Comics – Extra Disastrous!

BV-Friends-Digest-260.jpgWriter: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: B&V Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 260
On-Sale Date: April 4, 2018
Length: 5 pages

Veronica and Betty have gotten parts as extras in a “big budget disaster movie” that’s filming in Riverdale for economic reasons (plus they’re filming on one of Mr. Lodge’s downtown properties). Veronica and Betty exposit about how they arrived at their current situation – as well as about filmmaking in general – for no in-story reason; it’s an infodump for our benefit.

The film studio seems to be Universal, the movie is called The World’s End, and I can’t tell if the director is supposed to be anyone in particular or not. A member of the crew, who shows up for only three panels, comes by to do nothing except confirm the girls are extras. Thanks for that.

Anyway, per the director’s instructions, Veronica and Betty are supposed to be having a conversation in the background during this outdoors scene while the film’s leads, knock-offs of Mark Wahlberg and Gwyneth Paltrow, walk through the park and deliver poorly-written, ham-fisted exposition. I wonder if the story’s writer is going meta on us.

Well, the girls fuck up the first take by squeeing over the stars. Veronica fucks up takes 2-4 by talking with her hands, doing pilates, and swallowing a bug (the last one scares Mark, because he thinks Veronica’s dying). Veronica’s “acting” in dealing with the bug inspires the director to use her and Betty elsewhere. Veronica’s excited, and Betty jokes she should swallow bugs more often.

At the Riverdale premiere of the movie, Archie’s sitting with the girls, and he’s eager to see them (the movie’s almost over). Betty tells him to be patient.

After the climactic final battle, during which Gwyneth’s character, Constance, exposits that Mark’s character, Matt, saved the world by destroying the asteroid with his modified atomic laser pointer (yeah…), it’s revealed the fragments destroyed their hometown (“it’s the price someplace had to pay!”). Gwyneth hams up mourning the loss of their “poor town folk”.

The joke is Veronica and Betty were used as dead bodies beneath a fake boulder, and you can see only their legs. Betty and Archie are excited, but Veronica’s upset.

This story’s pretty cute. There’s not a lot of space, though, hence the infodump at the beginning.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – Just Another Day!

Betty-and-Veronica-269.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 269
Cover Date: February, 2014
On-Sale Date: January 15, 2014
Length: 20 pages

This is kind of an important issue, not so much for any specific part of the story contained herein but for the fact that it’s the first in-continuity issue in over a year. See, for the past five issues (all of 2013), Betty and Veronica had been taken up by parodies of fairy tales, leaving the “real” girls to be seen in only Archie and perhaps new stories in some of the digests. This issue was our first chance to see them in their own adventures on a regular basis again, so we got an issue-length story featuring a day in their lives.

Betty, Veronica, and Archie are all asleep in bed at around 1:30 AM. The girls are dreaming of him, and he’s dreaming both of them are giving him some loving.

As the night wears on, though, the girls interrupt each other’s dreams, giving them a restless night’s sleep. Meanwhile, they’re still giving Archie that sweet, sweet loving in his own dream. It’s now 3:20 AM.

At 7:00 AM, the girls are woken up (Betty by her alarm clock and Veronica by Smithers). Meanwhile, Archie peacefully sleeps through his alarm, still dreaming of getting loving from the girls.

Betty has to rush out the door. Her parents have already left for work, so she decides to grab a quick bite but then realizes she has to feed the cat (whose name is Caramel, although it isn’t mentioned here). She also realizes her blue shirt is still in the dryer. Um, a few questions. Who did the laundry and when? Who forgot to take Betty’s shirt out of the dryer? And why is Betty concerned about this right now, considering she’s already put on a pink shirt?

Meanwhile, Veronica asks her servant, Fifi (who had also brought her her designer pumps in bed), to remove some excess marmalade from her toast. Fifi’s thoughts are censored.

Meanwhile, Archie’s still having his wet dream at 7:10 AM.

Betty runs after the school bus, realizing her watch has stopped (apparently, she doesn’t rely on any clock in the house). She has a peace sign on her bookbag.

Meanwhile, Veronica trying to decide which color car to drive to school today.

Meanwhile, Mary wakes Archie up, because he’s late again.

On the bus ride to school, Betty had helped Ethel with her geometry homework and let Dilton borrow her earbuds. They thank her.

Veronica takes up two parking spaces in the student parking lot (which, oddly, is right next to some residential housing) and gets yelled at for it. She doesn’t give a shit.

Archie’s just now making his way out the door and spills everything out of his bookbag. Why doesn’t his mom give him a ride?

Betty sees a poster for the Riverdale High Winter Blitz dance (which is tonight) and decides to text Archie before Veronica gets to him.

Meanwhile, Reggie asks Veronica to the dance. She’s texting Archie and tells Reggie that she’ll put him on “stand by” only if Archie can’t take her, which means Reggie isn’t even her second choice (or maybe, y’know, the line was poorly worded).

Running to school, Archie realizes he’s been texted.

The girls are pissed off, each worrying the other got to Archie first. Archie got both texts and, smug asshole that he is, tells Jughead that he’ll let them fight it out.

Question: How did these girls not know about this imminent dance until today?

Betty sees Veronica in the hallway and decides to play it cool, but Veronica sees right through it. Meanwhile, Archie’s calmly walking to class, unaware of the girls’ anxiety. The bell rings, so enough of this shit.

In Professor Flutesnoot’s class, he praises Betty for getting an A+ on an assignment or test, but she’s preoccupied over whether Archie got her text or not.

In Ms. Grundy’s class, Veronica hasn’t gotten a text back from Archie. Ms. Grundy is pissed and confiscates her cell phone.

In a history class, an unnamed female teacher criticizes Archie for having the wrong book and wrong homework and also for wearing his shirt backwards. She asks him where his head is. Archie’s winking at a cute girl and doesn’t pay any attention to the teacher.

At lunch time, Betty decides to meet the gang and orders a “regular lunch” from Ms. Beazley. Jughead tries to mooch food off Betty.

Meanwhile, Veronica doesn’t eat “this school slop” and has her lunch delivered from home. Smithers presents her with smoked salmon.

Meanwhile, Archie laments his sandwich getting “all squished” by his books, but it still tastes good, so he doesn’t mind much.

We get a landscape (“widescreen”) shot of the gang at the table. There’s a lot of arguing. In short, the girls are going to the dance by themselves, Reggie reminds Veronica of him, Jughead asks Kevin if he’s gonna eat his burger, and Kevin’s glad that he doesn’t have to deal with this shit (except for, y’know, sitting at the same table as these assholes).

After school, Betty’s waitressing at some random restaurant and complaining about Veronica, confusing her customer and coworkers.

Meanwhile, Veronica is complaining about how nobody appreciates her while Fifi gives her a massage, and Veronica accuses “Fi-Fi” of trying to kill her.

Meanwhile, at home, Archie’s laughing his ass off while watching a parody of Tosh.0.

That night, Betty puts on a homemade dress that she’s already worn – along with a new shawl.

At Veronica’s, Vera Wang has personally dropped Veronica’s dress off. Veronica compliments it and says the check is in the mail. Um, why not just hand it to her? Ms. Wang is eager to buy a summer beach house. Okay, technically, her first name isn’t mentioned, but it’s obviously meant to be her.

At Archie’s, Mary and Fred criticize a stain (which he’ll cover with a flower) on his suit and his mismatching socks, respectively.

As Betty rides her bike to the dance, she starts questioning everything about it (including going at all).

During the limo ride to the dance, Reggie fishes for a compliment on his appearance, but Veronica’s pissed at him for not complimenting her appearance and not bringing her flowers.

At the dance, Archie arrives, disheveled, and explains to Midge, Ginger, and two random girls that he had a flat tire.

Dilton asks Betty to dance, and she’s torn between that and talking to Archie.

Veronica ignores Reggie in favor of Archie and notices Betty “honing in”.

Cheryl asks Archie to dance. Why’s Cheryl at a Riverdale High dance, you ask? Well, around this time, they seemed to quietly do away with Pembrooke Academy, and Cheryl was attending Riverdale High with seemingly no explanation. (Who the hell knows where Jason was during this time?) This lasted up through the final Classic Archieverse floppy issue, just after New Riverdale launched.

Betty tries to talk to Archie, but Cheryl barges in. Betty falls, and Cheryl is surprised and seemingly takes the blame for it. However, when Veronica helps Betty up and accuses Cheryl of pushing her, Betty admits she just tripped over herself (I think we’re meant to believe she tripped over her shawl, which she ends up leaving on the floor).

Veronica makes up with Betty, affirming they’re best friends. Archie wants to dance, and Veronica lets him dance with Betty first. Cheryl asks about herself, but Archie cuts her out for the night, and he seems oddly happy to do it, despite the fact that she really didn’t do anything. As she watches them dance (simultaneously, despite the fact that Betty and Veronica were supposed to take turns with Archie), Cheryl asks what Betty and Veronica have that she doesn’t. Kevin again states he’s glad to not be a part of this shit.

The last two pages are taken up with Betty’s diary entry. She writes about friendship while dressed in her sleep attire (shorts and a T-shirt). We see Veronica looking at a selfie that she (I guess) took of them. Archie comes home, completely wiped and in a happy daze (draw your own conclusions) while his happy parents look on.

The story ends where it began. It’s 12:10 AM, and everyone’s fast asleep. The girls dream of Archie, and Archie dreams of getting some hot loving from the girls.

This story’s pretty nice. Not a whole lot to say about it. It’s nice to see a typical day in the lives of Betty, Veronica, and Archie. Archie is, of course, a complete ass, so I’m upset that the girls flocked back to him and that he got to reject Cheryl.

Tune in tomorrow for a review to make up for the lack of one three weeks ago!

Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 5

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-5.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 5
Cover Date: May, 2018
On-Sale Date: April 4, 2018
Length: 20 pages

How/Why is the gang’s photo in the newspaper?

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page.

There’s confusion over the first page again in this issue. The gang is roller skating. A caption informs us that someone says “These girls are my friends.” This is a quote from later in the story. I’m guessing these first pages are meant to be mood-setting or theme-setting, but they don’t really fit into the rest of the story.

The gang attends a roller derby at a place called Sugar’s Roller Rink for bonding and networking. Veronica explains what roller derbies are as they watch Cheryl play, except they don’t know it’s Cheryl, because they’re fucking dumbasses. Cheryl is a member of the Pembrooke Punishers team, and she goes by the name Scarlet O’Horror. She fights dirty. Veronica and Evelyn explain away their knowledge of roller derbies as simply being well-educated.

Outside, after the derby, Veronica further explains they’re here to connect with other strong ladies in the event that they’ll someday need help outside Riverdale. Cheryl skates by, and they suddenly recognize her, because…she has her helmet off. Cheryl calls Veronica Miss Vanity, a reference to Veronica’s super-villain alter ego in some old comics where they did weird shit like that. Cheryl insults their motorcycles, and Betty tells her to fuck off. Cheryl reveals she knows the girls’ secrets. Toni says they know her secret and wants to drop the subject, but Cheryl won’t leave it alone, because “that wouldn’t be any fun”.

Before Cheryl can tell Veronica what she wants, they witness some skateboarding assholes picking on a girl. The girl tries fighting back. Cheryl licks her lips and puts on her helmet, eager to kick some ass. The Vixens are pumped as well.

Betty, Cheryl, and Evelyn (perhaps with help from Toni) manage to defeat three of the four guys. The fourth guy just disappears.

Ethel tries to put the girl at ease. The girl thanks them and asks who they are. Ethel nearly reveals their secret, but Evelyn shuts her up. Toni gets a text and checks her cell phone. Cheryl skates over and just blurts out that they’re the Vixens, including herself in the gang. Ethel asks her how she knows that, and Cheryl has to re-explain how she pieced it together (basically, they’ve been neglecting their Vixens duties to be Vixens). She also points out that she never lets her hobby interfere with cheer practice. She wants in the gang (to her credit, she doesn’t even threaten to expose them), but Veronica tells her to fuck off. Betty wants to let Cheryl in on a trial basis, pointing out that Cheryl helped them out against those punks and is seemingly in it for the greater good. Veronica grudgingly agrees. Betty warns Cheryl against telling anyone or besmirching their name, threatening expulsion. Cheryl understands the message from her “boss” and tells the “birds” that she’ll seem them on Monday morning. She skates off, waving to them as she leaves. Veronica feels she’s going to regret this. Meanwhile, Toni gets on her bike and drives off, surprising the others.

As Toni rides, she’s talking with a girl named Ang, who needs her help, because some guy won’t leave her alone. The line goes dead. A black car follows Toni.

On Monday morning, at Riverdale High School, in Ms. Grundy’s class, Cheryl gabs to a guy about kicking ass over the weekend, earning her icy stares from Betty and Veronica, which makes her nervous.

In the crowded hallway, after class, Veronica says the Vixens don’t broadcast their good deeds. Um, you ain’t exactly being secretive, Ronnie, so shut the fuck up. Anyway, Cheryl asks what the point of doing this shit is if they can’t tell anyone. Betty asks Cheryl if she’s ever done anything selfless, not for recognition, and you can literally hear the crickets chirp…in the crowded hallway.

Toni walks by. Betty greets her, but Toni ignores her. Cheryl points out that that’s icy, and Toni finally asks what the fuck Betty wants. Betty is concerned, so Toni reveals her ex-girlfriend is in trouble. In tears, Toni says she doesn’t know where she is, but her asshole boyfriend’s been hurting her again. She tried to trace the call but couldn’t pinpoint the location. Cheryl says she can track the number, surprising Veronica. Cheryl reveals Blossom-Comm is the leader in the tech industry (nice nod to Classic Archie continuity, in which Clifford Blossom is a software engineer that owns a tech company) – and then amends it to “was”, giving Veronica some serious side-eye. Ooh, I think there’s a story there. Cheryl says she has “easy access to borderline-legal GPS software” and claims she can find anyone. Veronica looks uncomfortable.

The next day, after school (way to jump on that, Cheryl), Betty and Cheryl join the other Vixens in a parking lot. Evelyn’s pissed that Cheryl’s coming, and the two of them stare at each other for a while. Evelyn whispers to Toni that Cheryl scares her. Toni reveals the GPS says Ang’s “somewhere outside of Greendale”. Ethel says that town always gave her the creeps. Spoiler: Sabrina doesn’t appear in this issue. The Vixens ride off to help Ang, Cheryl riding with Betty. Mad Doc Doom observes them from his black car.

At their destination, the other girls hide behind some bushes and observe the house from across the street while Betty goes and knocks on the front door. Ang’s asshole boyfriend answers. Betty politely addresses him, asks him if he’s accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, and then sucker-punches him right in the fucking face. Okay, that was a genuine laugh-out-loud moment for me.

The other girls arrive and search the house. The asshole boyfriend reaches for his cell phone, which he’d dropped, but Evelyn picks up a lamp, smashes it over his head, slams his head against the floor, and demands to know where Ang is. He points upstairs. Toni runs upstairs, calling for her. She calls back. Toni finds her in a closet and helps her downstairs.

Suddenly, another asshole comes out of nowhere and charges at Ethel. Toni warns her. Cheryl literally leaps into action and bites the dude’s left ear, drawing blood. Mike Tyson would be proud. The attack even makes a crunching sound. Ang is shocked, and even Toni is surprised. Veronica suggests they get the fuck out of here.

Later, outside, Ethel points out that Cheryl saved her – but doesn’t thank her. Cheryl re-applies her lipstick (did she at least clean the blood off her lips first?) and tells Ethel to not let it go to her head. Huh?

To Veronica’s disappointment, Betty happily welcomes Cheryl as “an honorary Vixen”? What? That sounds cheap. Why not say “an official Vixen”?

Anyway, Betty and Cheryl mount up, and Cheryl jokes about the other girls not outranking her on the cheer squad.

As Toni and Ang say their goodbyes, Toni says “These girls are my friends.”

The other Vixens mount their bikes. Cheryl curls her arms around Betty’s waist. Mad Doc Doom gets their attention and congratulates them.

At Lodge Manor, Smithers brings Mr. Lodge his tea. Mr. Lodge is reading in The Riverdale Gazette about the Southside Serpents being forced out of Riverdale. He doesn’t get it, because his contacts in the Riverdale PD don’t know how it happened. Smithers thinks it’s good that they’re gone, but Mr. Lodge fears a bigger menace and vows to get to the bottom of it. The caption at the bottom of the page teases the Vixens’ secret potentially being revealed next time.

This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated April of 2018); this one talks about the history of roller derby and its resurgence in popularity – especially in “the neighboring town of Pembrooke”, led by the affluent youth as an “anarchistic reaction” to the old-school way of life in the “affluent neighborhood”. Archie Comics has historically been inconsistent over whether Pembrooke is a separate town or an exclusive community / affluent neighborhood within Riverdale. Here, it’s a separate town, yet Cheryl attends Riverdale High, so she must live within Riverdale’s city limits. In a 2009 story called “Get Out of Town”, Pembrooke was explicitly its own separate town. In an early 2011 story called “Queen B”, Pembrooke Academy existed, and there was a Pembrooke Mall (which Betty and Veronica shopped at for whatever reason), but Pembrooke wasn’t described as its own town or even as a community/neighborhood, and Cheryl lived within Riverdale. In the recently-started Vampironica AU title, Cheryl lives at “Pembrooke Estates”, which seemingly insinuates it’s within Riverdale. Anyway, there’s also the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #6, which has Betty and Veronica bound and sitting on (presumably) the floor of a biker bar. It promises the beginning of the “Hunted” storyline.

I know I said there would be an extra review last week to make up for no new review two weeks ago, but Real Life has been crazy busy, and I think my employer has been illegally making me stay past my scheduled hours until “everything’s done”. I’ll try to get an extra review up before next Wednesday’s review.

Tune in…soon!

Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 4

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-4.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 4
Cover Date: April, 2018
On-Sale Date: March 7, 2018
Length: 19 pages

I’m sorry that there was no post last week and that it’s late this week as well. It’s due to a combination of work (my bosses are unreasonable), chores, and car trouble. I’ll have another review up later today to make up for it.

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. The main bad guy is confirmed as Mad Doc Doom, a Little Archie character.

I don’t know what to make of the first page. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story. Midge single-handedly wins a motorcycle race against the Serpents while her fellow Vixens cheer her on. That’s weird enough, but this takes place at Riverdale Raceway, and both gangs are wearing official team uniforms. Also present are Ambrose, Jughead, Penny (I guess), and Cheryl (I guess). A caption informs us that someone (presumably Midge) says “I got this.” This entire page makes no sense.

The next page is set at Logger’s Pond in “present day”. So…was the previous page a glimpse into the future or what? Anyway, the Vixens are out driving at night, and Ethel suggests getting some rest, but Evelyn says sleep is for the weak. Veronica says they have to be ready. Betty says they’ll be fine. They come to a stop. Veronica doesn’t like that Betty brought her plan to the Serpents without running it by her. Betty accuses Veronica of not trusting her. They get into a little argument, but then Toni points out that Midge is having a panic attack. Ethel tries to comfort Midge, who’s doubting her ability. Evelyn and Toni are upset that they’re not treating this seriously. Betty tries to assure Midge and wants her and Ethel to do some test races. She also tells Toni and Evelyn to ease up. Veronica informs Betty of the Serpents’ arrival, because…I guess she couldn’t hear the roar of the engines?

Fangs wants to race now instead of tomorrow. Betty protests but then agrees after Fangs laughs at her. He allows her to pick her opponent, and she chooses him. He accepts. Veronica tries to talk her out of it, but Betty wants to do this.

Right before they take off, Fangs blows Betty a kiss. Betty takes the lead and flips him off. Fangs catches up to her but then loses ground again. Betty wins. Midge hugs her and praises her. Betty winks at her.

Fangs calls for another race, asking who’s next. Midge volunteers, worrying Ethel. Fangs winks at Chester, a fellow Serpent. Midge gets on her bike, gives a thumbs-up, and says “I got this.”

As they race, Chester looks at Midge and tries to pull shit. Back at the finish line, Ethel is worried about Midge and rides off in search of her over Toni’s protest. Chester knocks Midge off her bike. Ethel witnesses it and tackles him in a rage. She throws him to the ground and then checks on Midge.

Back at the finish line, Betty hasn’t gotten anything from Midge on her cell phone and is worried. Not knowing what she’d do if anything happened to Midge, Betty mounts her bike, apologizes to her fellow Vixens (probably for any future actions on her part), and rides off. Veronica decides they’ll all go.

They come upon the scene. Fangs makes fun of Chester. Betty gets fucking pissed and yells at Fangs. Fangs insults the “townies”, calling them “a bunch of inbred idiots”. Fangs says the race was never the solution (also seemingly taking a dig at the retro feel of the first two issues), promising vague shit to come in the future. Betty spits in his face, right on his mouth. Fangs decides to punch Betty, but Penny (who’s suddenly here) stops him and gets him to leave Betty alone. Oh, and Fangs’ utterance of “bullshit” is censored. Anyway, Penny chooses the Vixens over the Serpents and breaks (or at least hurts) Fangs’ fist. Bubbles is here, too, and apparently the two women go back a long time. Penny vaguely mentions unspecified shit that Fangs had done to them in the past and suggests he call this all off.

The Vixens get ready to leave, but Fangs calls them bitches (censored). The Vixens then attack the Serpents and kick their asses. During the ass-kicking, Veronica says she trusts Betty and tells her to never apologize for fighting for what’s right.

Meanwhile, during a football game at Riverdale High School, Cheryl is frustrated that three of her Vixens are missing from the top of the pyramid, throws down her pom-poms in frustration, and storms off. Moose is missing Midge not being in the stands to cheer him on.

At Pop’s, Archie and Reggie, sitting in a booth with a chocolate milkshake with four straws, wait for Betty and Veronica. Archie guesses they’ve been stood up again.

Back out in the wild, the Vixens continue beating the shit out of the Serpents. Fangs is gagged, and Bubbles ties him to a tree. Chester attacks Penny from behind. Midge punches him out cold, drawing blood. Then she collapses in Bubbles’ arms. The ass-kicking continues, devolving into a cartoony dust cloud. When the dust settles, the Vixens stand victorious.

Monday morning, at Riverdale High School, Veronica, Betty, Midge (with her left arm in a cast and sling), Ethel, Toni, and Evelyn walk down the hall. Cheryl sees them and is still pissed.

In (presumably Ms. Grundy’s) class, someone (presumably Veronica) passes Betty a note, saying the Vixens will have their next adventure this weekend.

Later that afternoon, at Pop’s, a police officer informs Pop that the Serpents all vacated their camp and left town. Pop mistakenly thanks him and tells him to order anything; it’s on the house. The officer goes along with it.

Archie approaches the Vixens’ booth and offers to let Betty ride with him sometime this weekend, since he got his bike fixed up. Betty apologizes and says she has plans. Veronica winks at her.

On Friday evening, the Vixens are riding out somewhere in a deserted area. Mad Doc Doom looks at them through binoculars and smiles.

This was another good issue! It’s nice to see the girls kick so much ass. I’m looking forward to the next one. I wonder how much strain that the Vixens’ activities will put on their relationships with other people. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue, another Riverdale Gazette article (dated February of 2018; this one talks about Fangs’ arrest early Monday morning; the Riverdale Police Department is thanked; the town curfew is back to its standard time of 9:00 PM weekdays, 10:00 PM weekends), the cover of The Archies #5 (all issues of which have been removed from Amazon as of around two weeks ago, seemingly due to legal problems), the cover of Cosmo #3, and the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #5.

Tune in later today!

Comics – Color Coded

Archie-326.jpg
Writer: ?
Pencils: ?
Inking: ?
Colors: ?
Letters: ?
Original Publication: Archie, No. 326
Cover Date: October, 1983
Length: 6 pages

Today, I decided to review a story that’s pretty special to me. It’s the first Cheryl story that I’d ever read (although, technically, it’s an Archie story). It was reprinted in the first digest that my mom ever bought for me. Back then, to my eleven-year-old brain, not knowing anything about reprints or the ages of any particular stories, it was all new to me, and Cheryl was one of Archie’s girls, equal in importance to Betty and Veronica (I didn’t register how Cheryl appeared in only one story).

Unfortunately, Grand Comics Database has no information on who contributed to this story. Not even guesses. Still, that’s not as odd as the fact that, despite the cover, there’s not a Halloween-themed story in the entire issue.

Jason stops by Archie’s house in his blue sports car. His snobby friend, Cedric, is with him. Jason makes fun of Archie’s “boring and ordinary” car, which is actually way outdated for the 1980s. Cedric asks what Cheryl sees in “that townie”. Jason says Cheryl loves “slumming”. Cedric suggests a new paint job for Archie’s car. Jason suggests “something gay-frivolous”. Cedric suggests polka dots. Jason calls him a genius and tears off. He goes to visit “Elmo the Spray Doctor”, a cheap car painter.

At Elmo’s shop, Elmo is confused about the plan. Jason gives him Archie’s address, but Elmo angrily says he’s supposed to bring the car to him. Jason offers up a lot of cash, and Elmo will “do almost anything for money”, so it’s a go. Cedric and Jason have a laugh on the way back to Jason’s car.

Meanwhile, Archie walks out of his house, and Cheryl comes by and greets the “handsome hunk”. He greets her. Cheryl has a lady-boner for Archie. Archie explains he has to take his car in for a brake job. She asks to ride along, and he agrees. He says the service station is downtown.

Downtown, Cheryl spots Jason’s car parked in front of the bijou and guesses he’s taking in a movie.

After they drop Archie’s car off at Sam’s Service, Archie wishes he didn’t have to take a “mighty long walk” back home. Cheryl gets an idea. She explains the movie that Jason’s at is a double feature (so…two movies). How she knows that, I’m not sure. Maybe the bijou is a one-screen theater. Anyway, Cheryl has a set of keys to Jason’s car. Figuring he’ll be in the theater for hours, she decides they’ll borrow his wheels. They go over to Jason’s car. Cheryl curls her arms around Archie and seductively talks about fucking his brains out. An old woman, walking by with a paper bag full of groceries, silently judges Cheryl. Cheryl says she’ll drive back before Jason gets out. Archie says then she’ll be stuck downtown. Cheryl says she has a dental appointment right near the theater. Archie eagerly wants to get home and fuck Cheryl.

On the way back to Archie’s, Archie says Jason’d be hella pissed if he knew Archie was using his car. Cheryl happily says what Jason doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

At Archie’s, they get out of the car. Archie thanks Cheryl and says he owes her. Cheryl wants to go inside and “discuss payment”.

While they’re inside, fucking, Elmo shows up and spray-paints Jason’s car, ridiculing the idea. Oddly, Archie’s garage door is open, just as it was at the beginning of the story. Does he not close it? Also, there are no cars in the garage, so I guess his parents are out.

Anyway, some time later, Archie and Cheryl are making out on the couch, and Cheryl reluctantly pulls herself away to get Jason’s car back.

When they get outside, though, they freak out over the polka dots. Archie guesses they have vandals in the neighborhood. Cheryl says she’s gonna put the car back where she found it and then get the fuck out, and she tells Archie to keep quiet about it. He agrees.

On her way back downtown, a passing trucker stares at the polka-dotted sports car, basically thinking “What the fuck?”

Jason and Cedric leave the theater. Jason couldn’t concentrate on the films, thinking about Archie’s car. He suggests driving by Archie’s and making fun of him over the car. Cedric predicts Archie will be the laughingstock of the town. As soon as they round the corner, though, they’ll come upon a crowd of people laughing at Jason’s car.

This story is pretty funny. It was definitely one of my favorites in that first digest of mine. Cheryl doesn’t come across as a bitch or conniving or anything like that. She’s genuinely likeable. The only “devious” thing that she does is borrow her brother’s car, which she has a set of keys to, so that must have been something that had been part of an agreement, probably set up by their parents. However, I find it awfully convenient that Cheryl had the keys on her right at that moment, when it looked like she was just walking over to see Archie. Still, the story’s good, and I love Cheryl’s ’80s-tastic outfit: dark blue headband; long, yellow, cleavage-revealing shirt; black belt with white buckle; black-and-dark-blue-striped leggings or pants; and similarly-colored shoes (okay, that last part was a bit of laziness on the colorist’s part).

I have an odd note about this story, though. It was reprinted within a longer framing story called “Faith, Hope and Cheryl” in Cheryl Blossom Special #2 in 1995. This was a four-issue miniseries that presented older 1980s Cheryl stories as flashbacks within new stories to introduce/reintroduce readers to Cheryl after her unexpected return at the very end of the “Love Showdown” storyline at the end of 1994 (she’d been gone for around a decade at that point). The odd part, though, is they removed one of Cheryl’s lines: “We’ll fool around”; I guess what was considered acceptable in 1983 and still acceptable in 1990 was considered unacceptable in 1995. How odd.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Cool It

Archie's-Girls-Betty-and-Veronica-166.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle or Kathleen Webb*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inking: Rudy Lapick or Alison Flood*
Colors: ? or Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 166
Cover Date: October, 1969
Length: 5 pages

*The original story is uncredited. The credits come from three separate issues at Grand Comics Database (see below for an explanation about that) and may or may not be accurate. All three entries agree on Dan DeCarlo as the artist. The digest reprint that credits Kathleen Webb as the writer is blatantly incorrect; she was 12 or 13 years old at the time. The other two entries credit Frank Doyle as the writer. They also credit Ruby Lapick as the inker, whereas the digest (probably incorrectly) credits Alison Flood. The GCDb entries for the earlier issues don’t have a colors credit, whereas the digest credits Barry Grossman. All three entries agree Bill Yoshida did the lettering.

Okay, so there’s a bit of a comedy of errors leading to this review. First, I didn’t finish my planned cartoon review, because I went to see Black Panther (it’s good, by the way) and run some errands. Second, my planned substitution of a comic review was a two-issue story, and I had only enough of a gift card balance on Amazon to buy the first issue. So you’re getting this, since I have scans of this story on my computer.

This story is kind of infamous in the Archie fandom, mostly thanks to a review by Mighty God King. I don’t recall where I got the full scans from, and I don’t know which issue that they were scanned from.

Alice comes into Betty’s bedroom and suggests she cut down on the pictures of Archie. Betty, who’s wearing a skimpy outfit, has plenty of pictures of Archie in various sizes (including on the ceiling). She’s even holding one between her toes on her left foot (which disappears in the next panel). She has Archie’s face on her pillow for fuck’s sake. Some of the photos are creepy for the awkward composition, indicating Betty took these photos clandestinely. She feigns innocence, which Alice finds humorous. Alice suggests she’s “overdoing it a bit”, but Betty insists you “can’t overdo Archie”.

Suddenly, Hal screams in anger. Betty runs into the hallway to see what’s got him pissed off. You know what’s got him pissed off? The fact that Betty taped a photo of Archie to the bathroom mirror, preventing him from shaving. She says she’ll take the picture down. Oh, and Betty also taped a life-sized photo of Archie to the wall of the shower, but she makes no promises about removing that one, because she needs something to masturbate to while showering it’s waterproof. There’s also a Josie comic or magazine on the toilet lid, and I’m willing to bet Betty masturbates to pictures of Josie as well.

Suddenly, Hal hears Archie’s voice and runs to Betty’s bedroom, believing she has him hidden. Betty starts to think of what she’d do if she did have Archie hidden in her bedroom. It turns out that it’s a tape from one of their school plays. Betty plays it and pretends Archie’s saying this mushy shit to her. Hal’s disgusted, but Alice thinks “it sounds wonderful”. I’m more concerned about how the tape started playing on its own while Betty was out of her bedroom. Hal insists Betty’s got to play hard to get. Betty insists she isn’t, saying she’d marry Archie in an instant. This startles her parents.

They go back into the hallway. Betty says she dreams of Archie swooping down on a white horse (in other words, Pegasus) and carrying her off. Hal and Alice have a good laugh over this, because Archie’s a klutz. As they go downstairs, Hal demands Betty control her emotions. He instructs her to act “friendly but cool” in front of Archie. She says she’ll try. She then promptly makes a run for the door when the doorbell rings, believing it’s Archie, because she “know[s] his ring”. Her sleeves magically disappear from her shirt. Hal holds her back with one hand and insists she be cool, distant, remote, and aloof.

It turns out to actually be Archie, and Betty is ice-cold to him (her sleeves also rematerialize). He wants her to tell Veronica that she (Betty) is not interested in him, because Veronica’s been acting very jealous lately. Betty coldly agrees. Hal is proud. On his way out, Archie hugs Betty, thanks her, and calls her “a good guy”. As soon as he leaves, Betty has multiple orgasms and does somersaults (including using the backs of her hands!). Her parents ponder what would happen if Archie had said he loved her.

This story is pretty funny and uncompromising in its depiction of Betty as being downright batshit insane. It has a weird publication history, being reprinted in Betty and Me, No. 52 (cover-dated September of 1973); it’s not often that a reprint appears in a floppy comic. Hell, the cover of that issue could be seen as a sequel to this story:

Betty-and-Me-52.jpg
Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Chisel Fizzle

Betty-and-Veronica-255
Writer: Craig Boldman
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Jim Amash
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 255
Cover Date: October, 2011
On-Sale Date: August 24, 2011
Length: 6 pages

While showing Betty some sad dude in a studio, Veronica exposits: The sad dude is Marconelli, a young artist that her dad has taken under his wing. He’s “the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo”. Mr. Lodge pays for this studio, where Marconelli creates “masterpiece after masterpiece”. Betty asks why she’s never heard of him (because that’s what teens are up on these days: sculptors).

Veronica’s quiet about it as Mr. Lodge and the girls follow Marconelli (as if in a funeral procession) to another room to witness the completion of Marconelli’s latest sculpture. Veronica is amazed by…a rip-off of Myron’s Discobolus. Unfortunately, a tap to make “one final detail” to the base collapses the entire statue, which is complete bullshit. The writer would have us believe this happens every single time, due to Marconelli being nervous about “that final tap” and doing it “exactly wrong”.

Mr. Lodge says he can’t remain patient forever. Marconelli is aware. He says his “greatest masterpiece” is nearly done, but he’s been afraid to touch it. Veronica suggests stopping short of “that one last tap” (never mind that there really is no way to judge when and where a “last tap” would occur). However, Marconelli vehemently declares he would “never!” leave his work “unfinished”. Betty suggests having somebody else do “that last tap” for him. Marconelli freaks out and then flips his shit about tainting purity and sullying integrity and shit.

The girls think he’s too wound up and full of anxiety. Veronica decides they need to provide a diversion and make him loosen up. Mr. Lodge asks how. Betty sweeps Marconelli off his feet and kisses him full on the lips. Then Veronica kisses him immediately afterward.

Marconelli goes to finish his masterpiece, a statue of Poseidon/Neptune. Everyone’s amazed. Mr. Lodge doesn’t know how to thank the girls. Then Marconelli gets “carried away” and chisels Betty and Veronica’s heads and some hearts on the sea god’s chest. No one knows what to make of it.

This story is stupid. The entire premise makes no sense.

Tune in next Wednesday!