Comics – Summer’s End

Betty-and-Veronica-1.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 1
Cover Date: February, 2019
On-Sale Date: December 19, 2018
Length: 19 pages*

*I’m going by the pages on Kindle, which displays two-page spreads on the same screen (compressing them to make them difficult to read in the process). GCDB lists 20 pages for the actual printed comic book.

Let’s talk continuity. Betty & Veronica: Vixens has been described as AU and “alt-world” online (including by writer Jamie Lee Rotante). That didn’t stop Betty from sort of teasing this new miniseries at the end of the final issue.

Also, Archie recently resumed so-called “legacy numbering” with issue #699, which was a cheap recap issue that summarized the 32 issues so far of New Riverdale Archie – but, notably, not Jughead, Betty and Veronica (Vol. 3), Reggie and Me, The Archies, Betty & Veronica: Vixens, or the Big Moose one-shot. It kept those 32 issues of Archie in continuity (including the first two issues, which came out before the current iteration of the gang entered high school) but disregarded everything else. Archie #700 started a new story arc, definitely influenced by Riverdale, but it’s basically a family-friendly nod to it. It brought in Sabrina, who’s seemingly not the same version of the character that guest-starred in Jughead.

According to Rotante, this new Betty & Veronica miniseries (which wasn’t initially announced as a miniseries on July 9), in her mind, takes place later in the timeline of the Archie title. That would mean Archie currently occurs in junior year, so are we supposed to believe those previous 32 issues, in which Archie had a driver’s license, occurred in sophomore year?

Anyway, that’s where we’re at right now, so let’s get into the story:

Betty and Veronica are lying on a blanket outside, relaxing. Veronica can’t believe summer’s already over.

Apparently, Betty and Reggie had been dating during the previous school year but broke up near the end of it or at the beginning of summer vacation. But then Veronica made sure that the rest of Betty’s summer was awesome. They did things together, such as entering a race (that involved getting hit by paint), watching the Fourth of July fireworks, and going to (presumably) New York City. Obviously, this is completely at odds with how they spent their summer in Vixens. Betty is grateful to Veronica.

Apparently, without Veronica’s injection of awesomeness, Betty would have spent the summer fixing up her dad’s old car and babysitting. Betty is worried about Veronica talking about the breakup too loudly, and she can’t bring herself to tell Archie or Jughead (I hope this isn’t a Riverdale influence) that she was dating Reggie and that he dumped her. Veronica says boys just wouldn’t get it, and Betty needed a woman’s perspective. As they leave the park, Veronica admits Betty’s never been intimidated by her (and she likes that), and Betty admits Veronica doesn’t think she’s a doormat (and she likes that). Veronica says they need each other.

Back at Betty’s, Betty sits on the hood of a red sports car (I assume this is Veronica’s), and Veronica leans against it. Betty’s anxious about the approach of senior year and college prep. Veronica advises her to not worry about it. Betty wants to know which college that Veronica’s thinking of going to. Hermione wants Veronica to attend Hitchens U, the snooty private university in Massachusetts where she met Hiram. Betty says Massachusetts is “not too far”. Veronica doesn’t wanna go and asks about Betty. Betty would love to study abroad and see the world (specifically, she thinks of riding camels in the desert) but figures she can’t afford it without mounting up student debt. Betty and Veronica say they’ll miss each other.

Betty wants them to do a pinky swear and create a pact that they’ll attend the same college. Veronica is amused and skeptical but agrees – but also adds that they won’t let a boy (especially Archie) come between them. Betty agrees, and they declare they’re best friends forever.

At Riverdale High School, on the first day of senior year, Betty runs into Archie in the hall and asks what he’s doing. Over the summer, he worked with the school board to create packets to hand out to the seniors to make senior year less stressful. Betty is impressed and thanks Archie for the “super helpful” packet. Archie feels like he didn’t see Betty all summer and asks how she’s been. Betty is momentarily distracted by Reggie walking by but says she’s been pretty great and says she’ll see Archie in homeroom.

In homeroom, “Juggy” is the only other one there. Betty asks if he’s excited. He tells her to wake him when it’s lunch time. Ethel comes in, and Betty compliments her appearance. Ethel spent the entire summer helping Mayor Martinez (interesting that they seem to be keeping her consistent across continuities) on her re-election campaign. It was so inspiring, and she might even run for student council president. Citing her relative lack of experience, Betty nonetheless wants to be Ethel’s “#1 campaign manager”. Um, there’s only one campaign manager. Anyway, this statement directly contradicts Archie #700, which had Betty being involved in campaign activities over the summer in, of all places, Las Vegas. Midge comes in, obviously depressed, and takes a seat. Betty asks Ethel what’s up with her. Ethel says Midge and Moose broke up, and it was ugly. Moose might not even come back to school. Betty is surprised and asks why. Ethel doesn’t know.

Reggie comes into homeroom, and Betty has a flashback to Reggie yelling at her about pretending to be perfect but still screwing up sometimes. The bell rings. When Veronica arrives and sits to Betty’s right, the two friends wave at each other. Ms. Grundy welcomes them to senior year and starts talking about “prep work”.

Ms. Grundy name-drops Archie as the creator of the packets, getting him some attention from the girls. Betty finally looks at the packet and is overwhelmed by the numerous deadlines. Veronica asks her if she’s okay. Betty asks to be excused. Ms. Grundy grants it. Betty leaves the classroom.

Betty enters a restroom, grips a sink, and looks down into it. Veronica enters, wets her handkerchief, and wipes Betty’s forehead. Betty apologizes, not knowing what happened. Veronica says they all get a little overwhelmed sometimes. Betty asks if everyone was laughing at her. Veronica says no. As they leave the restroom, Betty thanks her.

Cheryl gets their attention. Veronica refers to her as “the Red Baroness“. Cheryl gets a bit sassy with Veronica and calls her “Kylie Kardash-ain’t“. Cheryl quickly gets to the point: she invites them to the Pickens U Welcome Back Party on Friday night but doesn’t want them to tell anyone that they’re with her. She says it’s gonna be “hella lit”. Since she spent her summer in SoCal, she translates it as “really neat”. She says bye and leaves. Betty wants to get back to class, but Veronica points out the huge favor that Cheryl might have just done them. Since Pickens U is local, Veronica suggests they could both go there. Betty asks why Veronica would want to go to a “pedestrian” school. Veronica says they have a great business program. Despite Betty’s reservations about attending a college party, Veronica convinces her to go, talk to some students, and scope the place out. It’ll be fun (which Betty could use) and might be the key to them staying together after high school.

Later that afternoon, Betty comes home, drops her key in the bowl on the table by the front door (next to some overdue bill notices), sees her parents making breakfast for dinner, and asks them if they liked Pickens U, because she might check it out for an “orientation” on Friday night. Alice says she’ll love it there. Hal says they give scholarships to family members of alumni. Alice says Betty will be a shoo-in, says they’re so proud of her, and kisses her on the cheek, seemingly making Betty happy.

Meanwhile, at Lodge Manor, Veronica’s brushing her hair at her vanity. Hermione enters the room and asks about her first day. Veronica says it was fine and boring. Hermione asks Veronica about Hitchens U, noting she missed the early application deadline but saying she and Hiram will work their alumni magic to get Veronica accepted even at the standard deadline. Veronica needs time and also mentions checking out Pickens. Hermione is surprised but tells Veronica to let them know when she’s made a decision. After Hermione leaves, Veronica takes a rejection letter from Hitchens out of her dresser drawer. Is she keeping this a secret, so her parents won’t have time to pull strings? Anyway, Veronica’s address number is 11252.

At Pickens U on Friday night, Betty and Veronica are walking hand-in-hand around the party. A guy comes by and offers to get “girl” a beer. Betty politely declines. Veronica says they’re watching their carb intake and tells “dear” to “fetch” Betty some non-alcoholic punch. After the “Neanderthal” leaves, Veronica tells Betty to grill him. Veronica’s gonna mingle with some of the business students and then meet Betty back here. Betty reluctantly agrees. Veronica leaves. Unknown to Betty, the guy spikes her punch. Betty starts drinking.

Veronica proves to know more about current tech than a business student, who turns out to be sexist, so she leaves. A guy in shadows tells Veronica to not let them get to her. Veronica tells him that she can take care of herself.

Later, Betty’s piss-ass drunk and wants to know what kind of fruits are in the “good” punch. How stupid does she have to be to not 1) taste the alcohol and 2) realize she’s drunk? As the guy gets close to Betty, she notices his flask, pushes him away, and leaves. She goes off by herself, drunk-texts Archie, and waits for him to pick her up.

Archie arrives and drives Betty home. She doesn’t feel well during the whole ride. Archie asks her if her parents will be upset. Betty says they think she’s at Veronica’s (despite her mentioning an “orientation” earlier) and should be asleep; she’ll be quiet. Archie walks her to her front door. She kisses him on the cheek. He says good night and tells her to text him when she’s upstairs, so he knows she’s okay.

Back at the party, the shadowy guy turns out to be Reggie. He came here out of boredom but is bored, anyway. He suggests ditching. Veronica needs to find Betty. Reggie saw her drive off with Archie, her “red-headed hero”. Reggie’s bitter, because he’s spent his whole life competing with him, but Betty and Archie belong together. Reggie gives Veronica a ride home. So…did Veronica just leave her car at Pickens? Or did Betty? Anyway, Veronica asks if that’s why Reggie and Betty broke up and realizes Reggie still cares about her.

As Veronica and Betty watch Reggie and Archie, respectively, from their front doors, they wonder what they’ll tell each other. Because, y’know, this is a violation of their pinky swear and therefore such a big deal.

A Halloween story is up next.

Before I get into the story, here’s the extras. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue, an invitation for fan letters and art, an ad for Volume Two of Vixens, an ad for Book One of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (with a plug for the Netflix series), an ad for the collected editions of Mark Waid’s Archie run (specifically highlighting Volume 6), an ad for some classic Archie collections, and the cover for the next issue (the “falling leaves” cover) with a blurb that teases Riverdale’s Halloween party.

This is a good first issue. I admit I can’t relate to it much, though. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve been a senior, but I don’t recall much (if any) stress. I was going to the local community college, filled out the FAFSA, and basically got through two years of community college and two years of university while not paying much. I certainly didn’t accumulate any student debt. Of course, I didn’t have a BFF that I absolutely had to attend the same college with. Anyone that I really wanted to stay in touch with after high school generally stayed in the area.

Anyway, I look forward to the next issue.

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Comics – Kiss of the Century

Cheryl-Blossom-28
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 28
Cover Date: January, 2000
Length: 6 pages

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

Cheryl is lying on her (crowded) bed. Sugar is lying there, too, wearing a Blossom pendant. A teen magazine, CDs, a remote, a date book, a stuffed kitten (with blossoms), and a stuffed teddy bear are also there. Cheryl calls up Archie. Her phone has cute, fuzzy, pink thing surrounding it, but what struck me is Cheryl has a rotary phone. In 1999. Anyway, Archie gets a boner when he realizes it’s Cheryl. Cheryl wonders what he’s doing for New Year’s Eve. Archie says Riverdale has a big party planned in the town square. The whole town will gather in front of the big clock and count down “the end of the millennium”. Yeah, that was a thing back then. People were too stupid to realize the new millennium didn’t actually begin until 2001. Hell, ABC News devoted round-the-clock coverage to celebrations worldwide as the New Year occurred in each time zone. And I taped all of it.

Anyway, as Sugar reaches to play with her, Cheryl says that “sounds so cool” and then asks which “lucky girl” will have his first kiss of the year 2000. Having an orgasm, Archie says she will. Cheryl’s delighted. After Archie hangs up, he nervously asks what he’s done. He promised a “Y2K kiss” to Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl. Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Why the fuckity fuck do the Andrews have a framed picture of a clown in their house?

Moving on, Mary calls Archie into the kitchen for lunch. Oh, look: a Josie cameo in the form of an album cover. Cool. Anyway, as Archie eats lunch, he thinks the “first kiss of the 21st century” should go to the most important woman of the century. Mary made a “special dessert” for Archie: lemon cake. Archie thanks her and praises the cake. Archie suddenly knows what he should do and rushes off. Mary thinks Archie’s gotta take a piss or shit. Her hair seems longer in this panel.

Over the next however many days, Archie catches up with Reggie, Dilton, and Jason and tells them what Ronnie, Cheryl, and Betty, respectively, supposedly want them to do.

On December 31, 1999, at 11:59 PM, in Riverdale Town Square, seemingly the entire town has gathered. Did you know there’s a big clock tower next to Pop’s? Well, there is. In this one story, anyway.

Cheryl, Betty, and Veronica are trying to make their way through the crowd and find Archie. Cheryl had no idea that there were so many people in Riverdale. Shit, in my podunk, unincorporated town, according to the 2000 census, there were 2,294 people (or 12,458 people in the similarly-named adjacent unincorporated town; Wikipedia’s declaration of which town that I actually live in doesn’t seem to match the local, ground-level facts). My point is, this town had enough fucking people in it that, if it had a town square with a huge clock tower (and enough people that gave a shit), it could have had a huge crowd to welcome the year 2000. As it is, I’m guessing most people did local watch parties, got drunk, and celebrated with fireworks and/or gunfire.

Anyway, all three girls spot Archie with his parents at the exact same time and struggle to make their way to him as the countdown begins. They finally come up behind him, but then Betty is intercepted by Jason, and Veronica is intercepted by Reggie.

Cheryl closes her eyes, puckers up, and asks Archie if he’s ready for his kiss. However, at the stroke of midnight, Dilton rushes in, hugs Cheryl, wishes her a Happy New Year, and kisses her full on the lips.

As the confetti falls, and the three girls look on in surprise, Archie wishes his mom a Happy New Year and kisses her on the cheek. Mary wishes him a Happy New Year. The final blurb reads “Happy 2000, Everyone!!” The usual “End” note reads “End of 1999”. Cute.

This story is nice. Archie’s gonna be in deep shit with the girls, of course. But at least the girls got New Year’s smooches from some secondary love interests.

See you next year!

Comics – Holi-Daze

Cheryl-Blossom-28.jpg
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: John Lowe
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 28
Cover Date: January, 2000
Length: 11 pages

Cheryl is at a salon, getting her hair done. Her hair and outfit in this scene were designed by Jessica Longs of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Anyway, Cheryl’s going on about the “totally outrageous” futuristic Christmas party that she’s planning. Veronica, who’s getting a beauty treatment nearby, calls it “gauche”. Cheryl’s surprised.

Veronica repeats herself and asks Cheryl if she understands French. Cheryl is surprised (and angry) to see her. Um, they’ve been sitting literally a few feet away from each other this whole time. Anyway, Cheryl accuses Veronica of being jealous of her “innovative” holiday idea. Taking the cucumbers off her eyes, Veronica laughs. The Lodges are having a Twelve-Days-of-Christmas theme. The two girls talk shit about each other’s parties for a bit. Cheryl gets up. Veronica yells they’ll see whose party will be the best. For some reason, “party” is stressed in that sentence.

Having been informed by Mr. Lodge of where to find her, Betty comes into the salon with an invitation for “Ronnie”. Veronica’s still angry but manages to greet Betty. Cheryl is happy to see “Bets”, waves, and greets her. Betty greets “Cher” and gets out her invitation as well. She invites both of them to the “Super Duper Cooper Christmas”, a traditional, old-fashioned Christmas; on Christmas Eve, they’re going to curl up in front of a roaring fire, drink hot chocolate, and sing Christmas carols. Veronica lets out a yawn of boredom, which seems to annoy Cheryl.

Veronica calls Betty’s party “cute” but mentions her own. Cheryl smiles and mentions her own as well. The two of them describe their parties, which sound ridiculous and over the top. Betty’s impressed, though, and wishes she could attend both, but it’s a Cooper tradition, and she can’t disappoint her family. Cheryl’s disappointed but seems understanding. Veronica’s just grumpy. Betty thanks Cheryl for the invite and says they’re both welcome to drop by if they have any free time at all on Christmas Eve. Veronica waves but seems to dismiss the possibility. Cheryl waves and says bye to Betty.

Veronica laments “poor Betty” and her family’s “meager budget” for Christmas. Cheryl insults Veronica, pissing her off. Cheryl suddenly realizes she needs to invite Archie to prevent him from being bored at Veronica’s “lame-o” party. Veronica is enraged and decides to storm out of the salon. Amused, Cheryl calls herself gauche and says she’d never wear a mudpack and bathrobe out in the street (“and” is written twice).

Veronica feels awkward but then claims she could pull off such a “fashion statement”. Cheryl giggles and insults Veronica. Veronica screams and runs out to her limo, which is parked right outside. Cheryl walks out after her, waves, laughs, and wishes “Ronnie” a “Happy X-Mess”. Inside her limo, Veronica fumes, vowing to have the last laugh.

On Christmas Eve, at Cheryl’s, Cheryl is on her cell phone with Betty while the workers are setting up her futuristic Christmas shit. Betty gets a beep, so Cheryl says they’ll talk later and lets Betty go. I guess Betty’s family has call waiting, since this was back in the days when Betty didn’t necessarily have a cell phone (in fact, in one story, she used that fact as a joke). Anyway, Betty’s other call is Veronica, who’s giving a status update of her own party. One of the swans gets away, so Veronica has to end the call.

Betty feels sad over missing her friends’ “super” parties. A chipper Alice calls Betty to help her with the popcorn. Betty puts on a happy face and enters the kitchen, where Alice is working on…a cake or brownies or something.

Back at the Blossoms’, Cheryl supervises the hanging of the “Astrosanta” and then has the “electric galaxy” turned on. Jason comes in, dressed like Captain Kirk, having been informed by Penelope that Cheryl was doing the Christmas decorations this year. Cheryl confirms and asks what he thinks. He’s shocked.

Mistaking the source of his reaction, Cheryl realizes she forgot to turn on the Astrosanta. When she tries to plug two cords together (despite the fact that there aren’t prongs on either of them), it causes the power to go out. Jason is pissed. Cheryl suggests they call the “Blossom Power Plant”. Wait, wait, wait. They own a power plant?! Okay, sure, why not?

Unfortunately, someone at Blossom Electric informs Cheryl that the whole plant is down (it’s gotta be their fault and coincidence; there’s no way that Cheryl caused all of that by trying to plug in a stupid Christmas decoration). Cheryl informs Jason that they won’t have any power until tomorrow, cries, and declares her party is ruined.

At the Lodges’, the pond collapses, and the animals run loose. A worker informs “Miss Veronica” that it will take 24 hours to clean this up. Veronica cries over the end of her party. Of note, the Lodges still have power, so does the Blossom Power Plant / Blossom Electric serve only Pembrooke or what? That seems an oddly small service area.

At the Blossoms’, Penelope asks Cheryl what she’ll do for Christmas Eve. Clifford and Jason are pissed at Cheryl.

At the Lodges’, Hiram is pissed at Veronica over the waste of money. Hermione tells him that it could happen to anyone (um, not really). She asks what they do for Christmas Eve.

Simultaneously, Cheryl and Veronica light up as they declare they’re going to Betty’s.

On their way to Betty’s, Cheryl and Veronica tell their families what Betty had told them about the party. Jason, holding a present, gets a boner as he thinks of Betty.

Once they arrive at Betty’s, Veronica and Cheryl have a laugh over the fact that their parties were busts. Cheryl rings the doorbell. When Betty opens the door, Cheryl wishes her “Happy Holidays!” Betty is delighted to see them and invites them in to join the rest.

It’s 9:00 PM. Betty and Jason sit in front of the roaring fire, next to the Christmas tree, and enjoy a bowl of popcorn. Veronica and Hermione enjoy mugs of hot chocolate. Jughead enjoys cookies and milk. Mr. Lodge is present. Reggie, Cheryl, Betty, Jason, Penelope, Clifford, and Archie sing “Deck the Halls”. Caramel sits near Veronica’s feet. Betty’s parents are completely absent. Merry Fucking Christmas.

This story is nice. Not much else to say.

A page of fan art sits between the two parts of this story. A Cheryl Blossom “21st Century Closet!” Christmas fashion page follows the story.

Comics – All Malled Out

Cheryl-Blossom-19
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 19
Cover Date: February, 1999
Length: 5 pages

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

Cheryl and Archie are at the mall. Cheryl gets angry upon seeing the mall Santa; she’s tired of seeing them. Archie agrees, saying it kind of over-commercializes the holiday. Cheryl doesn’t care about that; she just thinks the female perspective is shut out. Archie says Santa’s a guy. Cheryl asks about Mrs. Claus.

In comparing Mrs. Claus to Santa, Cheryl references “Wind Beneath My Wings“, which Archie seems dubious about (and amused by). Cheryl heads to the mall’s office to complain to management. The manager points out that Mrs. Claus doesn’t give gifts. Cheryl asks how he knows and then says she’ll represent Mrs. Claus by dressing up as her and taking children’s requests. The old man laughs it off. Cheryl says she’ll go to the news media regarding sex discrimination at the mall (and she also uses a dated, even for the time, “Film at 11” reference). The manager asks when she can start. Cheryl says tomorrow and leaves the office.

The next day, Cheryl shows up at the mall in a sexy Christmas outfit that she got in Paris. Cheryl drags her embarrassed “elf” (Archie) out from behind Santa’s chair. The manager goes along with it. Cheryl takes her seat and has her “elf” bring her the children.

Unfortunately, Cheryl thinks she knows better and suggests different gifts for the children, upsetting them. One boy flat-out rejects Cheryl and demands Santa Claus. Cheryl says he’s busy with his toys, and she’s the “head honcho”.

Just then, the regular mall Santa shows up and takes issue with that. He came to keep an eye on her. The two of them get into an argument (as if they’re the actual Clauses). An elf (not Archie) takes a picture of them yelling at each other.

Some time later, as she and Archie are walking along a sidewalk, Cheryl says, at least, she tried. Archie has a laugh as he shows her her “souvenir” photo. Cheryl says it’ll be great to show her children someday, though she seems neither pleased nor upset. Odd ending.

This story was okay, but the argument near the end was pretty weird.

Comics – Here We Come A Caroling!

Cheryl-Blossom-19.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 19
Cover Date: February, 1999
Length: 5 pages

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

Cheryl walks by and notices a “monstrosity”, so she asks Ethel what it is. Ethel explains it’s their “Riverdale Christmas Carol Float”. All of the “districts” (school districts?) in the county are eligible to enter “it” (presumably, she means a float of their own) in the Christmas parade. Cheryl thinks it’s corny. Ethel says they’re sure to win, because Betty is “the best chorus leader around”. So…are they supposed to stand on the float and sing? And what are they going to be judged on? Best performance, best float, or a combination of the two? Anyway, Cheryl is suddenly “feeling a bit festive”.

At her mansion (I guess), Cheryl’s trying to get her Pembrooke schoolmates to enter the contest with her. I recognize Bunny, and I think that’s Cedric, but I don’t recognize the third person (looks like a pointy-nosed Dilton without glasses). Cheryl wants to outdo “those Riverdale schmos”. Bunny says that’s not good enough for them. Cheryl walks off, deciding to hire some singers of her own.

She hires “the famous Broadway singer and dancer, Tommy Tuned”, who arrives at her mansion with his dancers. Cheryl’s ready to practice, but she falls on her ass. Tommy realizes he has his work cut out for him.

Eventually, wearing a leotard, aerobics leggings, and leg warmers, Cheryl asks Tommy how she’s doing. He tells her that she’s as good as she’s going to be. Someone arrives and informs Cheryl that her float is ready. She and Tommy go to take a look. It consists of green “grass” and a bunch of presents under a tree. The tree is black and has Cheryl’s face on it. A sign proclaims “Have a Cheryl Christmas”. Tommy says it’s tacky, even in Las Vegas. Cheryl thinks it’s beautiful.

On the big day, Cheryl is optimistic of her chances of winning as she rides in the truck carrying her float. Unfortunately, a parade official informs her that she can’t enter the float, because it’s not registered. A disappointed Cheryl says nobody told her about it (that’s on her; she should have checked the requirements). He tells her to take the float out of here. Cheryl decides to go on her “own route” and tells the driver to go down Elm Street. He tries to warn her, but she screams at him, and he makes a right. Elm Street comes out on the main parade route. So, um, why was that parade official so far away from the actual parade? And is Cheryl so inept that she arrived late for a parade that’s already in progress?

Anyway, Elm Street’s very hilly. Betty and Archie are watching nearby, and Betty notes the “Vegas nightmare” is coming their way. Cheryl’s float crashes into Betty’s float (the truck somehow disappears in all of this). Betty, Archie, and Dilton are knocked over. Betty stands up and laments they’ll never win now.

Soon, after the mess is cleaned up, someone announces the winner: Riverdale Elementary School. The kids are happy. Ever the opportunist, Cheryl asks some of the “kiddies” if they need a “perky spokesperson”. This confuses the kids.

This story has way too much going on for its short length. It would have been better as a two-parter – or just cut the singing aspect entirely and have it be a simple Christmas float contest.

The story is followed by a two-page “Dear Cheryl” advice column.

Comics – ‘Ti$ the Sea$on

Cheryl-Blossom-9.jpg
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 9
Cover Date: February, 1998
Length: 11 pages

Cheryl and Jason are checking out the presents under the Christmas tree. Clifford comes by, saying he believes Christmas is his favorite time of year. Cheryl agrees, citing the “cool gifts” that she gets. Clifford talks about the “sentiment of the season”: giving and love. Jason and Cheryl are amused. Clifford wonders where he went wrong.

A truck arrives, because Cheryl is having “some” presents delivered. As the delivery guys leave, one of them informs Cheryl that “the other truck” should be here soon. Clifford is surprised, because he can’t see the tree anymore. He asks Cheryl if all of these gifts are for other people. Cheryl admits “some” of them are for her.

Jason admits the same, so Clifford calls them spoiled and selfish. Shocked, Cheryl and Jason insist they aren’t. They then get into a pissing contest over who spends more on the other. Clifford tells them to knock it off, and Cheryl seems to imply she and Jason used to wrestle each other, but they’re “above that” now. Jason mentions they wrestled some “townies” one summer.

Jason and Cheryl want blank checks to buy each other expensive shit, but Clifford refuses and makes his credit cards off limits as well. He says, if they want to buy something for each other, they’re gonna have to do it themselves and sacrifice a little. He leaves. Jason and Cheryl are confused as to what “sacrifice” means, so she looks for a dictionary on a bookshelf. Seriously? How dumb do they have to be?

After they search for a bit, Jason finds a dictionary, looks up sacrifice, and reads about the religious kind of sacrifice. Cheryl freaks out, thinking her dad wants them to kill each other. Then Jason reads the second definition, which makes more sense, but Cheryl thinks it’s pointless. Jason suggests killing each other. Neither of them have any ideas and wish each other luck as they leave.

Cheryl invites Betty over, which makes Betty happy. Cheryl needs advice. Betty is confused over what that could possibly be. Cheryl explains. They sit down. They trade some banter. Cheryl accuses Betty of bleaching her hair. Um, sweetie, you have black eyebrows. I wouldn’t go around accusing other people of fake hair colors.

Betty suggests promising to be nice to Jason for the year. Cheryl would rather spend a fortune. Betty asks if Jason has something that’s very precious to him. Cheryl gets up and has Betty follow her.

They go to the garage. Jason got a hot red Italian sports car for his birthday. Betty’s impressed. Betty suggests getting Jason an accessory for it. Cheryl loves the idea. As they discuss this, their reflections are shown in the driver’s side rear-view mirror, even though they’re standing in front of the car. Anyway, Cheryl decides to get Jason his own separate, climate-controlled double garage with a live-in mechanic. Betty was thinking more like a car-vac. Cheryl opens the garage door, pushes Betty outside, thanks her, and invites her to come again. Betty is confused but goes along with it. I wouldn’t be sitting by the phone, waiting for her to call. Betty angrily wishes Cheryl a Merry Christmas and leaves. Cheryl doesn’t exactly wish her the same. She then wonders what to give up to afford the garage.

Later, in her bedroom, Cheryl considers selling stocks, bonds, jewelry, or cars. Bitch has a fucking wall safe in her room. Anyway, she finally comes to a decision.

Meanwhile, Jason has Cedric over, and they’re watching Sabrina on TV (yeah, ha, ha, but a simple explanation is she got on TV for whatever reason). Jason asks Cedric for ideas. Cedric asks about Cheryl’s interests. Jason says, besides making his life miserable, bossing others around. That gives Jason an idea. Cedric asks where he’ll get the cash from.

Possible typo: “And so, when Christmas arrived…” instead of “arrives”.

Jason and Cheryl thank their parents for their presents. Clifford reminds them of their gifts to each other. Cheryl points out the window, where Jason sees his new garage on a truck.

Jason gets choked up and thanks Cheryl. Clifford whispers to Penelope about his surprise that Jason’s actually showing emotion – as if he never shows any emotion at all. Jason whistles, and a complete staff for Cheryl’s mountain chalet arrives. Cheryl starts sobbing. The siblings hug each other and continue sobbing. Cliff asks why they’re “basket cases”. Guess what they each sold. Yeah. Hilarious.

Clifford compares this situation to “Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. Cheryl amusingly thinks the author was named after the candy bar. Anyway, Penelope points out that, unlike the couple in the story, Cheryl and Jason are filthy rich. Clifford and Penelope are proud of their kids, but then Cheryl asks for another chalet for her birthday, and Jason asks for another Italian sports car. Clifford is upset, and Penelope throws up her hands and wishes him a Merry Christmas.

This story is pretty funny. I don’t have much else to say, except Part 1 is unusually short (at only four pages).

There’s a “Cheryl’s Christmas Style” fashion page after it, followed by a one-page story called “Occupied” in which Salem (yeah, Sabrina’s cat) ties up the restroom, because he doesn’t use a litter box.

Comics – Skateboardin’ Blossom

Cheryl-Blossom-26
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 26
Cover Date: October, 1999
Length: 5 pages

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

Veronica and Betty are at the beach. Veronica’s pissed that Archie and Reggie are ignoring them in favor of skateboarding. Cheryl comes by and asks them what’s the matter. Veronica is irritated, but Betty greets Cheryl. Cheryl says they look like “a couple of skateboard widows”. That’s pretty funny. 🙂

Veronica insults Cheryl, but Betty invites Cheryl to join them and even offers to share sandwiches with her. Judging from Veronica’s comment, it seems they brought the extra sandwiches for Archie and Reggie. Cheryl insults Veronica and then invites Archie and Reggie to join her for lunch. To her shock, they ignore her.

Veronica is amused and insults Cheryl. Cheryl’s pissed. Betty advises Cheryl that it’s a losing battle. Cheryl says the boys are just momentarily distracted by a fad and just need “a little shake-up”. She takes out her cell phone, calls Jamie, and requests her skateboard equipment. For some reason, Veronica and Betty are confused by this. Then Betty holds up her own skateboard (white with red hearts on the bottom and blue wheels) and helmet and tells Cheryl that she tried that idea (she was in their way).

Before we move on, I want to comment on a few outfit choices. Betty is wearing a midriff-baring sleeveless shirt with a boob window. Kinda risque for her, but whatever. Cheryl is covering her bikini bottom with a piece of torn cloth that she’d tied together at her right leg. In what universe is that a fashion do? Did she do that solely to avoid getting sunburned on her ass cheeks?

Jamie arrives. Cheryl puts on her elbow and knee pads and sneakers – and also swaps her revealing bikini bottom and stupid tied cloth for a bigger bikini bottom (though that’s likely just an art error). This is all while Betty is still speaking. I’d mentioned this before, but it really is a weird problem unique to comic books. Anyway, Cheryl thanks Jamie, puts on her helmet, takes her skateboard (white with purple blossoms and a purple star on it – and with purple wheels), and advises “poor little Betty” to watch and learn. Cheryl pulls off some sick moves, being a genuinely talented skateboarder. She earns praise from Reggie, Archie, and Betty (though the latter is more astonished). Veronica’s pissed and vows to put an end to it. She grabs their beach towel, knocking all of their shit onto the sand.

Veronica tears the beach towel, making Cheryl think she’s torn her bikini bottom. Cheryl freaks out (though I don’t know why it would concern her) and covers her ass with her hands, but she still manages to do rad stunts with no hands, earning even more praise and attention from Archie and Reggie. Cheryl checks her bikini bottom and is relieved. As Cheryl gets all of the guys’ attention, Betty sarcastically asks Veronica if her “next big idea” is to start the “Roller Blossom” Fan Club.

This story is pretty cute. Not much else to say.