Comics – Strike a Pose!

Cheryl-Blossom-18
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 18
Cover Date: January, 1999
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

A couple captions bring the readers up to speed on Cheryl’s situation: she had spent “the previous year” at Riverdale High but has returned to Pembrooke Academy for the current school year. That’s not really accurate; she spent more like three months at Riverdale High at the tail-end of the previous school year. Anyway, Bunny/Priscilla and Cedric admire Cheryl as she walks through a hall. Cheryl still can’t believe she’s back in Pembrooke. Cedric says the halls of Pembrooke weren’t the same without her. I realize they’re talking about the school, but Cheryl has been back in the community of Pembrooke for a full three months already. Hell, the entire beach house storyline was centered around her and her Pembrooke friends. Oddly, there’s no mention of that. Well, whatever, Cheryl’s happy to be back at her own school. Cheryl misses Archie, though, which Bunny doesn’t get.

At Riverdale High, Betty and Veronica celebrate the “glorious new day”, because “Cheryl’s gone!!” They’re making it sound like this was a sudden, overnight change with no summer vacation in between. Oh, Betty’s wearing pink overalls in this scene like on The New Archies. Anyway, Archie accuses the girls of being kind of hard on Cheryl, but Ronnie angrily asks if they aren’t enough for him. He nervously says they are, which makes Ronnie happy. His question is still valid, though, and the girls totally didn’t answer it. Archie “kind of” misses Cheryl. Again, you spent the whole summer with her, dude.

At Pembrooke High, a posted flyer says the Elegant Agency is looking for “the next young teen model”. Cheryl contacts “the best photographers” and gets a portfolio put together. By the way, the blurb on the issue’s front cover wasn’t kidding. There are a ton of reader-submitted fashions in this issue. Anyway, when it’s time for some romantic poses, Cheryl is introduced to a supermodel named Chaz Brink. He’s a vain asshole, and Cheryl quickly gets pissed at him.

As Cheryl and…someone look at the photos (at Cheryl’s place, I guess), the consensus is the solo photos are good, but the romantic ones look fake. Cheryl says it’s because the male models have the personality of toast. She calls Archie over to be her new model.

They do their first shoot in the park. The photographers love the chemistry between Cheryl and Archie. Okay, we’re nearing the halfway point; time for things to get stupid. Betty is walking or jogging through the park and happily comments to herself about her great Cheryl-free life. She then spots Archie and Cheryl together (somehow missing the photographers and equipment) and runs off in a panic to inform Ron of Archie and Cheryl’s “secret rendezvous”. For fuck’s sake.

Anyway, Ronnie gets predictably enraged and says they have to keep an eye on those two. A tearful Betty cries “Here we go again!” Y’know, you two could simply…not do anything. Might make for an interesting change of pace.

The next day, Cheryl and Archie meet outside and look over their photos. Cheryl gives Archie copies for himself. Archie wants to keep the photos a secret from Betty and Ronnie, because he doesn’t trust them to believe they’re only fashion poses. This gives Cheryl an idea.

Cheryl sneaks back to Riverdale High in “disguise” and stuffs Archie’s locker full of photos of themselves. How does she know which locker is Archie’s? It’s a new school year. Anyway, Cheryl seems to be hoping Archie will get “caught” with the photos when he opens his locker, but how does she know anyone will be around to see it?

The next day (I guess), at Riverdale High, Betty and Ronnie confront Archie in the hall about seeing Cheryl “on the sly”. What teen talks like that? Archie denies it. Betty angrily admits maybe she saw it wrong. Archie opens his locker, and all of the photos “crash” out of it. Seriously, there’s a “crash” sound effect for no fucking reason. An enraged Ronnie demands “What’s all this?”

Ronnie sees photos of Archie and Cheryl “out on the town”. Betty sees photos of Archie and Cheryl “wining and dining”. But not sixty-nining, apparently. I can’t speak to the “wining” photos, but I’m guessing those were done privately at Cheryl’s mansion. Ronnie sees one of Archie and Cheryl dancing. Dancing! Satan’s pastime! An angry Betty tells Archie that she can barely get a soda out of him. So…does she want wine or dancing? Archie tries to explain, but Betty and Ronnie storm off, and Ronnie tells him: “Stop! Save it for another day!!” *sighs* It’s one of those stories. Anyway, a dazed Archie doesn’t remember stashing these photos away in here.

On another day (I guess), Cheryl and Archie do a romantic wedding pictorial. They pose in front of Sal’s Jewelry, like they’re going to buy an engagement ring.

Ronnie spots Archie and Cheryl just as they’re doing a series of proposal shots with Archie on bended knee. She assumes he’s proposing, cries, and runs off to find Betty. While she’s gone, Cheryl and Archie put on their wedding outfits for a horse-and-carriage ride around the park. The panel is laid out poorly, showing Archie’s response to Cheryl’s question before she asks it.

Anyway, both Betty and Ronnie are in tears, and Betty hopes Ronnie’s wrong, but Ronnie doesn’t think so. Drinking game: take a shot every time that one of them actually exclaims “Wah!”

The girls go to the park and see Archie and Cheryl having a carriage ride around the park while wearing their wedding outfits. The idiots assume they got married, even though they’re “only teenagers”. Ronnie exclaims “We have to get this annulled! Call Archie’s parents!” Um, the age of consent for marriage in New York was raised to 18 only in 2021, and it became only the sixth state to ban child marriage.

Anyway, let’s pause for a moment and look at this. Cheryl is apparently still a minor, just as she was at the beginning of the summer. Assuming, again, Cheryl is just on the cusp of turning 18, that means she turned 16 roughly around the time of “Movie Madness“, the second issue of her final miniseries before her ongoing series started. That means everything that came out before that (including the storyline about her getting a sports car) came out before “current Cheryl” could drive. Oh, and let’s not even get into the fact that she was driving in the 1980s stories, which occurred before she moved away.

Anyway, Archie tells them that they’re ruining their photo session. Cheryl reveals Archie’s helping her model. Ronnie and Betty are embarrassed.

On another day, during an assembly at Pembrooke Academy, the headmaster announces the Elite Agency (Parent can’t even keep the name consistent) is hiring Jan Stafford as their “fresh young face”. Jan is excited. Cheryl is pissed. The headmaster then announces Cheryl has won another prize from the company. Cheryl is excited. Two women take the stage and inform Cheryl that, based on her portfolio and style, she’d be a great junior editor for a new teen magazine, Fresh. Cheryl likes it.

After the assembly, the women say they’d like to meet with Cheryl. Cheryl says “Great! I’ll have my people call your people…” Um, maybe don’t act so high and mighty, girl. Anyway, there’s something that Cheryl needs to do first.

That something is plastering photos of Betty and Ronnie making fools of themselves around town, which upsets them. How/When did Cheryl take these photos? Well, whatever, the story’s over.

The caption in the final panel tells the readers to keep sending their fashions.

This story was pretty dumb. It’s based entirely on a series of misunderstandings that a simple conversation would clear up. The one good thing to come out of it was it introduced Cheryl’s new job at Fresh. While I hadn’t started reading the series when it was new until issue #20, I definitely remember Cheryl working at Fresh (though I assumed it was a Blossom-owned company), so things are finally starting to feel a bit familiar.

Extras

In the middle of the story, there is 1 page of Cheryl fan art.

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl Fans’ Fall Fashions” (with three illustrated entries and a bunch of honorable mentions).

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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