Comics – The Virtuous Villain

AaRH-89.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jim DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie at Riverdale High, No. 89
Cover Date: December, 1982
Length: 11 pages

*I don’t have the original issue and am reviewing this story from the digital version of Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 3 (1995). I don’t know if anything was censored or otherwise altered for this reprint. The story might originally be uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate.

Bunny, Cheryl, Jason, and Cedric are hanging around outside Pembrooke Academy, bored. Cheryl and Jason suggest they “torment townies”. Cedric wants to try “something new and different” to torment them. Bunny says they must be creative. Then Sidney S. Snavely shows up. Who’s he, you ask? Some new character that got a paragraph of introductory text at the beginning of the story. Basically, he’s a Pembrooke student with Dilton’s physique, an ugly face, no glasses, and Reggie’s personality. You can see him in the above cover image. Yeah, they really wanted to promote him. “He’s Reggie Mantle…under a different name! Be astounded!”

After a lot of debate regarding Sidney (the only really funny thing is Cedric uses big words, and Cheryl thinks he’s talking dirty), Cedric explains their dilemma, and Sidney takes on the challenge (meanwhile, Cheryl looks bored).

Sidney says it’ll take a day or two, but Cheryl’s bored now. He pisses off the “silly child”, and Jason tells her to leave Sidney alone, so Cheryl turns her back on them. After receiving more adoration, Sidney rushes off to “cogitate” in his room…in the dark.

Sidney eventually has a plan. Later, Jason walks over to Cheryl and asks her if she’s seen Sidney. She says he’s in the academy print shop, printing off handbills. Sidney comes outside and summons the “children”. His grand plan is for them to hand out handbills to the “townies” regarding some bullshit fake endangered species called the “hermit hugabear”. He also pulls a large poster of said bear out of his ass (a cartoonist in his art class drew it).

Cheryl loves the picture but is confused over the plan. He has them come inside with him. Having picked up Cedric and Bunny somewhere along the way, they gather…somewhere, and Sidney has them put on white robes with hoods like you see in Biblical or medieval movies. Sidney claims they won’t be recognized by the townies. Fortunately for them, bullshit comic book shadowing proves him right. He tells them to slump and hide their “natural aristocratic bearing”. He tells them to set up shop outside the mall. Um, doesn’t that require permission from the mall’s owner? Someone (and it’s difficult to tell who’s speaking with those stupid hoods on) asks Sidney what they’ll do with the money that they collect.

He waits until they’ve gotten into his yellow sports car and are on their way to the mall before he answers their question: they’ll purchase a large plaque, designating the Riverdale High townies as “suckers of the year”. They’ll let the media know of their clever hoax. Cheryl, who’s sitting next to him, loves the idea, even though everyone involved should realize taking credit for it in the media will lead to fraud charges against them.

At the mall, they set up the poster and beg for money. Archie, Betty, and Veronica read the handbill. Betty is brought to tears. They all give money, and Veronica offers to charge their mall purchases. Sidney watches while parked across the street (this doesn’t look like a mall, more like a downtown shopping area) and wonders what’s in it for him (referring to himself in the third person).

Sidney thinks and rambles to himself for an entire page, pissed off.

He keeps doing this, and he observes the Pembrooke students also collecting money from passing adults, not just the “rival kids”. When a man asks a question about the hugabear, two of the Pembrooke kids bullshit a response that should fool absolutely no one.

Sidney decides to expose their bullshit (which he started) in order to come off as a hero. He presents the man with an “encyclopedia of animals” that has “every animal on Earth” listed (did he just happen to have this on him?) and defies him to find a hugabear. One of the Pembrooke kids is like “What the fuck?!”

Immediately, the man finds an officer and orders him to “investigate this group”. The officer demands to see their faces. They pull back their hoods. The officer recognizes them from prior run-ins. Two people in a passing RIV TV van stop to document the “little local drama”. The reporter interviews the man, who credits Sidney, who gives his name on camera. The reporter praises Sidney for “uncovering this charity fraud”.

The cop tells the “young scamps” that the dean of their school is on his way, and they’ll meet him at the precinct. The camera guy gets a shot of them for the 6:00 PM news. Um, why aren’t the Pembrooke kids exposing Sidney’s role in the fraud?!

Later, Cedric, Bunny, Jason, and Cheryl are “confined to the grounds” for a month. Cheryl vows to not trust Sidney again. They’re all sitting in their dorm room and watching a news report of the mayor giving Sidney a medal. Um, what the fuck? Since when do they live at the school? Just the previous month, there was a story that referenced their mansion!

This story is pretty stupid all around. Nothing else to say.

This story was reprinted as a flashback within the “All I Want for Christmas is…Everything!” story in Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 3, in 1995.

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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.

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