Comics – Archie’s Holiday Fun Scrapbook

Archie's-Holiday-Fun-Digest-12.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Dan Parent
Colors: ?*
Letters: ?*
Original Publication: Archie’s Holiday Fun Digest, No. 12
Cover Date: December, 2007
Shipping Date: October 3, 2007**
On-Sale DDC Date: October 10, 2007**
On-Sale Newsstand Date: October 23, 2007**
Length: 12 pages

*Due to the holiday crunch and longer work hours, I’m posting an old review that I wrote in 2007, of a story in a digest that I no longer own. I didn’t make note of anyone other than the writer back then; I got the rest of the info from Grand Comics Database.

**according to solicitations

This isn’t a story. It’s meant to be a scrapbook of the gang’s past and present Christmases, giving some details about the characters’ history.

I got the title from the fact that, on page 1, Archie holds up a book with the title of Archie’s Holiday Fun Scrapbook. It’s dumb that the registered trademark symbol is on his own scrapbook, though. Come on, Archie Comics, couldn’t you have withheld that in this case?

Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead present their scrapbook to the readers on page 1. As a personal rule, stories in which the characters are aware that they’re fictional characters aren’t canon. That means, to me, none of the information in this story can be trusted.

There are some items (mostly Christmas-related) that they saved throughout the years, which I won’t get into here. I’m going to focus on the history of the characters as presented here.

There are pictures of Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Reggie as babies/toddlers (some Christmas-related, some not). Veronica got an expensive necklace as a present, Betty got her first dolly, Jughead got his first sub sandwich (turkey and cheese), Veronica (another Christmas) got a tiara with only one diamond (which upset her), and Reggie got his first mirror.

The characters first met when they were in their “Little” stages – or slightly younger.

There’s a picture of Archie’s first visit to Santa at the Riverdale Mall. He asked for, and got, his first train set. There’s also a picture of Veronica reading off a 13-page Christmas list to Santa (tying up the line and causing Jughead to not get a turn).

When Betty got her first “E-Z Cook Oven“, she made Archie “the first of many delicious cakes for years to come”. When Veronica got hers, it was Jughead’s memory of his first barf.

They discovered mistletoe in kindergarten. Betty and Veronica kissed Archie on his cheeks at the same time. Ethel chased after Jughead.

Betty and Veronica made a gingerbread house, but Jughead ate it five minutes later.

There are pictures from the core five’s first year of Christmas caroling. Veronica’s voice attracted dogs from all over Riverdale.

Archie was “two-timing” (actually three-timing) Betty and Veronica (with Tomoko, maybe?) already at age 8. Betty and Veronica hit him with snowballs.

Archie and Betty made a snowman, but Reggie made one of himself.

There are pictures of their first Christmas dance in junior high. Betty danced with Archie, Veronica danced with Reggie, and Nancy danced with Chuck. Archie two-times (actually three-times) Betty and Veronica (with Brigitte, maybe?).

There’s a picture of Jughead’s first Christmas with Jellybean. She grabs hold of his nose.

The first Christmas cards that Archie made for Betty and Veronica are included. It was always precious to Betty, but Veronica just figured Archie was too cheap to buy a Christmas gift.

Little Jughead, Little Betty, and Little Archie were served hot drinks by Pop Tate on a cold day.

Little Archie saw Santa outside one year and tried to snap a picture, but the flash ruined it.

Betty snapped a picture of Santa one year. He said it was okay, because she was such a good girl.

Someone else (who?) snapped a picture of Santa raising his hand, trying to block the shot.

Little Archie got a bunch of presents under the tree one year (according to Archie, “whether we’re naughty or nice”).

There are pictures of the gang enjoying holiday fun: Archie, Betty, and Veronica ice-skating (Archie fell down); the core five, when they were little, building walls out of snow and throwing snowballs at each other (guys versus girls); Betty and Veronica doing holiday shopping; and Jughead eating at a holiday buffet.

There are pictures of people being nice to each other at this time of year: Moose to a nervously happy Reggie; Betty and Ms. Grundy to each other; Archie, Betty, and Veronica to each other; Archie to Fred and Mary; Hal and Alice to Betty; and Veronica to Hiram and Hermione. The sole example to the contrary is Veronica not being nice to Cheryl.

There’s a picture of Riverdale at Christmas time (taken from across the street from Pop’s).

Finally, there’s a group picture of (in rough order from left to right, front to back) Archie (in a Santa cap), Veronica, Betty, Reggie, Jughead, Cheryl, Mr. Weatherbee, Midge, Dilton, Ginger, Moose, Chuck, Nancy, Brigitte, Pop, Ms. Grundy, Frankie, Maria, Fred, and Alice and a wish of Happy Holidays.

This was pretty enjoyable, but the pictures aren’t arranged chronologically, and some of the stuff (such as Archie’s three-timing and Jughead’s appetite) continues to make me wonder how Betty and Veronica can put up with either of them. Overall, though, it’s better than “Betty and Veronica’s Scrapbook” from Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine #150 (5/07), also done by Dan Parent.

Comics – Hotshot Friend

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-177
Writer: Mike Pellowski
Pencils: Bill Galvan*
Inks: ?*
Colors: ?*
Letters: ?*
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 177
Shipping Date: August 1, 2007**
On-Sale DDC Date: August 8, 2007**
On-Sale Newsstand Date: August 21, 2007**
Length: 6 pages

*Due to the holiday crunch and longer work hours, I’m posting an old review that I wrote in 2007, of a story in a digest that I no longer own. I didn’t make note of anyone other than the writer back then, and Grand Comics Database doesn’t have any info. Bill Galvan took credit for drawing the story in response to my original posting of this review on Archie Comics Fan Forum in August of 2007 (I reviewed the story on August 22, the day after the newsstand date, and Galvan made his comments on August 28).

**according to solicitations

Veronica, Betty, and Midge arrive at Veronica’s house after seeing a matinee movie. Veronica is worried over the pink limo parked in front of her house, but she won’t tell Betty and Midge who’s there.

When they go into the mansion, Mr. Lodge says Veronica’s childhood friend, Venice Bilton, dropped out of the blue for a visit. Venice’s father and Mr. Lodge are old friends. Venice is, according to Betty, a high society celebrity, a famous high fashion model, and trend setter. Midge adds Venice has her own line of very elegant clothing and expensive cosmetics, walks perfectly, looks perfect, and is “totally hot”. Mr. Lodge adds “HehHeh! I guess that’s true!” Creepy.

Venice isn’t approving of Betty and Midge, calling them “country bumpkins”, “quaint”, and “ordinary”. Venice refuses to shake Midge’s hand, fearing her nails might break. Venice insults Betty and Midge’s clothes as “rural”.

Veronica has enough and tells Betty and Midge of Venice’s childhood as a klutzy “human disaster zone” and “sloppy little girl” that liked to make mud pies. Venice, angry that Veronica has revealed “those awful secrets”, leaves. Veronica tells Venice to not be mad, because she “only told the simple truth”.

This is a mildly entertaining story. I’d say Venice Bilton is meant to be Paris Hilton, but Venice is definitely younger than Paris (who was born in 1981).

Midge is totally crushing on Venice. Better not let Moose find out. What would the world be like without Venice Bilton?

It’s ironic that Veronica accuses Venice of having a “snobby, better than everyone attitude”, because Veronica is often portrayed the same way.

I wonder if Veronica’s final comment about telling the simple truth is an allusion to The Simple Life.

Artist Bill Galvan had this to say about the story: “Besides drawing the “Paris wannabe”, I really liked drawing Veronica’s mustang on the splash page!”

Finally, this story was released soon after Paris served her jail sentence, but her legal troubles related to driving began in September of 2006. Seems a bit odd for Archie to spoof her at this time.

Comics – Photo Finish

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-177
Writer: Mike Pellowski
Pencils: Pat Kennedy*
Inks: Al Nickerson*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: John Workman*
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 177
Shipping Date: August 1, 2007**
On-Sale DDC Date: August 8, 2007**
On-Sale Newsstand Date: August 21, 2007**
Length: 11 pages***

*Due to the holiday crunch and longer work hours, I’m posting an old review that I wrote in 2007, of a story in a digest that I no longer own. I didn’t make note of anyone other than the writer back then; the info comes from Grand Comics Database.

**according to solicitations

***Yeah, that stuck out as weird to me, too, but it’s what I’d written down back in the day.

Veronica is outside Betty’s house, asking Alice if Betty is home. Alice says Betty left early this morning to go running as training.

When Betty arrives, she explains she’s entered the Friendship Assistance Marathon. Pop Tate is sponsoring her. The race raises funds for local services and creates awareness of aid programs available to people in need of assistance. The top ten finishers get their pictures on the front page of the newspaper. Betty entered the race for the worthy cause and to get in the paper. Veronica decides to enter the race to get in the paper (she says her dad will sponsor her), and she and Betty train together day after day.

During a conversation that Betty has with Archie, Veronica learns Betty isn’t confident of finishing in the top ten, and Veronica thinks Betty and Archie don’t think Veronica will finish in the top ten. Veronica decides to train with professional trainers. Veronica intends to leave Betty in the dust.

On the day of the big race, Betty wishes Veronica good luck, and Veronica wishes Betty good luck – but not in a caring manner. Betty and Veronica keep pace with the leaders. When there are only three miles left to go, Betty pulls a muscle (as she had warned Veronica of doing during their training), and Veronica starts to leave Betty behind, but then she goes back and helps her. Veronica is determined that they’ll finish the race together, no matter how long that it takes. They cross the finish line last, long after all of the other runners, but they arrive just as some photographers are about to leave.

Betty and Veronica’s photo is on the front page of next day’s paper – under the headline of “A Winning Friendship”.

This story is very nice. After treating Betty with contempt, Veronica does the right thing at the end and helps her, perhaps remembering Betty’s warning of pulling a muscle. It’s unclear whether Betty and Veronica’s photo appears in the newspaper instead of the top ten finishers or if it appeared in another newspaper. The newspaper that Veronica initially imagines her own photo in (without any information from Betty) has a different title than the newspaper that their photo finally appears in. Either this is sloppy continuity, or Riverdale has more than one town paper, which is doubtful. Also, a period is missing in the last panel on page 10. Anyway, despite the slight confusion, the story is nice.

Comics – Rerun Fun?

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-176
Writer: Mike Pellowski
Pencils: ?*
Inks: ?*
Colors: ?*
Letters: ?*
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 176
On-Sale Date: July 18, 2007**
Length: 5 pages

*Due to the holiday crunch and longer work hours, I’m posting an old review that I wrote in 2007, of a story in a digest that I no longer own. I didn’t make note of anyone other than the writer back then, and Grand Comics Database doesn’t have any info.

**on-sale date from Jughead & Friends Digest Magazine #21 as “week of 7/16/07”

Betty and Veronica are at Veronica’s house. Mr. Lodge comes by and excitedly has them come to the den to meet someone.

It’s Jack Day, a former child star on one of Veronica’s favorite childhood shows, The Grady Group, but Betty and Veronica are clueless until Veronica finally asks Mr. Lodge. Jack is doing some special promotions for one of Mr. Lodge’s companies. Jack keeps talking about his role on the show (Benji, the middle son), has no new projects, and is living off his past fame through conventions, reunions, and merchandising. Jack wants to stay and watch The Grady Group with Betty and Veronica, but Mr. Lodge takes him to his office in town to sign some papers.

Betty and Veronica are relieved when he leaves. Betty remarks some TV shows go on forever in syndication, and, worse, some stars of those shows continue to live in the past. Veronica then makes a dumb joke related to a scene from an episode that Jack had re-enacted for them.

This is a meh story. It’s basically just about a former child star that tries to hold on to his former glory and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the TV series that he starred in. It’s not very interesting. Maybe that’s partly because I don’t like The Brady Bunch. Also, for a 2007 story, it seems odd that it would say the series was made only ten years earlier.

Comics – Drop The Shopping

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-176.jpg
Writer: Kathleen Webb
Pencils: ?*
Inks: ?*
Colors: ?*
Letters: ?*
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 176
On-Sale Date: July 18, 2007**
Length: 5 pages

*Due to the holiday crunch and longer work hours, I’m posting an old review that I wrote in 2007, of a story in a digest that I no longer own. I didn’t make note of anyone other than the writer back then, and Grand Comics Database doesn’t have any info.

**on-sale date from Jughead & Friends Digest Magazine #21 as “week of 7/16/07”

Betty shows up at Veronica’s house to get her to go to the mall for back-to-school shopping, but Veronica doesn’t feel up to it. This freaks Betty out. She thinks Veronica is sick. Veronica eventually explains she’s having her entire Fall wardrobe done by a designer to look unique.

Betty leaves and drives toward the mall, but she knows she’ll look like every other girl that shops there.

Betty spots a fabrics store and buys a bunch of fabrics – including a fabric by Veronica’s designer. Betty thinks her clothes won’t look exactly like Veronica’s, but they’ll be good enough for her. Betty goes home and works on her clothes.

When she finishes, Alice comes in and announces Veronica is here to see her. Betty goes downstairs. Veronica wants to see if Betty wants to go back-to-school shopping. Her designer broke her fibula while hemming Veronica’s gown. Her whole wardrobe won’t be ready for weeks. Betty says she doesn’t need to go to the mall. Veronica faints. Betty asks Alice for smelling salts.

Betty revives Veronica, and Veronica asks why not. Betty shows off her homemade clothes, mentions Veronica’s designer, and offers to sew an outfit or two for Veronica with her leftover fabric. Veronica faints again.

This story is cute. There’s not much to say.

Comics – 2 For 1 Sale!

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-174
Writer: Mike Pellowski
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inks: Al Milgrom
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 174
Cover Date: June, 2007
On-Sale Date: April 26, 2007*
Length: 5 pages
*according to the house ad in the issue

Veronica had stopped in a new store in the mall a few days ago and met a sales clerk named B.J. Johnson with whom she now makes a date for Saturday night.

Veronica meets Betty in the mall. Betty has just returned from a week at her grandmother’s house. Betty says it was wonderful, but she’s glad to be back in Riverdale. Veronica tells Betty about B.J., and the entire description worries Betty. Before Betty left for her grandmother’s, she had went into that store to buy her a gift, and she met Barnaby James Johnson (“Barney” for short) with whom she has a date this Friday night. Veronica tells Betty about her Saturday date.

Betty and Veronica angrily decide to confront B.J., but then Betty suggests they think this over. Veronica convinces Betty otherwise, citing Reggie’s behavior as enough for Riverdale.

They go to confront B.J. and realize the guys are cousins: B.J. and Barney. Their dads are brothers. Betty and Veronica are relieved.

This is a pretty amusing story. I could see the ending coming, but it’s nice that the guys are cousins instead of the usual twins.

Comics – The Late Great Veronica!

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-174.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jon D’Agostino
Colors: Carlos Antunes
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 174
Cover Date: June, 2007
On-Sale Date: April 26, 2007*
Length: 6 pages
*according to the house ad in the issue

Mrs. Lodge comes into Veronica’s bedroom and wakes Veronica up for school. Veronica thinks her alarm clock doesn’t work. Mrs. Lodge says it works fine, and Veronica keeps hitting the snooze button. It’s 8:30. School begins in 30 minutes.

Despite hurrying to get ready, Veronica is late – her fourth tardy this week. The next day, Veronica gets ready early, but she’s still late, because a squirrel steals her cell phone. Miss Grundy is angry, but Reggie and Jughead laugh. Miss Grundy says one more tardy, and Veronica flunks the class (she’s at a C already). Betty offers to help Veronica.

The next day, Betty gives Veronica a wake-up call at 7:00 AM. Veronica puts Betty on speakerphone, and Betty talks Veronica through her morning routine.

Veronica gets to class early. Veronica, Betty, and Miss Grundy are happy. Betty’s made a list for Veronica to follow.

The next day, Veronica wakes up at 8:15, because she forgot to turn on her alarm clock (the first thing on the list). Veronica follows the rest of Betty’s list “at warp speed” and gets to school on time. Veronica is happy, but Betty points out that Veronica missed a step: putting on her clothes. Veronica is wearing her pajamas and slippers.

This is a somewhat funny story, but Veronica is completely helpless without Betty holding her hand. 9:00 AM is an awfully late time to start a school day in high school. Mine started at 7:55 AM. The differences between the ending of this story and the front cover are Betty and Veronica’s outfits and the fact that Archie doesn’t appear in the hallway.