Comics – Fashion Fantabulous!

Betty-and-Veronica-271.jpg
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 271
Cover Date: August, 2014
On-Sale Date: July 2, 2014
Length: 20 pages

Before I get into the story, I have to comment on the cover. Yes, that’s Toni Topaz in the lower-left corner, and, no, she doesn’t appear in the actual story. Archie Comics was doing this a lot during this time, giving her undeserved cover appearances.

At Lodge Manor, Hermione reacts in shock to a letter that she receives, surprising Veronica and Betty. Hiram, playing with doing important business shit on his tablet, just asks if something’s troubling her.

The girls continue to be concerned, but Hiram, no doubt used to his wife’s freak-outs, takes it in stride. It turns out that Hermione’s old friend, Beatrice Witterstone (the “famous designer” married to movie star Kurt Jawbone), is in town and invited her to her latest fashion show. Hermione feels “so plain and insignificant” compared to Beatrice, surprising the girls.

We get some flashbacks as Hermione fills the girls in. Back in the day, “Batty” and Hermione(ca) were best friends but competed against each other…*snores* Oh, sorry, dozed for a second. Anyway, Hermione ran for senior class president and won the state beauty pageant, but Beatrice got a part in a Broadway show, where she met Kurt Jawbone. She became interested in costume design, and that led to her career in fashion. We learn from the flashbacks that Hermione was rich even in high school.

Betty, without a hint of irony, asks Hermione why they, being best friends, would compete with each other. Obvious answer is obvious. Betty suggests making peace, and Veronica expresses interest in attending the fashion show. Hiram passes along his “warmest regards” to Beatrice, pissing off Hermione. Well, we know who the guy was. If history repeats itself, Veronica is gonna “win” Archie.

At the Spring Fashion Spectacular! fashion show, Veronica is in awe. She points out Katy Keene, Gloria Granderbuilt, and someone named Mischa Muncha on the runway. Gloria Granderbuilt has long brown hair (if that’s her), and the other girl (Mischa?) is black. She seems to be a reimagining of Katy’s longtime friend/rival, Gloria Granbilt (later called Gloria Gold), who’s blonde. Anyway, Betty worriedly points out that Josie and the Pussycats is supplying the music. This pisses off Veronica. She and Valerie are cold to each other. This is in reference to the Archie/Valerie romance that had been going on for a few years at this point (they first got together around mid-2010).

Betty has to fill Hermione in. Apparently, Valerie and Archie haven’t seen each other in some time (even though they could totally text or whatever), and she and Veronica get into an argument. Josie breaks it up and suggests Betty keep Veronica in line while she and Melody do the same to Valerie. Betty agrees.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Cabot, the sister of the Pussycats’ manager, overhears and suggests to her familiar, Sebastian, that they can use Veronica and Valerie. Sebastian agrees. Suddenly, Beatrice excitedly calls out for “Hermy”. They coldly exchange pleasantries.

Betty is concerned about two “suspicious” workers in the shadows that are doing a piss-poor job.

After a model breaks a heel, Beatrice expresses concern that the show is “jinxed”. She cites a “series of strange mishaps”. Katy comes by and informs her that Mischa sprained her ankle (so Mischa is actually the brown-haired model, making Gloria the black model), and the other models quit out of fear.

Betty wants to question the two workers about all of this. In Betty’s mind, questioning begins with tackling the suspect to the floor. Betty then recognizes her as Ginger Snapp. The other worker is Ginger’s friend, Suzie. They sneaked in to watch the show, and Suzie’s hoping to be discovered as a super-model. Ginger and Suzie are female Archie clones from back in the day, created to try to duplicate Archie’s success. They were from separate series and, as far as I know, had never crossed over before.

Veronica wonders who caused all of the trouble. It was Alexandra, of course. Sabrina bamfs in behind her with Salem and calls her out on using magic. Apparently, they have a history, though I don’t know if they’d ever crossed over before. Hell, Alexandra isn’t even usually a witch; this is an old element that was brought back for this story. It’s hilarious (and stupid) that Alexandra addresses Sabrina as “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, and it takes the shape of a logo (complete with registered trademark symbol). Who would do that? Anyway, Alexandra was just trying to jinx the Pussycats as punishment for not letting her join the band. Sabrina decides to fix the mess with something a lot more powerful than magic: friendship.

Beatrice is freaking out, because apparently there are absolutely no models available in town. Hermione tasks Betty and Veronica (odd that even Veronica’s mother refers to them in that order) with getting their friends to model. The girls agree to do it, even though I would have been pissed if this was suddenly placed on my shoulders. They run off.

Outside Riverdale High School, Betty recruits Sheila, Sherry, Shrill, and Chloe (are they attending summer school?). I think these are new students that had been introduced in the “New Kids Off the Wall” storyline in late 2010. At Pop’s, Veronica recruits Midge Klump, Ginger Lopez, Cricket O’Dell, Nancy Woods, Trula Twyst, Maria Rodriguez, and Tomoko Yoshida. Oddly, Veronica addresses all of them (except Midge) by first and last name. Who does that? Then Betty finds Laurie Lake, Linda Moore, and Samantha Smythe hanging around outside and recruits them. Okay, this gets confusing. Laurie and Linda are the Betty and Veronica equivalents from Archie Comics’ Wilbur series. Wilbur Wilkin debuted three months before Archie but is often mistakenly called an Archie clone. Wilbur is basically a blond hybrid of Archie and Reggie. Samantha is the girlfriend of Bingo Wilkin (seemingly no relation to Wilbur), a character who was retroactively turned into Jughead’s cousin. Wilbur and Bingo are also in the panel. Anyway, finally, Veronica recruits Cheryl, who’s glad to help, since Veronica now owes her a “big one”.

Betty and Veronica bring all of the girls to the fashion show. Beatrice wonders if they can model. Katy says she and Gloria will teach them everything that they need to know, much to Gloria’s surprise. Wait a minute. Now, Gloria is definitely the brown-haired girl. But a brown-haired girl was earlier identified as Mischa. So who was the black girl on the runway when Veronica listed off the models? Anyway, Gloria wants to know why they’d train their competition. Katy says because friends help friends.

Betty checks a list and realizes they’re still a few models short, so Veronica recruits Josie and the Pussycats (“especially” Valerie). Alexandra’s upset, but Josie says Alexandra, despite not doing anything useful, is still part of the band, making her cry.

Beatrice confesses she’s always been jealous of Hermione, having been hurt when Hiram chose her. They make up. Veronica is shocked to learn they were competing for her dad. She just now figured this out?! She’s not very bright, is she? Betty knew all along.

In the dressing room, Veronica and Valerie compliment each other’s looks and affirm their friendship. Sabrina re-affirms to Salem that friendship is more powerful than magic, despite the fact that she first said it to Alexandra. By the way, she says this within earshot of everyone, so she’s out of the broom closet, I guess. Beatrice comes in and tells them that the curtain’s about to rise.

So the show’s a big success. The girls (and Sebastian) are great. Smoke fills the stage. Sabrina doesn’t participate, but she watches from the audience and creates some magic sparks with her index finger, so maybe she created the smoke. I dunno. Reggie and Jughead are in attendance, and so are Mr. Weatherbee and Chuck (I think), albeit in shadow.

The audience loves it. Hermione and Beatrice are overjoyed. It seems the entire main Riverdale High faculty, Archie’s parents, and Pop Tate are here. Are all of these people last-minute invitees? Veronica vows to Valerie that no boy will ever come between them again. Valerie agrees. Veronica asks if anyone’s seen Betty. Melody says she’s in the front row – and then screams out “with Archie!!” Um, I guess she did it for dramatic effect. Veronica is shocked. Valerie is…slightly concerned. Betty seems to be wearing the same outfit as before the show, so, unlike Veronica, it seems she didn’t participate in it in order to snuggle with Archie. *sigh*

This story’s pretty nice. Not a whole lot more to say about it. On the final page is an ad for the issue that we just read (an odd thing that appeared in issues around that time). The blurb mentions the fashion show occurred in New York City, which isn’t evident from the story itself. Indeed, I wonder how the girls managed to get back to Riverdale, round up all of those girls, and get back to NYC in time for the show.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

6 thoughts on “Comics – Fashion Fantabulous!”

  1. …and Ginger Snapp and Suzie appeared together in a story AGAIN the very next month (along with Linda Lake and Laurie Moore) — ARCHIE #648. That one even managed to squeeze Toni Topaz into the story. Maybe she wasn’t a runway model in this one because they couldn’t find any shiny-metallic pink/magenta/violet outfits for her to wear, and without her signature style (I mean, think about it… how often have you seen her without her hat?), she’s much less recognizable — I guess all the fashions they had on hand must have clashed with her shocking-pink hair. And if you’re going to get all het up about the inaccuracies of cover depictions, I don’t believe B&V wore those exact dresses depicted on the cover, either.

    You are correct that Sheila Wu, Sherry Thyme, Shrill (real name: Avalon Prisston), and Chloe Mancuso all first appeared in the “New Kids Off the Wall” crossover arc (collected in TPB as “Clash of the New Kids”).

    This is one of my favorite stories from the 2010-15 half-decade, but then again most of Tom DeFalco’s stories from that half-decade also make the list, along with most of Dan Parent’s “all-star cast” stories resurrecting many of ACP’s former series stars. I think this is one of the few “all-star cast” stories that wasn’t by Dan. Plus it’s mostly an all-girl cast, which is great. The other one that springs to mind is DP’s “Battle of the BFFs” multi-parter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, and I would exactly call Wilbur Wilkin a cross between Archie and Reggie. He’s pretty much straight Archie, but the earlier Archie of the 1950s, who had his devious side as well. Besides, Wilbur had his own “Reggie” in the form of Alec (no last name), who is pretty much the “Missing Link” between Reggie Mantle and Alexander Cabot III.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops. I meant to type “I wouldN’T exactly call Wilbur Wilkin a cross between Archie and Reggie”. Wilbur came to bear a much stronger resemblance to Archie at the tail end of his series, when covers announced “The NEW Wilbur”, which meant that Frank Doyle & Dan DeCarlo gave the series a soft reboot. That’s when Alec was added to the cast, and several older supporting characters were dropped. Prior to that, for nearly a decade, the Wilbur stories had been largely the work of Joe Edwards (of Li’l Jinx fame).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, sorry, 658. Memorable chiefly because you rarely saw more recent stories where AA displayed quite that level of A-holiness. Fortunately the girls don’t let him get away with it, but it still seems like he got off way too easy in the karmic sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, #658 is a good example of what I mean about Archie. His behavior in that story is much more typical of the sort of dick move characteristic of Reggie. But if you look back at the 1950s stories, they weren’t being anywhere near so careful to always portray as “the good guy” of the story, or a role model for younger male readers. After 1968, when The Archie Show gave the character a much higher profile, he cleaned up his act a lot and for the most part didn’t pull the kind of stunts he routinely got away with in the 1950s and early 1960s.

      Liked by 1 person

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