Comics – Winter

Betty-and-Veronica-3Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 3
Cover Date: April, 2019
On-Sale Date: February 27, 2019
Length: 20 pages

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. It’s mentioned “Betty no longer wants to go to Pickens U”, something that hasn’t been made clear in the story itself.

After a very brief recap of the previous issue, Veronica finally catches up with Betty after chasing her for four blocks. She asks what’s wrong. Betty says nothing’s wrong but totally makes it clear that she’s pissed. Veronica asks if she thought something was going on between Reggie and her. Betty storms off without a word.

Veronica returns to the school. Reggie’s upset that Veronica didn’t get Betty to talk to her. Veronica’s upset at him and goes back into the school, leaving him upset into late fall / early winter.

On New Year’s Eve, at Pop’s, at Archie’s coordination, he, Kevin, Toni, and Dilton have met to do a (late) Secret Santa gift exchange. Toni asks where Betty and Veronica are. Archie doesn’t know, because they haven’t responded to his texts. Toni calls Kevin “Riverdale’s resident tastemaker“. Shut up, Toni. That’s Veronica and Cheryl. Anyway, Toni mentions Reggie hasn’t been seen all winter break. Archie guesses he has a girlfriend. Dilton agrees while insulting Reggie. Jughead arrives and admonishes Dilton for gossiping. Kevin says it’s all in good fun. Toni teases Jughead about being “the reporter”.

After some more banter and some awkward silence, Archie sees Betty walking outside and rushes out to meet her without opening his gifts.

Archie asks Betty where she’s been and reminds her of the gift exchange. She apologizes, citing the school year. The snow’s starting to come down, so Archie offers her a ride, which she accepts. They get in his car and buckle up. He asks about Veronica. Betty says Veronica’s busy, and they haven’t really seen much of each other. Archie invites them to his New Year’s Eve party tonight. Betty says she’ll be there. Archie guesses maybe Reggie will show up, too. Betty isn’t thrilled about that.

At Sparkle, Veronica writes a response to a reader looking for advice regarding a fight with her bestie. Ginger comes by and tells her to go home, because she’s an intern and freelancer. Veronica focuses better in the office but agrees to leave. They’ll meet up later at Archie’s party tonight.

Veronica drives to Betty’s house, but, once again, she’s not home, and Veronica declines to have Alice let her know she stopped by.

Some time after Veronica leaves, Archie finally drops Betty off at home. Betty will be at Archie’s party after more scholarship and application shit. Through the “rumor mill”, Archie learned about her Pickens scholarship and asks about it. Betty doesn’t wanna go there, which confuses Archie, but he drops it. As Betty exits Archie’s car, she’s happy to sing about how she’s not going to Pickens.

That changes as soon as she’s in the door, due to Alice being present. Hal’s at the unemployment office, sorting something out. That gets Betty thinking about bills. Alice asks her if she’s okay. Betty says she’ll be fine and goes upstairs.

Betty goes into the bathroom, looks in the sink and at her reflection in the mirror, and remembers Veronica wiping her forehead after her anxiety attack and the pinky-swear pact. Alice comes in and informs her that Veronica had stopped by, even though Veronica had declined to have Betty notified. She’s been over every day this week but seemingly hasn’t been with Betty at all. Alice asks if something’s going on with them. Betty says everything’s okay.

Veronica arrives at Pop’s and meets Dilton and Toni outside. Toni gives her a hard time about missing Secret Santa. Dilton tells Toni to give Veronica a break. Toni mentions she and “Dilt” are going over some coursework. Dilton explains Toni’s founded a STEM initiative program for middle schoolers. Veronica is impressed. Toni admits she’s partly doing it to get some volunteer work on her resume. Veronica asks if they’ve seen Betty. Toni, continuing to have a stick up her ass, questions why Veronica doesn’t know.

At home, Betty sits at her desk and writes a handwritten note of apology to Veronica. She then walks to the Lodge mansion in the snow, puts the envelope in the mailbox, and walks away. Because that’s totally what a 21st century teenager would do.

Later, Veronica arrives home. She gets a bunch of mail out of the mailbox, but Betty’s note falls to the ground and goes unnoticed. Veronica checks a letter from Hitchens University before she enters the mansion. Due to a “fabulous recommendation”, they are correcting an “error” on their part and offering Veronica a position in their freshman class.

Veronica is pissed, suspecting her dad pulled some strings, so she marches up to his study and knocks on his door. Not receiving an answer, she enters.

She cries out when she sees Hiram kneeling on the floor in front of his desk, clutching his chest, his papers and drink spilled on the floor.

At Riverdale Hospital, Veronica is sitting with her mom on a bench. A doctor comes by and tells Hermione that Hiram had a “major cardiac event” tonight, but he handled the surgery well. The doctor suggests rest and some dietary and lifestyle changes. Hermione asks to see Hiram, and the doctor allows them in but advises them to not cause him stress. Before they go in, though, Veronica wants to talk with her mom.

After Veronica tells her mom what’s been on her mind, Hermione says Veronica’s happiness means more to them than carrying on the “Hitchens legacy”. Veronica hugs her and asks if Hiram will understand. Hermione says yes but advises waiting until Hiram’s out of here. They go to see him. On the way, Veronica looks into a room and is surprised to see Reggie visiting someone.

At the Andrews’ home, the guests are gathered, the TV’s tuned to ABC, and everyone’s waiting for the ball to drop. I’m not sure who all of these people are supposed to be. One girl insinuates Veronica and Reggie are off fucking. Anyway, they all do the countdown and welcome the new year. Archie wants to kiss Betty, but she gets a text, pushes him away, and runs off.

Suddenly wearing a coat and gloves, Betty runs and comes across Veronica outside. They hug. Betty apologizes. Veronica says it’s fine; he’s going to be okay. Betty clarifies she’s sorry about the way that she’s been acting and says Veronica deserves a better friend than that. Veronica says Betty is the best friend that she could have ever hoped for. They hug again.

Veronica makes Betty promise she’ll give Veronica a chance to explain herself, if she thinks something’s wrong. Veronica suggests a pinky promise, but Betty declines. Yesterday, Veronica found out that she’s going to Pickens, and she declares they’re going to college together. Betty isn’t thrilled but acts excited. The two friends walk, arm in arm, through the snow.

The next story will supposedly offer a “Spring Awakening”.

Sadly, there’s no cover gallery for this issue. There’s a (cropped) cover for the next issue (occurring during the prom) with a blurb that teases more drama. That’s followed by an ad for the trade paperbacks of Mark Waid’s Archie run.

This is another good issue. I look forward to the next one.

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Comics – It’s in Her Kiss

cheryl-blossom-23
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Rudy Lapick*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 23
Cover Date: June, 1999
Length: 5 pages

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

Before I get into the story, I want to address some material earlier in this issue, which, due to my reviewing “Friendly Fire” from homemade scans, I didn’t make note of in that review. Between Parts 1 and 2, there’s a page of “Cheryl Blossom Sunroom Swimsuits” fashions submitted by fans. Between Parts 2 and 3, there’s a page of fan art.

All of Cheryl’s outfits in this story are by Hillary Child of Lansing, Michigan.

Cheryl is lounging on a chair in her room and excitedly checking out the lip gloss making kit that she’d ordered from her Dee-La’s catalog. Meanwhile, Sugar is checking out the packing peanuts that have fallen out of the box. Cheryl has pictures of herself (actually, just the same picture repeated) on her wall as well as a large picture of Sugar (complete with her name). She has blossom wallpaper and a lamp with a funky shade. A continuity error has Cheryl at a yellow table briefly before being back in her chair. Anyway, the kit has a bunch of fruit flavors (Sugar is eager to try them out). Cheryl decides to use Archie as a “guinea pig” to test her “concoction”. She wonders what flavor would be the most irresistible.

Back at the yellow table (which is a distance from her chair), Cheryl, a bit full of herself, decides to use all of the flavors, including strawberry, watermelon, peach, and cherry. Sugar, standing up on her hind legs, is watching and basically like “What the fuck you doin’, you crazy bitch?”

A few hours later, Cheryl calls Archie and invites him to meet her down at the mall, because she wants to “try out something new” on him. He has Jughead (who’s watching TV) over and mentions this to him. Archie’s excited and in love, but Jughead smells trouble and decides to come with him, because, y’know, that’s a perfectly normal thing to do (about as normal as ditching your friend at your own house to meet a girl at the mall, which I assume was Archie’s intention). Archie’s like “Whatevs.”

Later, at the mall, Archie’s orgasming over Cheryl, even though she looks no different than usual and isn’t wearing anything particularly special. Jughead’s unimpressed. Cheryl checks her watch and notes Archie is “on time as usual”. Ahahahahahaha! One of the most undeserved compliments ever! Jughead thinks Archie’s making an ass of himself over Cheryl. Cheryl asks Archie if he notices anything “irresistible” about her. He mentions her hair and “sparkling” eyes.

She points out her lips, which he calls “luscious”. Jughead frantically gives out a “B V alert”. Veronica alerts Betty to Cheryl being “up to her old tricks again”. Oh, we’re back to that old thing where Cheryl and Archie agreeing to go out constitutes Cheryl being “up to her old tricks”? This is, in no way, a normal reaction. Speaking of abnormal reactions, Betty positively freaks out over Cheryl about to kiss Archie, even though she regularly shares Archie with Veronica. Jughead shoves Archie away and tells him to run. Veronica and Betty get him. An art mistake results in Veronica’s shirt disappearing from under her dress for one panel before reappearing. Yeah, Veronica’s wearing a red sleeveless dress (way too dressed up for the mall) over a white shirt, and Betty’s wearing a Hello Kitty crop top. Anyway, Jughead is relieved, saying “That was close!”, even though he had told Archie to run as the girls were approaching. So…why was he worried, and why is he not worried now? Anyway, Archie compliments the girls’ looks, but Betty knows he’s just trying to cover his ass.

Cheryl’s pissed. Jughead smells something good (including bananas and cherries) and realizes “that scrumptious aroma” is coming from Cheryl’s lips, which freaks her out. Meanwhile, Archie has fed Veronica and Betty a bullshit story that Cheryl and Jughead were meeting, and Archie was going along to play video games. They don’t buy it. Then they see a lustful Jughead chasing after a frightened Cheryl. Veronica tells Archie that they’ll never doubt him again, and Betty gives him some loving. Archie’s satisfied.

Much like “Brotherly Love”, this story is ruined by a bad ending, where Cheryl is made out to be the bad guy simply for dating Archie. Also, Veronica and Betty are idiots for believing Cheryl has any interest in Jughead, especially since they had just seen her about to kiss Archie and would have seen/heard Jughead shoving Archie away and telling him to run.

Comics – Taking Care of Business

Betty-and-Veronica-257.jpg
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Jim Amash
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 257
Cover Date: February, 2012
On-Sale Date: December 21, 2011
Length: 24 pages

At the Lodges’ winter lodge (the Lodge Lodge, if you will), as Betty waits to leave on a trip, Veronica is rattling off instructions to Smithers to take care of her shit. Betty points out that there’s a snowstorm on the way, it’s getting late, and they should’ve been on the road an hour ago. They leave the lodge. Veronica’s confident that she’ll have them down the mountain and on the road in no time. Betty pulls Veronica away as she’s about to give Smithers more instructions. Betty says bye to Smithers. Smithers says bye to Betty and wishes (just?) Betty a safe trip.

As they drive off, the girls argue over Veronica’s delegation of tasks to her staff.

As Veronica talks about her travel plan, a deer crosses the road, and Veronica swerves off the road to avoid it, telling Betty to hold on.

They crash into a log. Dazed, Veronica gets out of the car, berating the “stupid deer”. She realizes Betty is in a lot worse shape.

Veronica opens the door. Betty’s still conscious, and Veronica helps “hun” out. Betty asks what happened, and Veronica explains. As Veronica helps her sit on a rock, Betty asks why everything’s spinning. Veronica explains Betty hit her head, says (without proof) she’ll be okay, and tells her to rest. Veronica goes to get her cell phone (to call the lodge) and some other stuff from the car – just before it breaks the log and crashes into some bushes.

Betty falls off the rock. Veronica helps her up and tells her to stay awake, because she might have a concussion. Betty’s tired, but Veronica orders “hun” to her feet. Betty agrees with “Mom”.

Veronica isn’t getting a cell signal, and she sits on a log and panics, convinced they’ll freeze to death. She asks Betty for help. Betty stands up, supporting herself on a tree branch, and suggests making hot cocoa, because it’s very cold. Veronica knows Betty is in no shape to help.

Veronica realizes it’s all on her. She helps Betty sit down but tells her to keep talking and stay awake. Veronica is determined to keep them going until a search party arrives. She’s well aware that everyone thinks she’s helpless without her staff, but she decides, as the supposed future leader of Lodge Industries, to prove she can handle things. She starts thinking of their situation as running a business.

Betty asks for the cocoa. First, though, Veronica makes a makeshift tent out of a fallen branch and plastic rain ponchos. She has Betty get into the tent and instructs her to stay awake.

Veronica goes out and gathers dry wood for a later fire (capital in reserve). She goes back to the tent to check on Betty, who’s sleepy and cold and really wants that cocoa now. Veronica tells “hun” that she’ll get it soon and tells her to stay awake. Betty doesn’t know if she can.

Veronica suggests singing (keeping up morale), so they sing “Let It Snow”.

Later, Betty’s snoring wakes Veronica up. Veronica is momentarily disoriented as to where she is and surprised by Betty’s snoring (but not concerned that she’s asleep) but then, to her delight, realizes her shelter worked, and they made it through the storm. She takes the wood that she’d gathered and clears a space for a fire.

Lacking matches, she uses her nail file and a hitherto-unmentioned piece of quartz that she’d found to start a fire. Veronica keeps making business comparisons as she rips up a magazine to feed the fire.

She gets out her cell phones (or hers and Betty’s), realizes there’s still no reception, but remembers the built-in GPS tracking. She leaves only one on at a time to conserve batteries. Betty wakes up, disappointed that last night wasn’t just a dream. Veronica asks “hun” how she’s feeling.

Betty insists to “Ronnie” that she’s fine, despite Veronica guessing she has a concussion. Betty seems to prove her right and admits it. She’s surprised that Veronica made the shelter and the fire and jokes Smithers found them. Veronica threatens to not share a chicken salad sandwich with her. Betty compliments Veronica.

They talk for a bit as they eat. Betty’s head hurts. Veronica tells her to rest and leaves the tent. Betty says she’s the boss. Veronica tells “baby” that she’s “the chairwoman of the board”. She climbs a snow bank to reach the road but falls and crashes into a tree so hard that she knocks it over a bit. Betty cracks a joke. Bitch.

Veronica starts up a huge, smoky fire (advertising) with some wet wood to attract the attention of the search party. Betty uses some nylon thread and a safety pin from the sewing kit to make a fishing line. Veronica praises her “employee” and also mentions they fish in the river all winter long at the lodge. Veronica gives Betty a “raise”, paid in fish. Betty’s over the business comparisons.

Veronica feeds the fire, names her business “Survival, Incorporated”, and uses a protein bar as bait to catch fish. She catches something. In her battle with “Mr. Fish”, Veronica “The Closer” Lodge falls flat on her ass. Checking to make sure that Betty didn’t see (she didn’t), she tries again. She eventually catches two fish. Betty feels guilty for letting Veronica do all of the work. Veronica tasks Betty with cleaning and cooking the fish. Betty notes more snow is coming.

As she cleans the fish with a nail file, Betty apologizes to Veronica for her earlier comments, saying, when it really mattered, Veronica stepped up and got the job done. Betty adds Veronica probably even saved her life. Betty calls Veronica her best friend and says she loves her. She starts to thank her for something else but then hears snoring and realizes Veronica’s fallen asleep in the tent. Betty tells “Madam Chairwoman” to sleep tight, saying she’s earned it.

The next morning, Veronica wakes up and sits bolt upright at the sound of a voice outside saying there’s nothing down here. Betty slowly wakes up. Angry at being ignored, Veronica gets out of the tent and screams at the rescuers.

Shortly, Veronica and Betty have been pulled up and are being informed by the sheriff (I guess) of the storm delaying their search. He praises Veronica for leaving on her cell phone, so they could track her by GPS. Mr. Lodge arrives, overjoyed that the girls are all right. They were worried sick. Veronica is modest regarding their survival, so Betty tells him the truth. Hiram asks Veronica for confirmation. Veronica says she learned from watching him. He says he’s the world’s worst camper, but Veronica clarifies she was “just taking care of business–Lodge style”. Betty calls Veronica “girlfriend”. The end.

This was a really nice, warm, moving story. There are certain things that I find questionable (the “tent” of plastic ponchos held up by one branch, Veronica starting a fire with a nail file and quartz, Betty just getting over a concussion), but it’s a wonderful exploration of Veronica Lodge as a character and of the Betty/Veronica friendship. Or is it more than friendship?

The story’s only flaw (if you can even call it a flaw) is it’s very basic in a lot of the conversation and actions, feeling decompressed. This review is actually shorter than a lot of my reviews of 20-page stories. Oh, well.

After the story is a one-page “sneak peak” of the alternate cover for the issue (I guess ultimately unpublished, since GCDb doesn’t have it indexed) and an Everything’s Archie preview page. I actually love the alternate cover a lot more than the cover that they went with. It’s very dramatic, showing the immediate aftermath of the accident with a panicking Veronica; the deer running away; and a very dazed, injured Betty sitting in the snow.

Comics – Fall

Betty-and-Veronica-2.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 2
Cover Date: March, 2019
On-Sale Date: January 30, 2019
Length: 20 pages

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

Veronica is working as the new editorial intern at Sparkle Publishing. She’s in the middle of a phone call, makes a Baby Spice reference, and then has to convince the person that she’s speaking with that she knows who that is. Cute. 🙂 Ginger comes by and asks Veronica if she’s busy. Nah, of course not. That’s why she was in the middle of a business call.

Outside, Ginger asks Veronica how she likes the internship so far. Veronica likes it. It comes natural to her. Ginger’s dad has taken notice of how Veronica dealt with a minor situation in the break room, so Ginger brings up Veronica having her own column in print. In print?! Holy shit! Um, who cares? What teen is gonna go out and read a column in a print magazine? Anyway, Veronica is excited, assuming it’s a fashion column, but it’s actually an advice column. Veronica doubts she’s the right person for it and suggests Betty as a better fit. Rather than address that, Ginger asks about Betty, noting she hardly sees her anymore.

Veronica flashes back to the pinky-swear pact and learning from Reggie that Betty’s with Archie. Ginger calls Veronica back to the present. Veronica says they’re busy and can’t even meet up themselves. Ginger asks about the advice column, and Veronica doesn’t seem to have an answer.

Betty’s volunteering at a Habitat For Humanity knockoff, and Jughead comes by and pesters her to let him interview her for The Blue and Gold about it, despite her wanting to stay out of the spotlight.

Archie’s here, shirtless and showing off for the ladies. Betty asks Jughead about it. Jughead guesses it’s just another stop on his Bettering Himself Tour. Betty flashes back to drunkenly kissing Archie on the cheek. Raj let Jughead borrow his camera to get some “action shots” of Betty at work. Betty abruptly asks Jughead for the time (because it’s not like she has a cell phone or anything). Jughead seems to guess 4:15. Betty was supposed to tutor Moose at 4:00. Abandoning the tools and her current work, she runs off, saying they’ll have to reschedule the interview. Jughead says it’s due tomorrow, but Betty either doesn’t hear him or doesn’t give a shit.

Betty arrives at Moose’s house and sees Midge outside. He’s still home, and Midge is hoping Betty can get through to him. Betty tries to reassure her of Moose’s feelings for her, but Midge isn’t convinced and angrily leaves.

In the living room, Betty asks Moose if he’s okay. Moose asks her if she thinks he’s an idiot. She says no. He’s convinced everyone else at Riverdale High thinks he is. He can’t do anything except play football, and he can’t even do that anymore, losing out on every football scholarship that he’d applied for. He’s convinced he’s gonna work at his dad’s fishing shop for the rest of his life. Betty tries to encourage him. Moose is doubtful, having missed a month of school. Betty is confident. Moose compares her favorably to Veronica.

Later, as Betty arrives home, she checks her messages. She got a text from Veronica at 4:45 PM, inviting her to Pop’s “around 6ish”. Betty apologizes, saying her tutoring session ran long. She also apologizes to her mom for being late for dinner. Alice informs her that Hal lost his job today. Hal explains there were a lot of layoffs. Betty offers to get a part-time job at the bijou. Hal says she’s too busy and tells her to leave it to them. He also mentions they have an emergency college fund for her but then says no more about it. I wonder what the implication is. Are they gonna dip into it? Alice seconds what Hal said. Hal is hopeful that Betty will get a Pickens scholarship, which will help them out.

Meanwhile, at Lodge Manor, Veronica is checking her texts. She and Betty have to keep putting off seeing each other, due to school obligations. I don’t know if students’ lives during senior year are so hectic today, but I certainly don’t remember being that busy when I was in high school (I graduated in 1996). Of course, I pretty much knew I’d just be attending the local community college, which was near my high school, anyway, so that might explain why I didn’t feel so much pressure. I never did the whole “go away to college” thing. Any younger readers, what are your thoughts on how this series portrays the lives of high school seniors today?

Anyway, Hermione and Hiram come in. Hermione asks Veronica how her day was. It was busy, full of hard work. Veronica senses something’s up. Hiram pretty much insists Veronica attend Hitchens. Veronica agrees to send her application in on Monday. Hiram dismisses that, deciding to pull some strings. Veronica shuts that down right away. She learns from Hiram that the lumber factory just laid off ten people, including Betty’s dad (Hiram is more concerned about how this affects his architectural firm). Veronica needs to call Betty and makes her parents put off their discussion until later.

Veronica calls Betty, and the two of them catch up. Neither of them have applied to Pickens yet, so Betty suggests they both do it now, together, while on the phone. Veronica uses her laptop. Betty fills out a paper application, shockingly seeming to not have a computer. I really don’t find that credible. My parents and I have never held great jobs, but I’m currently on my fourth PC, and my mom has a PC and a laptop. I also have a tablet. We both worked at Walmart until a little over three years ago; now, it’s just me; my dad died five years ago and hadn’t worked for years before that. Betty seems to imply her mom works, so both of her parents were working until just today. And they couldn’t buy even one cheap computer at Walmart for use by the entire family?

Also, before I move on, I need to address the (rejection?) letters that Veronica got from various colleges. There’s Midvale College, Central State, University of Greendale, and Hitchens. Midvale is where Josie and the Pussycats live (in some continuities). Greendale is where Sabrina lives (again, in some continuities). Central is one of Riverdale High’s rivals. Those, in addition to the local Pickens University, total four local institutes of higher learning. There is one college and one technical institute in my county, so Riverdale’s definitely gotta be a more urban environment, yet the lumber factory is one of its “largest industries”. Is Riverdale supposed to be the size of Tampa, Florida, or Forks, Washington?

Some time later, Betty and Toni are walking along a sidewalk. Leaves are falling. Halloween decorations have been set up. Toni asks how college applications are going. Betty’s sent out a bunch and is focusing on scholarship essays now. That’s something else that I never did. Toni’s sent out one application, because it costs $60.00 to apply each time. Betty never thought of that, because her parents have been helping her out with that. They arrive at the park (I guess) and sit on a bench. Toni says Betty’s lucky. Betty agrees but isn’t happy about it. Toni asks her about her and Veronica’s matching Halloween costumes for the dance. They’ve been so busy that they haven’t had the time. Betty watches Archie and Jughead throw a football back and forth and seems to feel guilty about the near-kiss.

Throughout October, Betty and Veronica go into overdrive. Oddly, they both pose in the same weird black dress for their yearbook photos, looking almost gothy but not quite. Betty doesn’t even smile.

On Monday morning, at Riverdale High School, Veronica’s applying her lipstick while looking in her locker’s mirror and casually greets Betty when the latter sleepily bangs her head into the next locker. Veronica has been meaning to talk to her about that night at Pickens. Before she can say anything, though, a pissed Ehtel comes by and manhandles (womanhandles?) Betty off to the cafeteria for the student election meeting. Apparently, in addition to being Ethel’s campaign manager, Betty is also “potential vice president of the student council”. I wonder if Betty had any input in that. Betty apologetically looks at Veronica as she’s dragged off.

In homeroom, Ginger comes by and gives Veronica something that she forgot to give her on Friday: an envelope full of money. Veronica protests, since she’s interning for college credit. Ginger (and George, the head editor at Sparkle) insists. Ginger wants Veronica to pass on a greeting from George to Hiram. Veronica is pissed.

In the cafeteria, Ms. Grundy leads the student election meeting, which Betty sleeps through, which pisses Ethel off. After the meeting. Ethel yells at Betty, and so does Midge, who’s jealous of Betty’s tutoring lessons with Moose. Betty’s like “The fuck?!” Seriously, it was Midge’s idea for Betty to tutor Moose. Betty seriously should just tell both of these bitches to fuck off.

Veronica’s on the phone with her dad and is arguing with him about him pulling strings. She angrily tears down and crumples a flier from the bulletin board for a Lodge Enterprises internship. She and Betty run into each other in a hallway and hug. Betty asks Veronica about Pickens. Veronica puts it off in favor of discussing Halloween costumes.

On Halloween, Betty and Veronica walk arm-in-arm into the Riverdale High gym for the party. Betty’s a devil, and Veronica’s an angel. Veronica excuses herself to take a piss and/or shit. Betty tries to talk to Ethel, but Ethel goes and sits with someone else, so Betty banters for a bit with Jughead.

In the hallway, Veronica meets up with Reggie. Reggie wants her to get him some alone time with Betty. After a moment, Veronica seems to agree. Betty comes out, looking for Ronnie. She sees Veronica and Reggie seeming to kiss (it isn’t clearly shown) and walks off, upset. Veronica calls out to her and goes outside, but Betty’s nowhere to be seen, just leaves blowing in the wind.

The next story will supposedly offer resolutions.

After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue, a page of fan art, an ad for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix, and the cover for the next issue (occurring during New Year’s Eve) with a blurb that teases more drama.

This is another good issue. I look forward to the next one.

Comics – Faith, Hope and Cheryl!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-2.jpg
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 2
Cover Date: 1995
Length: 16 pages (including a 6-page reprint)

One day (presumably Friday) at Pembrooke Academy, at the end of the school day, Cheryl and Jason are leaving their Sociology class, but their teacher, Mr. Goodfellow, wants to see them. Jason’s supposed to meet the guys at the yacht club, and Cheryl wants to go, too, to hang with Jason’s “good-looking” friends. He offers them extra credit. Jason’s grades could use a boost, so he agrees. Not to be outshone, Cheryl agrees as well. Mr. Goodfellow tells them to do volunteer work of their choice and report back to him at the end of the month. The one that does the most work gets the most bonus grade points. Jason and Cheryl exchange some trash talk. This is all a social experiment being conducted by Mr. Goodfellow: making “the most selfish, snobbish students at Pembrooke” do volunteer work; he just hopes he hasn’t unleashed anything too terrible on the world.

Jason finds some causes listed on the bulletin board, and they both decide to be big siblings. Oh, Cheryl casually mentions Archie. Cedric overhears and mentions an incident from “a while back”. This leads to Jason remembering “Color Coded“, and so we’re in flashback/reprint mode now. There are four alterations to the story, from what I can tell:

*Jason suggests something “frivolous” to be painted on Archie’s car instead of something “gay-frivolous”.

*Jason calls Elmo the Spray Doctor an “artist” instead of an “artiste”. I don’t know which possibility is worse: a misguided “correction” or intentional dumbing down.

*Part of Cheryl’s dialogue (“we’ll fool around–“) is removed, and her word balloon is made smaller.

*The “HAH” at the right side of the final panel is recolored from yellow to red, possibly to contrast better against the yellow bijou building.

On Saturday morning, Cheryl speeds in her pink sports car (almost running over a cat and an old lady) to meet her little sibling in a ghetto area. She has a head start on Jason, since she’d stopped at the organization yesterday afternoon.

At the house, Cheryl shakes hands with and introduces herself to a girl named Kay. She decides the house is depressing and pretty much kidnaps Kay, to her mother’s surprise.

Before I move on, I gotta note the cute vanity plate on the front of Cheryl’s car: 2RCH4U.

As she drives, Cheryl decides to call Kay Constance (since Kay is “so common”). At a stoplight, Jason meets up with her. He has two little brothers, due to registering with several agencies. Jason drives off, honking his horn. Deciding this is war, Cheryl has “Constance” give her a list of all of her friends.

Jason and his “brothers” are just leaving the billiards hall (the kids apparently didn’t do too well). Cheryl shows up with six girls crammed into her sports car (which I’m pretty sure is illegal), mentions taking them for mani-pedis, and then takes off. Jason decides to round up more kids before the big street hockey game.

At the salon, a girl asks Cheryl for ice cream. Cheryl agrees if they can work it in between the aerobics class and their massage appointments.

As the weeks go by, Jason teaches his boys to throw rotten fruit at carnival performers and hit on waitresses with lame pick-up lines. Cheryl takes her girls out for sushi (which possibly makes one of them sick), to yoga class, and to the hair salon (overdoing it with the hair).

Cheryl and Jason have dressed their kids like themselves. The girls run into the boys on the street, and Cheryl instructs them to ignore their lame pick-up lines. Jason and Cheryl decide to call it even for the rest of the month, but then Cheryl realizes their kids have disappeared.

The kids find Mr. Goodfellow’s house and complain to him. The girls are worried about Cheryl’s potential plans to take them helicopter skiing in Aspen, and the boys are worried about Jason’s definitive plans of a cliff-diving trip to Acapulco. Mr. Goodfellow decides to see if Cheryl’s Riverdale friends will take on the kids.

The next day, Mr. Goodfellow has Jason and Cheryl stay after class and come with him. Soon, they arrive in an area of Riverdale and see the kids playing baseball with Archie and Betty. Cheryl plans to yell at the kids for seeing other “big siblings” behind their backs, but Mr. Goodfellow points out that they’re happy, carefree, and having a good time (although, I have to point out, one of the girls is wearing a cap with Archie’s face on it). Cheryl takes this to mean he’s saying they weren’t doing a good job. He says maybe they just aren’t suited to working with children and suggests the elderly. Cheryl thinks that’s a great idea. Jason says at least they won’t have to use fake I.D.s (what the hell was he having his boys do?). Mr. Goodfellow tells them to give it their best shot. Cheryl thinks she’ll do well with old people, because she calls Grandma every Christmas.

So, naturally, Cheryl takes two old women named Madge and Clara to a Squashing Tomatoes concert. Cheryl gave Madge pumps, but they’re murder on her bunions. Clara thought they were going to a Sinatra concert.

This story is pretty fun. Sure, Cheryl and Jason went overboard and tried to mold the kids into younger versions of themselves, but, with the exception of the potential ski trip, I think Cheryl was generally a better big sibling than her brother.

Comics – Brotherly Love

Cheryl-Blossom-22
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: Rudy Lapick*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 22
Cover Date: May, 1999
Length: 6 pages

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

There’s a note on the first page of this story that says Cheryl’s fashions were designed by Ashley Nicole Findlay of Occee, TN; Justine Young of Honolulu, HI; Robin Hof of Mandimo, B.C., Canada; Mallory Tilley of Weatherford, TX; and Haley Navarro of Brimfield, Mass.

Cheryl finds Jason standing in front of the mirror in his bedroom and practicing asking Betty to go steady, which he then amends to going out on Friday night. Jason is a Kizz fan. Cheryl realizes Jason’s got it bad for Betty. Jason believes he sounds like a dork. Cheryl thinks this might be an opportunity in disguise for her.

Cheryl knocks on the wall just inside his room (the door’s open) and apologizes for bothering him. He’s irritated to see her. Cheryl sits next to him and gets him to open up by offering to help. Jason’s also a wrestling fan. Anyway, Betty’s always sweet and nice to him, but she never looks at him like she looks at Archie.

Cheryl suggests treating Betty’s “girlfriends” well. Jason immediately thinks this is brilliant, hugs Cheryl (who looks stunned and way uncomfortable), and calls her a genius. He goes off to Riverdale. Cheryl smiles and thinks the “first phase of the plan” (which she just thought up) has been started.

Later that day, Jason, wearing completely different clothes than he was when he left his room, drives by Betty and Veronica, who are walking along, and offers to give them a lift. Betty smiles and greets Jason. Veronica’s happy to see him, too. Betty explains they were just on their way to meet Archie at Pop’s. Jason takes the time to park his car and get out (I guess they’re in front of Betty’s house). He offers to treat them to a special treat at La Ice Creme. Veronica is surprised. They get in the car and start heading there between panels. Betty is stunned and asks if it’s the most expensive ice cream parlor in the U.S.A., which Jason happily confirms (is he driving them to New York City?). This short conversation took an unrealistically long time to occur, but this is a frequent problem in comics (at least Archies).

Back at Pop’s, Cheryl finds Archie alone at the counter, slurping a milkshake or soda float. Cheryl’s happy that her plan is working. Now for phase two: sitting next to Archie and trying to convince him of her heterosexuality while wearing a rainbow crop top underneath a cargo jacket with the sleeves rolled up. Archie mentions Betty and Veronica were supposed to meet him but never showed up. Cheryl doesn’t hide her pleasure.

Two weeks later, over a meal, Cheryl notes Jason’s happiness. Jason says he and the girls are having the best time. Oddly, he refers to Veronica as “her friend” instead of by name. Believing Betty’s starting to fall for him, he’s planned something special for tonight. Cheryl says that’s terrific. Jason thanks her and leaves. Cheryl decides to plan something special for Archie and herself.

That evening, Archie’s amazed that Cheryl got them front-row seats to a Go-Go Dolls concert. Cheryl calls herself a marvel. Archie spots Betty, Ronnie, and Jason. He tells the girls that he hasn’t seen them in a while. Betty happily says they’ve been out with Jason a lot lately. Veronica coldly notes Cheryl has been keeping Archie company. Suddenly, Veronica angrily realizes what’s been going on. Betty feels used by Jason. Veronica and Betty storm off from the “related rats” and leave the concert. Archie runs after them. Um, why leave a concert over something this petty? Cheryl calls out for Archie, and Jason calls out for Betty.

Back home, Jason forces Cheryl to practice apologizing to Betty in the mirror and taking full blame. It apparently works.

This story has a bad ending. Let’s walk through this. Cheryl has Jason show Betty and Veronica a good time, so she can have Archie all to herself (because apparently he has absolutely no other love interests and doesn’t chase after girls left and right or anything). Fair enough. Betty and Veronica abruptly cancel their date with Archie (without notifying him) over the promise of expensive, fancy-shmancy ice cream. They then stay completely out of contact with him for two full weeks and vice-versa (even though this issue came out during the school year). Jason and Cheryl treat their dates to a concert (ever so coincidentally, the exact same one). Veronica and Betty get self-righteously pissed at the Blossoms, and Jason forces Cheryl to take all of the blame. Remind me: who’s at fault?

Comics – Wild Things

Riverdale-3
Writer: James Dewille
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 3
Cover Date: July, 2017
On-Sale Date: June 7, 2017
Length: 10 pages

At Josie’s house, Josie and the Pussycats, along with Veronica, are rehearsing in the garage. Veronica’s playing a guitar in addition to Josie, so I’m guessing it’s a bass. After practice, Melody praises Veronica’s performance. Veronica says she sang in the Young Debutantes’ Choir in New York, but this was a lot more fun. Josie insults the “Spence School Spinsters”.

Josie exposits they’re headlining against their “archrivals” from the Southside tomorrow, a band called Venom. Veronica’s nervous but is heading straight home, drinking a cup of lemon tea with honey, and having “a good night’s beauty rest”. The others laugh at her. Josie makes her go out with them tonight for a “pre-gig tradition” (somehow convincing her between panels).

Soon, they’re speeding down the road in the “Pussycat Mobile” (Josie’s car). Veronica’s scared shitless.

They proceed to do crazy (for a small town) shit. They spray-paint graffiti at Venom’s “lair”. They swim in a closed public pool. They dance on top of tables at a diner. They get fake tattoos.

As they ride around again, Josie talks about protecting their “turf”. Bitch, you’re a band, not a gang. At a stoplight, Reggie shows up with an unnamed jock friend and challenges the girls to a drag race. Josie accepts.

Near Pop’s, Reggie nearly collides with what look like Archie and Jughead riding in an old-fashioned car (though not quite Archie’s classic jalopy). They aren’t identified as such, though. Reggie swerves to avoid a collision. The girls cheer.

Later, at the Whyte Wyrm, over what looks like a meal of fries with cheese, Veronica expresses her gratitude for the girls. Veronica, knowing some guys at Webster Hall, suggests a concert there. Uh, yeah, good luck with that, V. Josie unenthusiastically agrees. Venom, an all-girl punk band, enters the bar, pissed about the Pussycats’ graffiti. Josie and one of the Venom girls engage in trash talk.

Then there’s a huge rumble. The Pussycats beat the shit out of Venom. Veronica says they’ll see them at the show tomorrow. Josie offers her girls a ride home, and they tear off.

Later, on “Ol’ Lookout Point”, Josie and Veronica sit on the hood of Josie’s car and look out over the city. Veronica loves the view. Josie agrees. Veronica asks Josie why she’s still in Riverdale and not killing it in New York. Josie admits she’s terrified. Her dad’s been trying to make it there for two decades. He keeps putting her down. Veronica compares Josie favorably to Amal Clooney.

Josie admits her persona is all an act and doubts her ability to survive in NYC. Veronica gives Josie a pep talk, mentioning her own family situation. Josie is unsure and doesn’t seem to feel better but thanks Veronica. Veronica wants to drive the next time that they go “wilding”, but Josie doesn’t agree to that.

This was a pretty nice story. Not much more to say.