Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Inking: Digikore Studios
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Annual (Double Digest Magazine), No. 240
Cover Date: March, 2016
Length: 10 pages
I’m sorry that there was no review last week. My DSL modem gave out on Saturday the 4th, and the earliest that I could order a replacement was Monday morning. I figured I’d be offline for quite a while, so I used the time to make progress on writing stories and watching my huge backlog of DVDs and Blu-rays. Then the UPS guy dropped off the new modem on Tuesday afternoon. I thought “Do I wanna do a rush job on the review? Nah.”
As a side note, this is actually the last of the modern digests that I own. I had stopped purchasing digests a few months ago, because the cost was adding up, and the available space in my room (I live in a mobile home) was shrinking. I recently made two huge purges of my digests and DVDs. I held on to this one just to review this story.
Before I get into the story, though, let’s address the title of the digest. This is not the 240th annual. Obviously. It’s just a double digest (maybe with more pages; I don’t know) renamed to make it seem like it’s an annual, because Archie Comics is too cheap and/or financially strapped to publish a separate annual anymore.
Anyway, the story itself is notable for being a new Classic Archie story that came out after New Riverdale had started. Any new Classic Archie stories (if there are any) are relegated to the digests. The “real” comics are for New Riverdale, bitches.
This story, nominally a Betty and Veronica story (although that’s a fucking lie, since they disappear 2/3rds of the way through page 2), was written and drawn by longtime Archie Comics writer/artist, Dan Parent, “the last Classic Archie guy left” (at least, that’s what I’d read a while ago). This was part of a series of stories called “The Many Loves of Archie Andrews!!”, which isn’t so much a series as a branding. Each story is standalone and focuses on Archie’s relationship with one of his girlfriends (Archie’s a player in the comics). Let’s get into it:
During winter, Archie, Betty, and Veronica are walking along outside. Veronica is happy that they have Archie all to themselves, which is rare. Archie says it’s their lucky day. Betty calls him out on being full of himself. Archie claims he was just kidding (I’m not so sure). His phone rings, and he answers it. He’s “summoned” by Cheryl, who claims she needs him for an emergency. Veronica calls Cheryl a “loudmouth loser” and demands Archie turn off his phone. She doesn’t believe in the “emergency”, but Archie does and takes off running. Veronica calls him a “poor fool”.
Archie rushes over to the Blossom mansion. Cheryl’s “emergency” is she’s bored at a family function (everybody hates her) and wants Archie to entertain her. She’s confused about the hatred but then yells at her cousin Ed to stop staring at her. Cheryl says it’s mostly her Granny Winslow that hates her. Granny Winslow is going to leave her whole charitable foundation, Arts for America, to Cheryl’s cousin Lily, “a doofus do-gooder”. Granny loves Lily and is always nice to her and mean to Cheryl. Cheryl would love to inherit the foundation. Archie suggests Cheryl try being nice to her grandmother. Cheryl offers to get something for Granny, but Granny burns her. Archie seems to recognize Granny. She recognizes him. He then recognizes her as Olivia Winslow and realizes he did work for her and her foundation (how did he not put it together when Cheryl mentioned the foundation’s name?), spending hours teaching music to needy children. Cheryl is astonished. Olivia is astonished to learn Archie is friends with Cheryl. Cheryl cozies up to Archie and declares Archie’s her boyfriend. Olivia is astonished. Cheryl tries to make herself look good. Olivia starts to wonder about it, but then Jason walks by and tries to sabotage Cheryl’s act. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up but then dials it down for appearances. Cheryl not-so-subtlely suggests Olivia leave the foundation to her and throws Archie in to sweeten the deal. Olivia decides to keep an open mind. Lily protests, but Olivia won’t have it. Cheryl sticks out her tongue at Lily behind Olivia’s back. Lily hates Cheryl.
Cheryl leads a finger-painting group for children, but it’s so boring that she turns it into a face-painting group. Olivia is upset. Cheryl insists she’s just being her “wacky self”. Olivia tells Archie to keep Cheryl in line. Archie has a gig tonight and has to leave soon. Cheryl tries to guilt her “only hope” into staying, but Archie gets her to take him to the dance this Saturday, even though she was going with Johnny Williams (don’t worry, this is a non-character that we never see). Cheryl agrees twice, which is sloppy writing. Cheryl and Archie rib each other over their sneakiness.
Archie and Cheryl don black outfits and dance for the kids, even though they have no idea what the fuck they’re doing.
Later, Archie is playing a guitar and singing “Kumbaya” for puppies while Cheryl is forced to sit and endure it. She feels like a fool. Olivia tells her to “dance for the doggies”, and “poor, gullible Cheryl” does so. Olivia and Lily laugh, and Cheryl realizes it was all a joke. Olivia reveals they were “teasing” Cheryl. Olivia admits she initially took Cheryl seriously, but then Lily showed her some episodes of Cheryl’s reality show, “Keeping Up with the Blossoms” (during which Cheryl treats the staff horribly). I wish I could tell you if there was an earlier mention of such a series, but there probably wasn’t. Olivia calls Cheryl “terrible” and advises Archie to run the fuck away from her. Cheryl kicks the guitar away and insults Lily’s (presumably) fake hair extensions and personality. Cheryl then makes a grabbing motion at…something and throws a temper tantrum. Archie admits she has personality.
This is an okay story. Cheryl is…mildly devious in wanting to get in good with Granny, so she might someday take over a foundation that’s never been mentioned before. For this, she’s teased and forced to do a bunch of bullshit. Two things that I hate are when people tease me or waste my time, so I feel a bit sorry for Cheryl.
Tune in next Wednesday!