Comics – It’s Their Miserable Lives!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-3
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Sean Murphy
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 3
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 17 pages (including 6 pages of reprints)

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

Cheryl is throwing a New Year’s Eve party at the mansion. Cedric compliments her on it. Cheryl thanks him. The doorbell rings. Jason gets it, wondering who it is, because he believes everyone’s here already. Veronica, Betty, Archie, and Jughead come in. Archie greets Jason. Jason insults them.

Archie wants to kick Jason’s ass, but Betty talks him out of it, reminding him that they’re guests. Jason asks what “idiot” invited Archie. That would be Cheryl. Jason is okay with it as long as Cheryl cleans up after them. Cheryl tells the gang to ignore Jason and make themselves at home. Ronnie understands Cheryl inviting Archie but asks her about the rest of them. Cheryl mentions New Year’s Eve, “a time for resolutions and new beginnings”. She takes Archie by the arm and goes to mingle among the guests. Veronica thanks her. Betty says that was nice of Cheryl, but Ronnie’s convinced she’s up to something.

Clifford questions Cheryl about it, and she gives her dad the same explanation. She says she’ll no longer pay attention to someone’s social ranking. He’s pleased. She thanks him and kisses him on the cheek. Jason is suspicious and questions Cheryl. It turns out that she does have a slight ulterior motive: make Daddy happy, so maybe, in the spirit of the holiday season (which it technically still is), he’ll give her stuff. Jason gets a funny line in. Archie, who certainly overheard this while bringing some questionable purple punch for himself and Cheryl, doesn’t seem to mind. Cheryl and Archie “circulate” among the crowd.

Jughead is a fucking slob, so one of the Pembrooke girls insults him, and another expands it to “undignified townies” in general. Betty silently confronts them, while a misplaced word balloon declares “I heard that!” The second girl insults Betty’s earrings, pissing her off. Ronnie tries to get Betty to calm down, because otherwise they’ll look unsophisticated. Jughead criticizes the food, but Ronnie points out that he’s still eating it. Betty declares her desire to punch one of these rich snobs in the fucking face. Thanks to a prompt from Ronnie, Betty remembers a previous story.

The next 6 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “Fall Guys“, presented as a flashback from Betty’s perspective, despite the fact that she wasn’t present for all of it (although I guess Ronnie could have filled in the rest).

Betty decides to not bring the party down to that level. Ronnie guesses there’s a hidden reason for Cheryl inviting them but decides they might as well try to have fun. Jughead is inspired by red tinsel on the Christmas tree and turns it into a wig for himself. He impersonates Cheryl, and Veronica and Betty laugh. Okay, that is a supremely shitty thing to do to your host. Cheryl is rightfully pissed. Betty tries to explain (“we were just…”) instead of owning up to it and apologizing. Cheryl cuts her off and reveals her ulterior motive, I guess just to hurt them back. Ronnie’s pissed.

Cheryl has the waiters throw the “trash” out – including Archie. Jason applauds Cheryl but points out that Dad’s pissed over what he heard. Cheryl is so upset that she doesn’t even care about that and goes off to be alone. She sits in the next room, still within earshot of the music (why not go up to her bedroom?), and complains about the gang. She’d like to see how dull that their lives would be if she hadn’t moved back to Riverdale. Her guardian angel (a short dude in a pilot’s outfit and with wings) shows up to show her what she asked to see. She’s surprised that she has an angel. By the way, he shows up behind her chair, and then she turns around to face him in surprise, but she’s still shown sitting and facing forward.

His “angel-cycle” (a motorcycle made by Heavenly Do-No-Sin) pops in (he earned his wheels). He puts on his goggles and tells her to hop on. They drive toward the wall but go through a portal of some kind (it’s an “angel thing”) into an “alternative future” a few years from now.

Cheryl sees a billboard and can’t believe Betty, the “blonde nerd”, is now a supermodel. Um, since when is Betty a nerd? Anyway, Betty’s on the front covers of all of the fashion magazines, and a tabloid suggests she might be marrying “a certain European prince”. Cheryl is happy that Betty didn’t end up with Archie. She guesses he’s sitting at home, all alone. The angel takes her to Lodge Industries.

Cheryl points out that Hiram hates Archie. The angel admits Archie was a janitor but adds he earned a master’s degree in Business and worked his way up to Vice-President. Cheryl’s surprised at this. The angel reveals Archie and Veronica are married. Cheryl thinks Ronnie bums around all day, but the angel says Ronnie does a lot of volunteer work. So…she’s not working at her dad’s company? Anyway, Cheryl’s bored and asks about Jughead, guessing he’s having a miserable life. The angel takes her to see.

They arrive at city hall. Cheryl’s confused. They go inside. Jughead’s the mayor, because he convinced a big ice cream manufacturer to move here. Now, he’s convinced plenty of other restaurant chains and food makers to move to Riverdale. Cheryl sees the reasoning. Jughead also gets all of the free food that he wants. Cheryl’s seen enough and drags the angel back through the portal (because she can just do that, I guess). Despite this, they exit the portal in her mansion on his angel-cycle.

The angel tells her that she must move back to where she came from (which he doesn’t get to state here, because she interrupts him, but we already learned the name of her former town). Cheryl is happy to know she can make a difference in the gang’s lives. Not wanting their lives to be a cakewalk, Cheryl goes to call them and apologize, so she can get involved in their lives again. She owes it to all of them to make their lives as unpredictable as possible. That’s her New Year’s resolution. She wishes her guardian angel a Happy New Year. She tells him to be careful going home, because it looks like a storm’s brewing. Then Yahweh or Zeus or Thor or whoever strikes the angel, turning his cool angel-cycle into a tricycle. The angel complains Cheryl’s gotten him demoted.

This story is okay. Jughead, Betty, and Veronica were horrible to Cheryl. Some of the future stuff seemed irrelevant to Cheryl, such as Betty being a supermodel and Jughead being the mayor. The only scenario that seemed at all relevant was Archie and Veronica being married. Also, doesn’t the usual format for this type of story involve an alternate present, not an alternate future?

I will note this story, coupled with the previous one, makes this issue feel truly like the first issue of Cheryl Blossom. Prior to this issue, it felt more like Betty and Veronica Guest-Starring Cheryl Blossom.

Even though I have Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4, I’m going to be skipping it for now. There are two reasons: 1) it’s not available digitally, and 2) no one seems to know where or when the reprint stories originally appeared, and I don’t like reviewing undated stories. Don’t worry, reading the GCBD entry, nothing earth-shattering happens.

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Comics – All I Want for Christmas is…Everything!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-3
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 3
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 22 pages (including 11 pages of reprints)

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

There’s a credits page before the story. It features Cheryl lying between a roaring fire and the Christmas tree (I guess on a couch, which doubles as a credits sign). The disembodied heads of Archie, Reggie, and six generic guys float in the air. Cheryl is appreciative.

Cheryl has finished handwriting a massive Christmas list in the den. I call bullshit. Cheryl wouldn’t exert that much manual effort over something like that; she’s type it up and print it out. Anyway, her parents are shocked. Oh, yeah, her parents make their first appearance (as far as I can tell). Her dad has brown hair and a brown goatee. Her mom has short, curly, red hair. They’re unnamed as yet, but I’m just gonna go ahead and call them Clifford and Penelope. Anyway, Cheryl allows her parents to “cross one or two things off” the list.

Cheryl doesn’t get the meaning of the holiday season. She knows it’s about giving, but she thinks she’s awesome for “allowing” her parents to give her a bunch of shit. Penelope imposes a rule: Cheryl must give of herself before getting any gifts. In shock, Cheryl jumps into her father’s arms and objects. Penelope has Clifford stand firm (and also names him). Penelope tells Cheryl to help her cousin Elaine (and points to a convenient photo on a table). Elaine is a blonde girl with glasses and, according to Cheryl, a “boring drip from the sticks”. Penelope explains Elaine is coming to stay with them for the holidays, since her parents are away on business. This upsets Cheryl.

Elaine is very quiet and insecure, so Penelope suggests Cheryl can give her some confidence. Jason runs by to hurl an insult at Cheryl. Cheryl starts to give chase, but Penelope asks her if she’s going to cooperate. Cheryl drops to her knees, cries, and agrees, because she needs the things on her list. Penelope says Elaine arrives tomorrow.

The next day, Penelope warmly welcomes Elaine, but a bored Cheryl gets her name wrong – and doesn’t care when Elaine corrects her, which pisses Penelope off. Cheryl takes Elaine upstairs to talk about herself.

In Cheryl’s room, Elaine wishes she was more like Cheryl. Cheryl offers to give her some glamour and fitness tips.

Over the next however-long period of time, Cheryl helps Elaine get into shape and takes her out for a makeover (including contact lenses and a haircut). Elaine has a craving for chocolate, but Cheryl keeps it away from her, limiting the two of them to fat-free stuff. One day, Elaine thanks Cheryl for her help, and Cheryl makes sure her passing mom hears it.

One day, Elaine wants to go work out, but Cheryl sends her off on her own, preferring to stay at home and watch TV – on a really small rabbit-ears TV. What the fuck? Anyway, Elaine continues to work out, get made up, and shop for clothes.

One day, Penelope suggests Cheryl invite Elaine to the upcoming Christmas ball. Cheryl gets her mom to lift her gift ban and then invites Elaine, who’s returning from a shopping trip. Elaine is delighted.

Elaine asks for Cheryl’s help, but Cheryl gives her contact info for her beauty consultant and runs out to add more things to her gift list. Why does she need to run out to do that?

At the Christmas ball, Archie and Reggie start beating the shit out of each other over Elaine, who’s gorgeous (much to Cheryl’s shock, although I don’t know why). Cheryl wonders what she’s created.

Betty asks Cheryl why her and Veronica’s dates are falling all over her cousin. Ronnie insists it’s another Blossom scheme. Cheryl, in tears, explains what happened (though leaving out various details to make her seem the victim). She wants Betty and Veronica to help her out of this. Betty asks why, saying they’ll be duped. She reminds Cheryl of an incident.

The next 11 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “The Virtuous Villain“, presented as a flashback from Betty’s perspective, despite the fact that she was present for only 2/3rds of one page. Even though Cheryl could have filled in most of it, there are still portions that neither she nor her brother were present for.

Cheryl pleads with Veronica and Betty for help. Betty and Veronica try to get Archie and Reggie away from Elaine. When a hint doesn’t work, they use “physical force”. Betty even lifts Archie up and carries him over her shoulder! Cheryl pulls Elaine over to the other side of the room. Elaine insults Archie and Reggie. Jason’s video-taping everything. Cheryl chases after him, vowing to murder him.

Suddenly, though, Cheryl gets an “evil idea” (we know, because the comic says so, complete with a skull, crossbones, and hellfire). She tells Jason to tape everything that he can. Jason’s confused. Archie approaches Elaine, who’s getting food at a table. Reggie follows and gets his watch caught on Archie’s “stupid suspenders”. Reggie warns Archie, but Archie pays him no mind and marches over to Elaine. Somehow, this leads to the two of them flying into her and making a mess of the table. Ronnie’s pissed. Reggie explains he’s stuck on Archie’s suspenders. Ronnie pulls…

… and then falls back against Betty, knocking them both into a bowl of purple punch. Elaine laughs at them, but then Ronnie drowns Elaine in the punch, much to Betty’s delight. As Betty, Veronica, and Elaine beat the shit out of each other, Jason video-tapes everything, and Elaine vows “All you mortals will pay!” Cheryl decides to do “a little creative editing”.

On another day, Cheryl walks into her dad’s den and asks her dad for her uncle and aunt’s address in Europe, so she can send them a video of Elaine, so “they can see how lovely she’s become”. Clifford agrees, but Penelope (who’s also here) is suspicious. Also, Cheryl is holding the tape. She’s lucky that her parents didn’t ask to see it.

In Europe, Elaine’s parents watch the tape (which I guess Cheryl had converted to PAL format). They’re shocked that Elaine’s become a “wild girl”. The dad gets a suitcase and says they’ve gotta get back to the States, even though he didn’t finish his business merger. I don’t get why Cheryl needed to do any “creative editing” (inserting some of Elaine’s lines over other footage of her); the raw footage speaks for itself. Also, there are some continuity errors between the final footage on the tape and the actual scenes from earlier.

Anyway, the next day, Elaine’s parents show up at Blossom Manor and take her away. Her mom holds another outfit on top of her (presumably revealing) outfit. Elaine protests she likes the new her. Her dad is pissed at the Blossoms while talking about “deprogramming” his daughter. Elaine, run away! Run the fuck away from those conservative nutjobs! A happy Cheryl pretends to be innocent, but Penelope tells Clifford: “That daughter of ours is dangerous!”

This story is pretty fun. Not much else to say.

After the story is an uncredited 1-page story called “Gift Rift” in which Cheryl talks about holiday gift buying, the spirit of giving, and generosity while buying a bunch of stuff. By the time that she gets home, though, it’s clear that it’s all for herself. However, she does say she “may buy gifts for other people, too!” Cute.

Comics – Fall Guys

AGSM-530.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 530
Cover Date: September, 1983
Length: 6 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.

Betty and Archie are wrestling on a blanket on the beach, much to Veronica’s displeasure. Jason and Cheryl arrive. This is one of the few stories where Cheryl has an “n” (or upside-down “u”) nose instead of the triangle nose that Betty and Veronica have. Anyway, Jason explains: Archie and Betty challenged him and Cheryl to a wrestling match. Jason will wrestle Archie, and Cheryl will wrestle Betty. Both Jason and Cheryl are self-assured of their victories.

Betty engages in some trash talk. Cheryl wants to punch her, but Jason stops her and advises her to wait until the match, saying it’ll feel better. Cheryl agrees. Reggie comes by, wearing a speedo and a cowboy hat, destroying a little girl’s sand castle. He asks what’s going on. Veronica fills him in while simultaneously insulting all four people involved. Reggie asks Archie when this “fight of the century” is going to take place. Ronnie asks where. It seems that hasn’t been worked out, so Archie and Jason settle for anyplace and anytime.

Reggie offers himself and Ronnie to make the arrangements. Archie and Jason agree without consulting the girls. Reggie says they have to abide by their decisions. Jason and Archie give their word without consulting the girls. As Reggie and Veronica walk away, Ronnie points out that she has no interest in this bullshit match. Reggie says she will and cites “the latest twist in the wrestling game”. Ronnie immediately understands and is orgasmic over the idea. I guess this was a timely reference that just doesn’t work anymore. Oh, the little girl is rebuilding her sandcastle while her mom or big sister or whoever slathers suntan lotion on herself.

Reggie takes Ronnie to an empty lot next to his house, brings over a hose, and lets the water run for a full day. I’m sure absolutely no one that’s affected by this will raise any objections.

The next day, a mud pit has formed. Reggie will stake out the ring, and he tasks Ronnie with rounding up the wrestlers. Yeah, I’m sure they’ll drop what they’re doing and come right over.

They do, actually. Jason and Archie are upset over the mud, but Reggie reminds them of their word.

The match begins. Archie tackles Jason. Betty grabs Cheryl by the arm, lifts her over her head, and slams her into the mud. The fight soon gets out of control (with Ronnie and Reggie having too much fun to enforce any kind of rules). We don’t even know who’s beating the shit out of who. Ronnie praises Reggie’s plan as the fight continues.

Jason and Cheryl quit, Jason because the fight is “too sordid” and Cheryl because the “harsh” mud is destroying her “fine, tender hair”. Archie tries to claim he beat Jason. Betty hurls an elementary-school insult at Cheryl. Cheryl and Jason go off somewhere to hose each other down. Archie and Betty are thrilled. To show their thanks, Betty hugs Reggie, and Archie hugs Veronica, getting them muddy.

So, um, this story was about two girls that got dragged into a stupid mud-wrestling match by the men in their lives. Team Barchie “proved its superiority” over Team Chason not so much by being better fighters but rather by Team Chason realizing this was fucking stupid.

This story was reprinted as a flashback within the “It’s Their Miserable Lives!” story in Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 3, in 1995.

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.

Comics – Life’s A Circus

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-2
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 2
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 24 pages (including 11 pages of reprints)

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

There’s a 1-page introduction to Cheryl before the story.

Somewhere outside, Veronica spots Cheryl with a “hunk” and asks who he is. Betty doesn’t give a fuck as long as it’s not Archie. Cheryl walks over to them and introduces Louis. Louis says hi. Betty and Veronica get instant lady-boners over Cheryl’s guy. Cheryl explains Louis is a performer with a traveling carnival that’s in town.

Louis says his family has performed their carnival act for years. Veronica and Betty flirt with Louis. Cheryl tells them to back off, and Ronnie takes offense to that. Cheryl says she’ll see the girls around and has to show Louis the sights. Louis says maybe he’ll see them at the carnival. Betty is in disbelief that Cheryl considers them to be potential competition. Ronnie’s pissed about that, considering Cheryl’s history with Archie.

Ronnie decides (and Betty agrees) they’re gonna compete with Cheryl for Louis in order to pay Cheryl back. Ronnie decides they’re gonna go tomorrow. Then Jason randomly runs into Ronnie and knocks her on her ass on his way to the carnival. Um, two questions: Why isn’t he driving? And how does he think this will get him laid? Oh, by the way, this is the “spring carnival”. Anyway, Ronnie remembers a story that she heard from a friend of Bunny at Pembrooke and tells it to Betty.

The next 11 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “Snob Hill“, presented as a third-hand account from Veronica.

This convinces Ronnie to “go in for the kill”. Betty agrees.

The next day, Cheryl shows up at the carnival, eager to see Louis, but finds him with Betty and Veronica. Her “friends” came to watch him practice. Ronnie explains Louis is going to show them the sights of the carnival before he works out. Betty is delighted that they pissed Cheryl off. Cheryl overhears, unties a tent, and covers them.

Later, Reggie finds “Blossom” fuming over his “butt-in-ski” friends. Um, ski-in-butt might be possible (with a lot of lube), but I’m not sure about the other way around. Reggie offers his services (in the hope of getting laid, of course). Cheryl accepts. Reggie whispers his plan, which involves some carnival workers doing some stuff for extra cash (out of Cheryl’s pocket).

Inside the circus tent, Betty marvels at the trapeze guy, but Louis finds it strange that they’re practicing now. The trapeze guy picks Ronnie up unexpectedly, and Betty thinks nothing of it except to crack a dumb joke. Then another trapeze guy does the same to Betty. Cheryl shows up and offers to take Louis to lunch. Ronnie’s pissed and wants to swing down to them. Betty tries to stop her and ends up having to hold on to Ronnie. Ronnie cries for help. Cheryl’s pleased.

After lunch, Cheryl suggests they sign up for the outdoor follies together, but Louis says he’s entering the competition with Betty and Veronica. Cheryl pretends it’s okay but then connives with Reggie to sabotage it. During Louis and Ronnie’s three-legged sack race, Cheryl radios Reggie.

Reggie trips them, making Cheryl laugh. Louis spots the rope and guesses they’ve been sabotaged. Betty brushes it off and wants to concentrate on the next event. By the way, sometime during lunch, all three girls completely changed clothes, and Betty switched from a ponytail to pigtails. The next event is a limbo contest. Cheryl got the trapeze guys from before to hold the stick.

This is “couples limbo”. Betty and Louis are up first; Betty falls in the mud, but Louis avoids it, because it’s his “professional specialty” (he’s a contortionist; it’s a family talent). He thinks he knows why things are going wrong.

He guesses Cheryl is sabotaging them (he recognized the “limbo henchmen” from before). Louis whispers an idea to them.

Louis asks Cheryl to spend the rest of the day with him, and she agrees. Louis points out that Betty’s volunteering at the dunking booth. Cheryl wants to give it a shot. By the way, I don’t need to tell you that everyone involved has changed clothes yet again, do I? Good. Moving on.

Cheryl claims she’s a good shot. Betty tells Cheryl to give it her best. Cheryl hits the bullseye, and then the platform that she’s standing on opens up (outward), and she falls into water…somefuckinghow. Louis laughs at her but then offers to help her dry off. Oh, isn’t that nice of you? Afterward, Ronnie offers to treat them to cotton candy.

Cheryl somehow walks close enough to the cotton candy machine that Ronnie shoves her in (with help from Reggie, who trips her). Cheryl yells for help but then gets out herself. Cheryl’s pissed at Reggie. Reggie reveals he betrayed her, because she wasn’t giving up on Louis (um, he expected her to? Louis is her guy, after all). An angry Cheryl declares they all win and leaves in frustration, declaring she needs “classier friends”. The others laugh at her.

The next day, Louis is showing off his contortions for Betty and Veronica…constantly, and they’re getting fucking sick of it. Veronica and Betty walk off to talk about him being a loser. Cheryl walks by with Archie; they’re going to take in the sights of the carnival; Cheryl’s just “trying to be a good loser”. This leaves Ronnie and Betty perplexed and frustrated.

This story is pretty fun. Not much else to say.

Comics – Seymour No More!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-1
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inking: Jon D’Agnostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 1
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 16 pages (including 5 pages of reprints)

*These are uncredited. I assume they’re the same as in the first story in this issue.

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

Veronica and Betty are walking along downtown. There’s some snow or water on the ground, and the girls seem dressed for winter. A pay phone rings. Veronica asks if they should get it. Betty says it “could be interesting”. Did teens behave like this back in the day, answering random pay phone calls just for shits and giggles? Anyway, Ronnie answers, and a knock-off of an MTV VJ tells her that they can win tickets to a sold-out Counting Canaries concert tonight. Betty excitedly asks Ronnie what they have to do.

Ronnie says there’s a new car and a bunch of eggs across the street. Betty sees them. As they run across the street, Ronnie explains they have one minute to pelt the car with all of the eggs while they videotape them with a hidden camera. Betty is down with doing the “wacky stunt” if it’ll win them tickets. *facepalms* How fucking stupid are these girls?! For all that they know, it could be a prankster on the phone. Anyway, the dumbasses pelt the car, Ronnie somehow keeping track of the time without a watch. Mr. Weatherbee comes by, enraged, and is like “What the fuck are you bitches doing to my new car?!” A voice behind them comments on how Betty and Veronica have “turned delinquent”. Veronica recognizes it as the voice from the phone and turns around.

It’s Cheryl, who had been calling from another, nearby pay phone. Somehow, Veronica and Betty hadn’t seen her earlier. Mr. Weatherbee tells Veronica and Betty to get in the car; they’re going to the car wash. I guess he expects them to just pay for the wash. Shouldn’t he call their parents first? Anyway, Ronnie tries to explain, but Weatherbee saw what he saw, and that’s that. Cheryl comments about “kids today”.

Afterward, as Betty and Veronica leave the car wash, Betty comments about the “awful prank”. Ronnie says Cheryl’s “gone too far”. Bitch, you couldn’t recognize Cheryl’s voice over the phone (which you and your airhead friend thought would be a good idea to answer), and both you and your airhead friend decided to do what this stranger on the phone told you to do. You have no one to blame but yourselves. Cheryl drives past and splashes them; she apologizes and claims she didn’t notice them. Betty and Ronnie are pissed. Ronnie wants to get back at Cheryl. Betty says Cheryl just wants to make them more miserable, and Ronnie says Cheryl, not having anything that they don’t, “just operates more effectively”. Betty reminds Veronica of an earlier incident. Ronnie confirms both the earlier incident and the current one occurred in winter.

Okay, hang on. Let’s talk continuity. It seemed to be fall in the previous story, and it was ski season before that. Cheryl arrived in a non-winter month. The upcoming flashback took place in winter. Just which grades are the characters supposed to be in in all of these stories?

The next five pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “Hot Stuff“, presented as a flashback from Veronica’s perspective (perhaps with some input from Betty).

In the time that it took to have that flashback, Cheryl had gone into Pop’s (I guess) and is now being all lovey-dovey with Archie. Veronica decides to do a little research to find Cheryl’s weakness while she’s home cleaning up. Betty wishes her good luck. They part ways.

The next day, Betty’s hanging out at Pop’s. Ronnie comes in and says she’s found Cheryl’s soft spot. Reggie claims to have found a few, too. Ronnie sits down and shows Betty a copy of Raytown Reveler, the yearbook from Cheryl’s old school from before Pembrooke Academy. How the fuck did she find that? Anyway, Betty finds Cheryl in a photo of the student council and asks who the “weirdo” beside her is. Why she chose to ask about this random guy, I have no idea, but plot, so let’s move along. Ronnie points out that he’s in the homecoming pictures with Cheryl, too.

Apparently, he’s right at her side in every picture that she’s in (except, I assume, the solo picture that every student has taken for the yearbook). Betty guesses they were an item and finds this note on the dedication page: “To Seymour, I’ll always love you, always! Cheryl!” Ronnie is surprised. During their conversation, we see outside Pop’s for a bit, where a lovestruck Dilton is following Cheryl around. Anyway, Betty asks Ronnie what Cheryl saw in Seymour. Ronnie doesn’t know but suggests finding out if he feels the same. Betty hopes Seymour can take Cheryl away from them. Oh, that yearbook is from 1993, which means all of the 1980s stories, “Love Showdown”, “Love & War”, and “Coming Distractions” happened within the last two years at most.

The next day, Veronica and Betty pick up Seymour at the Riverdale train station. Ronnie had asked him to come and surprise Cheryl, because that’s a perfectly normal thing to do, and he did it, because that’s also normal. Did she at least pay for his ticket and offer to put him up in a hotel? Anyway, Seymour now remembers who she is and asks how “Red” is.

They take him to her right now; she’s at Pop’s with her “all-male entourage” (according to Betty). At Pop’s, Moose is hoping for a date with Cheryl (fucking hypocrite), and Reggie and Archie are reminding Cheryl of their upcoming dates. Dilton gets to sit with Cheryl at her table, and he still has a raging boner for her. Seymour barges in (followed by a happy Veronica) and claims “Red” as if she’s his private property. Cheryl is shocked to see him and asks what he’s doing here. He explains. Seymour asks if she’s forgotten him. She says no but guesses they started to drift, due to the distance. Oh, Cheryl has really stupid pet names for Seymour: Snookie-Wookie and Flopsy Bunny. She hugs him, apologizes, and begs his forgiveness. Cheryl, sweetie, don’t do that; you’re not at fault. Anyway, Reggie’s angry.

Seymour takes Cheryl away. Even Moose finds this all “very strange”. Archie, without a hint of irony, asks what Cheryl sees in “that little goof”. Betty and Veronica give each other five, pleased with themselves. Betty’s convinced Cheryl will be moving back to Seymour’s town. Ronnie suggests they go back to her place and celebrate their “victory” in style.

For Ronnie, this means eating dinner (with no utensils) in the family vault, so they can smell the money. It’s not a big deal to Betty. Their totally-not-gay candlelit-dinner woman-date is interrupted by Seymour, who barges in. Who the fuck let him in? Anyway, he ditched Cheryl, because he’s convinced himself that Ronnie has a raging lady-boner for him.

Seymour grabs Ronnie. Cheryl barges in. Who the fuck let her in? Anyway, she figured the “man-stealer” would try to lure him away. Veronica says they’re both nuts. Seymour wants the two of them to fight it out for his amusement. Cheryl’s all for it, but Ronnie doesn’t want to fight. However, that changes after Cheryl knocks over “her” mint pile of $100 bills. Seymour has a boner and encourages them to fight.

Betty’s pissed at him, and then he hits on her as well. She tells him to fuck off. Oh, yeah, the fight. There’s a lot of Ronnie pulling Cheryl’s hair. Also, Cheryl mounts Ronnie twice, the second time of which they’re literally ass to ass. Oh, yeah, we learn Cheryl loves Seymour only because he kept telling her that she does. Ronnie says that’s ridiculous, but Cheryl says he has a “weird power”. Seymour hits on Betty again.

So Betty delivers a swift uppercut, knocking off his glasses and giving him a black eye. Seymour’s like “Fuck this shit” and leaves. Cheryl calls for him to come back. Ronnie advises Cheryl to let him go, even though he’s “the only man that matters to [her]”. Ronnie reminds her of the dead guys printed on money, bringing Cheryl to tears. The two of them sit in the pile of money and start kicking it around. Betty sits down at the table, glad that she’s not rich. Oh, and at least one $100 bill gets burned in the candle flame.

This story is okay. It really doesn’t make sense why Cheryl would be so attracted to this guy, though.

Comics – Coming Distractions

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-1.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Mike Esposito
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 1
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 24 pages (including 11 pages of reprints)

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

There’s a 1-page introduction to Cheryl before the story. While she gets most of the space (in a glamour shot), Archie, Reggie, and Moose smile at her, Jughead and Veronica frown in disapproval, and Betty looks…mildly concerned.

Cheryl is walking along outside with a girl with short brown hair and glasses. The girl asks about Cheryl going to see a baseball movie with Archie. Cheryl says she’s decided to give him another chance. She references his previous fuck-up. She also refers to Betty and Veronica as a “diabolical duo”. Ronnie, standing behind some low bushes but somehow not noticed by either of them, is surprised and enraged.

Ronnie, somehow now in a clearing in the woods instead of the suburbs, makes a fist and punches in anger, accidentally punching Betty (who just shows up) and knocking her on her ass. Ronnie apologizes and says she’s really glad to see her. She helps Betty, who’s dazed but okay enough to joke about it, up. Ronnie informs Betty of Cheryl and wants to devise a plan. Betty comes up with keeping Archie busy “at all times”. That was quick – and also ineffective, considering Archie and Cheryl already have a date to see a movie.

Ronnie mails a letter and photo of herself to Archie, inviting him to the movies tonight and telling him to be at her house at 8:00 PM. Did Ronnie have that letter express delivered or something?

Betty makes Archie orgasm over her new perfume. She has him pick her up at 8:15 PM tonight for the movies.

On “D-Day” (meaning the same fucking day), Jughead finds Archie walking along. Archie explains his typical two-dates mistake, and even Jughead doesn’t think much of it at this point. Cheryl runs up to Archie and reminds him to meet her tonight at the movies. She gives him a big kiss to hold him over and leaves. Okay, wait. How did Veronica and Betty know when Archie’s date with Cheryl was? It wasn’t mentioned. Or is this just a coincidence? Anyway, Jughead asks Archie what he’s gonna do when the three girls bump into each other during the date. Somehow, this leads to a flashback to a story that the current situation really shouldn’t remind Archie of.

The next five pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “Which is Rich“, presented as a flashback from Archie’s perspective.

Anyway, Jughead’s like “Fuck girls!”, and Archie’s like “I am!”

That night, Archie arrives at Ronnie’s at 8:00 PM, but Ronnie’s not ready, because make-up. He uses the phone to call Betty and let her know he’s running late. He wants to meet her by the snack bar. She agrees but silently wonders why he’s whispering.

At almost 8:30 PM, Ronnie’s finally ready to leave. Archie manhandles her and pulls her out the door. She’s barely able to grab her jacket. He takes off down the road like a speed demon.

In the theater lobby, Cheryl’s pissed that Archie hasn’t shown up and wonders why she’s giving him another chance. She brightens when she notices Choco-Pongs for sale at the snack bar and buys two of them to keep herself happy for a minute or two. Betty bumps into Cheryl, knocking her to the floor. Betty says “Excuse me, Miss”, not even apologizing, nor helping her up, nor looking in Cheryl’s direction, nor realizing who she hit. That’s pretty fucking rude. Cheryl, reaching for her dropped change, says it’s all right. Betty complains about Archie’s usual lateness and goes into the restroom to freshen up her make-up.

Archie arrives with Veronica and freaks out when he sees Cheryl. Ronnie somehow doesn’t see Cheryl (perhaps because she’s walking with her eyes closed). Archie takes off his jacket and puts it on their heads in the name of keeping them “cozy” in the “chilly” lobby. Ronnie says he’s insane. I would have thrown off the jacket and walked out on him. Archie orders the tickets. Cheryl, who’s nearby, somehow doesn’t recognize either of their voices. Archie parks Ronnie in a theater seat and goes to, supposedly, get nachos. He runs out and meets Cheryl. Cheryl angrily tells him that she was just about to leave. Archie puts a hand on her shoulder, apologizes to “sweets”, and hopes she’ll forgive him. She claims she never holds a grudge against a redhead.

Archie parks Cheryl in a theater seat and goes to, supposedly, get her some more Choco-Pongs. This makes Cheryl, who still hasn’t eaten her first two, happy. Archie meets up with Betty as she exits the ladies’ room, parks her in a theater seat, and goes to, supposedly, get her some candy, which makes her happy. Archie gets a shit-ton of snacks at the snack bar. Veronica, Cheryl, and Betty, each unaware of each other, are excited for the movie(s) (it’s unclear if they’re seeing different movies or the same one, but even Archie shouldn’t be that stupid).

So that baseball movie that Cheryl and Archie are seeing apparently stars an Arnold Schwarzenegger stand-in (or else they decided on a different movie). Cheryl has a lady-boner for him. Archie wants to get more candy. Cheryl protests, but Archie says he has to fatten her up. Ass. For some reason, Cheryl finds this line “smooth”. On his way out, he knocks a woman’s drink over and gets it all over her. He totally doesn’t apologize. Ass.

Archie gets nachos with cheese sauce from the snack bar and runs through the lobby, knocking a woman over. You guessed it: he doesn’t apologize. Ronnie’s pissed that he’s been gone for so long. He bullshits an explanation and gets cheese on a woman’s dog (named Pookie). He doesn’t apologize. The “romantic” movie that they’re seeing stars Warren Beatty and Shannen Doherty as the lead couple (their actual name are used), who Archie calls “a natural pair”. Veronica says Beatty is 83. He was around 57 or 58 at the time of this story and is now 82. Archie goes to, supposedly, get frozen yogurt, angering Ronnie. A character on the screen reminds Ronnie of Jason Blossom, which makes her remember something as she falls asleep.

The next six pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “Over the Edge“, presented as a flashback from Veronica’s perspective, despite the fact that Ronnie isn’t present for the first scene between Cheryl and Archie.

Ronnie wakes up. Archie’s not back yet.

Archie arrives back in Betty’s theater. He trips over an usher and complains about it, spilling shit everywhere. Archie sits down and tells Betty to fill him in on the movie. Betty starts to (and it seems she’s seeing the same baseball movie that Archie was taking Cheryl to), but then an older woman behind her tells her to shut the fuck up. Archie claims to be thirsty and gets up to get them some soda. He starts to wonder what to bring Cheryl, but then he settles on Gummy Monks (fun fact: there was an episode of Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears where Tummi Gummi became a monk). Then the dumbass trips and bangs his head.

Archie arrives back in Cheryl’s theater. She’s angry. He calls her a nut, gives her the candy, and asks her what he missed.

Cheryl asks what happened to the Choco-Pongs. Archie face-palms. Cheryl says it’s all right and tells him to just sit. He insists on getting them for her. On his way out, he touches a child, making it cry for its mom.

In the lobby, he passes a poster for a movie called Pookie the Cat. He runs, getting dizzy, and flings frozen yogurt in a guy’s face. He tells him to enjoy it. He also knocks a flashlight out of an usher’s hand.

He gets another yogurt, enters a theater, and sweet-talks a totally-not-gay guy (who’s watching a movie about a trucker named Steve) before realizing he’s not Veronica. He runs out in a panic, leaving the yogurt, which the guy thanks him for.

Cheryl, Betty, and Ronnie simultaneously decide to visit the ladies’ room. Betty arrives first and complains about Archie. Then Veronica arrives and is surprised that she chose tonight for her date with Archie, but Betty reminds her that tonight was supposed to be her night (although we didn’t see any discussion of that earlier). Cheryl arrives and has overheard. She informs them that she’s on a date with “Knucklehead”, too. She’s pissed at Archie for daring to insult them like this. Betty clenches her fists and declares they’re gonna “show him”.

Archie can’t find Betty in her theater or Cheryl in hers (there’s an error in which a guy that was previously in Betty’s theater is now in Cheryl’s). He finds Ronnie in her theater. Veronica mentions their “good friends Betty and Cheryl” have dropped in. Betty’s sitting right next to Ronnie, and Cheryl’s sitting right next to Betty. Archie tries to leave in a panic, but Cheryl pulls him back, and the crowd encourages the girls to kick his ass. The entire theater (even the projector guys) get into it as Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl (okay, mostly Cheryl) beat the shit out of Archie on the stage in front of the screen (which is showing two actors that look nothing like Shannen Doherty and Warren Beatty).

This story is pretty fun. Typical plot, and Archie is completely insufferable, but that ass-kicking at the end is so satisfying.

According to Grand Comics Database, a decoding puzzle featuring Cheryl titled “That’s Romance!” appears between parts 1 and 2 of this story, but it’s not in the digital edition, perhaps because it’s meant to be written on. Still would have been nice to include it for archival purposes, though.