Comics – Glow Worm

AGBV-327
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 327
Cover Date: December, 1983
Length: 6 pages

*The story is uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate. The credits match those of the credited first story in this issue.

I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition, which came out on August 17, 2022.

Cheryl is driving her blue sports car and comes across Betty and Veronica, who are jogging. Cheryl calls them “El Stupido and El Retardo, the townie dum dums”. She makes fun of them for jogging on the hottest day of the year. This issue is cover-dated December, which means it likely came out in October, but it seems to be summer in this story. Anyway, Betty tells “Cheryl, darling” that they do it to keep in shape. She (or maybe Ronnie) also insults Pembrooke girls.

They get into an argument over Cheryl’s figure. It gets so intense that Cheryl actually gets out of her car to show off her “body beautiful”. Cheryl and Betty even get into an argument over the word “sweat”.

As Cheryl puts it: “Townie girls sweat! Pembrooke ladies glow! Which merely lends a delicate sheen to their gorgeous bodies!” She also says they will never see a Pembrooke lady in that “condition”. She gets in her car and drives off, her hair turning brown for one panel. Betty and Ronnie have a good laugh and brush it off. Betty suggests taking the old country road to the quarry and back. Ronnie agrees, because it’s never used anymore, and they’ll have it to themselves. Despite driving off just a short while ago, Cheryl somehow is in just the right spot to see where the girls are jogging.

Cheryl decides to drive past them quickly just to kick up a bunch of dust and cover their sweaty bodies with it. She has a good laugh over it.

Betty and Ronnie are pissed and sprint “home” (to Ronnie’s home, specifically), ignore Mr. Lodge and his flesh-colored mustache, and hit the showers.

Meanwhile, Cheryl’s still on the old country road for some reason. She’s looking forward to telling Jason what she did, but then she runs out of gas, because she forgot to check it this morning. She gets out of her car, looks at Riverdale in the distance (complete with skyscrapers), and estimates she’s a good eight miles out.

Refreshed after their shower, Ronnie and Betty go out for cool treats at a new sidewalk cafe. Ronnie suddenly quotes Little Annie Rooney. An exhausted Cheryl walks by, gasping, puffing, and panting. She’s completely dirty and sweaty. The heel of her right shoe broke, so she’s carrying it, and the heel of her left shoe snaps off. Betty and Ronnie make fun of her. Ronnie makes a reference to “Snob Hill”, so I guess that’s the official nickname of Pembrooke.

This story was pretty funny, but I have to take issue with one thing: Cheryl shouldn’t have been stranded. The previous story established her car (the same car as in this story) has a phone. What happened to it? Then again, they can’t even keep Cheryl’s nose consistent. It was the rare “upside-down U” nose in the previous story; it’s back to the familiar “triangle” nose in this story.

Comics – Teamwork

AGBV-327
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 327
Cover Date: December, 1983
Length: 5 pages

*The story is uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate. The credits match those of the credited first story in this issue.

I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition, which came out on August 17, 2022.

Veronica and Betty run into each other outside somewhere while on their way to convince Archie to take them to the movies tonight. They both want to see a new movie called Macho Man. They continue arguing as they look for Archie.

They go into Pop’s, because Archie’s always here at this time, but Pop says he just left with Cheryl, which worries them. Ronnie calls Pop “Pops”, which is weird. As the girls leave Pop’s, they argue over who slowed who “up”, which is odd phrasing. They both let out an “Eep!” of horror as they see Archie riding off with Cheryl in her blue sports car. Ronnie yells at Betty, but Betty suggests they “join forces” over their “mutual enemy”. Ronnie agrees.

Betty spouts some motivational shit. Ronnie declares “We have seen the enemy and they are Cheryl! Go forth and smite her mightly!” That’s not even grammatically correct, bitch. Ronnie believes Cheryl has a car phone and asks Betty for confirmation. Betty confirms it. How does Betty know? Anyway, Ronnie calls Cheryl. I notice Cheryl has a habit of calling Archie “luv”. Anway, Ronnie tells Cheryl that “that gold digging townie girl” is marrying Jason at city hall. Cheryl is shocked and tells Archie about the “cheap townie”, which offends him.

Cheryl stops her car and shoves Archie out right in front of Ronnie and Betty, despite the fact that she’d passed them earlier. An amused Ronnie exclaims “Well, fan mah brow, Betty girl!” This weird Southerny dialogue is typical of Frank Doyle. Did he have a massive, raging boner for Southern girls or something? Archie yells at Cheryl as she drives off, calling Jason a “decadent snob”. As Archie walks into Pop’s, Ronnie guesses he’s “out of sorts with Cheryl baby”. Betty says “The hot place has no fury like an Archie scorned!” This is a perfect example of self-censorship making a line feel lame. If you’re not gonna have Betty say “Hell”, don’t bring up the line in the first place. Anyway, Ronnie slaps Betty five. Betty wants to celebrate their victory, but Ronnie wants to put it off ’til tomorrow, because she still wants to pick up Archie and take him to the movies tonight. Betty’s shocked and upset.

The girls get into another argument and miss out when Jughead decides to take Archie to see Macho Man. Betty butchers a Robert Burns quote. Ronnie says losing Archie to Cheryl would be “excusable”, but she gets a headache over losing Archie to Jughead.

This story was pretty funny. Betty and Ronnie acted like a couple idiots and ended up as losers. Good.

Comics – Peer Pressure

AGBV-327
Writer: Frank Doyle
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo
Colors: Barry Grossman
Letters: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 327
Cover Date: December, 1983
Length: 6 pages

I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition, which came out on August 17, 2022.

The story opens with a melodramatic paragraph about the effects of peer pressure, “the ever-insistent evil”.

Jason, Veronica, and Betty are hanging around downtown. Jason is surprised that the girls have never been to “BOB”, which he describes as “the playground of the western world”. He claims everybody goes to “BOB”. And, yes, “BOB” is in quotes in the story. Ronnie claims she’s been to BOB, because she’s been “everywhere worth going”. An angry Betty describes BOB as “Slime City” and “the sleaze center of the state”.

Jason calls Betty naive. Ronnie says Betty doesn’t like that kind of excitement. Jason tells Ronnie that she’s a nothing if she hasn’t been to “BOB”. Ronnie says “Well, I know that, f’ Heaven’s sake!” I guess the Filmation cartoons were still fresh in people’s minds at the time, hence Ronnie’s Southern accent. Ronnie fucks up by saying she’s never met Bob while there. Jason bursts out laughing and repeats it to three random dudes.

They start laughing. Ronnie demands to know what the fuck’s going on. Jason explains there is no Bob; it’s just initials; it stands for “Bucket of Blood”. The place is so wild that anything goes; fights are going on all of the time. Ronnie feels intimidated. As the girls walk away to lots of laughter, Jason tells them to live a little and drop in some night.

Betty figures out that Ronnie was lying and has never been there. Such a smartie, this one. Ronnie was trying to keep up her image of “a girl who’s been everywhere and seen everything”. Betty is grossed out by the name “Bucket of Blood”. There’s a cute gag where a dude driving past them whistles at them, and an old lady walking the other way imagines herself punching him in the face. Anyway, much to Betty’s shock, she and Ronnie are going to BOB tonight. The laughter got to Ronnie, and she wants to keep herself and Betty from being considered wimps. Betty surprisingly agrees but says her parents will kill them if they ever find out.

That night, Ronnie picks Betty up, and they drive to the “den of iniquity”. Ronnie drives under an overpass, and I guess they’re heading out to the country – or at least to the very outskirts of town.

BOB is at the end of a dirt road, near a large hill or mountain. It’s a gray building with a red roof (and chimney) and BOB in red letters on top. The “O” is lopsided. The windows are cracked, and a guy is being thrown out the front door as they arrive. An outhouse serves as the restroom. Betty says it doesn’t exactly look like a church social. Ronnie says they’ll stay long enough to be seen, then they’ll split. My question is why they got so dressed up, especially after hearing Jason’s description of the place. Anyway, soon after they’re out of the car, two sleazy guys manhandle them. A nervous Betty claims their dates are meeting them here, but one of the guys claims they’re their dates.

The girls try to fight them off. Fortunately for them, a cop arrives at that very moment. One of the guys refers to him as “ol’ Smokey the Sneak”. Smokey bashes the two guys’ heads into each other and sends Ronnie and Betty on their way.

As they drive back to town, Betty reminds Ronnie of the time that “they” called them chicken, because they wouldn’t spend the night in the haunted house (hey, this issue would have come out around October). Ronnie says they lived through that, and they’ll live through this. She adds it’s “dumb, dumb, dumb” to cave in to peer pressure.

This story was really something. I love the idea of some kind of seedy, rough bar/hangout having the reputation of being the place to go in Riverdale. I just wish we could have seen the inside of it and seen some fights. Oh, well, that’s what fanfics are for, I guess.

Comics – Wheels of Fortune

AGBV-326
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jim DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Billy Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 326
Cover Date: October, 1983
Length: 6 pages

*The story is uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate. The credits match those of the credited first story in this issue.

I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition, which came out on August 17, 2022.

Archie is driving Betty around town, and they come across Veronica, who’s on the sidewalk. We join them mid-conversation. Ronnie has a laugh, saying it’s an improvement on his old car. Wait, what? For those of you that don’t know, up until 1983, Archie drove an ancient red Ford Model T (sometimes referred to in stories as a Model A), which he nicknamed “Betsy”. It was destroyed in Life With Archie #238, which has a cover date of September of 1983, so it must have come out the month before this issue. Archie got a new car in that same issue. If this is it, then it really doesn’t look much different than his old car. It’s still a classic car that no adult would give their teen kid as their first car. Eventually, Archie started driving a red mid-1960s Ford Mustang (which is also absurd for a teen these days to be driving), but we’re not there yet. Oh, the reason that Archie’s old car was destroyed? He had Dilton rocket-power it after getting smoked in a drag race by Jason Blossom. That damn Jason.

Anyway, Archie’s proud of his current car, even though it looks totally out of place. Ronnie merely calls it “less awful”. Betty tells her to not be unfair and calls it a “gorgeous” car.

Ronnie points out Jason driving by in a yellow sports car and calls it “gorgeous”. Betty agrees but says “Jason’s daddy has almost as much money as your daddy”. Wait, so the Lodges are richer than the Blossoms at this point? It wasn’t long ago that Cheryl claimed otherwise. Ronnie goes on an absurd rant about money and suggests Archie just buy an expensive car. She points out Cheryl driving by in her purple sports car, and that’s Cheryl’s sole appearance in this story. Ronnie tells Archie that he has “such common tastes”.

Archie says he’s broke, but Ronnie says he’s making excuses. Archie gets pissed and decides to take off. He invites Ronnie to come along, and she agrees. Um, what? If they just had an argument, why is he offering her a ride? And Ronnie just said she has more than one car; presumably, she drove it here; is she just gonna leave it? Anyway, Betty says she thought Ronnie was too good for Archie’s car. Ronnie agrees and has Archie drop her off at the Sesame Game Lounge. Betty asks her if she plays video games. Ronnie says this is where Jason hangs out. She’s going to “transfer to a car befitting [her] station in life”. She goes over to Jason, who’s by his car.

Jason insults Archie’s car and offers Ronnie a ride in the country, ditching video games for other, unspecified “games”. They get in, and Jason tears off. Ronnie should know better. Betty calls one of them “a totally rotten person”, and Archie asks her which one.

Betty suggests they take a ride out into the country, too, guessing a little fresh air might blow his blues away. Archie agrees. They drive underneath an overpass, and there are skyscrapers in the background. Riverdale is not a little town. Betty spouts some proverbs, and then they come across Jason and Ronnie. Jason’s car broke down, and he can’t figure out what’s wrong.

Archie’s all smug, and Ronnie is nervous to see him. Jason asks “townie” to help him fix his car. Archie claims a “bumpkin” like him doesn’t know how to fix a “fine machine” like that, but he does tow the car back into town. Ronnie rides with Jason in his car (with the roof down) and is nervous about being seen as onlookers laugh.

This story was okay. With any luck, Ronnie will stop riding with Jason.

Comics – Cinderblossom

Cheryl-Blossom-20
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 20
Cover Date: March, 1999
Length: 11 pages

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

This issue was my first issue of Cheryl Blossom. The Waldenbooks at the local mall didn’t carry comics, so the only Archies in my area were the digests at the local supermarkets. Not that I was even buying those at the time. My mom had gotten me two digests (I reviewed the new lead story in the first one) at the supermarket, and later (in 1993) my sister got me a one-year subscription to the floppy Archie title. And that was basically it for me.

Until December of 1998. My sister and her oldest daughter had come down from Illinois to visit for Christmas and New Year’s, and my sister had gotten herself, her daughter, and me tickets to see the Backstreet Boys at the Orlando Arena for their final concert of their Backstreet’s Back Tour on December 31, 1998. Why she thought I’d be interested in the Backstreet Boys, I have no idea, but maybe it was just to get me and my mom out of the house and give me a concert experience.

Anyway, the four of us went to Orlando and checked into a Holiday Inn. I don’t remember the dates that we checked in and out, but I doubt we stayed more than one night (unless my sister really wanted to explore the area and do a lot of shopping).

marksnes
Here I am, before the concert, trying to get to the Minus World in Super Mario Bros., not realizing it had been removed from the Super Mario All-Stars version of the game.

The concert was okay. The band was late, so that led to my sister trying to get a cheer of “Bullshit Boys!” going. When we were informed that the concert would be taped (and apparently also a pay-per-view event), I made an idiot of myself and acted like a screaming uber-fan to get on camera and be immortalized on home video, which confused my niece at the time. She later informed me that they didn’t point the cameras at our section at all. The band had to leave a while before midnight to get somewhere for a party, so a video of a clock displaying “Backstreet Boys Time” was shown. When it reached midnight, the band performed a cover of Prince’s “1999”. We didn’t get back to the hotel in time to see the ball drop and instead heard about the arrival of the new year on the car radio.

Anyway, at some point when we were in Orlando, we went shopping, and I entered a bookstore (probably a Waldenbooks), which had a spinning rack. I found some Archie Comics. I got this issue as well as whatever issues of the other female titles were on the rack at the time. I don’t know if this was on December 31, 1998, or January 1, 1999, but those were Thursday/Friday, and new comics are put out in bookstores on Tuesdays, so this issue cover-dated March was definitely out by late December of 1998.

Keep in mind that, until this point, I had read only one story with Cheryl in it, and it had given me a positive impression of her, so I was happy to be able to read more of her stories. Also, I had just graduated from community college and would be starting university in January, which meant driving to a big city…with big bookstores…with comic books, so I was able to buy the rest of the issues as they came out, sticking with Cheryl’s series until the very end.

This issue is also significant in another way: it’s Dan Parent’s final issue, but I’ll save discussion of that for when I review his final story.

Anyway, let’s get into it:

At the Fresh office, Cheryl is admiring the gowns worn by three models. The gowns were designed by Lynn Acres of Winfield, Texas; Dawn Emch of Rye, New York; and Joan Farley of Tucson, Arizona. A woman says they’re going to be fabulous in the next issue of Fresh.

Another woman thanks Cheryl for her help in designing them. In exchange, Cheryl gets to try on a few gowns. One is a bit tight, so Cheryl reminds them that these gowns should be for all girls and all sizes. Cheryl takes some designs home to see if she can “perk them up”.

Later, Cheryl has been working at her desk until late and is “all designed out”. She finds the work fun, though. She feels like “Cinderella designing gowns for the ball”. I didn’t know Cinderella was a designer. Anyway, Cheryl falls asleep at her desk and…has a dream. Great.

In her dream, Cheryl is a Cinderella-like character named Cinderblossom, Bunny/Priscilla is her stepmother, and Betty and Veronica are her “evil, much less attractive stepsisters”. Cinderblossom has to work on their dresses for the royal bash on Saturday.

Betty and Ronnie are unappreciative, hating their dresses and making demands. Cinderblossom cries and says she’ll be too busy working on these dresses to make her own. That’s the idea.

On Saturday, their dresses are done. They bought Cinderblossom a “garish” dress for $3.99. Despite its ugliness, Cinderblossom decides to wear it.

It’s as stiff as a board, though, because they starched it for her. After they leave, Cinderblossom breaks down in tears. Dan Parent takes a moment to “remind” readers that this is just a dream, and Cheryl isn’t “too kind”. Her fairy godmother poofs in, and it’s Ethel. Cinderblossom wishes to go to the ball, but the bitches took “the good car”.

All that Cinderblossom has is a piece-of-shit car. Her fairy godmother turns it into sports car and a house plant into a driver (Moose). She also gives Cinderblossom a dress, but it’s “too frilly”. She changes it, but it’s “boring”. Cinderblossom asks for “something classic, yet contemporary”. Her fairy godmother is getting irritated.

The latest gown (designed by Lea Arini of Brooklyn, New York) is “perfect”. The fairy godmother reminds Cinderblossom that Prince Archie is looking for a bride, something that hasn’t been mentioned up to this point. Literally. It’s news to Cinderblossom. Betty and Veronica kept that from her, which pisses her off. She’s determined to come out ahead. After she and the driver get in the sports car, the fairy godmother reminds her that everything changes back at midnight.

At the bash, Ronnie and Betty are fighting over Prince Archie, and he complains to King Jughead that they’re crazy. King Jughead had warned him that “girls are nothing but trouble”. Prince Archie gets a boner for Cinderblossom. Ronnie is surprised and angry to see her. Prince Archie asks Cinderblossom for a dance and pretty much proposes to her. The two dance the night away, smitten with each other. Betty and Ronnie just fill up on punch.

At 11:59 PM, Prince Archie officially proposes to Cinderblossom. But then the clock strike midnight, and Cinderblossom runs off. Her dress changes back to her old clothes, her driver changes back into a house plant, and her sports car changes back into her old jalopy. Prince Archie yells he doesn’t even know her name, despite the fact that Ronnie had answered his question when he had first spotted Cinderblossom. Prince Archie finds the “designer clog” that she had left behind and vows to try it on everybody in town to find her. Um, why not just the redheads? Surely, his memory isn’t that bad. That’s something that never made sense about the original fairytale. And why did the glass slipper remain unchanged?

The next day, Cinderblossom’s stepmother sends her upstairs to design their new spring wardrobe and not come down until she’s finished. This is to keep her busy, so she doesn’t spot Prince Archie fitting them with the designer clog. He arrives. The clog doesn’t fit Betty or Ronnie. Ronnie even wants to try cutting her foot with a knife, a gruesome aspect of the fairy tale that Disney cut out. Cinderblossom comes downstairs, having found out about the fitting, because the prince posted about it on the Internet. Her stepmother angrily asks why they left the computer up there. The clog fits Cinderblossom. Prince Archie proposes to her, and she accepts.

Cinderblossom has been designing her wedding dress, so they seemingly get married on the spot, much to Betty and Ronnie’s sadness.

Cheryl’s alarm clock goes off at 7:00 AM, and she wakes up just as the sun is rising. She loves her dream and decides to get these fashion designs back to Fresh. She suddenly has a “good idea”. I wanna point out that Cheryl’s eyes seem to be a dark blue in this panel.

At the Fresh office, Cheryl posts a Cinderella fashion spread on the board, and the woman from earlier calls it “ingenious”. With a wink, Cheryl says it’s something that she “dreamed up”. What’s odd is Cheryl colored Cinderella’s hair blonde, making her look more like Betty than Cheryl.

This story was okay, I guess, but I’m generally not fond of fairy tale parodies or dream stories, because they don’t “count”. In this case, though, the dream did provide inspiration for Cheryl, so…yay?

Extras

In the middle of the story is a page of Cheryl fan art (with entries from Indi Wilson of Chicago, Illinois; Gigi Rosen of Poughkeepsie, New York; and Molly Peterson of Fredricksburg, Virginia).

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Holiday Fashions……from all Her Readers!” (with entries from Alex Grey of Houston, Texas; Megan Allard of Fillstown, Texas; and Jane Pratt of New York, New York).

Comics – Chill-Out!

Cheryl-Blossom-19
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 19
Cover Date: February, 1999
Length: 11 pages

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

This issue marks a special occasion. Well, two, actually, but I’ll save the other one for the end of the review. As of this issue, I have now read every story in Cheryl’s solo series, because I first started reading the series with issue #20 back when it was new. So none of the stories after this issue will be new to me. It’s been years since I’ve read most of them, though, so I look forward to rediscovering them.

At the Fresh office, Cheryl is wearing an…interesting purple and pink outfit. There are pink blossoms on her purple shirt, and she’s wearing a purple vest, pink pants or leggings, and purple knee-high boots. A caption informs us that her hairstyle and outfit are by Kim Lee of Providence, Rhode Island. A woman calls the outfit “stunning”. Cheryl mentions the designer (not Kim Lee) and says it’s going to be shown in the next issue of Fresh.

The woman (who’s not one of the two that hired Cheryl) says Cheryl is doing a great job as “teen editor” of their magazine. I thought her position was called “junior editor”. Well, whatever. She asks if Cheryl has ideas for their first winter issue. Um, isn’t it a little late by this point? Regardless, Cheryl does: a ski vacation setting to show off the “tons of new winter outfits”. The woman loves it and asks Cheryl if she has any ideas where. Cheryl says Mt. Paradise. Her family owns a huge “lodge” there, but Cheryl would rather call it a resort, because the word “lodge” rubs her the wrong way. The woman decides to get the models together. Cheryl decides to get her “help” together.

As Cheryl leaves the office, she exposits how she’ll try to get Archie (but not “bubble heads” Betty and Veronica) to help her. Next month is Archie’s birthday, so Cheryl decides to throw him a little “party”. Oh, I can imagine what kind of party. Anyway, it’s worth noting Archie Comics once “established” Archie’s birthday as December 7 on its website, though that might have been well after this story was written.

Soon, at Riverdale High, Veronica and Betty discover invitations from Cheryl in their lockers. They’ve been invited to a surprise birthday bash for Archie at the Blossom Skating Rink in Pembrooke. The Blossoms own a skating rink? Well, okay, whatever. Ronnie’s pissed and asks about the party that she was planning for him (which she actually wasn’t). Veronica’s dress in this scene is by Amy Nolan of Saddle River, New Jersey. Ronnie wants to confront Cheryl.

Archie arrives. Ronnie’s about to spoil the surprise but then decides not to. Betty compliments her for it. Ronnie says it’s for Archie, and Betty adds Cheryl did think to invite them. Ronnie guesses Cheryl will try her best to upstage them. Betty agrees, seemingly amused.

Later (at Cheryl’s place, I guess, or maybe the inn; I can’t tell), Betty, Ronnie, Jughead, and Reggie are gathered. Cheryl goes over the plan: they will all gather at the skating rink; Cheryl will pick up Archie at his house, and she’ll pretend she had to stop by to pick up her skates or something (Ronnie looks offended at this for some reason); when they enter, the gang will all yell “Surprise!” Ronnie gets sassy with Cheryl.

On the day of the party, Cheryl leaves the mansion in a hurry and accidentally leaves behind written instructions to fly to their lodge on Mr. Paradise sitting on a table. Jason takes immediate notice of this nondescript piece of paper and reads it out of curiosity. He thinks Cheryl’s got a little scheme up her sleeve. In a callback to “That’s My Mama!“, Jason says he’s not one to interfere but then questions it.

At the Blossom Skating Rink, Ethel, Moose, Dilton, Betty, and Ronnie are waiting. The first three weren’t even shown to be attending the meeting previously. Anyway, Ethel notes they’re “unusually late”, but then Betty hears something.

They (including Jughead, who’s here as well) yell “Surprise!” It’s just Jason, though. He informs them that Cheryl and Archie are up on the roof, which also serves as a heliport. Well…that’s convenient. Jason has a laugh at their expense. Everyone goes to the roof, but the helicopter is airborne already. Cheryl yells bye to everyone. Ronnie is pissed at Cheryl and demands Archie tell them where they’re going. Archie says he doesn’t know; Cheryl didn’t tell him. Cheryl tells him that he’ll see soon enough. Y’know, I find it hard to believe any of them could hear each other over the sound of the chopper.

Well after landing, as Cheryl and Archie are walking along outside, Archie realizes Cheryl brought him to Mt. Paradise with lots of models. Cheryl wants him to help her out with the shoot. Why is the shoot occurring in the next month after the first scene? Is Fresh not a monthly publication?

Back at the skating rink, Ronnie demands Jason tell them where they went. Jason doesn’t know if he wants to tell. Betty flirts with him, and Jason immediately gives up the location. Wait, were they seriously just standing around in the skating rink during the entire helicopter ride?

Ronnie wants to track them. Jason wants to help. Ronnie wants to make a couple phone calls first. She calls Archie and Cheryl’s parents, who are pissed to learn what their kids are doing. Clifford tells Fred that they’ll meet them at their house and fly them up there.

At Mr. Paradise, Archie is checking out the supermodels. Well, technically, he’s telling Cheryl to look at them, and…she is, seemingly with a smile on her face. Keep in mind that this is years before Riverdale made Cheryl gay.

They’re shocked and freaked out to see their parents, Betty, Ronnie, and Jason arrive. Trapped, they do the only logical thing: make a getaway on a toboggan. Cheryl warns some supermodels to get out of the way but then crashes through them and happily exclaims “Supermodel explosions!” Haha, because injuring and possibly killing people is funny. The photographers keep shooting, because it’s “crazy, but funny” and “a change of pace, at least”. Well, alrighty.

The others catch up on their own toboggans. They escape on a single pair of skis (Archie holds on tight to Cheryl). Cheryl says it’s hard to steer with all of this weight. Archie yells at supermodels to run. Cheryl crashes through them. Some people have a laugh at that. In the time that it took to ski down a hill, Clifford somehow arrived on a snowmobile. Cheryl’s parents make her stay in her room for the next month.

Weeks later, Cheryl comes up to Ronnie and Betty on a sidewalk and shows them the new issue of Fresh. I guess she’s been let out of her room. Anyway, Betty and Ronnie are happy to see of all the “crazy antics” from Mt. Paradise are in the issue. Cheryl also included images of Ronnie and Betty, which she altered to make them look fat. This pisses them off, and they chase after her. Cheryl happily runs away.

This story was pretty dumb. How could Cheryl carelessly leave flying instructions lying around? And it’s awfully convenient for Jason to find them. And why would the pilot need written instructions to fly to a property that the Blossoms own? The pilot would likely have the coordinates on file already. Was it instructions as in permission? Some kind of formality? If so, how did Cheryl get it? Did she forge it? She seemingly never knew she didn’t have it on her, and the pilot clearly didn’t need it, so it just comes off as a lazy way for Jason to guess Cheryl’s plan.

Oh, yeah, the other special occasion? We’re now halfway through the series. This is the exact middle issue of the Cheryl Blossom ongoing series, and we’re halfway through the issue. *blows streamer*

Extras

In the middle of the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Holiday Reader Fashions!” (with entries from Alisha Johns of Greenville, South Carolina; Laurie Davis of Provo, Utah; Lynn Sampson of Ontario, Canada; Barb Anders of Ashboro, North Carolina; and Tammy Smith of Salem, Massachusetts).

After the story is a 1-page Archie story titled “Holidaze”.

Comics – That’s My Mama!

Cheryl-Blossom-18
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 18
Cover Date: January, 1999
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

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

Cheryl is in…some class (whatever it is, there are instructions on the board to read pages 3-950 of Encyclopaedia Brittanica). The teacher (who I definitely recognize but isn’t named yet) gives the students their assignment: take care of an egg like a child. I know this is a common plot in fiction, but did any schools actually do this? Anyway, Cheryl questions the point of it and doesn’t give a shit. She’s worried about it putting a crimp in her free time.

On another day, at breakfast (I guess), Jason makes fun of Cheryl (who has her egg on a pillow). He decides to “test Cheryl’s reflexes” by throwing an egg at her, hitting her. In retaliation (and without thinking), Cheryl picks up her egg and throws it at him, hitting him. She’s upset at what she’s done. She blames Jason and, in tears, calls herself “childless”.

The next day, Cheryl drives to school with her replacement egg securely fastened with a seatbelt in the passenger seat next to her. We learn her teacher is named Ms. Hampton, and she gave Cheryl another chance. Cheryl notices a new boutique has opened and tells “Junior” that she’ll be right back.

She’s in the boutique for two hours (it was “exhilarating”). Junior has been cooked in the sun. Jason comes by and makes fun of her. What is it with this series and Jason always showing up at opportune times to either overhear crucial information or make fun of Cheryl? It’s getting really annoying. Anyway, Cheryl tells Jason to shut the fuck up and says he could have saved “him”. Jason says he’s “not one to interfere”.

On another day, as Cheryl is walking along outside the estate, she says she’s not cut out for parenting and has an idea to use a knockoff of a FabergĂ© egg (which, unlike the real deal, looks like a regular egg). She claims it won’t break and says parenting is frustrating.

In class, Ms. Hampton asks how it’s going with Junior. Cheryl trips on her way to Ms. Hampton’s desk, and the egg slips out of her hand and bounces on the desk. Despite looking just like a regular egg, Ms. Hampton correctly guesses what it is. Cheryl says it’s the only egg that she can’t break. Ms. Hampton has Cheryl give it one more try and think about what she must do to take the best care of her child. Cheryl has an idea. A random female student rolls her eyes, but I’m not sure why.

The next day, in the hall, Ms. Hampton asks Cheryl where the baby is. Cheryl reveals she hired a nanny, Helga, to take care of her child, because “the best care for [her] baby is to hire the best care available”. Ms. Hampton angrily admits she thinks Cheryl’s got her.

This story was okay – if a bit cliched.

Comics – Eat Something!

Cheryl-Blossom-18
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 18
Cover Date: January, 1999
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

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

Cheryl and Archie are walking along outside. Archie gets a raging boner for a billboard model, but Cheryl’s upset that the models are so thin instead of having a “healthy, full-rounded figure” like her. Oh, the irony, considering the girls in Archie Comics have been criticized for being too thin and supermodel-like. Anyway, Archie gets a raging boner for Cheryl.

Cheryl is going to a fashion shoot for Fresh and invites Archie to join her. Archie replies with “That’s a silly question!” Dude, do you wanna come or not? Yes or no. Don’t make it obvious that you wanna check out the models.

Once they get to the fashion shoot, the photographer informs Cheryl that one of the models backed out. He asks her to fill in. She gladly agrees and does a great job. Between shoots, Cheryl is starved, so she has a bite of her sandwich. Where was she keeping that? A couple models drool over her sandwich. Cheryl offers some of it to one of them, but the model says she has to watch her weight. This gives Cheryl a novel idea: a fashion shoot where the models eat. Cheryl pulls a bag of chips out of her ass and has the photographer snap pictures while they dig in.

Most of the models get into it. One of them, Shelly, is wary of eating a donut, because she hasn’t had junk food since 1993, but Cheryl and the model that she’d offered her sandwich to cheer Shelly on, and Shelly loves the donut.

On another day, when Cheryl arrives at the Fresh office, the women that offered her the job inform her that the “Let’s Eat” pictorial is a hit, and women everywhere love it. Cheryl says that’s because most women aren’t represented in this magazine. One of the women reluctantly agrees. The other says they want to do another “Healthy Eating” pictorial.

Cheryl is all for it and suggests they do it at Pop’s Soda Shoppe, where her “friends” hang out. I notice Cheryl has been referring to the Riverdale gang as her friends recently. They’ll do a ’50s theme. One of the women rolls her eyes at this, but I can’t tell if she dislikes the idea or is thinking about it.

On another day, Cheryl goes to Pop’s and pitches her idea. She says Fresh will pay for all of the food. Pop happily agrees to it. So does Jughead.

On the day of the shoot, the gang’s decked out in ’50s clothes and hairstyles. Dilton notes Cheryl makes a cute car hop. Reggie and Archie get into a spat, and Cheryl tells them to knock it the fuck off – at least until the shoot’s over. Archie, Betty, and Veronica do the classic three-on-a-soda pose, except Betty’s the one in the center. Make of that what you will. Cheryl barges in and displaces both of the girls. Ronnie’s pissed, but Betty doesn’t particularly seem to care.

Weeks later, as Cheryl and Archie are walking along outside again, Archie happily notes their diner fashion layout is everywhere, but Cheryl sadly notes now everyone else is copying them. Models everywhere are getting healthier.

On another day, when Cheryl arrives at the Fresh office, she overhears the women (I wish we’d get names for them) talk about how, since the layout has come out, they’re getting calls non-stop, especially for one of the models. Cheryl assumes it’s her, but one of the women says it’s Jughead, much to Cheryl’s shock. The other woman explains, with “all this food craze”, he’s the “spokesperson for consumption”.

On another day, as Cheryl and Archie are walking along outside again, Archie sees Jughead on an “Eat” poster on the side of a building and is surprised. Cheryl says there goes her faith in public taste.

This story was pretty nice. It’s good that Cheryl sees the problem with the media showcasing thin models and the message that it sends to regular women – and decides to use her position to actually do something about it.

Extras

After the story is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

Comics – Strike a Pose!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extras

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

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

Comics – How Crafty

Cheryl-Blossom-17
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 17
Cover Date: November, 1998
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

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

At home, Cheryl says it’s time to catch up on her soaps, which immediately dates the story. What teen these days watches soap operas? Anyway, Penelope introduces Cheryl to a Martha Stewart knockoff. Cheryl recognizes her but seems to lie about never missing her show. Penelope reveals she’s hired Martha.

She wants to give their house a more “homey” look, saying it tends to look a bit “stark”. Martha decorates the mansion with stuff like seashells and driftwood, which Cheryl doesn’t like.

A couple days later, Cheryl is upset that the house is looking like a “country inn”, but Penelope thinks it looks lovely. Martha is stenciling on their doorways.

Cheryl thinks Martha is nuts. Sure enough, looking nuts, Martha decides to “stencil the whole upstairs”. When she goes upstairs, Cheryl yells after her to stay out of her room. Too late, as Martha has already extensively stenciled Cheryl’s floor. Yeah, no, bullshit. Bull. Fucking. Shit. There’s no way that she could have done that in a few seconds. Cheryl screams for her mom, and Penelope guesses Cheryl has seen her room. What? This story is so confusing. In tears, Cheryl tells her mom that Martha has stenciled her phone. Penelope is able to bring herself to admit only that Martha “maybe…has overdone it a bit”.

Penelope suggests Cheryl could learn something from Martha. This gives Cheryl an idea.

Cheryl adds “Blossom-esque” touches to Martha’s work, overwhelming her with flowers. Martha decides to leave and sees Cheryl has had her car stuffed with flower centerpieces. She’s also added flowers to Martha’s front yard and house and paid for a “house makeover”.

Martha is somehow unable to stop this. Cheryl is over at her house and explains it as returning the favors that Martha did for them. She gives Martha a jacket decorated with blossoms.

Soon, Cheryl’s back at home and asks her mom where Martha is. Penelope says she went on an extended vacation and has the idea to send her some flowers. Cheryl says it’s a good idea.

This story was pretty dumb and way over the top.