Comics – Whose Beach is It, Anyway?

Archie's-Summer-Splash!
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Archie’s Summer Splash!, No. 1
On-Sale Date: May 1, 2010
Cover Date: May, 2010
Length: 22 pages

This issue came out for Free Comic Book Day. I’m reviewing the digital edition, which removes the ads.

Archie, Betty, and Jughead arrive at the beach. Archie’s carrying a surfboard, Betty’s carrying a basket of food, and Jughead’s carrying a beach towel or blanket. Betty’s looking forward to “three months of nothing but fun in the sun”. Um, I hope you’re wearing tons of sunscreen. Archie reminds her that they have some work to do.

Betty’s confused. Archie reminds her that The Archies are part of the Zowie-palooza tour, and immediately Archie Comics shows it’s behind the times (the festival has been based in Chicago’s Grant Park since 2005). Anyway, Betty considers that to be more fun than work. Jughead says they have to be on top of their game, because they’ll be performing with a lot of top groups. Betty complains about the heaviness of her basket. How much food did she pack? Anyway, Cheryl rides by in a car (driven by her boyfriend, George), yells a warning, and throws something.

Cheryl hits Betty and Jughead with a water balloon. Betty’s like “What the fuck?!” Cheryl just wanted to say hi to her “townie friends”. Jughead angrily tells her to go back to Pembrooke. Cheryl agrees to. George admonishes her for being “pretty childish”. She says he’s no fun and calls picking on the Riverdale townies her “pastime”. She hugs him and leans close. He finds her “nutty” but also “irresistable”, so it’s all good.

They arrive at Pembrooke Beach. Cheryl says they share the same coastline, but their beach is so much prettier than Riverdale’s. They get out of the car. George spots Jason, which disappoints Cheryl. George adds Jason’s got some friends with him. Cheryl is pissed about the “Riverdale creeps” (Ginger and Veronica). She tells them that it’s a private beach. Jason tells her to calm the fuck down, saying he invited them as his guests. Cheryl guesses he does this shit just to piss her off. He asks her if it worked.

She says yes, which pleases him. She tells them to stay out of her way. Ronnie asks George what he sees in Cheryl. George is at a loss for words. Cheryl screams at him to hurry the fuck up. Ronnie looks on sadly.

Soon, George and Cheryl are sitting on their blanket. Suddenly, an evacuation order sounds over the loudspeaker. Cheryl asks a beach patrol officer what’s going on. He explains there’s an oil spill. She asks how long it will take to clean up. He’s not sure.

Later (presumably on the next day), at home, Cheryl is disappointed to read in the newspaper that it’s going to take three months to clean their beach, noting it’s the whole summer. A cruise ship accidentally left a huge spill. George is upset, too, and asks where they’re gonna spend the summer. Cheryl gets an idea.

Of course, Cheryl, George, and Jason show up on Riverdale’s beach. Cheryl happily greets her “friends”, surprising Betty, worrying Archie, and angering Ronnie (who insults her).

Ronnie tells Jason and George that they can stay but tells Cheryl to leave. Cheryl hugs Ronnie and reminds her that they’re all friends now. I’d like to think this is a reference to “Friendly Fire“, but it’s more likely a reference to the more recent storyline that had introduced George to the comics and paired him with Cheryl. Ronnie accuses Cheryl of just wanting to use their beach (which is true) and adds she won’t let them on her beach unless Jason steps in. Ronnie tells Cheryl to get the fuck out and threatens her friends to not invite her. Archie points out that there’s not much that they can do, because this is a public beach. Ronnie’s angry, but Cheryl is happy. Betty happily adds Pembrooke Beach is private. Cheryl does a happy dance, which pisses off Ronnie.

Later, Cheryl, Jason, and George are relaxing on the beach (and, it should be noted, not causing any trouble whatsoever). Suddenly, Cheryl asks what the “noise” is. Jason says The Archies are rehearsing in the amphitheater, where the concert will be happening. Cheryl, suddenly filled with visions of stars, wants to be in the concert, but Jason points out that she can’t sing. George adds she can’t dance or play any instrument either. Cheryl’s a bit upset – and also missing her navel in this panel, which is just weird.

Jason happily says everybody loves The Archies. Cheryl asks why, not seeing the appeal. Jason says they’re good and have a lot of fans. Having a plan, Cheryl takes out her cell phone and calls her friends, Priscilla and Becky. I…guess they’re her schoolmates at Pembrooke Academy, but I don’t recognize them.

Later (seemingly on another day), a crowd (including Ethel, Ginger, Chuck, and Nancy) has gathered to watch The Archies sit on some rocks and perform an acoustic version of “Sugar, Sugar“. The crowd loves it. For fuck’s sake, this dopey pop song was already 41 years old at the time, and Archie Comics was still trying to present it as something cool (if it was ever considered cool in the first place). Couldn’t Dan Parent have come up with a new song title? Also, Betty’s still stuck with her fucking tambourine, despite the fact that I recall seeing at least one story where she played guitar in The Archies, and she’s been shown to be a good guitar player in other stories.

Nancy says they’re gonna do them proud at the concert. Really, though, I can’t see “Sugar, Sugar” holding its own against the likes of…*looks up 2010 in American music*…Lana Del Ray, Jennifer Rush, Christina Aguilera, Sarah McLachlan, Sia, Miley Cyrus, Paramore, Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry.

Later, all of them having completely changed clothes, Archie decides they need a break. Betty, having changed her hairstyle to pigtails (this is her third hairstyle this summer), points out that Chuck and Nancy are hitting the surf. Archie decides to join them, and Betty and Veronica join in, so they rush toward the water…without surfboards.

Several days later, Ronnie is suddenly woken from her nap on her beach towel by a “horrible sound”. Betty says it sounds like a whale being tortured. Jughead says it sounded like a tin shed exploding. Um, interesting comparisons.

Ronnie points to a stage (not the one in the amphitheater) and says Cheryl is attempting to sing. Archie is shocked and worried. Cheryl, rocking a ponytail just like her bestie (but not affecting her hair length in the slightest), says she’s formed a new girl group, Blossom. She and her friends are dressed in sleeveless green dresses (with a yellow blossom at chest level on each) and thigh-high, high-heeled, white boots. The stage has a green backdrop with yellow blossoms, and there’s a nearby green banner with “Blossom” in yellow planted nearby on the beach. One of Cheryl’s friends actually looks like Bunny from earlier stories. Anyway, Cheryl declares they’ll “never be the same”. Betty agrees with her, though not in a complimentary way. Ronnie thinks her ears are bleeding.

Anyway, Archie says they’re awful and asks if they can’t hear themselves. Jughead laughs at the “unintentional comedy act”. At the end of the song, Cheryl fishes for a compliment.

Everyone (including Jason) laughs at them, which pisses Cheryl off. The Bunny-like friend admits they stink and points out that they’ve been at this for only three days. The other friend says the only thing that sounds good is the backing track. Cheryl says she doesn’t think it was that bad. The Bunny-like friend points out the approach of the beach patrol (which seems to cover both beaches). The officer is checking to make sure a crime isn’t being committed. Thinking it’s a joke, Cheryl angrily tells him that they just need a little more practice.

The next day, The Archies are practicing in the amphitheater. Archie compliments Betty and Ronnie’s voices and is glad that they (the boys) are “letting” the girls take the lead on a couple songs. Sexist fucking asshole. Betty and Ronnie are happy and start singing again, but they’re interrupted by Blossom. Jughead insults Cheryl’s band. Ronnie and Betty are upset, too, but Archie says Cheryl has every right to practice.

The next day, Cheryl promotes her band on the beach with a “Get Ready for Blossom” billboard, a plane pulling a “‘Blossom’ is Coming!!” banner (why’s the band’s name in quotes?), and two people flying Blossom handgliders. Jason is upset at Cheryl for “defaming” their name. One of the people flying the handgliders is George, who warns Betty and Archie before crashing.

Ronnie yells at Cheryl, so Cheryl yells at George. George and Cheryl get into an argument. Betty points out that Cheryl is an attention hog. Reggie says she could really mess up the concert. Betty says they can do only so much. Ronnie says they need to go to a private location.

Some time later, presumably on another day, Archie walks into Pop’s and shows off their new flyers. Betty and Ronnie love them. Betty notices their first night of the show (Saturday, no date or time listed) is on Harbor Island. Ronnie needlessly says that’s down by the harbor. Betty is confused, because she thought it was “here” at the beach amphitheater. Archie explains their promoter changed their venue to avoid Cheryl, and they’re notifying the ticket holders. Ronnie is relieved. Archie says they have to act like nothing’s changed, so Cheryl doesn’t find out.

At the beach on some day, Betty and Ronnie are nice to Cheryl. Betty even compliments Cheryl’s singing. This pisses Cheryl off. Ronnie and Betty do a really bad job of pretending they’ll be in the amphitheater. This makes Cheryl suspicious.

Later, Cheryl finds one of the flyers on her amplifier and is surprised at the venue change. Cheryl decides her band will get there early on Saturday night.

On the big night, at the beach, Betty is surprised by the gathering crowd, and Archie and Jason explain they tricked Cheryl. Jason left the flyer for Cheryl. They also kept the girls in the dark, I guess counting on them being horrible actors. Ronnie says they’re brilliant. Ronnie’s looking forward to seeing the look on Cheryl’s face, despite the fact that they’ll be in different places. As Betty, Ronnie, and Archie leave, Jason wishes them good luck. Why were they at the beach, anyway, if the girls thought the venue had changed?

Cheryl, her bandmates, and George take a boat to Harbor Island. They set up on the pier and start practicing. Cheryl anticipates the crowd filtering in soon. George thinks he must really care for Cheryl to sit through this.

Back at the concert, after The Black-Eyed Susans, The Archies play “Bang-Shang-A-Lang”, which, if you’ll recall, is about dogs fucking. Jason wonders how “Blossom” is doing, and what’s with this story sometimes putting the name of Cheryl’s band in quotes?

Back on Harbor Island, everyone except Cheryl is miserable, but Cheryl is stubborn and keeps them performing, believing the crowd will show up.

Between Part One and Part Two, there’s a 2-page “Archie’s Summer Splash Quiz!” with trivia questions. On page 1, Cheryl has her arm around Archie; on page 2, Ronnie and Betty look on angrily.

Between pages 17 and 18 (in Part Two), there are two fashion pages: Summer Splash Fashions for the Girls! (featuring Cheryl, Ronnie, and Betty, with Nancy and Ginger reduced to floating heads) and Summer Splash Fashions for the Guys! (Archie, Jughead, Chuck, and Reggie).

This story is pretty fun, but Cheryl is made out to be stupid for not realizing she’s been tricked. Also, did she not check online to confirm the information on the flyer that had mysteriously been left for her?

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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