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┬ádevoted 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.

Comics – Lights, Camera, Action!

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: 11 pages

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

Okay, so this is confusing. The full title of this story has “Part 2” attached to it, and the two parts of the story in this issue are labelled “Chapter 3” and “Chapter 4”, respectively. Furthermore, the story title is preceded by “Continued from CHERYL BLOSSOM #15…”. So it’s definitely trying to say this is a direct sequel to “Cheryl’s Beach Bash!“, the lead story in the previous issue. However, the beach bash is in full swing here, and that didn’t start until “Party Hardly“, the second story in the previous issue.

Anyway, everyone’s having a great time, but one of the producers was hoping “more things would happen”. Incidentally, there’s a guy at the beach bash that looks a lot like Kevin Keller – 13 years before his debut. Kevin was created by Dan Parent, who wrote and drew this issue.

The ratings have been okay, but the producer says they need something to “shake things up”. Cheryl has interviewed “the biggest rock stars”, and she’s suddenly interviewing an all-male knockoff of the Spice Girls – just one panel after she’s shown dancing. Sloppy. They’ve had “the best groups” performing live. However, another producer or a network head or whoever says the Pembrooke kids are “sort of boring”. But then “the Riverdale crowd” arrives to “shake things up”. Um, why weren’t they here this whole time? It’s what they were hired for in the first place. The producer exposits about how Mr. Blossom bought the beach and opened it to the public, which we already knew. She also tells the camera operators to “keep the camera rolling” – as if they’d stop.

Cheryl, Betty, Veronica, and Priscilla/Bunny immediately start arguing, but Cheryl then cuddles with Archie, declaring “this townie is mine!” Cheryl introduces America to Betty and Veronica, “pale imitations” of her. Um, doesn’t America already know them from Cheryl’s various movies about herself? Anyway, Ronnie accuses Cheryl of covering up a zit on her cheek, which Cheryl takes offense to and then accuses Betty of having unnatural hair color, which Betty takes offense to. I guess this is what passes for trash talk in the Archieverse.

Betty insists she’s a natural blonde and says Cheryl can ask her mom. The producer asks Archie to tell America what it feels like having three beauties battling over him. He says it’s “actually pretty good!” This divides couples across the country along gender lines, with guys tending to side with Archie and girls tending to side with Cheryl, Betty, and/or Veronica. The “big cheese” at the network calls up the producer to tell her that this is great shit. She says “Because it’s real!”

The producer tells the girls to have a beach volleyball competition. Knockoffs of Jewel and Alanis Morissette serve as guest celebrity commentators. There’s…no sense of pacing in this story. Everything just happens in rapid succession. Anyway, fun fact: Jewel is 9 days older than Alanis. Anyway, Priscilla/Bunny and Cedric are nervous, because they don’t know anything about sports. Bunny hasn’t broken a sweat in eight years. Cheryl has a melodramatic moment with Archie as they stand on opposite sides of the volleyball net as if they’re separated by a fence or something and zzzzzzzzz…

Oh, sorry, I dozed off. Cheryl, Betty, and Ronnie hog the ball and keep hitting each other in the head, not letting the guys (or Bunny) play. Suddenly, something arrives.

It’s Cheryl’s “idiotic brother” Jason on a hang glider with his name on it. Jason admits he’s here to get on TV.

Oh, and to see Betty. He gives her flowers, which he must have pulled out of his ass, because he certainly wasn’t holding them when he hang-glided in. Betty thanks him. Cheryl asks them to take it elsewhere, so the “two rich girls” (herself and Ronnie) can “battle it out”. But then Archie gets pissed at Jason for “barging in” on “his” Betty. Jason calls him out on that – not because it’s pig-headed, but because he has three girls fighting over him, so Betty can’t really be called his. Betty agrees with Jason and goes off with him. Across America, this continues to divide couples.

Cheryl tells Archie that he isn’t worth it and goes for a walk with Reggie. Ronnie rejects Archie, because Cheryl does, and goes off with Cedric. She has to ask his name, even though they’ve already met. Jughead asks what the rest of them (himself, Ethel, Dilton, Bunny, and Sidney) do. Bunny suggests volleyball. So, to be clear, the normally self-centered host/star of this national TV series said “Fuck it” and left (along with a bunch of others), leaving the C-listers to take over.

At Bunny’s instruction, the Pembrooke crowd (which suddenly includes a bunch of random nobodies) plays dirty. They topple the net, which lands on Ethel, Jughead, and Dilton. This turns into a massive brawl. The producer loves it. The switchboard lights up, because “America’s glued to their seats”. Why is this show live? Realistically, that wouldn’t happen. It’d be taped, so all of the dead moments could be cut out, and only the “interesting” stuff would be presented. Anyway, Archie feels rejected. Cheryl sends Reggie off to buy her a snow cone and then gets together with Archie. Cheryl “knew”, if she rejected Archie, Betty and Ronnie wouldn’t want him. Well, of course, that’s how that works, because it’s not like Betty and Ronnie ever show any interest in Archie when Cheryl isn’t around. Anyway, they go for a dip, and Reggie’s upset, because…Cheryl’s snow cone is melting.

Throughout America, buzz about Cheryl’s Beach Bash spreads. Girls take one of the three girls’ sides. Archie is “the man” with the guys. Merchandise with their faces (T-shirts and posters) are being sold. Cheryl, watching a knockoff of Face the Nation (as teens are known to do), is happy that this stupid rivalry has leaked into the political discourse. She thinks they’re “catching on”.

The caption in the final panel says the story concludes next issue, but, again, the very next story in this issue is a continuation of this reality TV storyline, so I’ll be reviewing them in that order.

This story was pretty good, but everything happened way too fast – literally in the course of a single day.

Extras

According to Grand Comics Database, either in the middle of or after the story, there is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase (not included in the digital edition).

Comics – Hula Hoot!

Cheryl-Blossom-15
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 15
Cover Date: September, 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 pissed that all of the guys on the beach are getting boners over Betty and Veronica hula dancing instead of her. Ronnie says they took lessons. Cheryl insults them and decides to find a hula instructor.

Somewhere (at the inn? inside the beach house?), Cheryl can’t find anything in the Yellow Pages. Louella overhears. It turns out that she knows hula, having been stationed in Hawaii for years, and she even taught some classes on it. Cheryl asks Louella to teach her, and Louella makes it sound like she doesn’t have a choice.

On the beach, Louella teaches Cheryl how to hula. Then Jason horns in, because Betty said she finds it attractive when guys do this. Cheryl yells at the “copycat” for going after a townie just because she does. Louella yells at them to take this seriously.

Cheryl and Jason both get better, and they each simultaneously decide to hula on the beach tomorrow.

The next day, Cheryl manages to get Reggie and Archie’s attention, but she’s upset that the girls aren’t paying attention to her (sadly, this isn’t an early occurrence of gay Cheryl; she just wants the girls to be jealous of her skill). Cheryl’s pissed to learn the girls are getting lady-boners over Jason, but a happy Betty tells Cheryl that girls need something to look at, too.

Cheryl initiates a hula battle with Jason, and they cause each other pain. Ronnie guesses they’ve combined hula dancing with wrestling. Betty laughs.

This story was pretty dumb. I can’t imagine anyone would get turned on by hula dancing.

Comics – Party Hardly

Cheryl-Blossom-15
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 15
Cover Date: September, 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.

Continuing from the previous story, one of the producers of the show suggests Cheryl have an “introduction to summer” party. Cheryl agrees.

Soon, at home, Cheryl’s got all of the preparations finished except the musical act. Surprisingly, she decides to go with Brigitte from Riverdale High instead of a famous act. She even admits Brigitte’s a great singer. As it turns out, Cheryl wants to pretend to be Brigitte’s mentor and discoverer.

At…a beach (not sure which one), Cheryl asks Brigitte, who accepts on the condition that Cheryl doesn’t attempt to sing or try to sing backup. Cheryl agrees, having learned her lesson before. She knows she’s no singer and is instead “blessed with personality and beauty”.

Cheryl points out that she’s giving Brigitte her break on national TV and has Brigitte sing in front of a large backdrop with Cheryl’s head and name on it (with Brigitte’s head and name much smaller). Cheryl says Brigitte will ride her coattails to super stardom.

At the party, Cheryl introduces Brigitte. Veronica accuses Cheryl of hogging the credit, but Betty points out that at least Cheryl is giving Brigitte exposure.

Brigitte starts singing. It suddenly gets windy, so Cheryl goes to secure her sign. Somehow, the entire thing comes loose and carries Cheryl off “like a giant kite”. Ronnie calls Cheryl an attention seeker. Jason tells Cheryl to stop showing off. Cheryl says she’s not doing this on purpose.

The rope breaks. Cheryl falls to the stage and gets tangled up in the sign. Brigitte keeps singing. Ronnie cheers Cheryl’s misfortune Brigitte’s performance. Cheryl insists it was an accident. Jason says this is the first time that Cheryl got attention that she didn’t want. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up.

This story was okay, if a bit contrived.

Extras

After the story is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase (not included in the digital edition).

Comics – Cheryl’s Beach Bash!

Cheryl-Blossom-15
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 15
Cover Date: September, 1998
Length: 11 pages

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

Cheryl and Archie are at Pembrooke Beach. It’s summer, and Cheryl exposits about how she’s out of Riverdale High and back in Pembrooke. She flirts with Archie.

Cheryl sees cameras and asks a random girl what’s going on. She says they’re shooting a live episode of a knockoff of Hearts Afire. Cheryl says it’s her favorite soap (even though it was actually a primetime sitcom). Against Archie’s advice, Cheryl gets in the shot and ruins the scene by either exposing plot points that certain characters don’t know about or just making shit up (it’s unclear). The guys in charge are too dumb to do anything about it, but eventually the cameras are shut down. How incompetent is this production? Why are they doing a live episode without closing off the beach for a few hours? Anyway, a guy yells at Cheryl, but Cheryl says they could get great publicity for this.

Meanwhile, across town, at the headquarters of a knockoff of MTV (really? MTV is headquartered in Pembrooke? who knew?), the staff is upset about their ratings being down this quarter and hope their summer beach house will boost ratings. They need a “dynamic” host, though. They see Cheryl’s stunt covered on a knockoff of Entertainment Tonight. It’s described as “pandemonium” and “media havoc”, which is…stretching it.

They’re aware of her, so they go to the beach to talk with her. Lucky for them, she’s still there. They pitch the job: introducing music videos and interviewing rock stars. Cheryl plays hard-to-get. She’s gonna have her “agent” send them a list of proposed changes.

Of course, Cheryl’s agent, “Ms. Flowers”, is just Cheryl. The entire exchange is conducted over the phone (they don’t recognize Cheryl’s voice) and via fax machine. There is so much wrong with this, but, for starters, Cheryl would have to give the name of the talent agency, and I’m betting she doesn’t have one. Anyway, these idiot producers sign Cheryl in desperation, because their ratings continue to fall. Cheryl got herself a good deal: the show will be called Cheryl’s Beach Bash!, and she’ll be able to design the beach house in her own style.

Cheryl’s excited to be a TV star for the summer, but, once the contracts arrive, she realizes she forgot she’s a minor and needs her parents’ permission. Nice, Cheryl. How are you gonna explain the fake agent to your parents?

Anyway, let’s pause for a moment and discuss Cheryl’s age. Assuming she’s just on the cusp of turning 18, everything up through her second miniseries (Get a Job) came out before she turned 16 (and thus was eligible to drive). And yet I guess all of that stuff supposedly is still in continuity as of this story? Somehow? Anyway, moving on…

Cheryl’s dad agrees to it, but he’s gonna send someone to keep an eye on the project – both to keep her in line and to protect her, which is actually very sweet. Jason is listening in and has an idea on who can keep an eye on Cheryl. How is it that Jason’s always in the right place at the right time to listen in and fuck with Cheryl’s plans? It’s a running theme in this series, and it’s very contrived.

On another day, at the beach, Cheryl loves how her beach house is coming along. Priscilla/Bunny is excited that they (herself, Cheryl, Cedric, and *sigh* Sidney Snavely) get to hang out here all summer. Cheryl says the Riverdale gang isn’t allowed on the beach. She also says she can “handle” her parents.

Later, the producers have Cheryl do a test run and bring in the Madonna knockoff (her first guest) to help her rehearse.

During the rehearsal, Jason arrives in his yacht and honks the horn and plays loud music, interrupting them. Cheryl goes to deal with it and declines Jason’s offer to join his party. He says he’s not trying to annoy her and is actually delivering the personnel that their dad hired to watch her this summer.

It turns out to be Betty, Veronica, Archie, and Jughead. Cheryl’s upset and tells everyone except Archie to get the fuck out. Betty apologizes (probably insincerely) and explains they were hired to mingle with the Pembrooke crowd. Cheryl says this is sabotage. Ronnie disputes that, saying Clifford just trusts them. Cheryl says she can “deal with” her (or perhaps all of them; it’s unclear).

Unfortunately for Cheryl (and fortunately for Ronnie), Louella McGruff is here to keep an eye on all of them. Wait, so who’s running the inn? Are both Cheryl and Louella going to be tied up all summer with the beach house show and neglecting the inn? Or will Penelope step in and handle things? Cheryl decides to continue with the rehearsal and not let them get the best of her. Reggie, Moose, and Midge arrive, surprising Cheryl. Reggie explains her dad just bought the beach and opened it to the public. Cheryl’s stunned. Priscilla/Bunny demands to know what Cheryl’s going to do about this.

The caption in the final panel says the story continues next issue, but the very next story in this issue could also be seen as a continuation, so I’ll be reviewing them in that order.

This story was pretty good, but I feel the setup was a bit clunky and took longer than needed. It could have been trimmed, and we could have kicked off the beach bash in this very story.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a 1-page Archie story titled “A Learning Experience”.

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Beachy Keen Fashion”.

Comics – That Makes Scents

Cheryl-Blossom-14
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 14
Cover Date: August, 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 is reading a teen magazine and is put off by the overpowering scents from the perfume ads. She thinks celebrities having their own scents is ridiculous.

So she decides, as “sort of” a celebrity, to develop her own scent. Of course.

Cheryl goes to Blossom Labs Inc. and explains to two people what kind of fragrance that she wants: provocative, yet subtle; stylish, yet nonconformist. One of them insults Cheryl behind her back while she’s still within earshot.

On another day, Cheryl comes back to smell their first attempt and hates it. They’re insulted, claiming to have worked hard on it.

Cheryl wants her fragrance to be “flowery smelling” to tie into her name.

Cheryl can barely smell their second attempt and tells them to amp it up, so they dump all of the rose scent into their third attempt.

Cheryl loves it, because it’s overpowering – like her.

Cheryl wears her new scent to school. It sickens Veronica and Betty.

Cheryl is unveiling her new fragrance at her big end-of-school party up at her “country club” (her inn? Club Blossom?) and invites all of them. Ronnie is upset, but Archie’s happy. Wait. End-of-school party? It was already summer in the last story. They put them in the wrong order, didn’t they?

At Cheryl’s “swanky summer party”, Ronnie’s in a bad mood. So is Archie, but that’s because of the mosquitos drawn to the hot weather. Cheryl welcomes everyone and unveils her new scent, Blossom. Betty, Archie, and Ronnie are bitten by mosquitos, which takes their attention away from Cheryl.

Betty asks Cheryl how come there are no bugs around her, but Ronnie figures it out: the perfume. Cheryl doesn’t understand the potential yet. She’s upset at Archie, Betty, and Ronnie for hogging her perfume. She gets pissed when Ronnie tells her that she’s created the perfect insect repellent. Cheryl is interviewed by a confused reporter but, unusually for her, is unable to spin the story in her favor, even though she’d done so successfully before.

This story was okay, but the ending fell flat.