Due to Hurricane Irma knocking out the power down here for a while, I have to substitute a quickie comic review this week. Sorry. So get ready to read about the first issue that I pulled out of a storage box.
Title: Let’s Talk Tiki
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Spectacular, No. 78
Cover Date: July, 2007
Length: 11 pages
Normally, I don’t review a complete issue in one post unless it’s an issue-length story (well, if you wanna get technical, I normally don’t review comics, since this is a television blog, but I digress). However, this series is a bit different.
For the first 68 issues of its 90-issue run, “Betty and Veronica Spectacular” was indistinguishable from its parent title. It was just an extra title featuring Betty and Veronica (nothing spectacular about it). In fact, if Archie Comics had simply treated these as issues of the parent series, “Betty and Veronica” would have reached a total of 368 issues before being cancelled.
Starting with issue #69, the format was changed to a magazine style (though still in regular comic size and on regular paper). The title was stylized “b&v spectacular”. There was a story plus a bunch of extra stuff (fashions, lists, etc.).
So I’m gonna review the featured story and then note the extra stuff afterward.
Before the story, there’s an “in this issue” page.
Betty walks by Veronica outside and realizes Veronica got her invitation. Veronica is surprised that Betty is having a tiki party (a supplement after this story reveals the party is held on Saturday at 8:00 PM). Betty’s excited, but Veronica thinks it’s silly and suggests picking a more mature theme, like a debutante ball. Betty points out that Veronica’s the only debutante around, and Veronica agrees. Does Cheryl not count?
Archie, Maria, and Frankie come by, all being up for the party. Frankie even says he’ll bring his ukulele. Maria Rodriguez was kinda the token female Hispanic character for a while (her dad’s been vice principal at one point). Frankie Valdez is her boyfriend and an aspiring musician. That’s…really all that you need to know about them.
Anyway, Veronica’s not convinced, but then some random guy named Ryan Jacobs comes by with his invitation and thanks Betty. Veronica gets a lady-boner. The fact that the “hunkiest guy in school” is interested is enough to get Veronica interested enough to help Betty throw the event. If this dude showed up in any other story, I’m not aware of it. Seems like a random love interest.
Anyway, Veronica claims she left her name off the invitations out of modesty. Ryan leaves. Betty calls Veronica out on her bullshit. Veronica readily agrees and pulls Betty along to start planning their party.
Some time later (they’re wearing different clothes), Veronica comes over to Betty’s and asks how the planning’s coming along. Wait, so Veronica isn’t there every step of the way? That was an abrupt situational shift.
Anyway, Betty shows off a box full of “cute” decorations that she bought. Veronica has some guys back up a truck and unload a shit-ton of decorations. Betty says it’s not in her budget. Veronica’s like “I got this, yo.” Betty asks where they’ll fit this shit. Veronica hadn’t considered that but then suggests moving the party to her house. Betty’s firmly against it. Veronica relents – and insults Betty’s house.
On another day, Veronica notes Betty’s planning a hula contest. Betty has been practicing to an instructional DVD. Veronica suspects it’s to impress Ryan and decides to get her “hula groove on”.
Later, a hula instructor named Mona Kai arrives at Lodge Manor. She says the hula represents the spirit of the Earth (eh, it’s supposedly tied to a creation myth). Veronica just wants to impress a guy. She also wants to dance fast instead of slow. She declares she’ll be the hit of the party.
On Saturday, Betty says they have to decorate, but Veronica has hired help for that and declares they’ll get manicures in the meantime. Betty basically calls Veronica a friend with benefits.
When they come back to Betty’s house, Betty’s astonished to find it’s been completely hula-ized and wonders what her parents will say. Veronica insists they’ll love it. Hal and Alice arrive home and are shocked, but Veronica says their house will be back to normal after the party.
The first guests (Archie and Jughead) arrive. Jughead is enthralled with the volcano that erupts chocolate syrup and decides to spend the evening there. Chuck is impressed with the fire. Veronica says they’re having a roast and invites them to help themselves to “some special tiki-style refreshments”. Ethel orders a tropical punch.
That night, the party’s going great. Betty gives Veronica the credit, but Veronica says it was Betty’s idea. Betty agrees. Veronica and at least two other girls (Betty, Nancy, Ethel, and Ginger are all present) start dancing the hula for Ryan. Archie feels left out. Veronica says she can dance for him anytime, which seems to make him sad. Archie enjoys the dancing, anyway. Jughead sticks to the chocolate volcano.
Twenty minutes later, Nancy and Maria stop dancing, exhausted. Veronica tells the drummer to speed up the beat in the hope of making the other girls drop out. Ginger immediately drops out. Veronica curses Betty and her “athletic prowess”.
Soon, both girls are in pain, but Veronica refuses to give up. She hurts her back and calls for help. Archie goes off with her. Betty feels bad for her. Ginger tells Betty that Veronica was just trying to keep up with her.
Later, Ryan hopes Veronica is okay. An amused Betty notes Veronica has found a way to “cope”. The “queen of the tiki party” returns, lying on a comfortable bed carried by four hot, shirtless guys. Veronica notes Ryan only in passing. Archie looks like he knows he’s lost out. Ryan asks if Veronica is for real. Betty says it’s “100% pure Veronica”.
This story is pretty fun. It’s mostly B&V-centered, so the other characters (and there are many) don’t get a chance to do much. Also, it’s interrupted with so many ads – including an insert glossy “The Batman” comic featuring Cal Ripken, Jr. (I’m not fucking kidding).
After this story, there’s a “B&V Tiki Fashions” page, a “more B&V Tiki Fashions” page, and a 4-page “Betty & Veronica present How to Throw a Great Tiki Party!” thing. The tips include: design a snazzy invitation, make a good first impression by giving your (house) entrance a tiki makeover, welcome your guests by having a basket full of Hawaiian leis to wear, dress up a table with a grass skirt, tell your guests to wear Hawaiian shirts (optional: contest for the loudest shirt; Archie won this year), make a cool tiki refreshment stand, create a fun picture opportunity for your friends, use hollowed-out coconuts for drinks, make shish kabobs [sic], have a limbo contest, and have fun. After that, there’s a 2-page “B&V’s Tiki Recipes!” (Hawaiian Ambrosia, Tiki Strawberry Punch, E*Z Coconut Pudding, Chili Dip, Sunflower Seed Salad, and Hawaiian Kabobs [sic]) and a 1-page “Tiki Fashions for the Guys” (featuring Reggie, Jughead, Archie, and Chuck).
Overall, this issue is pretty fun. The inside-back cover previews the upcoming “Bad Boy Trouble” storyline with all four covers and the on-sale dates: #151 (May 15), #152 (June 19), #153 (July 24), #154 (September 4). The back cover has an ad for Archie Italian charms and accessories by Pugster.
Tune in next Wednesday!