Comics – Stranded in Paradise!

Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Kevin Keller, No. 3
Cover Date: August, 2012
On-Sale Date: June 13, 2012
Length: 20 pages

Regarding the cover, Grand Comics Database claims the black guy is Chuck Clayton. I guess he decided to grow a beard. I have no idea who the dog belongs to.

At Riverdale High School, on the last day of school, the bell rings, and various students in the hallway celebrate, including Kevin, Veronica, Jughead, and Archie. Why are they already in the hallway as the bell’s ringing? Anyway, Ronnie’s all excited for Kevin’s first summer in Riverdale. Wait, what? Kevin was introduced in Veronica, No. 202, which came out on September 1, 2010, more than 21 months before this issue. They’re really trying to squish the timeline, aren’t they?

Anyway, as they leave school, Kevin informs Veronica that he got a job as a lifeguard (to save for college), so they’ll have to fit fun in between his work. Ronnie says at least he’ll be at the beach, and the rest of the gang will be there.

At the beach, Betty wonders about a crowd of girls and then realizes they’re checking out Kevin at the lifeguard station. Ronnie gets a funny line in.

Archie invites Kevin to join them for a game of volleyball, but Kevin’s on duty. Jughead deliberately hits Ronnie in the head with the volleyball. Kevin snickers and, despite Ronnie’s protest, does nothing about it.

Soon, near the end of Kevin’s lunch, he and Jughead are chowing down. Kevin mentally notes summer in Riverdale seems pretty peaceful.

Suddenly, someone out in the water seems to be drowning and calls for help. Kevin runs out to save her. It’s Cheryl, who wasn’t drowning at all. She’s “just having some fun with” Kevin. Kevin’s angry and lectures her. Y’know, considering Veronica once pulled this exact shit on Cheryl, Cheryl really should have known better.

It turns out that Cheryl’s job was to distract Kevin while a group of teens from Pembrooke caused trouble. I recognize Jason and Priscilla but no one else. Anyway, Cheryl wants to make out with Kevin. A homophobic asshole named Sloane tells Cheryl that Kevin’s gay. I’m not sure how she doesn’t already know. Anyway, Sloane insults Kevin (which the Pembrooke crowd enjoys), but Ronnie ain’t having that shit. Kevin has everyone shut up before the situation can escalate.

Kevin asks why they’re here and brings up Pembrooke’s private beach. Jason says it’s closed for the summer. Cheryl says they decided to “slum” with the “townies”, and, wow, that’s a callback. Some Pembrooke guys (including one named Charlie) and Ronnie start arguing. Cheryl points out that this is a public beach. Archie suggests some friendly competition – with the winners getting control of the beach. This sure sounds familiar. Charlie declines, but Jason tells him to shut up.

Jason wants to do the competition (note: he very clearly has blue eyes in this story). Ronnie asks about the competition. Kevin suggests surfing. Sloane boasts of his surfing ability, and Priscilla makes fun of him. Kevin says he’s decent. His old BFFs, Wendy and William, are here. Wendy says she’s good.

Wendy talks up Kevin’s surfing ability. Sloane makes fun of him. Wendy’s pissed, but Kevin says he’s not worth it. Kevin wants to discuss the rules of the surf-off. Wendy puts a lobster in Sloane’s shorts pocket. It bites him on the ass, and he curses in pain (it’s censored). Betty, Wendy, and Kevin enjoy it.

Sometime later, in…some building, Sloane starts talking shit – especially about Kevin. Cheryl angrily calls him out on his homophobia (she clearly has blue eyes in this story). Sloane doesn’t give a shit.

During the surf-off to determine Riverdale’s participant, Kevin and Wendy do good. Wendy even sits on Kevin’s shoulders as he surfs, impressing Betty and Veronica.

Later, Sloane explains to Sidney and Charlie (no, I have no idea who these guys are) that Kevin’s going to be their designated surfer. His plan is for Charlie to sneak into Kevin’s garage and sabotage his board. Charlie has created a special glue in his lab; it’s strong, but it completely falls apart when it hits water. According to Sloane, this means, when Kevin’s board hits the surf, it’ll all fall apart.

Sloane explains Charlie will “dissect” the board and then put it back together. Charlie worriedly asks if “someone” could get hurt. Sloane’s hoping for it. Charlie asks where everybody else is. Sloane says they’re “too wishy-washy” and keeps the plan between the three of them.

Soon, at Pop’s, Kevin checks the weather on his phone and tells Wendy that it’s supposed to be stormy on Saturday. He’s hesitant about having the surf-off. Wendy is dismissive of the storm, and Kevin goes along with it.

Sloane and Sidney arrive. Sloane addresses the “girls”. Wendy angrily threatens to kick his ass, but Kevin says he can fight his own battles.

On Saturday, at the beach, Kevin’s family arrives to watch. Kevin’s dad had been redesigned since his first appearance. The Riverdale and Pembrooke gangs arrive. Cheryl anticipates the beach being all theirs. Yeah, whatever, let’s get to it.

Three random nobodies have been designated judges, who will provide “Olympic style” scoring (this will never come into play). Sloane asks Charlie if he sabotaged the surfboard. Charlie says he did.

Kevin and Sloane both do okay, but Betty is concerned that the waves are choppier than they expected.

Sloane suggests Kevin quit. Kevin says he never quits and somehow takes Wendy along for the ride despite being out on the water solo. Sloane anticipates Kevin’s board breaking apart. Cheryl paddles out to him on her own surfboard and joins him on his (to his surprise), so Kevin and Wendy don’t outdo them. Sloane agrees to it. Wendy is having a great time. Sloane wonders why Kevin’s board is staying together.

Suddenly, Sloane’s board is wobbly. Despite this, Cheryl wants to get on his shoulders to imitate Wendy. Sloane calls her crazy and shoves her off the board, which pisses her off. A big wave approaches Kevin and Wendy.

They do good. Jughead asks where Sloane is. His board breaks apart into multiple pieces. Betty runs out of the way as he lands on the beach. He gets a face full of sand. Jughead, Dilton, and Charlie are amused. Charlie congratulates Kevin.

Yeah, Charlie wasn’t having Sloane’s shit, so he teamed up with Kevin against him, much to Sloane’s astonishment. Charlie calls Sloane a bigot and admits he’s gay. He’s tired of listening to Sloane’s gay bashing for years. Sloane is disgusted.

Sloane insults them, which pisses off Kevin’s dad, who yells at Sloane, who’s scared. Charlie explains he messed with Sloane’s surfboard instead and explained Sloane’s plan to Kevin. They figured Sloane deserved a dose of his own medicine. Cheryl is pissed upon learning of Sloane’s plan, saying it’s beneath even her. Wendy takes delight in their win, but Sloane calls Kevin a girl again.

Kevin’s had it and chases after Sloane to kick his ass. Sloane cries out for help, which amuses Cheryl. Sloane keeps running, even after Kevin stops chasing him. Kevin admits to Charlie that he wasn’t gonna hurt Sloane. They give each other five. Kevin wants to eat. Jughead picks up a burger. Kevin and Ronnie tell Charlie that they, his friends, are all here for him.

As the sun sets, they start to party. Betty calls for music. William asks where Wendy is. Kevin says she’s not one to leave a party.

It turns out that Sloane has run out to the stormy water (why?) and is now clinging to a buoy. Wendy has rowed out in a boat to watch in amusement and listen to loud music. Pretty stupid on both of their parts. Also, other than the choppy water, there’s absolutely no indication of a storm.

Between pages 10 and 11 are 2 pages of “Kevin’s Summer Style With B&V”.

Overall, this is a fun story, even if it’s not really anything new. Cheryl gets a bit of positive characterization, being portrayed as an LGBTQ+ ally and being unwilling to put someone’s life in danger.

One major problem is the cast of characters is too large and inconsistent, with most of them popping in and out to deliver a line or two (or just to acknowledge their existence). Also, there are a bunch of nameless extras that take away panel space from the established characters.

Incidentally, this is Cheryl’s sole appearance in Kevin’s solo series – aside from modeling superhero costumes alongside Kevin, Ronnie, and Betty way later – in issue #14. Apparently, she’s considered one of Kevin’s “friends” by that point.

Speaking of Cheryl, this appears to be the latest mention (that I can find) of Pembrooke in a classic Archie story. After this, Cheryl seems to hang out on Riverdale’s beach, attend Riverdale High’s dances, help to clean the school, and not mention or acknowledge Pembrooke at all. In fact, in the final major storyline in Betty and Veronica, Cheryl is explicitly a student at Riverdale High and even tries out to become a cheerleader. (If you wanna take the possible-future Life With Archie: The Married Life series into consideration, a school photo of the gang during senior year includes Cheryl.) So it seems, after this story, the decision was made to basically erase Pembrooke and quietly move Cheryl to Riverdale High.

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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