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 Faberg√© 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.

Comics – Pool Your Talents

AGBV-321
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jim DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Billy Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 321
Cover Date: December, 1982
Length: 5 pages

*The story is uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate. The credits mostly match those of the credited first story in this issue, except George Gladir was the writer, and Dan DeCarlo, Jr., was the artist.

I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition, which came out on July 27, 2022.

Veronica and Betty are walking along a sidewalk. Ronnie, who finds Jason Blossom fascinating, asks Betty what she thinks of him. Betty rants about all of the “sneering”, “superior”, and “snooty” kids at Pembrooke Academy. They look down at the Riverdale High kids and call them “townies”. Ronnie is upset and says Pembrooke is where she should be. Betty’s glad that she’s not, because then Ronnie would be as bad as the others. Ronnie says probably worse and relishes the thought.

Betty says Ronnie’s dad did the right thing in protecting her from those “supersnobs”. Ronnie says she is a snob and adds her dad had no right to send her to a public school. Betty says Ronnie is just a plain snob now, not a supersnob. Ronnie angrily says there’s nothing plain about her.

Betty says those Pembrooke kids come from “all over” to attend that exclusive academy, and they think they’re better than the “townies”. Ronnie says maybe they are. Jason arrives in his sports car, apparently standing while driving. He gets out of the car and calls Ronnie “breath-taking” and “a sight to gladden a man’s heart”. Betty insults him. Jason calls Betty “Miss Bleach Bottle of 1982”, which angers Betty.

Jason convinces Ronnie to come with him to a party right now. Assuming Betty doesn’t mind, Ronnie ditches her. Betty doesn’t protest, realizing it wouldn’t make any difference. As Jason drives Ronnie, he tells her that she’ll be “the hit of the party”.

It seems to be held at the Blossom estate. Cheryl and Bunny are here, and I think that’s Cedric. Jason announces his triumph. Bunny is amazed that “Jason actually did it”. Cheryl says Jason “wins”. Ronnie is confused.

Cheryl says they were having a scavenger hunt and had to find lots of useless shit. The last item on their list was a townie, and only Jason managed to “dredge up” one. Ronnie’s pissed and storms off while they laugh.

She goes and cries to Jughead, Reggie, and Archie. Jughead has a plan and has the guys follow him.

They go to Fire Station 2 (I find it highly improbable that Riverdale has more than one fire station). Jughead is friends with a guy named Charlie, who provides them with an old firehose that they replaced last week.

They go near the Blossom estate. Archie hooks up the hose to a fire hydrant, and the three guys send the Pembrooke kids “down the drain” (into the swimming pool). This is, of course, highly dangerous and illegal, but that’s how the story ends.

This story was pretty dumb and unrealistic. I doubt the Pembrooke kids would sink to searching out useless, common junk just to amuse themselves.

Comics – You’re All Wet!

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.

Cheryl is on Archie’s property for whatever reason and sees “the happy threesome” of Veronica, Archie, and Betty on the sidewalk. She decides to “bust up their little party”. She spots a “stray hose” in Archie’s yard and decides to spray them while hiding behind a bush. The idiots run off in the direction that they think the water came from. Cheryl has a good laugh. Jason shows up for whatever fucking reason. Does he follow her everywhere on purpose?

Jason finds this juvenile, but Cheryl says it’s fun to relive your childhood. She then stuffs the hose down the back of his pants and gets him wet. She says she likes to try new things and then ponders her next victim. She passes on an old lady with a cane, because even she can’t do that.

She gets Jughead (who’s selling ice cream), who somehow doesn’t spot her. She decides to give him another spray, but Mr. Weatherbee has shown up and gotten out of his car. Cheryl realizes her error too late.

Cheryl runs away just as Fred yells at her out a window.

Jason meets up with Ronnie, Archie, and Betty and informs them of what happened. Jason says Cheryl is currently going down Jacobs Street. Betty correctly guesses that’s where all of the construction is going on. Jason talked to a few kids, who open a fire hydrant just as Cheryl walks by and drench her. Jason loves it, never mind that the force of the blast could have easily killed his sister.

This story was pretty dumb. And what’s with the bit about the construction? That never came into play.

Extras

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

Comics – Cheryl Mania

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: 11 pages

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

Just like in the previous issue, the full title of this story has “Part 3” attached to it, and the two parts of the story in this issue are labelled “Chapter 5” and “Chapter 6”, respectively. Cheryl spends the first page recapping the lead stories from the previous two issues. This storyline is referred to as a “summertime saga”, which is…pushing it.

Cheryl and Archie are walking along the beach and are surprised to discover people wearing T-shirts with their faces on them. Cheryl takes most of the credit for their popularity. They’re suddenly swarmed by fans begging them for autographs. I’m surprised that this hasn’t happened earlier. Why now, all of a sudden?

Veronica and Betty are angry when one of Cheryl’s fans insults them. Then a different fan says they love them, and Cheryl accuses her of being fickle. I’m almost certain that this was an art error, and the fan was supposed to be the same girl in each panel. Anyway, girls get into an argument.

At the network, the producer and the network owner (Mr. Grates, who we’ve never seen before) are watching the show and thrilled. Their ratings and ad revenues have gone through the roof.

There’s then a time-lapse montage “through the next few weeks”. The show’s a hit. The girls (especially Cheryl) are on the covers of all of the teen magazines and all of the major magazines and newspapers. Cheryl has been branded the “It” Girl. Their fashions and hairstyles are hits in shopping malls across America. Some dork even got an Archie haircut.

Despite an audience of millions, some viewers are unsatisfied: the stars’ parents. This sudden concern for their children’s welfare is…sudden. What’s the difference between the show weeks earlier and the show now?

The Riverdale parents will be keeping their kids away from Pembrooke Beach for a while, although…don’t those kids have contracts, the same as Cheryl? How can their parents keep them away? Clifford didn’t anticipate this drama when he let the beach go public. Oh, really? Where have you been, sir? Hiram reminds him that the kids go back to school soon, which the network owner somehow forgot about. Fucking seriously?!

A bored Cheryl updates her audience on what happened. Without the Riverdale crowd around, the Pembrooke “chaps” are playing croquet.

At the network, Mr. Grates is pissed. The producer suggests “one big back-to-school party” as a goodbye to America. The parents of the Riverdale crowd are on board. Cheryl informs her producer that her “friends” can make the final party. Oh, they’re your friends, are they, Cheryl? Anyway, why is Cheryl informing the producer? Don’t these adults that actually run the show know what’s going on before the teens?

At Cheryl’s goodbye party, everyone’s having a great time. The producer has a Cheryl knockoff/replacement named Charlene Rosebud (yes, really) make an announcement (while Cheryl and Ronnie are having a petty argument) about her new replacement series for Cheryl’s Beach Bash. Cheryl gets pissed and leaves.

The show is called Charlene’s Beach Bash, which further pisses Cheryl off. It’s a soap opera that rips off the storyline (such as it was) from her reality show. There are even knockoffs of Archie, Betty, and Ronnie. Cheryl talks with her dad about it, and he hopes she learned some kind of lesson about having her life exploited for ratings. Oh, Jason was loving the new knockoff series until a knockoff of himself appeared. Cheryl laughs at the nerdy portrayal.

The caption in the final panel says: “Next issue: Get ready for big changes when Cheryl goes back to school!”

This story was okay, but things got wrapped up way too fast after that time-lapse montage. They didn’t have to end the beach house storyline so quickly. There’s still a half-issue left that they could have used.

Extras

In the middle of the story, there is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Classic Summer Style”.

After the story are a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Reader Hairstyles” (with five illustrated entries and a bunch of honorable mentions) and a 1-page Sabrina story titled “Book ‘Em!”.

Comics – Hair-Don’t!

Cheryl-Blossom-16
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 16
Cover Date: October, 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.

Cheryl breaks the fourth wall by reminding her readers of when she asked them to vote on a new hairstyle for her back in issue #12. The winning style was #6, and they’re using it in this story.

Now forget all of that, because the story proper begins with a retcon where Cheryl is addressing her viewers on Cheryl’s Beach Bash and telling them to choose her new ‘do from one of ten styles and call 1-555-CHERYL-DO to vote. So what was the point of wasting 2/3rds of the page on an explanation?

Cheryl gets the returns on an old-fashioned printout. #6 is the winner. Cheryl says her fans have good taste. Cheryl calls up a stylist named Rene and asks him to zip over and create her new ‘do for the show – right fucking now. It’s an “emergency”, and her fans are “waiting”, you see.

Cheryl loves her new ‘do and wants to get on the air. On the way, she sees Louella McGruff doing something and asks about the mess. Louella explains she’s making seashell figurines, because she thought the viewers would enjoy this. Cheryl (a bit too meanly) explains this is the wrong network/show for this sort of thing. She asks Louella to move the stuff. Louella says they’re drying, and she can’t disturb them. Upset, Cheryl decides to do her hair reveal out on the patio. The camera is set up. A crowd gathers to watch. Betty asks what’s going on, and Archie explains. Veronica rolls her eyes.

Betty asks Cheryl if people don’t have better things on their minds. Ronnie tells either the crowd or Cheryl (it’s unclear) to get a life. Cheryl’s mad and says they’re just jealous. It’s suddenly windy. Worried that it could damage her new ‘do, Cheryl goes inside the beach house to get some hairspray. A random guy tells Cheryl to hurry, because she’s on in eight seconds. I call bullshit. Cheryl doesn’t need to be out on the patio right when they go live; she can walk outside when she’s ready to make the big reveal. And again, why is this live? In her hurry, Cheryl accidentally sprays her hair with Ms. McGruff’s glue.

Cheryl runs out onto the patio. It’s still windy, and a bunch of paper and sand gets stuck to her hair. Rene, despite Cheryl’s pleas for help, abandons her. Betty feels bad for Cheryl. Ronnie says she does, too, and suggests giving Cheryl a hand. Ronnie then immediately insults Cheryl, which Betty giggles at. Wow, what bitches. Cheryl is pissed.

This story was pretty dumb and felt contrived and padded out.

Comics – Drive Out!

Cheryl-Blossom-16
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 16
Cover Date: October, 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.

Cheryl is moved to tears while watching The World of Cheryl, her own short film on her own life. She believes it will move all of her fans. Jason makes a joke. Cheryl wants to have some sort of party to celebrate herself.

Cheryl decides to erect a big screen on the beach for the viewing and turn it into an old-fashioned drive-in. She wants to do it in a 1950s style with carhops and refreshments. She calls up the producer of her show to see if the network will spring for all of this. The producer says yes – as long as the ratings stay up. So…wait. Cheryl is getting the network to pay for all of this, and in exchange they get…footage of teens sitting on the beach and watching a short film? How did she ever get them to agree to that?

Anyway, Cheryl checks out the construction on the beach. Pop’s has agreed to set up their refreshment stand.

Jason, however, is planning on sabotaging Cheryl. He bribes the projectionist, Sid, to replace Cheryl’s reel with his reel: a film that he put together of Cheryl’s most embarrassing moments. He wants to turn her into a laughingstock.

On the night of the premiere, Betty is impressed with the set-up. The seats are ’50s car replicas. Cheryl tells Betty and Archie to have a seat and turn up the speakers. Pop’s carhops will take their orders. Um, the carhops are on roller skates, but how well are those gonna function in the sand? Anyway, Cheryl reminds Betty and Archie to smile for the cameras. Cheryl takes the stage in front of the screen and tells the audience that, before her film begins, she has a short film for them to enjoy. Jason believes his film is about to come on, but, to his shock, the short film is Jason Blossom: The Life of a Goober!! Jason goes to Sid and is like “What the fuck?!” Sid explains Cheryl out-bribed him. Cheryl confirms it, having anticipated this move by “predictable” Jason.

She checked with Sid and confirmed it. Jason says he needs new strategies. Cheryl tells him to look on the bright side: she’s made him into a movie star. Jason isn’t exactly appreciative.

This story was okay, but did we really need yet another story about Cheryl making a film? First, there was a threepart miniseries¬†devoted the making and premiere of Cheryl: A Life. Then there was the issue-length “What a Disaster!“, which was devoted to the making and premiere of Cheryl’s disaster movie, The End is Near. Now, this. Keep in mind that all of these stories were written by Dan Parent in the span of about two years.

Extras

After the story is a 2-page illustration / call for submissions. The text “Attention all Cheryl fans! We need your fashions!” appears on the first page, and the title “Cheryl’s Cool Swimsuits!” appears on the second page. Various illustrated pictures of Cheryl posing in swimsuits appear, credit given to the designers, and a bunch of honorable mentions are also listed. On the first page, there’s this notice: “Upcoming issues of Cheryl Blossom will feature great fashion ideas sent in by our readers.” To make certain of that, the address to submit the fashions to is printed on both pages.