“Whafuck?” you ask?
Funny (and embarrassing) story: I don’t have a way to record video from TV, so I figured I’d be using downloaded episodes of “Riverdale” to do the reviews. Unfortunately, the file format that it’s in is incompatible with my video editor. Yeah, I use an editor when writing the reviews, because it allows easy rewind, fast-forward, and scrolling, allowing me to capture the exact frame that I want. With “Riverdale”, I’m forced to use a video player, which doesn’t have those controls, so trying to get the shots that I want is a pain in the ass.
So “Riverdale” will have to wait until it’s out on DVD. If it gets canceled before then, I’ll deal with the downloaded video files.
In a way, this is a good thing, because the thought of reviewing a 46-minute episode every week was daunting. Also, my work has slammed me with a lot of hours recently (and for the foreseeable future), giving me little free time as a result.
So sorry, but this blog will feature comic stories and “The New Archies” for the time being.
Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Henry Scarpelli
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 608
Cover Date: August, 1990
Length: 11 pages
This is a two-part story. No, there were not 600+ issues of “Archie Giant Series Magazine”. In one of the, um, weirdest mysteries in comics, issues #36-135 and #252-451 were simply skipped over. Really bizarre. So there are actually 332 issues of this title, which is still pretty impressive. Each issue actually “presents” a different subtitle (in this case, “Betty and Veronica Spectacular”), which indicates which character(s) will be featured.
Veronica and Betty get off of a train somewhere out west and are met by Veronica’s “Uncle Charlie” Chuck and Sylvester (aka Sly), his nephew and ranch foreman. Veronica introduces Betty to Charlie Chuck, “the world’s greatest writer of Westerns”. Charlie isn’t Veronica’s uncle at all, just a dear friend of her father that knew Veronica since she was little. Charlie and Sly carry the girls’ luggage to Charlie’s car. Veronica spots a rattlesnake in the back of the car and asks Charlie if he’s going to shoot it. Charlie says he can’t; his guns aren’t loaded; he just carries them to help inspire him to write his stories. Charlie gets the snake out of the car with a stick.
On the ride to the ranch, Sly and Charlie talk about how Charlie fell off of his horse and almost broke his leg. Charlie says someone deliberately cut the cinch in his saddle. The oil companies are offering to buy Charlie’s land. Sly says Charlie should sell, but Charlie refuses. They come upon “Ol’ Curly Saddlesore”, a prospector, who hasn’t hit any payloads lately. Charlie and Curly went to high school together.
When they arrive at Charlie’s Ranch, they’re greeted by oilmen. Charlie gets them to leave. Charlie introduces Lenora (presumably his wife) to Veronica and Betty. Lenora says, before his accident, Charlie would ride the range for hours; it helped inspire him to write his Western novels. Now, he rides a mechanical, toy horse, which he doesn’t find the same. Lenora tells the girls to freshen up, because they’re going to a square dance tonight.
At the square dance, Betty is excited to hear “real honest-to-goodness country music”, and Veronica is excited about the two “real honest-to-goodness cowboys” approaching them. One of them introduces himself as Slim and then introduces his sidekick, Dusty. Veronica introduces herself and then introduces Betty as her sidekick. Veronica dances with Slim, and Betty dances with Dusty. Slim says they worked at Charlie’s ranch until “mean dude” Sly fired them. A bullet is fired through the window and goes through Charlie’s hat. Veronica mentions to Betty about how Sly stepped outside just before the shot was fired. Betty agrees and guesses he put the snake in the car.
The next day, Charlie wants to show the girls around “the spread”. Veronica advises him to not leave the house. Charlie says he’ll ask Sly to show them around, but Veronica says she and Betty would rather ride on their own.
As Veronica and Betty ride, Betty says she’s so glad that Veronica insisted Betty take riding lessons back in Riverdale. Both Betty and Veronica express a distrust of Sly. Betty spots someone following them at a distance. Veronica looks through her binoculars; it’s Sly. Veronica suggests they ride into a canyon to lose him and then spots a cabin, which Betty guesses is Curly’s cabin, based on his mule being outside.
They go into the cabin, and Betty discovers Curly has a collection of Charlie’s books. Veronica discovers Curly put a hangman’s noose around a picture of Charlie. Curly comes inside, holding the rifle with which he’d almost “finished” Charlie. Veronica asks Curly why he wants to “harm” Charlie. Curly says Charlie maligns him in all of his books, mistaking mentions of a “tall dark handsome stranger” and other such villains as being about him. Sly comes in and points a gun at Curly. Curly uses the butt of his rifle to knock the gun out of Sly’s hand. Taking advantage of the distraction, Betty kicks the rifle out of Curly’s hands. Sly picks up the gun and points it at Curly. Sly praises Betty’s “fancy footwork” on and off the dance floor, and Betty admits they were wrong about Sly.
Later, back at the ranch, Charlie tells Curly that he never once put him in any of his books. Curly says that’s even worse as Sly leads him away. Charlie blames Curly’s behavior on years of prospecting. Charlie wants to make it up to Veronica and Betty for all of the trouble that they went through. Veronica asks for dates for herself and Betty with Slim and Dusty. Lenora has already done that. They’re at the ranch and greet the girls.
This is a pretty nice story, but I don’t care for it much, because I don’t care for Westerns in general.
It’s nice to get some background info on Veronica, even if it’s not much.
Betty loses some cool points for liking country music.
Slim and Dusty are such stereotypical cowboy names.
Veronica alternates between referring to Charlie as “Uncle Charlie” and “Charlie Chuck”. That’s weird. Why would Veronica call him by his full name when she thinks he’s been shot?
It’s odd that Charlie would have no idea of who’d want him dead. The connection is never made between the oil companies and the incidents.
It’s weird that Betty and Veronica would become suspicious of Sly based on no more than Slim calling him a “mean dude” and Sly walking outside before the shot was fired (which we didn’t see). Sure, it might plant the thoughts in their heads, but they overreacted.
It’s kind of pathetic that, with an attempt on Charlie’s life, the writer keeps trying to avoid calling it what it is: killing. Instead, we get “goner”, “finished”, and “harm”. Sheesh. What about “brown bread”? Would that work?
Did Sly pull a loaded gun on Curly, or did he take one of Charlie’s unloaded guns?
Betty is awesome for kicking the rifle out of Curly’s hands. Betty picks up the rifle but doesn’t have her finger on the trigger, leaving Sly to hold Curly at gunpoint.
Sly rides back to the ranch on a horse, and Curly is tied up while riding with him on his mule. When they get to the ranch, they dismount, and Sly has Curly walk off with him somewhere. Why? Where? If they’re (presumably) going to the sheriff (and not behind the wood shed), then shouldn’t they ride instead of walk?
In general, this story is nice, but Curly’s motive is insane.
Tune in next Wednesday!