Comics – Stuck With You

Writers: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Summertime Fun**), No. 3
Cover Date: November, 1995
Length: 2 pages

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

*These are uncredited; I assume the same people that did the rest of the issue did this story as well; Grand Comics Database seems to agree.

**The various Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. This first miniseries has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom: Summer Fun, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Summertime Fun.

Okay, this is odd. In between Part 3 and Part 4 of “Beach Blanket Blossom” (the feature story in this issue) is this little 2-pager. Why they stuck it here, I’m not sure. I can understand not wanting to end the issue (and the miniseries) on something so trite, but they could have stuck it at the beginning of the issue instead of where it ended up going, disrupting the flow of the main story. So is this the last story of this miniseries? When does it occur? Who knows? Let’s get into it.

Cheryl is…somewhere (presumably an office building of some kind). She’s waiting for the elevator. The door opens, and a happy Jughead is standing inside and asks her if she’s going up. A worried Cheryl asks what she did to deserve this. She gets inside and tells him to keep his distance.

Suddenly, there’s a sound. A worried Cheryl asks about it. Jughead says the elevator’s stuck. She tells him to call for help. Doesn’t she carry her cell phone around with her? I know this was published in 1995, but Cheryl’s rich, and Zack Morris had a cell phone in 1989. Anyway, Jughead picks up the receiver on the old rotary-dial phone in the elevator (seriously?) and says it’s dead. He says they’ll have to just wait for help. Cheryl gets all melodramatic, falling to her knees and pretending to asphyxiate. Jughead insults her.

Cheryl gets to her feet, insults Jughead, and gets out a mint to eat. A happy Jughead asks her for one. Cheryl wants to negotiate for a trade. Jughead says he won’t insult her for five minutes. That doesn’t impress her. Jughead sexually assaults Cheryl. Showing remarkable restraint, Cheryl merely yells at him.

Jughead points at a camera in the elevator and blackmails Cheryl, threatening to show the tape to everyone. Cheryl calls it what it is (blackmail) and angrily tosses the rest of her roll of mints to him. Jughead has the audacity to ask her for gum.

So this story was…weird. So, so weird. It almost feels like one of those ads masquerading as a story, but there’s no brand name mentioned. Also, Jughead’s idea makes no sense. He planned to blackmail Cheryl by showing everywhere video footage (from a camera that he doesn’t own) of him forcing himself on Cheryl and kissing her against her will. What in the actual fuck? Finally, why does Cheryl just give up her mints? She should have just eaten them all in front of him.

Comics – Beach Blanket Blossom

Writers: Dan Parent (Parts 1 and 2) and Bill Golliher (Parts 3 and 4)
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo and Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Summertime Fun*), No. 3
Cover Date: November, 1995
Length: 21 pages

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

*The various Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. This first miniseries has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom: Summer Fun, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Summertime Fun.

Before we start the review, I’d like to make note of something: the digital editions of these comics consist of scans of pages of the physical issues, taken, seemingly, from whatever copies that they could find. For example, in this issue, there’s a visible fold in the cover image, various pages are at slight angles, and the images from the reverse pages are sometimes visible.

This story is not to be confused with the 2011 story, “Beach Blanket Bash-Up“, or the 2017 story, “Beach Party Blossom“.

Part 1

On Pembrooke’s beach, Cheryl and Archie are having a great time playing in the water (which Cheryl still feels the need to belittle a bit, even though she loves it). Cheryl starts insinuating about wanting to fuck, and the two of them start kissing.

Ronnie “accidentally” hits Cheryl in the head with a volleyball, “still new” at it. Cheryl demands to know how the fuck Ronnie got on the beach. Cedric invited her; they’re on a date. Cheryl accuses Cedric of just trying to piss her off. Ronnie has Cedric buy her a soda. Archie gets jealous, and Cheryl warns him against it. Archie claims it’s “just indigestion”. Cheryl obviously doesn’t buy it, but she’s satisfied.

Soon, Betty contacts Ronnie via walkie-talkie. Ronnie reports about how Archie’s keeping an eye on her, much to “Red’s” annoyance. She says all of this while sitting near Cedric, who doesn’t seem to care. Cedric compliments Ronnie on the lunch that she brought. She says she’s “quite a good cook” but secretly reveals Betty prepared it. Cedric asks about dessert, so Ronnie has Cedric rest his head on her thigh, and she feeds him grapes to piss Archie off (it works).

Cheryl has an idea but has to yell at Archie to follow her. She’s spotted a worker in a bulldozer, hauling sand on the cliff right above Ronnie and Cedric. She and Archie go up there, and she pays the worker $100 to dump the sand off the edge of the cliff to “clean a spot for [her] blanket”. She gets in and rides along with him (an art error has them swap places for one panel).

Once Ronnie and Cedric are covered in sand, Cheryl has a good laugh at their expense. Ronnie vows vengeance against…Archie. The worker yells at Cheryl, but she has him take her “back”. To where? Anyway, the bulldozer starts acting up, and the guy claims it’s because Cheryl spilled his soda on the control panel (which we didn’t see).

The “computer-operated” bulldozer short-circuits. They head toward the water and apparently don’t think to just open the doors and jump out. Archie runs out to help Cheryl, not that she needs it. Ronnie and Cedric have a laugh at “the Three Stooges”. Cheryl angrily goes to dry herself off. Ronnie says she’ll see her at the luau tonight. Cheryl confirms her attendance and then has to deal with the rather angry bulldozer operator.

Part 2

That evening, Cheryl and Archie arrive at the beach for the luau. Archie finds it cool and says he’s never been to a luau before. Cheryl’s lucky to be here, because she had to spend a whole week’s allowance replacing that bulldozer. They come across Ronnie and Cedric, and Cheryl and Ronnie engage in some trash talk.

A guy walks by and announces it’s time for the hula contest. Cheryl and Ronnie each brought a grass skirt, so they enter the contest. They start off slow, but Cheryl has an arrangement with the drummer, Sid, for him to speed up. Archie and Cedric (who’s now suddenly wearing a shirt) get boners.

Cheryl tells Sid to drum faster, so Ronnie will be tired out. Cheryl eventually butt-bumps Ronnie. Ronnie falls over and twists her ankle. Betty (who’s suddenly in the contest now) butt-bumps Cheryl.

Ronnie praises being “saved by Betty”. Cheryl asks Betty how she got here. Jason’s her escort. Cheryl’s pissed at Jason, but he doesn’t care. Priscilla breaks it up. Cheryl waves and greets her. Priscilla calls this “battle” ridiculous. She wants to keep the beach for the Pembrooke crowd. Ronnie and Betty protest.

Cheryl suggests a competition to “settle this once and for all”. Priscilla isn’t sure but then sees a jet ski and suggests a race. Priscilla expels the townies for now. Archie and Cheryl are melodramatic about it. Ronnie rolls her eyes and compares them to Rhett and Scarlett. Ronnie and Priscilla argue over where to have the race (which will be tomorrow at noon). Then Archie and Jason start arguing (I guess about Betty), and Betty starts yelling at Cheryl, who’s amused by it.

Part 3

The next day, Archie and Cheryl are continuing their melodramatic shit, irritating everyone else. Only a nearby bird loves this.

Priscilla comes over to Cheryl, concerned about her (even though she was pissed a moment earlier). It was all an act on Cheryl’s part: she knows Archie’s a klutz and doesn’t want him on their side (why would it even be a possibility that he’d be on their side?), but she has to make it look convincing. Ronnie angrily lays out the plan: race across the bay from Pembrooke’s beach to Riverdale’s beach. Cheryl adds the losers get banned from the winners’ beach. Cheryl points out to Betty that her team is short one person and brings up the possibility of a forfeit.

Unfortunately, Reggie (their jet ski expert) ain’t coming. He got a chance to be a judge in the Miss Riverdale Beach Contest (which none of the four pretty girls in this scene entered, apparently), so he gave Jughead $20 to fill in for him. Cheryl suggests Ronnie concede. Ronnie refuses, having faith in Jughead (which is odd). Priscilla gets an instant lady-boner for Jughead and suggests fucking after the race. Cedric tells her to cool the fuck down, but Priscilla is in heat, even as Jughead burps.

So the racing partners are Cedric/Priscilla and Jason/Cheryl for Pembrooke and Jughead/Betty and Archie/Ronnie for Riverdale. They get on their jet skis. Betty wishes the other team luck, which Cheryl thinks is a “crack”. Someone on the dock waves a flag and yells go, but Jason and Cedric pull out before that. Ronnie and Archie are pissed. Betty is nervous over Jughead’s ability to drive a jet ski (it’s his first time).

Jason and Cheryl hit Archie and Ronnie with water from squirt guns. Ronnie returns fire with a “water cannon”, hitting Jason. The water washes out Jason’s contact lenses, and he can’t see. I’m willing to bet this is the first and only time that Jason’s been said to wear contacts.

Part 4

Jason goes the wrong way, heading toward Archie and Ronnie. Archie gives his own jet ski too much gas too quick, and it stalls out. Everyone jumps into the water. Cheryl is pissed at Jason.

Jason and Archie yell at each other. Cedric is confident in his ability to beat Jughead, who still can’t drive. In fact, he’s overconfident. He has Priscilla take the wheel, gets into the water with his surfboard, and does some “skurfing”. Cedric insults Jason. Cheryl is pissed at Cedric and Priscilla for showing off instead of just winning the fucking race. Meanwhile, Jughead’s heading out to sea.

Suddenly, though, Betty says she’ll make Jughead “the biggest steak dinner” that he’s “ever seen” if they win. Jughead’s suddenly great at jet-skiing, because that makes perfect sense. Cedric gets back on his jet ski, insulting Jughead, which Priscilla yells at him for. Ronnie’s confused by Jughead’s sudden proficiency (as we all should be). Priscilla flirts with (supposedly?) Jughead, but Betty thinks Priscilla is flirting with her and gives a somewhat confused “Uh…hi!” in response. That’s pretty damn funny. Priscilla continues flirting with Jughead, and it makes him think of Ethel, which is really unfair; I doubt anyone would be repulsed by Priscilla. Notably, Betty looks kind of…disappointed?

A bit more flirting from Priscilla causes Jughead to really take off, which is unrealistic. I seriously doubt 1) Jughead wasn’t already punching it, and 2) a jet ski could even go that fast. Anyway, Cedric’s pissed at Priscilla, and Jughead and Betty win the race for Riverdale. Um, why did each driver have a partner? They really didn’t contribute anything.

Anyway, once everyone arrives at Riverdale’s beach (at which there’s no sign of a beauty contest being held), Jason admits the Riverdale gang won. Cheryl says they’ll gather up their stuff and never return, despite the fact that they started the race at Pembrooke’s beach, so their stuff shouldn’t even be over here in the first place. Betty invites the Pembrooke gang to visit whenever they want.

Ronnie adds as long as it’s vice-versa. Cheryl and Priscilla are okay with that, considering their love interests (Jughead’s still nervous about Priscilla). Betty tearfully talks about the end of class struggle and the hope of a gangbang with the Blossom twins and so on, but Cheryl advises her to lower her expectations, and even Ronnie’s amused by Betty’s dreams. Cheryl wants some sweet loving from Archie, Priscilla chases after a nervous Jughead, Jason’s angry, and Betty is confused over whether they won or lost.

This story is pretty fun. Priscilla’s sudden attraction to Jughead makes zero sense, though, except in a “Here’s Ethel 2.0” kind of way, which also makes zero sense.

Speaking of Priscilla, I need to address some long-standing confusion on my part, which has made its way into my reviews. Apparently, Bunny and Priscilla are the same person. If you read about either character appearing in any of my reviews, be aware of the following: it’s the same girl; she was called Bunny in the 1980s but has been called Priscilla from 1995 onward (with one exception, but that’s possibly because they hadn’t made the switch to Priscilla quite yet). I can only assume “Bunny” is Priscilla’s old nickname, which she no longer uses. Bunny/Priscilla looks the same in all appearances, leading to my confusion. This story that I’m reviewing right now is the first one in which she’s explicitly identified as Priscilla (I read both this story and the previous one back-to-back, hence how I was able to identify her as Priscilla in my previous review). So, yes, the “Bunny-like friend” that I mentioned in my review of “Whose Beach is It, Anyway?” (which also mentions Priscilla) is, in fact, Priscilla. The story just wasn’t specific on which girl was Priscilla and which girl was Becky. Okay, so that’s all cleared up…except for why she was renamed at all.

So the first Cheryl Blossom miniseries ends…kind of. Between parts 3 and 4 of the story is a 2-page Cheryl story called “Stuck With You”. That’s so weird that they’d stick it there, but I guess they wanted to end the issue on the “big” story – with the Riverdale and Pembrooke gangs achieving some level of mutual tolerance. I’ll review the 2-pager next.

Comics – By the Book!

Betty-and-Veronica-Double-Digest-Magazine-281Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics (Double Digest Magazine), No. 281
On-Sale Date: February 26, 2020
Length: 5

Betty leaves the Riverdale Public Library, carrying some books, and greets Veronica and Archie, who are outside. Archie and Ronnie are immediately interested in what Betty checked out. They’re confused when they find out that Betty checked out a bunch of children’s books about a dog named Fido. They’ve got an American Lit book report coming up, and Archie guesses these aren’t for it. Betty explains she’s volunteering with the reading program at the elementary school and plans to read these books with the kids. Ronnie’s shocked that Betty would read books to kids on purpose.

Betty finds it very fulfilling, and Archie says it’s a great thing that she’s doing. He’s impressed. Ronnie says she could do that, too, so Betty invites her to join her there tomorrow during their free period. Ronnie’s looking forward to it and trusts she has some books at home instead of checking them out of the library.

The next day, Ronnie arrives at the elementary school, and Betty introduces her to her (Betty’s) reading partner (Jackson) and Ronnie’s reading partner, Eleanor. Ronnie’s eager for them to read, but Eleanor doesn’t think reading will be fun.

Jackson does good on his book (Fido Takes an Uber), so Betty compliments him, excuses herself, and goes to check on Ronnie. She’s shocked to find out that Ronnie and Eleanor are reading Summer Love, one of Ronnie’s favorite romance novels (and now also Eleanor’s). Eleanor is eager to get back to it.

Betty says this erotic stuff is inappropriate for kids. Ronnie wanted something that’d hold her own interest. All that she has are romance novels, so she’ll have to get an age-appropriate book.

Before we move on, I need to point out a very sloppy art error. The initial cover art seen on Summer Love is immediately switched over to another novel titled Passion Place (and reversed), and Summer Love gets new artwork. Also, the background color on Summer Love changes from orange to gold. Oh, Ronnie also brought a third novel, Untamed. Amusingly, this isn’t the first story that I’ve reviewed where a blonde everygirl takes issue with her raven-haired rich friend’s interest in erotica.

Anyway, Betty hands Ronnie a copy of Fido Drives a Car, calling the books “quite clever” and not as “boring” as when they were kids. Eleanor is upset over the lack of hot action, so Betty gives up and goes back to her table.

After the reading session, Betty asks Ronnie how it went. Ronnie says Eleanor enjoyed the Fido book (even though she’s holding a different one). Ronnie admits it was clever. Betty is hopeful that Ronnie will volunteer again. Ronnie waits until they leave the school to say yes (as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, this is a recurring problem in comics, where a short conversation is unrealistically stretched over multiple locations). Ronnie goes to the library to pick up a few more Fido books – not to read to Eleanor next week but rather for her own private enjoyment. She’s hooked (the book that she’s now holding has a different cover). She just wishes it had some hot action. Betty’s like “What the fuck?”

Overall, this was a cute story. But how hard is it to maintain continuity from one panel to another on the same page?

Comics – Tough Turf

Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: DeCarlo and Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Summertime Fun*), No. 2
Cover Date: October, 1995
Length: 21 pages

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

*The various Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. This first miniseries has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom: Summer Fun, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Summertime Fun.

Part I

One morning, Cheryl wakes up, yawns, and stretches. Clifford pops on the monitor (that’s still creepy), wishes her good morning, and asks her about her plans for the day. Cheryl gets out of bed and puts on a robe. She guesses the “usual”: some shopping and hanging out with her friends. Clifford asks about “that nice Archie chap”. Cheryl says he’s looking for a summer job. Clifford is disappointed. Cheryl has to get ready and shuts off the monitor.

Clifford, sitting at his computer in his study, tries to figure out some way to get Archie to spend more time with Cheryl. Penelope comes by and asks if he’s “still on that Archie kick“. Out of all of Cheryl’s many boyfriends, Archie’s the “best prospect”. Penelope advises her husband to quit dabbling in his daughter’s love life. Clifford has an idea and has a servant named Jeeves warm up “one of the helicopters”.

Soon, Cheryl’s driving along in her blue convertible, heading for the mall, when she sees a “familiar” gold helicopter with a “B” on it and realizes it’s one of her dad’s. She wonders what he’s doing here. Archie’s at the beach, trying to get a job at the hot dog stand, but there are no openings. Clifford is spying on Archie with binoculars and has the pilot set the chopper down. Wow, Archie just happened to be where Clifford thought he’d be. Cheryl notices the chopper coming down. Clifford offers Archie a summer job. Archie boards the chopper, and off they go. The hot dog guy is impressed and has second thoughts about not hiring Archie. Cheryl comes by and asks what’s going on. The guy explains. Cheryl’s happy and decides to get Archie a raise, so he can take her on more expensive dates. She’s so excited that she absent-mindedly trashes a kid’s sand castle.

Back at Blossom Manor, Clifford offers Archie the position of groundskeeper, because their old one just quit. He adds it’ll allow Archie to keep a “close eye” on Cheryl. He’ll even pay whatever Archie thinks is fair. Archie happily accepts.

When they arrive at the front door, Clifford says he can start tomorrow morning. Archie leaves just as Cheryl arrives. They’re both excited until Cheryl learns it’s the groundskeeper position. She calls it “a start” but also “so lowly”.

Cedric overhears from the tennis court and tells Jason, who’s upset. As they watch Cheryl and Archie make out, they plot to get Archie fired. Jason suddenly has a plan, and they go to the tool shed. Jason sabotages the riding lawn mower and leaves “a few other surprises” for Archie. Cedric praises Jason as “downright devious”.

Part II: Simpleton in the Grass

The next day, after Archie arrives for work, he kisses Cheryl, who’s wearing a bikini and planning to relax poolside while reading a magazine. She also has a pair of cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a pair of sunglasses with her…for some reason. Cheryl’s up for more, but Archie needs to mow the lawn, which disappoints her. Archie asks her to help. She’s surprised and asks what he wants her to do.

He says she can ride with him, saying it’ll be “fun and cozy”. She puts on her boots and hat and asks if he knows how to drive a riding lawn mower. They get on, and Cheryl holds onto Archie. Archie says, if he can drive his “bomb”, he can drive anything. Clifford happily observes them riding from inside the mansion and tells Jeeves (a nearly bald, white-haired butler), who doesn’t give a shit. Cheryl’s genuinely enjoying herself, but the mower speeds up on its own, and there’s no brake pedal. Cheryl tells Archie to turn them around, but the steering wheel comes off. In Jason’s room, Cedric tries to get Jason to look outside, but Jason’s too busy looking at Internet porn. Cedric tells him what’s happening, and they rush outside. Archie and Cheryl drive through the shrubs. Cheryl gets a funny line: “Why did I ever agree to date the…HELP” Um, why haven’t they jumped off the mower by this point?

They end up in the yard of the Blossoms’ neighbors, the Van Courtlands. They head for the podium, where Mrs. Van Courtland is addressing the Garden Club on the unveiling of her “glorious new garden”. Her husband warns her about the mower. He runs off to the side, but she runs in front of it.

Mrs. Van Courtland lands on the mower. Cheryl tries to make light of the situation, but Mrs. Van Courtland beats Archie. Cheryl tells her to watch it. Mrs. Van Courtland laments the destruction of her “beautiful garden”. Cheryl again tries making jokes. They and the mower land in the swimming pool. Cedric and (an unseen) Jason arrive. Two guys take pictures and video for the Society column. Mrs. Van Courtland threatens Cheryl and Archie. Archie’s mad, and Cheryl puts a supportive hand on his shoulder.

Part III: How Green is My Groundskeeper

The next day (I guess), Clifford calls Cheryl and Archie into his study and talks to them about today’s newspaper (Daily Globe) and its headline (“Crazed Groundskeeper and Bikini-Clad Debutante Wreak Havoc at Garden Party”). They’ve already seen it. Archie expects to be fired, but Clifford hates Mrs. Van Courtland, so it’s all good. Oh, and Penelope pops in and prevents Clifford from saying “ass” in front of the children. Um, Penelope, sweetie, during my junior year (1994-1995), I heard a senior girl say “punk-ass motherfucker”, so I think your daughter already knows every curse word – probably in multiple foreign languages. Anyway, Clifford sends Archie back to work. Jason and Cedric are incredulous that Archie still has a job. Jason suspects Archie’s blackmailing his dad and tries to come up with a better plan. Archie decides to try patching up the shrub. Cheryl advises him to steer clear of Mrs. Van Courtland.

Later, Cheryl is sitting on a couch somewhere and watching TV. Jeeves (who’s now apparently using brown hair dye) announces the arrival of guests. Cheryl thanks him and has him send them in. It’s Priscilla and three other girls (one of which appears for only one panel and doesn’t say anything) from Pembrooke Academy Sorority. Cheryl’s snooty high school has a sorority? Well, whatever. They’re staging an “intervention” for Cheryl’s “own good”. Cheryl’s like “What the fuck are you bitches talking about?” See, Archie’s now household staff, which makes him un-hang-out-with-able in their circle. Cheryl tearfully admits they’re right. If Cheryl wants to come to the sorority’s private beach bash tomorrow, she’ll have to dump Archie. Cheryl is uncertain. A blonde girl adds there are gonna be college boys from Yale there. At the prospect of getting college cock, Cheryl decides Archie’s history.

Soon, Cheryl brings Archie water to drink. He guesses she loves him. She promptly dumps him. Okay, that’s pretty shitty. She explains her reason and tells him to call her when he gets another job. She leaves. Jason comes out and tells Archie that Clifford wanted him to tell Archie to get the sprinkler system going.

Cedric exposits about how he and Jason attached a high-pressure pump to the outside watering system. How the fuck do these rich, preppy assholes know so much about mechanics? Anyway, hijinks ensue.

Part IV: I Love You Too Mulch, Part 4 (no, that’s not a typo)

Mrs. Van Courtland is out looking for Fifi, her beloved dog. Fifi almost gets run over by a speeding car outside the Blossoms’ estate, but Archie quite accidentally launches Fifi into the air with the water from the runaway hose (which I’m not sure is much better for poor Fifi). Archie guesses Mrs. Van Courtland will be really pissed.

Meanwhile, Hiram Lodge has arrived in Clifford’s study to discuss their new joint hospital project. Outside, the hose somehow lifts Archie into the air, and the water breaks through Clifford’s window and drenches Hiram.

Clifford’s like “What the fuck?!” Outside, Cedric and Jason cut the water supply. Inside, Archie apologizes to Clifford and Hiram. Jeeves arrives ahead of Mrs. Van Courtland and Fifi. Mrs. Van Courtland yells at Archie.

In a twist that literally everyone saw coming, Mrs. Van Courtland praises Archie’s quick thinking, saying he saved Fifi’s life. Fifi loves Archie. Mrs. Van Courtland kisses Archie on the cheek and tells…someone (Clifford, I assume) to forget the damage figures that she came up with. Cheryl comes in from outside on this ground-level floor and asks about the commotion “up here”. Clifford says Archie saved a life. Hiram’s pissed that Archie ruined a dry-clean-only Italian suit. Archie gets cuddly with Cheryl and wants to say three little words to her in front of her father. Clifford practically gets a boner, and Hiram thinks he’s a nut. Actually, Archie quits. Cheryl’s happy and hugs him. Archie explains. Clifford is accepting and allows Archie to hang out here. The four of them go outside to continue talking. Jason and Cedric, who have somehow come back inside, are incredulous at Archie’s good fortune.

The next day, Cheryl and Archie are dancing and having a great time at the beach party on Pembrooke’s beach (Langley Beach, if we’re pretending to be consistent with the previous issue). Archie asks Cheryl if she’s sure her friends don’t mind him being here. Cheryl says, as long as he’s not hired help, they can’t say a thing. Jeeves (who has apparently ditched the hair dye) brings over three pink milkshakes.

Across the body of water that separates the two beaches, Betty is spying on Cheryl and Archie with binoculars from Riverdale’s beach. Betty’s angry. Veronica has a wicked look on her face and seems to have an idea of infiltrating Pembrooke’s beach.

Oh, Betty’s wording of “Cheryl’s side of town” clearly makes Pembrooke to be no more than an exclusive community within Riverdale, not its own town. Of course, the comics are terribly inconsistent about this.

The note at the end says “Beach Blanket Blossom” is next month.

This story is pretty fun. Cheryl was a bitch for dumping Archie, though, and he ended up quitting his job to get back together with her (and, admittedly, because he knew something bad would happen eventually).

Between parts 1 and 2 of the story is a 1-page fashion feature called, creatively, “Cheryl Blossom’s Fashions”. This is not included in the digital edition, which is a shame. Here’s the description from Grand Comics Database: “Fashion ideas are illustrated.”

Between parts 3 and 4 of the story is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” advice column (presumably) by Sara Algase (the GCDb entry has a ?). This is not included in the digital edition. The description is “Cheryl gives advice on life and love. Letters column that encloses each entry within a colored box.” Betty and Veronica also appear.

Comics – Distress Over a Dress

Writer: Kathleen Webb
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Teresa Davidson
Original Publication: Veronica, No. 179
Cover Date: May, 2007
Length: 5 pages

I’m reviewing the digital edition as reprinted in the Betty and Veronica: $hopping $pree! collection.

In Mr. Lodge’s study, he flips his shit over Veronica’s “atrocious” exclusive designer bills. Stunned, Ronnie counters with her designer helping to keep her “reputation as a trend setter” alive. Hiram says he also helps keep his (Hiram’s) bank balance in the red (I trust this is an exaggeration). Ronnie whines. Hiram apologizes but says Ronnie will have to return to buying her clothes in the shops. Ronnie storms out, pissed.

Ronnie goes and sits on a couch somewhere. She has a cute white cat, who joins her. Ronnie stews and talks about the thrill of being a “unique fashion diva”. Then she quickly gets over it, grabs her purse, and goes out to the waiting limo to go to the malls.

At the mall, Ronnie goes to shop at a high-end store. She buys a retro dress for next week’s “Fashion Flashback” day at school. After Ronnie leaves, the manager has an assistant move the last remaining dress of its kind to the reduced rack and mark it down 40% to make room for new stock coming tomorrow.

The next day, Betty comes to shop at the same high-end store (even she doesn’t know why). She notes Ronnie shopped here before getting her clothes made by the designer. Betty spots the clearance rack and is delighted. She picks out the same dress that Ronnie did.

Even Kathleen Webb acknowledges the predictable outcome, but let’s keep going. At Riverdale High, on “Fashion Flashback” day (why is that in quotes?), various random girls are having a great time.

One girl loves Ronnie’s dress, and another girl points out Betty’s. Ronnie is stunned. Betty says she “should have known”. Crying, Ronnie asks her how she could afford it. Betty says it was marked down. Ronnie remembers there was one left on the rack. Midge and Tomoko show up, wearing the same dress. Midge angrily says there were more when it first showed up. Um, how did Midge and Tomoko afford the dress? It wasn’t on clearance then. Betty is stunned. Midge asks Ronnie about her “copy cat look”. Ronnie’s pissed, feels ill, and goes home. Amused, Betty says it must be a “fashion bug”. Archie randomly shows up for one panel and does nothing.

At home, Ronnie throws off her dress in anger but then has an idea.

A few days later, in Mr. Lodge’s study (I guess), he’s pissed at Ronnie for buying out the junior department of every single store in the mall. Apparently, he got the bills, despite the fact that it’s way too early for those charges to show up on mailed bills. Ronnie explains she’s trying to keep her exclusive look.

Later, Betty learns Ronnie’s back to having a designer make her clothes. Ronnie says “Mumsy” convinced Hiram that it would be cheaper. They sit on the couch. Betty says it leaves clothes in the stores for the rest of them to buy. Angry, Ronnie says she wasn’t buying any of the ugly clothes.

This story is pretty fun. Typical Veronica.

Comics – Whose Beach is It, Anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comics – The Dating Analysis

Archie-Double-Digest-306Writer: Francis Bonnet
Pencils: Bill Galvan
Inks: Ben Galvan
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Archie Comics Double Digest, No. 306
On-Sale Date: January 22, 2020
Length: 5

At Riverdale High School, Archie and Veronica discuss their date for tonight. Ronnie decides to hurry home to find something to wear. Dilton comes by, observing this, and tells Archie that he doesn’t know how he’s “constantly going out on dates with so many different girls”, while Dilton has trouble even talking to them. He asks how Archie became so “knowledgeable” in the field of dating. Archie, full of himself, claims to be a “dating expert”, citing “many years of practice”. Dilton asks permission to come along with Archie on some of his dates and observe him in the hope of learning from him.

Archie agrees and actually gets in a funny line: “Follow my example and pretty soon you’ll be as broke from dating as I am!” Happy, Dilton promises he won’t get in the way.

Date #1: Veronica Lodge

Later, after Archie has (presumably) gone home and changed clothes, he’s driving to Ronnie’s, and Dilton’s riding in the back seat. Archie explains Ronnie loves fish, so he’s taking her to a seafood restaurant tonight. He tells Dilton that it’s always important to be observant and know what your date likes to eat.

When they arrive, Ronnie happily greets Archie but is surprised at Dilton’s presence. Rather than explain it, Archie explains to Dilton the importance of being a gentleman and holding the car door open for your date. He then slams the door on Ronnie’s ass, knocking her into the car, because he’s an unobservant dumbass. He gets in the car, fastens his seatbelt, and apologizes. She’s upset when she learns of their destination, because she fucking hates seafood (and always has) and points out that Archie knows it. He’s dumbfounded. Dilton’s taking notes on his laptop, trying to rationalize this within the confines of “Archie is a dating genius”.

Date #2: Betty Cooper

The next night, Archie picks up Betty and tells Dilton that the shit that went down last night with Ronnie was just a fluke. Dilton seems to buy this. Betty comes outside, greets Archie, and is surprised at Dilton’s presence. As Archie holds the car door open for Betty, he explains. He manages to not slam the door on Betty’s ass (as Dilton points out to Betty) – and instead slams it on his own thumb…somehow.

At the restaurant, Archie brings up something that he forgot to mention yesterday: holding the chair out for your date. To demonstrate, he holds Betty’s chair out too far, and Betty falls to the floor, landing on her ass and crying out in pain. Archie apologizes to Betty and offers to help her up, much to her delight(?!).

Somehow, though, Archie manages to knock over the chair and do…something to the table that causes the tablecloth, (empty) plates, utensils, and (filled) glasses to fall to the floor, despite the fact that they’d just been seated, so the table should be empty. Dilton asks Archie if he should still be taking notes.

Date #3: Cheryl Blossom

The next night, as they’re driving, Cheryl is upset about Dilton’s presence. After some banter (Cheryl really doesn’t wanna hear Dilton), Archie gets out of the car, opens an umbrella (it’s raining), and opens the door for Cheryl. Archie tells Dilton of the importance of keeping your date from getting wet. He then splashes through a puddle and gets her left leg wet. Cheryl is upset.

Archie apologizes to her and tries to dry her leg with a handkerchief, but he hits her in the head with the umbrella, and then a car drives by and gets them both wet. Archie’s still holding out hope, but Cheryl destroys it and declares the date is over. She heads to his car. Art goof: the roof of Archie’s car changes color on this date from blue to white to red. Oh, yeah, Dilton concludes he knows more about dating that Archie, so he must dedicate many more years of research to dating. Yeah, it makes no sense. Whatever. The end.

This was an okay story, but, if these are examples of a typical date with Archie, how does he manage to get any dates anymore? Word would spread around school that his dates are disastrous!