Kevin comes by to inform Archie and an eager Betty that they’re filming a scene now, and the stars are Brock Kincaid from The Bold and the Bolder and Michelle DuBois from Hearts Ablaze. Betty brings up that the shows are cancelled (um, not true for the former). Kevin says they still have a cult following. Archie notices a “familiar” guy and asks Kevin for his name. Kevin says that’s Todd Blankly, the former host of the game show, What’s Your Problem? He plays the mayor of the town. Betty notices Ms. Grundy sharing a laugh with Todd.

Kevin and Betty start speculating they’re a couple, despite Ms. Grundy being decades older. Ms. Grundy invites the teens over. She explains the TV producers are letting her “advise a bit” on the set and introduces Todd. Kevin and Betty are all “wink, wink, nudge, nudge”, confusing Ms. Grundy. Archie says he’ll see her back in school. Um, so is this occurring during a school day or what? Anyway, Kevin tells…someone (Ms. Grundy? Betty?), “Now behave yourself!”

A few days later, at school, Archie asks Ms. Grundy if they’ve finished filming the movie. She says pretty much. Now that that’s over with, Veronica is eager to know about her elderly teacher’s sex life. Ms. Grundy puts Veronica in her place but then confirms it, saying the guy’s picking her up from school today. So how’d she get here? Anyway, an eager Veronica pulls Betty along, so they can watch the two lovers “in action”. Archie follows. It turns out that Ms. Grundy is dating the even younger Brock Kincaid. Veronica wants to be Ms. Grundy when she grows up. Betty exclaims “Wow! Way to work it, Ms. Grundy!”

So I guess the point of this story is, no matter the universe, Ms. Grundy likes ’em young? Whatever. The story’s okay but feels outdated.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Roughing It!

BV-Friends-Digest-262.jpgWriter: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: B&V Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 262
On-Sale Date: June 13, 2018
Length: 5

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

Before we get into the story, please pay attention to the front cover. It seems Jeff Shultz put in a bit of Choni as a reference to their relationship on Riverdale.

Outside Lodge Manor, Betty and Veronica are going over a checklist of their camping supplies. Archie, Reggie, and Jughead come by. Reggie looks like he does in Dan Parent’s previous series, Your Pal Archie. Archie asks if this is a family camping trip. Veronica says it’s a girls-only camping trip that she and Betty put together. Reggie laughs, asking how they’ll survive. The girls are confident.

Jughead asks who’s doing the pedicures, which amuses Reggie and Archie but pisses off Betty and Veronica. Veronica says they’ll have a great guy-free weekend at Pickens’ Mountain State Park. Midge, Ethel, and Nancy arrive. Archie asks if they’re really up for this, and Midge says they’re all set. The girls pack up and leave. Meanwhile, Reggie checks his phone and is amused by the weather forecast for the mountain, which…upsets…or…worries Archie (it’s hard to tell what his expression is conveying). Anyway, some of the girls wave from the van, and Jughead waves at them.

The girls arrive at the mountain as it’s starting to rain. They get the tent set up just in time, because the rain’s really coming down now. They’re dry but also cold. They can’t make a campfire or s’mores. Betty’s worried, because they set up at the bottom of the hill. Veronica says it’s nice and level. Betty’s concerned the rain is coming down awfully hard and running downhill.

Then the rain starts pouring into the tent, getting everything wet. Betty fears the boys will never let them live it down if they don’t stick it out. Fortunately, Veronica has a “secret insurance policy”. She calls Smithers (she’s damn lucky that they have phone service here) and tells him to proceed with Project Camp Out in Style.

Soon, Smithers arrives in a luxury RV. The girls make a short dash in the rain. Smithers invites them in for a hot shower. After they shower, the girls give each other pedicures and enjoy hot drinks and microwaved s’mores. They look forward to telling the guys about it.

Not much to this story, and the C-listers really don’t get a chance to shine, but it’s nice enough.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Betty the Vampire Slayer vs. Vampironica

Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Tom Chu
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 261-262
Cover Date: October, December, 2012
On-Sale Date: August 15, 2012; October 17, 2012
Length: 48 pages (24, 24)

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

Betty-and-Veronica-261.jpg
Part 1: Vamp It Up

This part is itself split into two parts, 12 pages each.

Betty and Veronica are spending a day at the beach. Betty comes back to Veronica, having just bought ice cream and enjoying it immensely (it looks like an orange sherbet bar, yum). Veronica is on her hands and knees, checking out guys (no doubt, she’s assuming the position ahead of time). Notably, Betty’s bikini top has a flower (or blossom) on it. Betty teases Veronica about her dilemma in choosing between two guys. Then Archie comes by, settling the contest in Veronica’s mind (because Archie’s sooo much hotter than those other two guys).

Archie announces they’re going to have a bonfire on the beach tonight, promising burgers, s’mores, and himself. Wait, is this Archie or Reggie? Betty cozies up to Archie, settling for him while really wanting a s’more. Neither Archie nor Veronica seem to mind.

That night, “all” of Betty and Veronica’s friends are at the bonfire (not really). Jughead’s listening to music, which seems to be a trait that he got during The New Archies. Veronica and Jughead rib on each other a bit, and then she throws a s’more for him to fetch. He goes after it.

Veronica notices Betty’s already cozied up to Archie. Betty says Veronica’s taught her very well. Reggie offers to warm Veronica up, but she passes and goes for a moonlight stroll along the beach.

She spots some people surfing at night: dark-haired Lucas, blonde-and-black-haired Charlotte (yeah, it’s weird), token black Nathanial, and blond ponytailed Ashton. We learn Veronica surfs as well (which is nothing new). Veronica invites them to the bonfire. Charlotte accepts and tells Nathanial that these “day-timers” look like fun. Ashton reminds him that they don’t “prey” on them. Nathanial says not until they allow them.

The newcomers are welcomed to the bonfire. Charlotte asks Nancy for a steak. When Nancy offers to prepare it, Charlotte just takes a raw steak and gobbles it down, grossing Nancy out and surprising Veronica and Betty. Licking her lips, Charlotte drops the bone on the sand.

Ashton flirts with Betty. Ethel and Midge freak out over incoming bats, which materialize into two guys and a girl. Apparently, none of the gang sees this happen. Lucas tells the gang to get the fuck out of here. A huge brawl ensues, so Archie decides they’re gonna get the fuck out of here. As they run off, Lucas tells Veronica to meet her tomorrow night at pier 19 (no specific time). Veronica agrees. The blond newcomer with the goatee takes note of this, turns into a bat, and heads for Veronica. Midge warns her (again, seemingly not seeing the transformation).

The bat attacks Veronica, and Jughead just fucking stands around and makes a joke. The bat bites Veronica on the neck and makes off with a clump of her hair. Archie offers to take Veronica to the hospital, and Betty says she’ll call her parents.

Later, Hermione and Hiram pick up Veronica, who suffered only a “flesh wound”. Jughead makes a joke about the “poor bat” that bit Veronica, which, for some reason, amuses Betty. Veronica takes it seriously, though, expressing concern for the “poor bat”, which surprises Jughead. He explains he was kidding and marvels that Veronica didn’t snap back at him. He suggests maybe she’s not all right. Gripping his arms, she insists she’s fine and thanks him for asking. Betty notes to Hermione that Veronica has a strange look in her eyes. Hermione takes Veronica home for some rest.

The next day, Veronica wakes up, feeling better, but the sun is too bright for her.

When Veronica comes downstairs, Hermione notes she looks so pale and suggests more rest, but Veronica insists she’s fine.

They go into the kitchen. Veronica passes on breakfast and instead sloppily gulps down a glass of tomato juice, which looks like, well, y’know. She says she has to meet the gang at the beach today but, upon seeing the bright sun again, decides to take it easy inside instead.

Veronica spends all day watching movies in the dark in the den (she’s currently watching Nosferatu). When Hermione relates this to Hiram, he approves, saying Veronica “needs this down time”.

Veronica comes out of the den and asks her mom for the time, because, y’know, it’s not like she could find that out on a TV channel or anything. Hermione says it’s almost evening (no specific time). Veronica goes to meet Lucas, and Hermione tells her to be back early.

Lucas is relieved to see Veronica. He has no choice but to reveal a secret to her.

She’s in disbelief that he’s a vampire and laughs it off, saying “that’s a new one”. Um, sweetie, did you forget about a little incident?

Anyway, Lucas proves it to her by turning into a bat and then back again. She’s scared, but he wants to help her. She’s already been bitten by Damien (the blond guy with the goatee), the leader of the Lucificus gang. She’s confused. He explains they’re the bad guys, and Lucas and his gang are the good guys. She’s not convinced but decides to trust him.

He explains Veronica’s on her way to becoming a vampire. Veronica freaks out, because she hates the sight of blood. Lucas says, if the bite on her neck is treated in the next 24 hours, the curse is lifted. He gives her a special red choker to wear around her neck – a “mystical bandage”. He says it has to be followed by a kiss from him. He’s totally bullshitting her on that last part, but he kisses her, and she doesn’t object.

A couple days later, Lucas comes into Pop’s and is surprised to find Ashton hanging out with Betty. Lucas asks if anyone’s seen Veronica. Betty says no and adds, every time that she calls her, she’s in bed, and she doesn’t want to leave the house. Lucas is confused, because the curse was supposed to be lifted.

Just then, Veronica shows up, dressed as Elvis and Elvira’s love child. Betty asks about her get-up. Jughead insults it. Veronica scares him with a simple “I don’t like you!” Lucas finds this strange. Betty invites Veronica to the movies tomorrow, but Veronica will have to check with Reggie, her “man”. A topless Reggie is suddenly there. Betty asks him if he lost his shirt in a windstorm. Reggie’s like “Shirts are for unsexy people!” Pop kicks him out. Veronica tells Reggie to come along. The two of them leave Pop’s, turn into bats, and fly off. Lucas witnesses this and vows to protect the kids without panicking them.

While Betty’s enjoying her milkshake or soda float, Lucas takes Ashton outside and fills him in. Lucas tells Charlotte to watch over the others, and then he and Ashton go to the cove, the hangout of the Lucificus gang.

Lucas and Ashton arrive at the cove. Ashton, a vampire, is scared. Damien shows up. Lucas questions him about Veronica, but Damien feigns innocence. Ashton flies into their hangout (a stone mansion) and calls to Lucas. Lucas goes in and finds Veronica, Reggie, Chuck, and Nancy in a cell.

A female, white-haired vampire scientist (yeah) comes by and explains they’re harvesting vampire clones of the Riverdale gang through the use of DNA from hair follicles and a mix of human and vampire blood. Harvesting clones? More accurately, they’re harvesting DNA and blood for the purpose of creating clones.

Anyway, they’re currently working on “a Moose model”. Damien’s job is to bite them and grab some hair and a little blood. Then Maddy, their scientist, does the rest. Damien uses a device to beam some portable daylight at Lucas and Ashton. He then orders them locked inside their coffins, which, I guess, are here at the rival gang’s mansion?

Back at Pop’s, Charlotte’s vampire sense is tingling, and she takes Betty to show her how to protect herself. Betty’s confused.

Charlotte snaps off a tree branch and whittles a stake for Betty, explaining she has to protect herself from those “rogue vampires”. Betty is further confused. Bitch, you shouldn’t be. Charlotte tells her to plunge the stake right through the heart, and Betty is grossed out by it. Charlotte runs off, saying she’ll be back as soon as she can. She leaves a confused Betty behind.

“Chuck” and “Nancy” show up, and Betty immediately notices they look creepy. “Veronica” and “Reggie” show up. Betty points the stake outward and tries to sound like she’ll defend herself, but “Veronica” says Betty couldn’t hurt a flea. Betty raises the stake and warns her to stay away. “Veronica” introduces herself as “Vampironica”.

Betty-and-Veronica-262.jpg
Part 2: Fangs a Lot, Vampironica

The first page and the first third of the second page are taken up by a recap of part 1 (using new artwork). Already, there’s a screw-up; the recap shows a waning crescent in part 1, whereas it was actually a full moon. Part 2 continues using a waning crescent.

Betty again threatens to use the stake unless Vampironica stays the fuck away from her, but Vampironica says she doesn’t have the guts. Betty warns Vampironica to not test her. Suddenly, she smells the garlic pizza that Jughead is casually eating inside Pop’s, seemingly unconcerned about the fight happening outside.

Betty runs inside and swipes the rest of his pizza, pissing him off. She runs outside and sloppily flings the slices at the vampires. Repulsed, they turn into bats and fly away. Vampironica bites off a bit of Betty’s hair on her way out.

Nathanial comes by, showing concern for Betty. Betty tells him about the “bad dream” that she’s having. He turns into a bat to show her that he’s a vampire. She decides to “play along” as long as she’s dreaming. He transforms back into human form and says he’s on her side. He explains about the clones (how does he know about that?) and will lead her to the Lucificus gang’s mansion, but she goes to grab some garlic from Pop’s kitchen first (did she pay him?), because it’s “a little less violent” than the stake, even though she’s supposedly bringing that as well (although we don’t see her holding it; is she using it as a dildo?).

Outside the mansion, Charlotte is hiding behind a tree and concerned for Betty’s safety. She has to see what the Lucificus gang’s up to.

She peaks inside and sees Damien putting Lucas and Ashton, who have been “disabled”, in caskets. She sees the Riverdale gang behind bars and Damien adding Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy to the cell. Damien explains they need some more “prominent” citizens to clone. Vampironica and the Reggie, Chuck, and Nancy clones arrive. Vampironica explains what happened. Maddy asks if she got some of Betty’s hair. Vampironica shows it off. Damien excitedly says they can get started on a Betty vampire. Um, how, if you don’t have her blood?

Seeing this shit’s getting out of control, Charlotte decides to put an end to it, but she’s daylighted by one of the gang members. Damien orders her stuck in a casket next to her friends.

Meanwhile, Betty stops by her house, so her parents won’t be worried, on her way to battle a gang of vampires and save her friends. Um, priorities, girl.

Nathanial explains, when morning comes, they all go into their “sleep mode”. Betty’s plan is to pretend to go to sleep and then sneak out. Despite it going against her better judgment, she’s making an exception, because this is an emergency. What the fuck, girl?! You’re honest and squeaky clean to a goddamn fault!

Anyway, running inside, Betty tells Nathanial that she’ll meet him outside in an hour. Nathanial tells her to hurry.

Inside, Alice is relieved to see Betty. They were getting worried. Betty excuses herself, saying she doesn’t feel well, and goes to bed.

Later, after completely changing clothes and putting on her bookbag, Betty announces her plan to sneak down the trellis as she’s doing it. Nathanial manhandles her and makes a run for it.

When they arrive at the mansion, Betty’s creeped out. Nathanial tells her to stay in the woods while he checks out the situation. He claims they’d spot her too easily. Okay, whatever.

Eventually, Betty get bored. Damien and the guy that daylighted Charlotte show up. Betty’s not bored anymore. She asks what happened to Nathanial. Damien says they’ve taken care of him. He picks her up and carries her back to the mansion over his shoulder. Betty demands to be put down, saying she’s got a babysitting job later today. Okay, that’s kinda stupid but kinda funny at the same time.

Apparently, Damien sets her down once they get into the mansion, because she runs up to Nathanial, who’s not locked up. Veronica explains he’s a traitor. Betty’s pissed. Damien has the other dude lock her up. Veronica is glad to see Betty and hugs her, fearing it’s the end. Vampironica is amused by it. Veronica makes a fist and tells the “second-rate copy” to shut the fuck up. Vampironica claims she’s “the new and improved version” of her. Veronica insults her appearance, so a pissed Vampironica goes into her cell and kicks her ass with her…mad karate skills?

Betty takes off her bookbag and searches for her garlic, but “Reggie” claims his buddies disposed of it back in the woods. Betty finds her stake (which makes its first appearance in 11 pages) and asks if they were too stupid to dispose of it. “Reggie” says she wouldn’t dare, mists into the cell, and demands she hand it over. In their struggle over the stake, she accidentally stakes him and then tries to apologize for it. *facepalm* Bitch, kill all of these bastards!

Betty warns Damien to look out behind him for Jughead and Archie sneaking up with garlic. *facepalm* Bitch, shut the fuck up!

Anyway, Jughead claims to have found them by following the scent of garlic (he has a “very sensitive nose”). Veronica, surprising herself, exclaims “Yay for Jughead!!”

Veronica slaps the “vampire slayer” five for destroying the Reggie clone vampire. Damien says they’ll have a replacement soon. Also, their Betty vampire clone, which Vampironica gets a lady-boner for, is almost complete. How the fuck did they make her without Betty’s blood?

Anyway, Vampironica is eager to see some Betty-on-Betty action and wants to set her loose.

After they wait for the Betty vampire clone to put on some stylish clothes (including replacing her pink hairband with white pearls), Damien makes the introductions. “Betty” looks like she wants to shake hands, so Betty offers her her hand and says “Uh…pleased to meet me!” “Betty” punches the “goodie two shoes” right in the fucking face. She then takes a liking to Archie, wanting to have him as her pet.

Why the fuck are Archie and Jughead not doing anything?! They have a shitload of garlic!

Anyway, Vampironica and vampire Betty fight over Archie, because it’s “in their DNA” (according to Jughead). The two vampire gals beat the shit out of each other. Damien tells them to knock this shit off, becausing they’re embarrassing them all. The vampire gals then beat the shit out of him. Jughead is entertained.

Jughead passes out garlic to the people in the cell and tells them to start throwing it around, because he’s too fucking lazy to do it himself. Only now does the final battle against the vampires begin.

Archie notices the sun’s starting to come up. Damien orders a retreat. Archie looks to Veronica for guidance. She tells him to grab the nearby, large, obvious keys to the cell. He lets everyone out. Betty says they have to save the good vampires. Chuck says they’re in their caskets. Betty says they have to take them out. Veronica tells Moose and Archie (I guess) to go back and get Moose’s van, so they can move four caskets.

Later, Moose and Archie load the caskets in the back of Moose’s van. Moose points out that this won’t look good if they get stopped. Veronica wonders where they should bring them.

While Moose is driving them, Veronica decides on the cave on Riverdale Beach. Then she jumps to the back to sit with Jughead, so Betty can sit with Archie (yeah, I know it’s an artistic error), and adds close by to where they surf. Jughead then asks what about the bad guys back at the mansion. He then answers his own question (I think someone else was meant to ask the question) by saying he’s going back to “garlic-up the place”. He’ll need garlic from every store in town.

They arrive at the beach and put the caskets in the cave. I need to point out an error. There are only three caskets shown, both during the ride in the van and in the cave. That’s correct: there are three good vampires. The error is Veronica earlier saying they have four caskets to move.

Anyway, Veronica says now they just wait until sundown. So…they’re gonna spend the whole day there?

When sundown arrives, the evil vampires wake up in their caskets and find garlic all over the place (including around their necks). They’re trapped until the garlic loses its aroma (in three or four weeks). Nathanial isn’t shown. Neither are any of the Riverdale vampire clones, all of whom except Reggie should still be around.

Back in the cave, the good vampires wake up, disoriented. Veronica and Betty bring them up to speed. Charlotte says the garlic will give them time to figure out a way to terminate the Lucificus gang. Um, how about stakes through the hearts, genius?!

Ashton can’t believe Nathanial betrayed them. Jughead points out a hitherto-unseen Nathanial, tied up with garlic. Lucas says they’ll “figure out” what to do with him. *facepalm* He praises the gang (it seems Chuck and Midge are now present as well) for saving the day. Lucas suggests throwing a beach barbecue in their honor. Betty’s all for it.

Later, Ashton is teaching Betty to night-surf. I feel this should be Lucas and Veronica instead, since they had a discussion about surfing at the beginning of part 1. Anyway, Betty’s surfboard is decorated with blossoms like the kind that Cheryl wears on her clothes. Just saying.

Anyway, Ashton thanks Betty for everything and flirts with her, irritating Archie. Looking at his girls with their vampire love interests, Archie laments he has to compete with vampires now.

The next night, Lucas, Charlotte, and Ashton arrive at Pop’s. Lucas tells Archie, Betty, Veronica (and Pop and the other customers present) that the Lucificus gang and the clones (oh, they are still around; where the fuck were they?) are secured for now – except one. They couldn’t locate Vampironica; she appears to have escaped. How? Lucas guesses she probably fled just as Archie and Jughead attacked. And everyone else, too. Remember, these assholes were too lazy to throw all of the garlic themselves.

Veronica asks if they have to worry about her. Lucas says no and adds she’s probably fled far away. Silently, he hopes that’s true.

Of course, it’s not. Vampironica drives back into Riverdale in a red sports car. The final note promises it’s “not the end”, but I’m gonna take a wild guess and say this story was never followed up on.

This story was a mixed bag. It was kinda funny in spots, but artwork errors (the moon, the disappearing stake, characters appearing and disappearing), characters being stupid, and the utter refusal to have Betty be a badass vampire slayer (contrary to what the covers promised) definitely brought this story down. Archie’s Weird Mysteries did a much better job with vampires in Riverdale.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Bring It On

Riverdale-1
Writer: Michael Grassi
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 1
Cover Date: May, 2017
On-Sale Date: April 5, 2017
Length: 10 pages

One evening (or overcast day), Cheryl leaves flowers for Jason on the bank of Sweetwater River. She’s sad but also angry. Art note: Cheryl’s eye color has been inconsistent over the decades. In the classic comics, it’s usually green but sometimes blue. The front cover of Riverdale One-Shot (a.k.a. Riverdale #0) has them as brown. Her eyes are blue in this story.

Anyway, Jason was her first greatest love. Her second is being captain of the River Vixens. During practice, Betty and Veronica have to hold Cheryl up (and are none-too-pleased about it) as she proudly cheers “Be aggressive! Be-be aggressive!” Interesting cheer. Cheryl thinks of herself as their “Red Queen”. I’ll refrain from making a Resident Evil joke.

As Cheryl walks with her besties, Ginger and Tina, down a hallway, the latter two insult Betty. There’s a cute background gag of someone (Chuck?) checking out the girls and then walking into an open locker door.

Cheryl assures her “little lip-tinted creatures” that she’ll torture Betty and get her to quit the team by having a “hell week” just like the football team. Polly used to be a River Vixen, and Cheryl ain’t having another Cooper on her squad.

As they approach Betty and Veronica, Betty tries to make pleasant small talk with Cheryl, but Cheryl gives Betty her first task: wear a special Vixen uniform, provided by Cheryl, for an entire school day.

After school, Betty has Veronica over at her house. After receiving the very skimpy outfit, Betty writes in her diary that Cheryl is demonic. Veronica, lying on Betty’s bed and reading a magazine, calls it “some basic bitch psychological warfare”, except “bitch” is censored. Let me make this clear: a tie-in coic for the show censors a word that is often uttered on said show. This is a motherfucking Teen-rated title; why is “bitch” not allowed?

Anyway, Veronica says she used to do the same to the girls at Spence and tells Betty to fuck it. Betty says Polly loved being a River Vixen and would be captain instead of Cheryl. She refuses to let Cheryl win and needs to do this for Polly. She takes off her clothes and puts on the uniform, surprising Veronica.

The next day, at school, Betty proudly struts down on a hallway in the skimpy outfit (which somehow doesn’t get her sent home). Veronica, by her side, announces “hotness” coming through. Archie and Jughead are amazed. Cheryl’s besties are amazed that Betty actually did it. Tina says Betty looks “amazing”, but Cheryl tells her “minion” to shut up and declares Betty dead.

At practice, Cheryl congratulates Betty on surviving round one. She then explains the backstory for round two: last year, Baxter High creamed them at spirit regionals, because Betty’s” meth-head sister Polly” flubbed the routine and lost them the Golden Whistle. Betty declares they’ll win it back at this year’s competition. Cheryl loves Betty’s “can-do Cooper attitude” but wants her to break into Baxter High and steal it back. If it’s not sitting around Cheryl’s “elegant and slender neck” by morning practice, Betty’s off the squad.

Betty goes through with it and rags on Veronica for wearing heels to a break-in. Veronica tells Betty to lay off the “choos”, claiming they’re good luck.

Betty opens a window into the boys’ bathroom, climbs in, and helps Veronica in. Veronica asks why and how she’s so good at this. Betty claims she’s “mechanically inclined” and learned to pick locks at an early age, because her mom’s a chronic door-locker. Veronica is amazed.

They find the trophy case. Betty is in awe of the stupid-ass Golden Whistle. She can’t get the case open. Veronica warns “Nancy Drew” before smashing the glass with a fire extinguisher.

As Betty recounts in her diary, someone called in an anonymous tip to the Sheriff’s office, so Sheriff Keller comes in, busts them, and hauls their asses to the station. Betty guesses it was Cheryl’s doing. The moms are called. Hermione is understanding toward “mija”, but Alice drags Betty away, assuming Veronica put her up to this. Betty says she didn’t. Alice lectures Betty for hours and grounds her for a month (this has no bearing on the show). But it doesn’t matter, because Betty has the Golden Whistle (which she stupidly openly displays while her angry mom is driving her home).

The next day, after Betty presents the Golden Whistle to Cheryl, Cheryl’s narration informs us that she hates everyone. She rags on Sheriff Keller for once again proving to be useless. As she silently plans to “hit Betty where it hurts”, Cheryl is outwardly impressed. As Cheryl starts talking about Betty’s final task, Betty’s diary entry goes into a sixth-grade class trip to Riot Park. She, Cheryl, Polly, and Jason were all there. Remembering Betty was too scared to ride the Behemoth, and in order to make sure Betty can sit astride the top of the pyramid, Cheryl forces Betty to prove she’s not still scared of heights by standing on the ledge of the school roof for five minutes after school.

After school, Cheryl, Archie, Jughead, Chuck, and a bunch of other students gather outside. Cheryl predicts, if Betty shows up, she won’t last thirty seconds. Betty does show up. She’s scared shitless but calms herself. She admits Cheryl’s right: she’s terrified of heights. However, Cheryl forgot one thing: Betty conquered her fear that day in sixth grade; she rode the Behemoth, clutching hands with Polly, who didn’t let go of her hand for the entire ride.

Betty admits she couldn’t do this alone, and she doesn’t have her big sister to save her this time, but she has the next best thing: a new BFF. Lucky for her, Cheryl never said she had to do it alone, so Veronica joins Betty on the roof’s ledge, and they join hands. Betty barely survived hell week, but it was worth it, if only to see the look on Cheryl’s face. Betty’s proud and believes Polly would be proud also. Cheryl, however, while admitting Betty survived hell week, swears on Jason’s ghost that she won’t stop until Betty and Veronica feel the same pain that she does.

This was a nice story! Apparently, it will be continued (unlike the previous story, which is stated to be the end), but this story seems complete in itself. It’s interesting to look back and see Cheryl so antagonistic to the girls (and Betty in particular), knowing the three of them eventually become close friends on the show.

After the story is a lightweight, five-page “special look” at the show, a one-page cover gallery, and the cover for the next issue.

Tune in next Wednesday!