Comics – Love Showdown

Writers: Dan Parent (Parts I and III), Bill Golliher (Parts II and IV)
Pencils: Stan Goldberg (Parts I and IV), Doug Crane (Part II), Dan DeCarlo (Part III)
Inks: Henry Scarpelli (Part I and IV), Ken Selig (Part II), Alison Flood (Part III)
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Archie, No. 429; Betty, No. 19; Betty and Veronica, No. 82; Veronica, No. 39
Cover Date: November, December, 1994
Length: 43 pages (11, 11, 11, 10)

Today, I am going to take a look at a famous storyline (or at least the one that Archie Comics keeps bringing up whenever it gets a chance), “Love Showdown”. It wasn’t the company’s first inter-title crossover. It wasn’t even Archie’s first hyped epic storyline; “Jughead’s Baby Tales” started earlier that year and was over twice as long (but confined to two special issues). But it did usher in what is my fondest era of Archie Comics.

Before we begin, some procedural notes:

Each part is split into two chapters, 6 and 5 pages each, respectively. Therefore, each part took up only about half of the space of the issue that it appeared in; the other stories in the issues are unrelated.

Although I have the original issues and both trade reprints (see below), I’m reviewing this story from the digital editions of each individual part, the updated covers of which, confusingly, refer to each part as a “chapter”. I don’t know if anything (except in-story captions) has been altered for this release.

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Part I

Chapter 1

Jughead and Betty watch Archie walking along the sidewalk in a love daze. Jughead guesses it was Veronica, which upsets Betty. She’s surprised Veronica’s gotten to Archie so early in the morning. Veronica comes over, asking what she’s talking about, but Betty’s pissed at her.

Veronica wants to know what the fuck Betty’s talking about. Betty explains. Veronica says she hasn’t seen Archie today, which surprises Betty. Veronica usually goes after Archie after lunch. They decide to get to the bottom of this. They catch up with Archie and “demand” to know why he’s acting this way. Veronica wants to murder the mystery girl. Archie, still in a daze, is coherent enough to mention he got a letter from the girl, who likes him.

Betty wants Veronica to grab the letter (um, no, that’s an invasion of privacy), but the wind blows it out of Archie’s hand. They chase after it. Veronica almost has it, but the dumbass doesn’t look where she’s running and falls down a manhole. Betty tells Ronnie to grab her hand, but Ronnie loses her grip on the pavement and falls completely in.

A worker helps Ronnie out. Fortunately, she had landed ass-first on his head. Somehow having managed to not lose sight on the letter, they follow it to the dock and out to water. Veronica declares rich girls down play hopscotch. She falls into shallow water. Betty follows the letter to a beach clean-up crew.

The letter lands in a barrel of burning trash and is burned, much to Betty’s horror. Betty decides they’ll ask Archie straight out about the author of the letter.

Unfortunately, Fred comes outside and has Archie clean out the garage right fucking now. Having absolutely no time to say a girl’s name (which is shorter than his apology and goodbye to the girls), he goes into the garage, driving the girls crazy. It was all an act, though. As Archie explains to his dad, he just needs to keep Betty and Veronica in suspense a bit longer. He declares the fun is just the beginning.

Chapter 2

Jughead and Hot Dog show up at Archie’s. Jughead says Betty and Veronica are going crazy over that letter. Archie finds it funny and flattering. Jughead knows the identity of the author of the letter. Archie says it’ll make the girls flip their shit. Archie says he’s “toyed” with them long enough and will tell them tomorrow.

Later, Reggie finds Jughead, who’s about to go to Pop’s, and brings up how Betty and Veronica are pissed over “some letter”. Jughead says Archie’s gonna straighten it out. This gives Reggie an idea. Ronnie walks by. Reggie “accidentally” “reveals” Betty as the author of the letter. Veronica’s pissed, believing Betty burned the letter and played innocent. She stalks off to find Betty.

Later, Reggie tells Betty, as she walks by, that Ronnie wrote the letter. Betty’s surprised but then gets furious when she remembers she suspected Ronnie originally, and she claims Archie had “that Lodge look in his eyes”. Okay. She goes off to find Ronnie. Reggie is happy that “the seeds have been planted”.

Veronica and Betty confront each other on the street and break up. Archie comes by, completely pleased with himself that he’s about to “end the suspense”. The girls cut him off, because they “already know”. The girls yell at Archie and each other a bit more and then leave in opposite directions, leaving Archie confused.

Archie comes into Pop’s and complains to Jughead, who’s about to bite into his first burger, about women. The girls each arrive at their respective homes, complaining about each other, look at photos of Archie, and vow to get Archie for herself.

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Part II

Chapter 1

Alice finds Betty in her bedroom, throwing out all of her photos of Veronica. Somehow, Caramel (her cat) is able to sleep soundly on her bed. The artwork is noticeably different here – and not for the better. Not only do the faces look kind of weird, but there’s no sense of depth, so it looks like Betty’s bed is just a blanket on the floor. Anyway, Alice takes issue with what Betty’s doing, and Betty claims it’s because she’s not a little kid anymore.

Betty takes the garbage bag out of her room and asks her dad to throw them out. Alice tells Hal to stick them in the garage in case this blows over. Betty is adamant that it won’t. Alice asks what happened. Betty explains. Apparently, Veronica had previously actually done exactly what Betty is now accusing her of doing.

Betty dumps all of the outfits that she’s borrowed from Veronica in a wheelbarrow and takes them to Lodge Manor. Smithers informs “Ms. Lodge” that “Ms. Cooper” is here to see her, which shocks Betty. Veronica is “really too busy” and tells Smithers to contribute something from the closet to Betty’s “charity drive” (I guess Veronica can see the main hall from her bedroom via video camera?). Betty’s pissed. She dumps the clothes on the floor, stomps her foot, grabs the phone, and yells at Veronica about these being Veronica’s clothes. Veronica has Smithers send them out to be cleaned, further angering Betty.

Later, at home, Betty’s sitting in the armchair with donuts and a drink. Alice asks her if she’s still upset. Betty asks why she’s asking. Alice says the TV’s not on. To Betty’s disbelief, Hal presents her with a pair of tickets to cheer her up.

His boss gave them to him. They’re for the Lodge Foundation’s Summer Charity Dance next week. This upsets Betty. Hal suggests asking Archie to go with her. For some reason, Betty agrees to do so. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Archie’s car, and he can’t fix it. Betty’s free tomorrow and offers to come over and look at it. Archie won’t be home. That’s okay with Betty, but she has him promise to go to the next dance with her next Saturday.

Betty’s pleased with herself, but Archie’s confused, since Veronica invited him to a Lodge Foundation dance tomorrow night. He guesses maybe they’re having one next week, too.

The next day, Betty’s sitting at the kitchen table, reading the manual for Archie’s Mustang. Hal says he could use a brake job, which Betty totally does not agree to do. Alice asks “Whatever happened to the helpless act?” Betty’s like “This is the ’90s, bitch!”

Betty grabs a toolbox and heads over to Archie’s. Alice jokingly wonders if the hospital gave them Mr. Goodwrench’s baby by mistake.

At Archie’s, Betty starts working on the car. Veronica comes over, pissed, and says she’s got “dibs” on Archie tonight.

Chapter 2

Betty’s pissed that Archie has plans with Veronica. Ronnie sends Archie inside to get ready. Betty vaguely threatens the car might not be ready, but Veronica brought her own car and driver. She insults Betty, further pissing her off.

After questioning Veronica, Betty learns tonight is the one and only dance. Betty’s tickets are dated the 25th (which would technically place this story in June, which is consistent with the characters apparently not being in school), but they were printed with the incorrect date, and Veronica had donated them to Hal’s office, figuring Betty would get them. Wow, that’s convoluted and relies on a lot of luck. Rather than suspecting Ronnie, Betty shrugs it off and just says she can’t quit the car repair now.

Archie comes out in his tux. Veronica compliments his appearance. Archie hates to leave Betty here doing this and asks if she wants to come back tomorrow. Betty would rather finish up now and tells Archie to have a good time. As they ride off, Veronica gets in a parting insult at Betty. As she continues working on Archie’s car, Betty laments her life.

On the way to the dance, Archie brings up the tickets, and Veronica keeps up the vague “misprinted” story.

Soon, Betty’s got Archie’s car running and praises herself. Since Archie’s not going to “thank” her, Betty decides to go down to Pop’s and treat herself to an extra-thick shake.

At Pop’s, Betty sits alone at a table with a (presumably) vanilla shake. Jughead walks by and asks what’s wrong. He joins her. Betty explains and pulls out the tickets (why was she carrying tickets for next Saturday in her shorts?). Jughead examines them and says he was at the copy center when Veronica got these printed up (the sheer number of coincidences in this part are astounding). Betty’s shocked.

Jughead says he heard Veronica asking them to print some with a different date on them. Betty’s momentarily confused but then pieces it together, even though it relies on a lot of luck (as I’ve already mentioned). Betty’s pissed. Jughead tells her to fight back. Betty stands up and loudly declares “There’s a new Betty Cooper coming out! Right now!!” Good for you, sweetie. Just wait until the end of the story; your one true love will be arriving soon enough. Jughead starts to comment about “that look in [her] eyes”, but Betty vows she’s got a dance to crash and heads for the door. Jughead cheers her on and asks if he can have the rest of her malted.

Betty-and-Veronica-82.jpg
Part III

Chapter 1

At the dance, Veronica is having a good time, but Archie feels bad about leaving Betty behind to fix his car. Veronica says Betty “loves that menial labor stuff”. Suddenly, Veronica notices three guys going gaga over someone other than her, so of course she’s pissed.

It’s Betty. Archie and Ronnie are shocked. Betty’s wearing a tiny blue dress that barely covers her ass. Veronica tells her to get the fuck out, because she doesn’t have a ticket. Betty says Mr. Lodge let her in as a friend of the family. Veronica insults Betty’s “tacky” dress, but it’s actually a hand-me-down from Veronica (wait, I thought Betty returned all of the clothes that Ronnie had given her), and Betty “just took it in a little”. Veronica says the dress is sized for a pre-schooler. Veronica wants confirmation from Archie that the dress is “tasteless”, but Archie has a massive boner for Betty.

So do the other guys. Veronica drags Archie away from “Goldilocks”, but Betty starts dancing to a song that she loves, and all of the guys watch her. One of them even says she should be a dancer. Betty takes turns dancing with the guys, and they argue over her. Veronica’s pissed at Archie for staring at Betty.

After the dance, Betty is still “wired” and invites Archie to go for a “round” with her. He accepts. This is Veronica’s worst nightmare.

Veronica joins in, trash-talking Paula Abdul. Betty effortlessly does a split. Veronica tries and ends up injuring herself and tearing her skirt. Meanwhile, Betty does a “complete” somersault. Veronica complains it’s unfair, since Betty’s more of a gymnast than her. She tries to do a somersault…

…but trips and lands in a punch bowl on top of a table…somehow. Ronnie’s embarrassed in front of guys and demands Archie help her. He’s with Betty. Pissed, Ronnie leaves, upsetting Archie but pleasing Betty.

Outside, Veronica wonders how this could happen and if she’s “losing it”. She considers taking “some new steps in keeping Archie”.

Chapter 2

One day, at Lodge Manor, Veronica has freaked her dad out by making a mess of the kitchen and filling it with smoke while trying to bake some chocolate chip muffins for Archie. Mr. Lodge asks why she didn’t have Chef Pierre do it for her. Since Betty’s “honing in on [her] glamorous territory”, Veronica has decided to pick up some of Betty’s “Archie-grabbing domestic traits”.

Mr. Lodge admires Veronica’s wanting to cook but says it’s for the wrong reasons. Veronica admits she made a mess but says it’ll be worth it.

Veronica goes out looking for Archie and is upset when she finds him with Betty in the park. Veronica insults her outfit (Betty’s wearing red overalls over a black-and-white-striped shirt). It’s Betty’s “new look” (more like her old look). Veronica presents the muffins to “Archiekins”. Betty’s angrily says those are her “special muffins”. What, does Betty think she has a monopoly on chocolate chip muffins? Anyway, Veronica offers Archie a taste, and he’s nervous.

Feeling he has no choice, Archie accepts – but has difficulty biting the muffin. Veronica excuses this as her muffins being a bit more “rugged” than Betty’s “sissy” muffins. Archie tries breaking the muffin against a rock. Betty offers to get a jackhammer. Veronica’s impatient. Archie breaks his tooth. Betty takes Archie to a dentist, not allowing Veronica to take him.

Veronica throws out her muffins. Jughead admonishes her and calls her muffins “perfect”. However, he’s taking them for his dad to use in a stone wall that he’s building (they ran out of stones). Veronica hits him in the head with a muffin and tells him to get out of her life forever. Veronica loses confidence in herself. Reggie comes by and asks about Veronica’s “Betty Crocker get-up” (which it isn’t at all). Veronica explains. Reggie explains Betty’s “tough girl act” was Betty just trying to be Veronica. Um, two things: 1) Betty in no way resembled a “tough girl”, and 2) I figured Ronnie already figured Betty was imitating her, hence Ronnie imitating Betty.

Reggie vows to get Ronnie “back into shape”, so she can “fight fire with fire”. Ronnie’s eager to be Reggie’s “ruthless student”.

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Part IV

Chapter 1

At Lodge Manor, Reggie’s sitting on the couch, watching baseball, and having Ronnie doing stupid shit like walking, saying a rhyme, and balancing a book on her head. Ronnie’s skeptical and thinks Reggie’s nuts.

Ronnie throws the book at Reggie’s head, but he ducks. Veronica’s pissed, and Reggie declares success. For some reason, Veronica thought Betty had caused her to lose her edge, but she still has it.

Reggie has Ronnie watch a VHS tape of a Dirty Dancing stand-in to learn some moves. Ronnie’s skeptical because of the age of the film, but, by Reggie’s logic, speeding up the dance moves makes them all new. Works for Ronnie.

A few hours later, Ronnie’s worn out the tape but is convinced she’s ready. She thinks she’s “the first Lodge in three generations to actually break a sweat”. Veronica heads off to Pop’s to “restake [her] claim to Archie”. Reggie wishes his “unfair lady” luck.

At Pop’s, Jughead’s eating a cheeseburger, and Betty’s teaching Archie to dance.

Veronica rushes in and tells Betty that Mrs. Johnson’s cat is stuck up in the tree, having kittens, and Mrs. Johnson is asking for Betty. After some cluelessness from Archie (and clarifications from the girls), Betty grabs her purse and rushes off to check. Citing the warmth, Ronnie decides to take off her coat, and Archie helps her.

Ronnie’s wearing a very short, sparkly blue dress. Archie gets a boner. Ronnie wants to dance.

Later, Betty returns to Pop’s, exhausted. Apparently, Betty knows more than one Mrs. Johnson and didn’t bother to find out who the fuck Ronnie was talking about, so she checked with all of them (and even a few Mr. Johnsons, because she likes to waste time, I guess). Betty’s shocked that Archie’s not here. Ronnie explains she wore him out, and Jughead and Dilton had to carry him home. Betty says they had a date tonight and is pissed that Ronnie set this up.

They argue. Betty challenges Veronica to a duel. Ronnie is unclear what Betty means. Betty means Super Soakers at high noon tomorrow in Pickens Park. Veronica agrees and stipulates fresh hairdos. Betty agrees. They trash-talk some more. Pop now knows how those Wild West saloon keepers felt.

Chapter 2

Note: Unlike every other chapter in the single-part digital editions that I’ve been reading, the credits for this chapter are intact.

The next day, at 11:57 AM, in Pickens Park, Veronica (in a new hairdo and designer outfit) and Reggie have arrived. Veronica thanks him for offering to referee the duel. Reggie plans to give the loser some of his “heavy-duty consoling”. Betty (in a new hairdo and designer outfit) shows up. She’d just stopped off at Macy’s Lacey’s Department Store for a full makeover. Veronica does some trash-talking.

The girls are ready. Reggie says he’s going to count off five paces, and then they’ll turn and fire. They trash-talk some more. Ronnie calls Betty a “Peroxide Pollyanna”, which is awesome. Reggie starts counting. Archie arrives with someone. At 5, the girls turn and fire, soaking Archie and who he’s with.

Betty and Veronica are shocked. Pissed, Archie says he was going to tell them that Cheryl and her family moved back to town. An angry Cheryl wrings out her shirt and says Veronica and Betty are still as immature as ever (she’s totally right). Betty apologizes to Cheryl. Ronnie asks Cheryl when she moved back. Cheryl says yesterday and adds she wrote Archie a few weeks ago, but she asked him to keep it quiet until she knew for sure. Betty and Veronica realize Cheryl wrote the letter.

Reggie gets a boner for Cheryl and assumes she remembers him. Cheryl gets a bit friendly with Reggie and asks how he’s been. Cheryl claims she’d love to stay and chat with the girls all day, but she might catch her death of cold. Angry, Betty says they can’t have that. Walking away, Cheryl suggests Archie date someone more mature. Walking after her, Archie casts an angry glance back at Betty and Veronica and says he thinks he’s made a decision. Reggie can’t believe Archie chose Cheryl Blossom. That’s not exactly what Archie said; he said he “think[s]” he’s made a decision, because even he realizes he’s an indecisive fuckwaffle. Veronica declares the war may be over, and Betty declares the war has just begun.

It’s worth noting there are only four panels on the final page, covering 2/3rds of the page. I don’t know what originally went in the rest of the space, and Grand Comics Database isn’t helpful. In the first trade collection (see below), there was an ad for the Archie Americana series. I don’t know what was in that spot in the second trade collection and don’t feel like digging it out from wherever I’ve got it stashed. In the digital edition of this chapter, they moved artwork of Archie putting up a wall poster of Cheryl as Veronica and Betty look on (which was originally printed on the inside-back cover of the first trade, below the credits) to the bottom of the final page of the story.

So that’s the famous “Love Showdown” storyline. Overall, it’s pretty stupid and relies on jealousy, coincidences, and a lack of communication. Archie, Reggie, Betty, and Veronica are a bunch of assholes, and neither of the first two get called out on their bullshit. Cheryl ends up being the nicest person in the story.

There’s also the less-than-stellar artwork in Part II. When read together, it’s definitely noticeable, although it’s not as bad as in some cases.

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The story has been collected twice. The first time was in 1994. There’s an introduction by Paul Castiglia that gives a probably somewhat exaggerated account of the origin of the storyline. The news was featured in USA Today, and fans swarmed Archie Comics at a con in excitement, wondering who Archie who choose. I have the second printing of this one, dated August of 1999.

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The second time was in October of 2012. This edition includes the sequels. I have this one as well.

Archie-75th-Anniversary-Digest-9
Even more recently, the stories in the 2012 collection were reprinted in digest format (along with the “Battle of the BFFs” storyline) in Archie 75th Anniversary Digest, No. 9 on May 10, 2017 (cover-dated June), so check that out if you want, in essence, a Cheryl Digest (which, actually, would not be a bad idea).

So, yeah, “Love Showdown” is pretty dumb, but it brought Cheryl back. Here’s an excerpt from a five-part essay called “Inside Archie Comics Publications” (a.k.a. “The Inside Scoop”) by Jeffrey C. Branch, which I saved to my hard drive back on August 30, 2000:

“The premise of this crossover was dirt simple: the end of the Eternal Triangle. The madness began in Archie #429 (November 1994) when a lovesick Archie received a letter from a girl from his past who was returning to Riverdale. That alone got fans from coast to coast wondering just who the mystery woman could be. … The return of Cheryl Blossom to the Archie Universe was a shocker to Archie fans worldwide as she was perhaps the LAST person Archie fans ever expected to see again. Normally, when a character is eliminated from the Archie cast, and many have been over the decades, more often than not, he or she never comes back. One prevalent theory regarding Cheryl’s return was that a foil was needed to keep Archie from choosing between Betty and Veronica as part of the Love Showdown plot, to which end, Cheryl was rescued from oblivion by the editors to serve that purpose.”

Okay, just about everything in that statement is an exaggeration. The letter wasn’t specifically stated to be from a girl from Archie’s past. I doubt many (if any) readers were shocked by Cheryl’s return. Younger readers wouldn’t remember her. Older and younger readers alike would have been seeing her in digests, probably not realizing the stories were reprints. Also, Cheryl was never officially sent away back in the 1980s; she just stopped appearing (in new stories) after two years (with the exception of being a recurring character in the 1990-1991 series, Archie’s Explorers of the Unknown). There was no actual need to have a “Cheryl returns” storyline; just have her start appearing again. Finally, no one was needed to prevent Archie from choosing between Betty and Veronica, because Archie’s an indecisive fuckwaffle. This was a publicity stunt, pure and simple.

Still, “Love Showdown” is an important milestone in Archie Comics history. It ushered in what I refer to as the Silver Age of Cheryl (the 1980s being the Golden Age). It continued to be name-dropped by Archie Comics (sometimes undeservedly so) for years to come, and it did lead to a lot of great Cheryl stories, so there’s that.

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Comics – Snob Hill

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Look closely, and you’ll see Cheryl on the front cover.

Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jim DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Billy Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals, No. 161
Cover Date: November, 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. 2 (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.

Outside Pembrooke Academy (I guess), Bunny and Cedric come after Jason and Cheryl. They’re pissed about the two of them hanging out with Archie and Veronica. Archie, I can understand, but Veronica? She’s the daughter of billionaires, y’know. Well, whatever, they’re both “townies” to Bunny and Cedric. Oh, and Cheryl’s wearing a pair of very short blue shorts and a blue bikini top.

Cheryl tries to play dumb, but Cedric insists the whole school knows. After more blather, he says he and Bunny are in charge of “ethics control” in Cheryl and Jason’s quad. Cheryl and Jason are risking “demerits and public disgrace”. Oh, and “the wrath of the ethics committee will descend on [their] heads”, if they don’t stop seeing Archie and Veronica. In other words, nothing that actually matters; it’s just students being dicks to other students. After Bunny and Cedric leave, Cheryl is a bit surprised, because she didn’t know they’d “been so obvious”. Oddly, Jason calls Bunny an “old biddy”.

Jason and Cheryl admit they’ve been lowering their standards, but they live only once, so they give in to their every whim, no matter how shameful that the ethics committee thinks it is. They admit they want Archie and Veronica. Cheryl decides they’re gonna go to them right now.

Cheryl fears being “drummed out of the academy”. Um, I dunno what kind of bullshit system that Pembrooke has in place, but I’m pretty sure no school can tell you who you can and can’t date. Anyway, they’re gonna work together and “avoid detection”.

Cedric’s watching Jason’s car, and Jason figures Bunny’s probably watching Cheryl’s car. Um, so what? Cedric and Bunny are on foot. You could easily lose them. Jason’s gonna “burn rubber”, feeling Cedric will “screech” after him. Cheryl is to “run for home”, get one of their other cars, and head for the municipal parking garage. He’ll park on the sixth floor and grab an elevator. Cedric will follow. Cheryl will pick Jason up and tear off, leaving Cedric stuck two floors away from his wheels. Then they’ll “disappear into townie turf”. Um, here’s a better idea: go home, call up Archie and Veronica, make dates, pick them up, and take them somewhere out of town. Ooh, an even better idea: just don’t give a shit about this stupid, student-run ethics committee!

So they do just as Jason said. I won’t rehash it, but here are some observations:

Cedric’s car looks like he’s compensating for a small dick.

Cheryl believes walking and running are not for Pembrookeans; she then runs home.

Cheryl picks up one of her other cars, a purple Mercedes-Benz.

Jason “just love[s]” speeding up the ramps of parking garages.

When Cheryl picks Jason up, he has her wait, so Cedric can see them off. Then she tears off.

Jason wants Cheryl to pick up Archie first and then Veronica. Cheryl asks why not the other way around. Jason says Veronica’s place is more “acceptable” than Archie’s tract house, which they wanna get in and out of fast.

Cheryl stops at Archie’s. Mary answers the door and informs her that Archie’s not at home. Cheryl casually insults the house and asks if she knows where he is. Mary guesses Veronica’s. Cheryl politely addresses Mary and then leaves. Cheryl states Archie’s at Veronica’s as fact. They head to Lodge Manor and admire it. Unfortunately, Bunny’s been waiting here this whole time.

Cheryl’s dumbfounded, but Bunny explains they “simply anticipated [her] strategy”. Yeah, she thinks Cheryl came up with the idea. Bunny lectures them for a while and then suggests they return to the academy or “suffer the consequences”. Bunny also informs Cheryl that she could have used her other car; she wasn’t watching it; she came directly here. So Cheryl drives Jason back to Pembrooke Academy, and Bunny follows them. Jason and Cheryl vow to keep trying.

Pretty stupid premise for a story. Also, Cheryl and Jason will now have to figure out how to get three cars home.

The story is followed by a Cheryl Blossom’s Fashions page (called “Strictly Stripes”) of Cheryl wearing reader-submitted fashions. As was previously the case, these fashions were probably meant for Betty and/or Veronica and then thrown on Cheryl.

This story was reprinted as a flashback within the “Life’s A Circus” story in Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 2, in 1995.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries, Episode 05 – Attack of the 50-Foot Veronica

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-01-Riverdale-High-Reporter.jpgWriter: Jymn Magon
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 30, 1999
Length: 22:19

Note: This episode is placed fourth on the DVD.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-02-titleAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-03-RHSAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-04-Archie-Dilton-labThe episode opens at Riverdale High at night.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-05-Archie-Dilton-growth-rayAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-06-Dilton-Archie-growth-rayArchie is taking notes for a potential article about Dilton’s latest invention: a growth ray to use on produce to eradicate hunger. Archie compares this to H.G. Wells’ Food of the Gods. That’s…not at all the same thing (although giants are involved, so I guess it’s a kind of foreshadowing).

Dilton’s ready to test his new growth ray. Archie excitedly compares Dilton to Algernon. Um, okay.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-07-Dilton-fires-growth-rayDilton puts on gloves and goggles, turns on the growth ray, and zaps the produce.

By the way, this shot above was used in the commercial (which aired with every episode) that explained the premise of the series. This shot was specifically used to illustrate the experiment that went awry that caused Riverdale to become a magnet for all things weird. This is, of course, completely incorrect. No, you can’t even say this episode is supposed to go chronologically first, since Archie already has his column. There is no actual origin episode for this series. Archie Comics itself would provide the origin in Archie’s Weird Mysteries, No. 1 (cover-dated February of 2000), in the issue-length story, “Just Another Paranormal Day in Riverdale”. The actual piece of equipment that started the mess is called the Quarkinator. Good luck buying any of the issues now, though; they’re either unavailable or hella expensive. Stick with the trade paperback.

Anyway, since nothing immediately happens, Dilton’s convinced he failed. Archie says it was a nice try and offers to buy Dilton a burger. They leave. Clean-up? What’s that?

By the way, if you want a good nerd-like curse, try Dilton’s “Dang frizzle-frazzle fooey to the Nth degree!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-08-bug-growsWell, apparently, there was a bug hidden in the produce. So the growth ray does work. Just not as fast as Dilton predicted. And on living things only.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-09-Pop'sAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-10-Pop-JugheadAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-11-Jughead-asleepThe next day (I guess), at Pop’s, Jughead’s asleep, and Pop arrives with a platter full of cheeseburgers, which wakes Jughead up. It turns out that this is merely his appetizer, and he’ll be ordering his main course in five minutes.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-12-Jughead-ketchupDude, that’s gross.

Jughead momentarily gets distracted by something outside (the giant bug) but then ignores it and chows down.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-13-Veronica-ArchieVeronica is grossed out by Jughead, but Archie dismisses it, saying he’s “just Jughead”. He asks her if she’s finished her guest list for her big pool party.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-14-Veronica-Archie-listShe has, but she hasn’t invited Jughead, which upsets Archie.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-15-Veronica-Archie-JugheadVeronica points out many ways in which Jughead is “different”, and Archie asks her what’s wrong with that. She says it bothers people, and she doesn’t want him scaring off her guests. Archie’s upset at her and asks how she’d like it if people thought she was different. Veronica says she’s not, and that’s why everyone “adores” her.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-16-Jughead-walking.jpgLater, Jughead’s walking along when his watch’s alarm goes off.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-17-Jughead-watch-1AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-18-Jughead-watch-2“3:26. Time for a snack.”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-19-Jughead-burger-hatDude, that’s fucking gross.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-20-Jughead-Cooper-houseAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-21-Jughead-rings-doorbellLater, Jughead shows up at Betty’s.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-22-Betty-apronAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-23-Betty-happyBetty is happy to see him and invites him in, saying she was just baking a cake for Veronica’s pool party tomorrow. Who serves cake at a pool party? That thing’s gonna melt so fast.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-24-Betty-uh-oh“Oh, shit…”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-25-Betty-uh-oh-2“…I fucked up.”

Betty apologizes. Jughead doesn’t care and offers to help.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-26-Betty-Jughead-kitchenAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-27-Betty-Jughead-kitchen-2AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-28-Betty-Jughead-kitchen-3Her chocolate cake is just rising, and she goes to open the oven. Jughead prevents her. I love Betty’s over-the-top reaction (complete with a gasp) at the realization that she nearly ruined the cake.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-29-Betty-Jughead-oven.jpgSo it turns out that Jughead knows way more about this stuff than Betty.

Betty realizes she left the icing out in the car and goes to get it. Ew.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-30-Betty-shadow.jpg“Oh, shit.”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-31-giant-bugAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-32-Betty-screamsAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-33-glasses-shattersAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-34-Betty-screams-2So Betty screams…kind of. It sounds more like the annoying sound that a kid that’s trying to get under your skin would make. But the show wants us to believe it’s loud enough to break glass, including a, well, glass, a vase, and the oven’s window. Bullshit.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-35-Jughead-cake“You killed Cakey! You bastard!”

Then Jughead goes to check on Betty (the cake takes priority, y’know). He tells the “cakewrecker” to leave, and it does. But that’s not enough for Jughead.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-36-Jughead-rides-bugDude, why?

The bug throws Jughead to the ground and attacks him. Jughead runs away. A chase ensues in Betty’s front yard.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-37-Betty-runs“Fuck this shit!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-38-Betty-phone-1AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-39-Betty-phone-2Why is she hesitating/worried?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-40-Betty-phone-3So Betty calls Archie and is like “Get the fuck over here right fucking now!” By the way, we see Betty dial his number. In case you’re wondering, Archie’s cell phone number is 539-573. Yeah, that’s it.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-41-Veronica-balloonsAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-42-Archie-balloonsAnyway, Archie’s busy blowing up balloons for Veronica’s party. Why are the two of them doing this? Couldn’t she have gotten some staff members to do this?

Betty yells “There’s a beetle over here, and he’s really big!” Archie asks “Paul McCartney?” Betty flips her shit and screams at Archie. Archie promptly ditches Veronica, declaring “I smell a weird mystery.” Not trusting the “boy-crazy blonde”, Veronica goes with Archie.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-43-Cooper-houseAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-44-Archie-Betty-VeronicaAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-45-Veronica“Bitch, please.”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-46-Archie-BettyI believe it.”

Veronica insults Archie and tries to get “Cooper” to fess up.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-47-JugheadAn exhausted Jughead comes in and confirms Betty’s story. Betty calls him brave (because he jumped on a giant bug when it was already leaving?) and asks him if he’s all right. Jughead laments the death of the cake. Veronica calls him a “weirdo”. Then there’s sort of an odd zoom-in on Veronica before…

Fade out. Fade in.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-48-Archie-DiltonAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-49-Veronica-appleArchie and Veronica go to the high school’s physics lab, where Veronica is bored as Archie discusses the giant beetle with Dilton. Veronica’s like “Balloons, damn it!” Archie’s like “Hold your shit, girl!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-50-Veronica-ray-1“Ooh, is this a vibrator?”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-51-Veronica-ray-2“Will it make me tingle?”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-52-Veronica-ray-3AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-53-Veronica-ray-4“Well, yeah, but this isn’t what I was expecting.”

Veronica turns the ray off. Archie asks Dilton if his growth ray was somehow connected with the bug. Dilton doubts it, because it had no effect on the vegetables (nor the fruits, but he doesn’t mention them). Veronica wants to go. Archie thanks Dilton and then…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-54-Veronica-ArchieAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-55-Veronica-Archie-2…asks an obviously taller (and wider) Veronica if she’s gotten high heels. Rather than noticing she’s taller, Veronica just smiles sweetly.

Veronica talks about men always feeling so inferior and then says bye to Dilton as she and Archie leave.

Fade out. Fade in.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-56-Lodge-mansionAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-57-Veronica-phoneAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-58-Veronica-phone-2That evening, at Lodge Manor, Veronica’s on the phone with Fresco Fashions, complaining about how her dress has “shrunk”.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-59-window-weird-angleThere’s also a weird zoom-out from Veronica’s bedroom window at a slanted angle.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-60-Veronica-phone-3Anyway, after the person says Veronica might be putting on weight, Veronica angrily hangs up and sets her phone to charge.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-61-Veronica-clothesVeronica blames whatever cleaner that Smithers sent her clothes to.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-62-Veronica-windowUnfortunately, Archie arrives, and Veronica isn’t ready. He just honks the horn instead of coming to the door. Keep him waiting, girl.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-63-Veronica-jogging-suitAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-64-Archie-WTFAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-65-Archie-WTF-2AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-66-Archie-WTF-3“What the fuck?”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-67-Veronica-bangs-headVeronica thinks Archie lowered the roof of his car. Archie, for his part, doesn’t question anything except Veronica wearing her dad’s jogging suit. How can these two be so stupid?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-68-monsterAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-69-Veronica-kidSo they go to see a monster movie (probably meant to be 1998’s Godzilla), and Veronica’s so tall that she’s blocking a kid’s view. He yells at her. Why doesn’t he just change seats?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-70-Veronica-ArchieAnyway, before Veronica can call him a name, she notices Archie isn’t exactly having the best time.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-71-cinemaAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-72-cinema-2After the movie lets out, Veronica criticizes the plot about giant monsters.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-73-Veronica-carAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-74-Veronica-ArchieAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-75-Veronica-Archie-2AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-76-Veronica-Archie-3Only after Veronica pretty much completely ruins Archie’s car does he seem to suspect something’s seriously wrong.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-77-Cooper-houseAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-78-Archie-chairThe next day, Archie is sitting outside, enjoying nature, as teens in the 1990s were known to do. He asks Betty what the fuck she’s doing.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-79-Betty-bushesShe’s “scaring off bugs”. Okay, well, have fun. Even Archie rolls his eyes at this and reminds her that animal control captured the giant beetle yesterday. And yet there are no news crews or scientists descending on Betty’s house.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-80-Betty-assAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-81-Betty-ass-2This shot was very necessary.

Anyway, Archie is perplexed about Veronica, because her growth doesn’t fit into what he believes his weird mysteries are “supposed to be” about. It’s worth noting neither of Veronica’s supposed friends seem particularly concerned about her.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-82-Archie-BettyAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-83-Archie-Betty-sticksAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-84-Archie-sticks“That’s it! These sticks have given me the answer! Away to Dilton!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-85-Betty-angryBetty, Veronica’s supposed best friend, is merely upset that Veronica “bugs” her. No concern at all.

Fade out. Fade in. But no commercial break, because the music is continuous.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-86-RHSArchie goes to the high school physics lab and discusses things with Dilton.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-87-Dilton-rayDilton reveals the growth ray doesn’t work on “non-animal objects”. That’s some highly selective scientific bullshit.

Dilton also reveals the machine was left on yesterday. So what was that sound effect that I heard, like Veronica was turning it off?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-88-Archie-shakes-Dilton“Good God, man!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-89-Archie-pulls-Dilton“To the pool party!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-90-pool-partyAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-91-Dilton-ArchieAt the pool party, Archie marvels over the food. Dilton asks him why Jughead isn’t here. Archie tells him.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-92-Dilton-Archie-VeronicaAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-93-VeronicaAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-94-crowd-oh-shitOkay, how is it that none of the staff or Veronica’s parents have noticed this?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-95-giant-Veronica-crowdWhat’s up with the legs of the girl on the left? And why does the blonde girl in the green swimsuit seemingly not care that Veronica is a fucking giant?!

Veronica says her “swimsuits seem to have shrunk”, so she sewed them all together. *bangs head against desk* You can’t expect me to believe Veronica can sew!

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-96-Betty-shockedBetty realizes Archie was right, because she never once went to check on her supposed best friend up to this point.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-97-Veronica-jumps-poolVeronica decides it’d be a great idea to jump in the pool.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-98-guests-soakedIt’s not.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-99-Veronica-poolAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-100-Veronica-pool-2Of course, Veronica’s still a dumbass and thinks the pool was inadequately filled.

The crowd somehow has a premonition, because they react to Veronica’s next growth spurt before it starts to occur. Anyway, Veronica shakes and yells “Oh, no! Not again!”. Okay, so Veronica did realize what was happening; she was just in extreme denial about it.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-101-Dilton-ArchieDilton needlessly exposits about what they (and we) are about to see.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-102-Veronica-growsSo Veronica grows bigger and grabs the tent to cover herself, so her friends won’t get to see her giant boobs and pussy for too long, despite the fact that her swimsuits are clearly shown to grow along with her. Yeah, I know the latter is an error and makes no sense according to the highly selective science that Dilton spewed earlier.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-103-Betty-pissedWhat the fuck, Betty? Your supposed best friend is clearly in distress and having no control over her growth spurts, and you’re pissed at her for…what, exactly? Seriously, that judgmental look just screams “Oh, that exhibitionist! Anything to get the guys’ attention!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-104-Dilton-Archie-lesbianAnd the attention of one girl. Hello, I think we just found Archie’s real first gay character (sorry, Kevin). Granted, she’s a background extra, but this had to have been deliberate. Someone ought to write a fanfic about this girl-loving, hat-wearing, A-cup beauty.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-105-giant-VeronicaVeronica asks why this is happening to her.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-106-Veronica-angryThen she gets pissed at her guests for staring. She claims to be the same as always.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-107-Veronica-Dilton-ArchieArchie points out that she’s changed and is different.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-108-Veronica-ArchieI’m not different! You’re different!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-109-Veronica-crowd“You all are!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-110-Veronica-yells-at-ArchieThen Veronica screams at her boyfriend, possibly damaging his hearing.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-111-Veronica-squeezes-ArchieThen she squeezes him in her fist, possibly damaging the rest of him.

She yells “You’re puny and weak! And I don’t date weaklings!”

Then Archie disappears from her fist, and she makes a throwing motion. Seriously, I did a frame-by-frame advance, and she throws nothing. Anyway, we’re supposed to believe Veronica throws Archie several yards into a tree.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-112-Archie-treeSomehow, she doesn’t kill him – nor break any of his bones for that matter.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-113-Veronica-guestsVeronica yells at her guests for running away.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-114-Veronica-jumpsAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-115-Veronica-jumps-2AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-116-Veronica-streetAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-117-Veronica-crushes-carVeronica then goes, ahem, ape-shit and crushes a car, which may or may not have people in it.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-118-Veronica-chimney“Take that, you stupid chimney!”

So Veronica keeps stomping around the (strangely deserted) town (and it’s now suddenly sunset, despite it clearly being day just a short while ago), causing relatively minor damage.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-119-ArchieArchie, who happens to have climbed down from the tree and followed Veronica here (somehow), watches her causing relatively minor damage, aghast.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-120-Dilton-ArchieOh, Dilton’s here, too. How did these two reunite so quickly?

Archie asks when Veronica will return to normal, but Dilton thinks she’ll just keep growing bigger.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-121-Archie-pulls-DiltonArchie doesn’t accept that, so he manhandles Dilton (again) and drags him back to the lab.

So Veronica keeps stomping through town. Not much of interest happens. Um, we learn green and blue cars are very popular in Riverdale.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-122-Veronica-Fresco'sVeronica comes across Fresco’s Fashions, which, it turns out, has a store in Riverdale. She decides to “get even with those hacks”.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-123-Veronica-clothesVeronica decides to destroy all fashions, because she can no longer wear them.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-124-Veronica-criesVeronica is then brought to tears over the “lovely fabric” and (nonexistent) little belt on a dress.

Jughead just happens to walk by (for no apparent reason), holding an umbrella (for no apparent reason), and walks right up to Veronica before looking up and being surprised. Um…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-125-Jughead-umbrellaJughead mentions Gene Kelly and references Singin’ in the Rain. He asks “Girlzilla” how things are in Tokyo. *rolls eyes*

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-126-Veronica-cries-2Veronica completely breaks down. She sits (not caring if she squashes Jughead) and continues sobbing. She compares how she’s feeling to the monster in the movie, except the monster was on a murderous rampage. Well, Veronica was, too, but at least Veronica now feels sad, whereas there’s no indication that the monster did.

Anyway, after Veronica mentions her involuntary isolation, Jughead points out that he’s here. Intrigued, Veronica asks why. Jughead says he was out for his “evening think”. That’s when he walks around town by himself and wastes his brainpower contemplating the semantics of common, everyday phrases.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-127-VeronicaEven Ronnie seems to think it’s fucking stupid.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-128-Jughead-VeronicaShe pretends to be interested but then…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-129-Jughead-Veronica-2Hahaha!

Anyway, Jughead offers her half of his candy bar, which he takes, already unwrapped, out of his pocket. And Veronica eats it. Ew!

There’s also a continuity error, because she’s suddenly sitting up straight again.

Anyway, using the same method that she had used with Archie earlier at Pop’s to point out Jughead’s flaws, he lists the ways in which she’s now different, calls her an oddball, and says that’s not good for him (by the way, he claims this was the subject of tonight’s evening think, although I have no clue when he could have learned of Veronica’s predicament). Veronica cries again, just now realizing she’s different. Jughead tells her to chill the fuck out and says they’ll figure out a solution.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-130-Veronica-tearsVeronica breathes a sigh of relief, even though her problem is nowhere close to being solved.

Fade out. Fade in.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-131-RHSAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-132-Archie-DiltonBack in the high school physics lab (seriously, did Weatherbee give Dilton a key to let himself in whenever he feels like it?), Archie puts the pressure on to save Veronica.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-133-Dilton-rayDilton starts talking about the impossibility of this, but then Veronica arrives. Fearing certain death, Dilton tries to leave, but Archie forces him to stay.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-134-Jughead-as-LeoOutside, Jughead channels his inner Leo.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-135-Archie-Jughead-DiltonJughead explains Veronica realized it was the ray that caused this (took her long enough). They hear police sirens in the distance.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-136-tankAnd that’s not all. Okay, let’s look at this closely. The Riverdale Police contacted the U.S. National Guard and got them to send a motherfucking tank to Riverdale (on extremely short notice) to, potentially, shoot the daughter of the richest man in town. Just so we’re clear.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-137-policeArguing ensues, and then…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-138-Jughead-shoves-ray“Fuck this motherfucking bullshit, yo!”

Remembering the cake in the oven, Jughead suggests a blast of cold air, and Dilton, for whatever reason, thinks it’s brilliant.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-139-Archie-VeronicaAmidst the arguing, Archie asks Veronica if she’s okay. She says yeah and apologizes for throwing him. Veronica’s praises Jughead’s differentness when it comes to figuring out the solution.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-140-Veronica-kisses-JugheadShe also “thanks” him…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-141-Jughead-lipstick…a little sloppily.

They hear the police sirens again, and Veronica tells Dilton to hurry.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-142-Dilton-shrinking-ray“Prepare to de-enlarge!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-143-Veronica-impatient“Fucking shoot me already!”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-144-Dilton-shootsAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-145-Veronica-hitVeronica despairs, because the ray doesn’t immediately work. Archie tells her to have faith in Dilton’s inventions.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-146-Veronica-happySee? Just took a while.

For some reason, the guys are momentarily confused by this. Oh, and Veronica claims to be a size 7.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-147-copAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-148-soldier-tankAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-149-Dilton-rayAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-150-Dilton-hides-rayHaha, yeah, better hide any guns when you’re around the cops or the military. Don’t wanna get shot.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-151-cop-VeronicaAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-152-copAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-153-cop-2A cop runs over and questions the obviously naked teenage girl that’s hanging out on school grounds at night.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-154-Veronica-pointsVeronica’s like “I think she went that-a-way.”

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-155-Veronica-covers-herselfHehehe.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-156-cop-staresAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-157-cop-runsAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-158-Veronica-exhalesThat’s good enough for the cop, who leaves the naked teenage girl alone with the three guys. Um, dude, for all that you know, she might have just been gang-raped and was trying to escape. Also, she looks exactly like the giant that you were just driving after, and she was surrounded by the “clothing” that said giant was wearing. Riverdale’s finest, everyone.

Veronica thanks Jughead (but not Dilton) and invites him to her pool party next week. Does Veronica have weekly pool parties, or is she just trying to make up for this one? Regardless, she has a lot of friendships to mend. Because, y’know, she terrorized most of her friends. And the entire town.

Anyway, Jughead accepts on the condition that Veronica doesn’t eat all of the burgers. She agrees.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-159-Dilton-Archie-laughAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-160-Jughead-rides-beetleAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-161-Jughead-beetleDilton returns the giant beetle to normal size. Wait, I thought animal control had picked it up. Were they keeping it on some pasture or something?

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-162-Archie-laptopAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-163-Jughead-burgersAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-164-Archie-laptop-2Today’s column-writing scene is a bit different. It occurs in the daytime, and Archie’s typing it up at Pop’s.

Jughead asks Archie if he thinks Dilton’s ray could make a 50-foot hamburger. Oh, you mean the ray that you knocked off the table, dumbass?

Archie wonders if Veronica will think twice before poking fun at someone who’s different but then guesses probably not.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-165-Veronica-as-JugheadThen Veronica shows up dressed like Jughead, I guess as a sign of her appreciation.

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-166-Archie-JugheadAWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-167-Pop'sSo big problems are little. Life goes on…

AWM-05-Attack-of-the-50-Foot-Veronica-168-Riverdale…in a little town called Riverdale.

This was a pretty good episode. Veronica episodes seem to be my favorite. However, I need to point out that this is the second episode in a row in which characters are too stupid for words.

General Weirdness: 3
Dilton’s Inventions: 2

Comics – Gimme Some Space!

Betty-and-Veronica-Double-Digest-Magazine-274.jpgWriter: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics (Double Digest Magazine), No. 274
On-Sale Date: June 19, 2019
Length: 5 pages

Before I get into the story, I need to note two things:

1) Betty and Cheryl aren’t exactly what I’d consider attractive on this cover.

2) Amazon’s description mentions an entirely different story (the same description is used for both this digest and another that came out on the same day): “BRAND NEW STORY: “A Squeak from Beyond!” A fun night at the Lodge Mansion gets a supernatural twist when Veronica gets everyone to try to communicate with others from the great beyond! But will everyone be convinced of Veronica’s new abilities?”

Veronica’s driving along a desolate road in the late afternoon with Betty as her passenger. They’re looking for a new shopping center. An angry Ronnie blames Betty’s phone. Betty mentions “some kind of weird interference”. Veronica suggests Betty try her phone. It’s kind of unclear, because there’s no indication that Ronnie hands her her phone, but the phone that Betty’s holding has a bunch of blossoms on the back, which matches Betty’s blossom shirt (just saying). Anyway, Betty tries Ronnie’s phone but gets jack shit.

Then the girls get abducted by aliens. Seriously. Ronnie’s car dies, and a tractor beam from a UFO lifts it up. The aliens (in the shadows) welcome them. Ronnie demands to know why they stole her car and them.

All of the aliens look like Archie, which raises questions from the girls, and the aliens want to experiment on them, which raises protests. Veronica starts up a “Do you know who I am?!” rant.

After Ronnie threatens physical violence, the aliens agree to her demands that they return them where they found them. Back on the road, Betty questions what happened and suggests getting home. Ronnie says no one will ever believe them.

On the UFO, one of the aliens exposits (for our benefit only) that they probed Veronica and Betty’s minds to take this form, but then they shed the “hideous” form for their true forms, which are basically green-skinned elephant things with pointy arrow tails – something like what you’d find in a Dr. Seuss book.

Veronica and Betty arrive at Pop’s. Betty wants to tell the gang what they saw. How does she know any member of “the gang” is at Pop’s at the moment? Anyway, an alien comes out of Pop’s and greets the “Earthlings”. The girls scream. Archie removes his helmet and tells the girls to calm the fuck down, but they scream louder, get back in Ronnie’s car, and tear off. Archie’s confused, because he was just trying to show them his outfit for this weekend’s costume party. Ha.

This story is okay. My one question: Why does Veronica have a rather unattractive Mom car?

Comics – Beach Party Blossom

World-of-Archie-Digest-69
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Archie Comics Double Digest, No. 69
On-Sale Date: June 7, 2017
Length: 5

The gang’s at the beach, kicking off the summer with a beach party. It was Veronica’s idea. Everyone’s having a great time. Then Cheryl and Jason show up, and one of them (it’s unclear who) insults the party, which angers Veronica.

Jason shows up in gold trunks, and Cheryl shows up in a gold jacket and white shoes. Hmmmm, she’s smart enough to not burn her feet. Anyway, they weren’t invited to the beach party, so they’re crashing it. Veronica says this is a private party. Cheryl says Veronica doesn’t own the beach. Veronica holds up her cell phone and, without showing Cheryl the screen, claims she has a permit from “the Riverdale Beach Department” to hold this private party here today. If I was Cheryl, I’d call Ronnie out on her bullshit – or, y’know, ask Betty if they could stay. She doesn’t do either, though. She and Jason leave. Jason’s ready to leave the beach to the “commoners” and have fun on their boat, but this gives Cheryl a “delicious” idea.

Later, the gang’s having fun in the water. Betty regrets they couldn’t let the Blossoms stay. Veronica is surprised at this remark, although she shouldn’t be. Betty and Veronica get knocked off their floaties when Jason drives the boat by. Cheryl and Jason wave at them.

Veronica makes a fist and repeats her “private party” claim. Cheryl claims to be in “international waters”. Veronica points out that they’re twenty feet from shore. Betty suggests ignoring them and says they still have their friends. Cheryl takes off her jacket, revealing a red bikini (they really should have seen this coming). Archie and Reggie get boners. Chuck takes an interest in their “totally smokin’ boat” (sure). Kevin’s bored. Betty’s upset that the guys are ditching them for the Blossoms but then gets an idea to salvage their beach party.

She climbs onto the boat. Jason welcome her to the “big Blossom bash” (note: there’s no sign of any of the guys that have supposedly abandoned the girls). Betty gets Jason to talk up the boat, which he claims is “the fastest boat in Riverdale”. Betty claims two random guys in a much smaller boat were talking shit about the Blossoms’ boat and claiming theirs is faster. Jason is doubtful but decides to gun it, knocking Cheryl, who’s on deck, into the water. As Cheryl comes to shore, pissed, Veronica has a laugh at her expense, and Kevin’s got this look on his face that basically says “These stupid motherfuckers…”

So Betty’s plan was to knock Cheryl into the water, possibly endangering her life, just because the guys left Betty for Cheryl? Some friend. Well, I guess now Betty’s got all of the het guys, and Veronica’s stuck on shore with her gay friend and Cheryl.

Comics – Hot Stuff

AGBV-328.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Dan DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 328
Cover Date: February, 1984
Length: 5 pages

*I don’t have the original issue and am reviewing this story from the digital version of Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 1 (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.

Prior to this story, earlier in the issue, there’s a fashion page titled “Wild West Fashions”, where Betty, Veronica, Midge, Nancy, and Cheryl model fashion designs submitted by readers.

In the winter, while it’s snowing, Veronica and Betty walk by Cheryl, who’s getting romantic with a boy. They talk about her supposedly constant displays of heterosexuality, and Betty comments about how Cheryl’s “supposed to be some hot stuff”. Veronica laughs it off, and Betty agrees. Then Cheryl kisses the guy, and the snow melts around them.

This makes Veronica and Betty feel like failures, and they part ways, each going home to sulk.

Veronica passes by Archie. He asks her what’s wrong. Veronica tries the snow-melting thing with Archie, but it doesn’t work. Archie calls her “hot stuff”, but she’s more convinced than ever that she’s “a colossal failure as a woman” and storms off.

Archie walks off, confused. He sees Betty and decides to ask her about Ronnie’s behavior, but she kisses him before he has the chance. Since no snow melts, she drops him on his ass in the snow and storms off, declaring herself to be “a total washout”. Archie stands up, confused but pleased. He thinks it’s all about him, of course.

Archie comes across Cheryl and decides it’s time to “make some points” with her. Archie comes on to her. Cheryl thinks all boys are great, and she always feels like kissing. Taking Archie by the arm, her one reservation for him before they proceed is for them to stay away from the heat vent outside the bakery, because it almost melted her shoes a while ago. Ha.

This story is pretty cute. While Veronica and Betty will be sulking at home, probably drinking hot cocoa, Cheryl will be getting busy with Archie.

This story was reprinted as a flashback within the “Seymore No More!” story in Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 1, in 1995.

Comics – Graduation

Betty-and-Veronica-5.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 5
Cover Date: July, 2019
On-Sale Date: May 8, 2019
Length: 20 pages

Before I get into the story, I need to mention it’s untitled in the issue itself. I’m using the title given in the blurb at the end of the previous issue.

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. It also lays out the plot of this issue: it’s up to Betty and Veronica (for some reason) to fix their friends’ relationships before graduation. Why?

The issue begins with the graduation ceremony. Mr. Weatherbee addresses the Class of 2019 (which immediately dates the issue). He introduces the valedictorian, Elizabeth Cooper. Betty’s the valedictorian? I would have thought Dilton would be. Ms. Overachiever has had so much shit going on during senior year; how’d she ever manage to keep her grades up?

People cheer and clap for Betty as she takes the stage. She and Mr. Weatherbee shake hands. She thanks him. He congratulates her. This ceremony is happening in the morning. Betty addresses the graduating class. After previously thinking of the girl-next-door label as an insult, she’s come to embrace it. Oh, Dilton’s wearing a medal. I guess he’s the salutatorian.

Anyway, Betty continues talking about Riverdale High and its students being welcoming to everybody and helping each other out.

It flashes back to prom night (Betty’s speech will occasionally show up as captions in these flashbacks). Veronica and Betty go around the room. Veronica helps out Midge and Ethel. Betty helps out Moose. Cheryl talks about the prom sign and again blames Reggie. It turns out that she didn’t want to talk with Betty about anything in particular but then fishes for a compliment on her “gorg” dress. That’s pretty funny. Anyway, Betty and Veronica give each other five, and now Veronica wants to discuss “the whole college thing”. Wow, they fixed all of their friends’ problems in one page. Amazing. But, um, that was the promised plot of this issue, and we still have 16 pages to go.

On the last week of classes, Archie’s reading Jughead’s article in the school paper and takes issue with his use of that photo. Jughead says it’s about Betty and Veronica saving him, not about him. That makes it okay. We learn Jughead’s planning on studying journalism in college, so this was practice. Veronica asks Archie where he’s going and if he’s still undecided. Archie made quarterback this year (and didn’t mention it to her, I guess). A scout from Pickens saw him play and offered him a football scholarship. He’s conflicted, though, because he’d really like to pursue music. Veronica suggests doing both. Archie hadn’t considered that but guesses he could do that. Betty sees a flier on the bulletin board for Spellman University.

Betty flashes back earlier. One week before prom, Betty went to Spellman University, wearing a fancy suit and armed with a folder containing her grades. The chancellor or whoever is impressed but wants to know what Betty will bring to their community and why they should accept her over their other applicants. Apparently, all of those extracurriculars and volunteer work that Betty did aren’t worth shit here. Betty realizes this and also realizes she forgot about herself somewhere along the way.

Betty believes she couldn’t do anything for Spellman and wouldn’t fit in. Ms. Prescott tries to remind Betty of the importance of even being offered the opportunity to attend Spellman. Betty abruptly stands up, thanks her, withdraws herself from consideration, and walks out of Ms. Prescott’s office, surprising her. Betty seems happy. Outside the office, Betty sees a flier for something called World Reach on the bulletin board.

We’re back to the scene right before Betty’s flashback. Veronica brings up senior skip day. She’s had her father restrict access to Pickens Park (because I guess he can just do that), so they can use it. Betty takes out her phone and, distracted, says she’ll catch up with them in a bit.

At Riverdale Elementary School, Toni’s doing her STEM program, despite the fact that Dilton had said it was for middle schoolers. Mr. Weatherbee comes in. He mentions he used to work here before he became high school principal. He’s impressed with her work, but she’s humble. She mentions “Lodge Industries”, even though it’s been called Lodge Enterprises in this series. (The classic comics alternated between the two names.) The three of them will be attending a scholarship ceremony tonight. During this scene, there’s a cute background gag of a kid that looks like a little Archie messing shit up.

That night, at the community center, during a speech, Veronica names the new head of funding for Lodge Industries: Hal Cooper. Hal thanks Hiram, but Hiram says it was Veronica’s idea. Hiram misses Betty’s absence and hears she’s helping out a friend with a sick family member. Veronica wishes she could be more like Betty. Outside the center, Veronica says she’s about to be going away to college with no idea what she wants to do in her life. Hiram suggests asking herself what’s most important to her.

At Reggie’s house, he tells “Nana” (who’s unseen) to get some rest. Betty apologizes to Reggie for not being a good friend. Reggie takes the blame. They go outside. Betty admits they should have just talked about it. Betty tells Reggie something that she hasn’t told anyone: she’s been offered the opportunity to do volunteer work in Peru, and she thinks she’s gonna do it. Reggie thinks it’s for the summer, but it’s for the year.

Reggie asks about college. Betty says it’ll still be there when she gets back, but this is something that she needs to do right now (because cliche of Betty being a ceaseless do-gooder). Reggie calls her amazing. Betty asks about him. Reggie felt powerless while watching his grandma suffer, so he’s thinking of enrolling in some nursing classes at Riverdale Community College in the fall. Betty playfully punches him and says he’s not so bad. Reggie says he’ll miss her and seems to think there’s no chance of them getting back together. Betty thinks she needs this time to really focus on herself, but she offers to get back together with him for the summer – and maybe not in secret this time. As they move to join hands, Jughead rides by on his bike and says the camera’s at home, which causes Betty and Reggie to laugh.

On senior skip day, everyone’s hanging out in Pickens Park. Veronica observes the non-couples (Moose/Midge) and couples (Reggie/Betty). Midge is leaving for college in California this fall. Veronica literally says “#Beggie”.

Meanwhile, some assholes from Central High sneak beer into a cooler and then call the cops to get back at the “Riverdale idiots” for taking over the park on Central High’s skip day. Archie and Reggie have an awkward encounter, but Reggie notices Archie’s frisbee and asks Archie if he and Betty can join him. That eases the situation.

Unfortunately, the popo arrive at that moment. Despite Veronica’s protests of innocence, a cop finds two six-packs of beer in the cooler, and another one is unrealistically aware that Moose no longer attends Riverdale High.

He also mentions Reggie has priors. He calls for Moose and Reggie to be arrested while they question the others here. Betty’s pissed. Archie says they’re innocent. The officers don’t listen and handcuff Moose and Reggie. Archie says they’re gonna have to arrest all of them, too. Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Ethel, Cheryl, Dilton, Midge, and Toni stand behind him in solidarity.

The cops arrest all of them and throw them in jail. Hiram, Hal, and Mr. Weatherbee arrive, having sorted this out. This won’t be on any of their records. The Central High kids were caught a few blocks over. Mr. Weatherbee’s like “Best senior skip day ever!” Betty thanks her dad for helping sort this out. She tells him that she’s not going to Pickens. They sit down to talk. She know what she’s “meant to do”, hugs him, and thanks him for everything.

Back in the present, Betty finally wraps up her speech with an excited “We did it!”

Everyone cheers as they take off their caps and throw them in the air. Well, everyone except Veronica. I don’t know what the fuck she’s doing with her weird, shoulder-level hand gesture.

Veronica and Betty talk about what they’ll be doing. Betty will be building houses in disadvantaged areas. Veronica will be studying psychology, seemingly instead of (or perhaps in addition to) fashion, at Hitchens. She credits Betty for her newfound like of helping people. Veronica booked a flight to Lima once the fall semester is over and basically gets Betty to be her tour guide.

A few days later, Veronica and Betty are lying on a picnic blanket, like last summer. Veronica says “I can’t believe it’s already the first day of summer.” I hope she’s not being literal, because, if so, how late was the graduation ceremony held? Anyway, Betty says “And, damn, is it going to be a good one.” Veronica offers her pinky and asks “Best friends forever?” Betty links her pinky with Veronica’s and says “Best friends forever.”

There’s an ad for the collected edition (called Betty & Veronica: Senior Year), on sale on September 18th, 2019. That’s followed by a cover gallery for this issue and an ad for the trade paperbacks of Betty & Veronica: Vixens.

This is another good issue and a nice end to the series. I just wish they didn’t go all stereotypically do-gooder with Betty. Even if they did, there’s no reason for her to go to Peru; there’s plenty of good that needs doing right here in Riverdale, because there’s need everywhere.

As far as it being a send-off for the characters, it was okay. But it’s made immediately irrelevant by the fact that the Archie title is still going, and the gang’s still in high school. That’s the thing about Archie Comics: despite various alternate universes or continuities, they’re always gonna be in high school.

That leads me to bringing up a project that I do every year called Archie Universe Sliding Timeline, where I go day by day and map out the characters’ lives as if they were real teenagers in high school at that point in time. Here’s my latest post, based on the idea that the teens are entering senior year this fall and will graduate in 2020. If you wanna read something really long, check it out.