Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 2

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-2.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 2
Cover Date: February, 2018
On-Sale Date: December 20, 2017
Length: 20 pages

I’m sorry that this is late.

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

The Vixens ride to Motor Motel (such a creative name) to get a room for the night. Veronica explains to Ethel that they have to stay here, because they’re “on the lam”. Toni adds they’re outlaws. *sigh* Toni Topaz. I’m pretty sure that they added her solely because she’s on Riverdale, but, prior to that, she was the blandest Archie Comics character ever created. She’d been designed by committee and started appearing in the comics in late 2011, her gimmick being she can go toe-to-toe with Jughead when it comes to eating, but that was also Kevin’s gimmick, so there was actually nothing unique about Toni. Searching Grand Comics Database, I can find only one actual story where she played a significant role. Since then, she’s made token cameo appearances in stories (where she does little, if anything) or, more likely, undeserved cover appearances. I cannot overstate her uselessness. Anyway, let’s get back to the story.

Betty explains to Ethel that they don’t want the Serpents following them back into town. Toni adds the cops. Veronica believes her father won’t believe the charge on her credit card and will report it stolen, destroying the paper trail. I’m not sure about that.

The motel is being robbed, so the girls charge in. Toni tackles the robber to the ground. A woman wants the desk clerk, Harry, to call the cops, but Toni says no. Ethel says they’re safe, and Betty returns the money to Harry. Toni pulls the robber to his feet. Veronica tells Harry to give them any room, and they’ll take care of the robber. She tells him to book it under “Fifi Leroy”. Leroy is the name of Veronica’s younger cousin that sometimes pops up. Fifi is a name that’s sometimes used for Veronica’s pet (whenever she has one). Harry hands Veronica the key, and she promises him no more trouble. That’s when Evelyn (more on her later) clobbers the robber with a wrench, leaving Veronica embarrassed. Veronica tells the girls that it’s time to make some plans.

It turns out that this was in the present time, and now we get a flashback to two weeks earlier. Betty and Veronica go to Ambrose’s Mechanics. Ambrose says they’re closed. (He’s a character from the Little Archie comics.) Betty says they’re here to see Bubbles, a heavyset woman. I’m not sure who she is, but there was a z-list character named Bubbles McBounce (a.k.a. Bubbles McBride) in the comics, so this might be her. They go into the kitchen or break room, and Bubbles gives them sodas in glass bottles…with straws. Anyway, after a lot of talking (we learn Veronica is proficient in “Muay-Thai” (there’s actually no hyphen in it), Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, and capoeira) and Bubbles making fun of them, Bubbles refuses to join their gang but gives them some recruiting tips.

Using these tips, Veroica and Betty recruit:

*Toni (who’s in their Chem class), who they witness kicking some guy on the street after he comes on to her. Of note, Toni’s wearing headphones, a clue that this story occurs in more modern times.

*Midge, despite the facts that she can’t keep secrets, and Moose hasn’t taught her any moves (there’s a funny bit where Midge misunderstands what Betty means by that). She wants to be in charge of her own defense (instead of Moose showing up constantly); she ditches Moose on the football field and goes off with the girls.

*Ethel, who’s trying to have a romantic meal with Jughead at Pop’s, but he’s oblivious to her feelings. The girls are interested in her for her (supposed) built-up rage. Veronica can’t stand that Ethel can’t take a hint, but Ethel is Midge’s friend. Betty tries to delicately bring up the subject of the gang, but Toni just blurts it out, because she wants to get to punching people in the face. Ethel is excited and agrees to join, because her mom had suggested she join some extra-curricular activities. Ha.

At Veronica’s, they get dressed up in their new biker clothes. Ethel asks about their name, but Betty admits they haven’t really thought about it. Ethel “votes” to make them back patches once they get a name (shouldn’t she “volunteer” instead?). She brings up the fact that Evelyn Evernever is back in town. She was a shy girl in the Little Archie comics. Ethel offers to come up with schedules and make cupcakes. Toni tells her to shut up, but Midge won’t have it and mentions she heard Evelyn’s family left her. Veronica puts an end to the gossip and discovers none of the others knows how to ride a motorcycle.

The next morning, at Riverdale High School, Evelyn shows up at Veronica’s locker, startling her. She wants in the gang. Veronica isn’t sure, but Evelyn stares her down. Veronica agrees and tells her to meet them at Veronica’s place tonight at 5. Evelyn is a girl with short blonde hair, a scar across her right cheek, and a tattoo on her right arm.

That night (I guess), Veronica searches for motorcycles online and buys some. This firmly places this series in the present day, so all of these retro fashions are completely out of place.

Anyway, Betty takes the bikes to Ambrose’s shop for repairs. Toni and Midge practice boxing at Box-Gym (such a creative name). Ethel sews the Vixens patches on the back of their jackets during motherfucking Home Ec class (brilliant). Evelyn makes brass knuckles in Metal Shop or whatever (despite the fact that Betty is the one to hand them out “later“). These girls aren’t exactly being inconspicuous about this. Didn’t Mr. Weatherbee threaten expulsion in the previous issue?

At Ambrose’s shop, Bubbles tries to give the ladies basic instructions, but they (or at least Midge and Toni) suck ass.

At Spotty’s, Fangs has a map of Riverdale on the pool table. We learn his dad was in the gang as well. Stupidly, “assholes” is censored, even though “ass” (by itself) isn’t. “Shit” is also censored. Penny wants to find Betty, but Fangs tells her to get him a drink. Fangs wants to strike at 11:01, right after the town curfew. A fellow Serpent, Stitch, has picked “the perfect spot” for something. Fangs says it’ll be “the real deal” this time; he wants blood.

In the girls’ locker room, Betty is having second thoughts after yesterday’s lessons and thinks the other girls don’t get it: Toni’s all about violence, Ethel thinks it’s a sorority, and fucked if she knows Evelyn’s deal. Betty just wants to protect their town. Veronica just wants to protect all of the girls and lowers Betty’s expectations from being “Riverdale’s superhero”. Betty’s on board. During all of this, a shadowy figure is in the locker room, listening in. Oh, and “bitches” is censored. Seriously? In a Teen title? You can hear that on Riverdale. Anyway, Betty and Veronica are about to exit onto the football field and go to browse riding classes online, but Bubbles runs up and reveals the Serpents hit Ambrose’s shop, ransacked everything, stole all of their money, beat Ambrose up (he’s in the hospital), and stole Bubbles’ bike. She tells the girls that they have to do something. Veronica realizes they have to go after the Serpents sooner rather than later, whether they’re ready or not.

This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue, another Riverdale Gazette article (dated December of 2017; this one makes parents aware of warning signs of gang activity in their kids), and the cover of issue #3.

So do we wanna talk about how Betty can be in a biker gang in this series while simultaneously being paralyzed after a car accident in Archie while simultaneously being on tour in The Archies? No? Okay.

Tune in next Wednesday!


Comics – Last Dance!

Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 278
Cover Date: December, 2015
On-Sale Date: October 21, 2015
Length: 20 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late. I’ve decided to take a look at the final issue of Betty and Veronica before the (now-infamous) New Riverdale reboot. This was actually the final regular Classic Archie issue that was released in floppy format, and it came out after New Riverdale had already begun with the Archie reboot, because the multi-part story that immediately preceded this issue had suffered delays.

*looks at the release date* Why didn’t Marty snag a copy of this when he visited the future? He could have avoided a lot of problems.

There were six covers released: one for each decade from the 1950s (when the original title started) through the 1990s and a modern cover. Heh, I guess there’s nothing to distinguish the 2000s from the 2010s.

The 625 figure was arrived at by adding the total number of issues of the previous series (which was rebooted in 1987) and this series, which makes sense, but keep in mind that B&V have also headlined a 90-issue Betty and Veronica Spectacular series (1992-2009), a 6-issue Betty and Veronica Summer Fun annual series (1994-1999), and various issues of the long-running Archie Giant Series Magazine.

Veronica and Betty overhear Mr. Weatherbee telling Ms. Grundy in a hallway that they’ll have a new gym as of next year. After Betty asks, Mr. Weatherbee says, in two months, the gym will be demolished, so they can expand the cafeteria.

Some random girl with red hair and freckles shows up behind him and waves. I think this is Cricket O’Dell, a minor character whose gimmick is the ability to determine the exact amount of money that one is carrying simply by smell. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds. Why she’s showing up here for one panel, I have no idea.

Anyway, Ms. Grundy adds a brand new gym will be built on the other side of the school. Veronica loves it, but Betty doesn’t, because she loves the current gym and has good memories, such as playing basketball and tennis. Veronica says “bully for you”, which no teen would actually say. She says the only sport that she took up was cheerleading. Betty reminds her of the dances; they each had their first dance with Archie here during freshman year (it was the same dance), which means they didn’t date until high school. Archie hid from them under the bleachers, and Reggie closed them up, trapping Archie inside. There was also an ’80s-themed dance (Archie tried to breakdance, got sick, and threw up on Cheryl).

Kevin randomly walks by. Betty realizes Archie was date-juggling them that night, too. Veronica says he’s sometimes a three-timer, and Betty remembers Archie’s also dating Valerie (I would have thought of Cheryl first, but the comics want to remind us that Archie/Valerie has been a thing for a while). Archie three-timed them at a dance, and he got exposed only when they looked at the wall of prom photos (which were posted during the prom). The three girls confronted Archie. Veronica angrily asks why they always forgive him. Betty laughs and says “Because he’s Archie!”, and that’s a good enough “explanation” for Veronica.

Betty asks about the upcoming Halloween masquerade ball. Ms. Grundy says that will be the last dance held here and tells the girls to make it a good one. After a bit of talking, Veronica decides to turn the tables by having them both ask Archie (before he asks both of them) and watching him squirm. Betty’s up for it.

Some time later, at Pop’s, Veronica asks Archie to the dance and then immediately kisses him on the lips (surprising Kevin), guaranteeing his acceptance. She tells him to pick her up at 8:00 PM…for a dance that’s being held “in a few weeks”.

Some time later, Betty meets Archie outside and asks him to the dance. He’s hesitant, so she kisses him on the lips, leaving him in a daze. She tells him to pick her up at 8:00 PM…for a dance that’s being held “in a few weeks”. He agrees and then realizes what he’s done.

At Pop’s, Ethel tries to get Jughead to go to the dance with her, but he’s oblivious (even though he is going for the memories of the food and drink). Some girl that I can’t identify sees Dilton lamenting his lack of dates, so she vows to “take care of that”. Outside, Kevin accepts the invitation of a guy named Ted. Veronica asks Kevin what happened to Devon (maybe a guy from a previous issue), but Kevin’s over him.

Later, Jughead asks Archie about his costume, and Archie says he needs two and explains his problem. Jughead suggests Archie go with one of them, but Archie laughs off the “ridiculous” and “insane” idea. I don’t know if I’ve said it enough, but Archie truly is an ass in the comics.

On the night of the dance, Archie drives to Betty’s house in a Cosmo the Merry Martian costume, reasoning he’ll pick up Betty early and Veronica late, because Veronica is “always late, anyway”.

Betty, wearing a Pussycat outfit, sees Archie arrive and tells Veronica, who’s dressed as Elvira. Veronica tells Betty to delay him. When Archie arrives, Betty says she won’t be ready for “at least twenty minutes” and tells him to sit and relax.

Fifteen minutes later, an “impatient” Veronica calls Archie, Betty comes downstairs, and hijinx ensue as Archie tries to cover his ass. Betty has a good laugh all of the way to the dance.

At the dance, Archie promptly ditches Betty to “use the restroom”. He runs outside, turns his Cosmo mask inside out to become Super Duck, and goes to pick up Veronica.

At Lodge Manor, Veronica is “pissed”. As Archie drives them to the school, Veronica makes him sweat by asking about Betty.

At the dance, Archie wants to go in through the other entrance, because “the air is better there”. Once inside, Archie gives her the “restroom” excuse and ditches her.

He switches back to Cosmo and returns to a “pissed” Betty. They start dancing, and she loves that he’s so nervous. Betty decides to go for punch, but Archie sees Veronica at the table and volunteers to get it. He tries to switch to Super Duck in the middle of the fucking gym, but he gets stuck.

Veronica and Betty confront him and then prepare to “fight” each other. Archie tries to intervene, trips, and falls face-first into the punch bowl. He tries to explain, but the girls reveal they played him. He’s pissed that they “humiliated” him, but they’re enjoying it. I’m with the girls. Archie would have done this even if the girls had independently asked him to the dance.

Cheryl shows up, dressed as Cleopatra, and wants to dance with Archie. Veronica angers her, but Betty tells Veronica to step away. This reminds Betty of “the first time” that they “went up against Cheryl” (entirely made up for this story). Cheryl had spilled punch on Betty’s dress. Betty had cried to Veronica. Veronica had dumped the rest of the punch from the bowl on Cheryl’s head. Betty calls Veronica her “princess in shining armor”.

Veronica brings up Betty comforting her after she realized her crush, Kevin, was gay. I don’t believe that happened in his debut issue, but she could have had a delayed reaction to the revelation.

Veronica then brings up Betty flipping Jason onto his head using her mad judo skills after he kept pursuing Veronica.

Betty and Veronica bond over the power of friendship. Archie asks them to dance, but they decline, and Veronica even suggests Archie dance with Cheryl, Ginger, or Brigitte. Archie is a bit confused but walks off.

Veronica and Betty go outside for some fresh air. As they watch the dance from outside (Archie’s dancing with both Cheryl and (I think) Ginger, the latter seemingly dressed as an alien princess or something, and Jughead is a mummy with a huge stack of hamburgers), Veronica laments the impending loss of the gym but then says they still have each other and their friends. Betty adds their memories, the future, and Archie.

As they sit on the ground and look at the crescent moon, Betty suggests being BFFs forever. They do a fist bump, and Veronica agrees, adding “Some things will never change!”

And so the long-running Betty and Veronica title, the last, straggling Classic Archieverse floppy title, came to an end. This wasn’t a bad story to go out on. It’s nothing really special, but it does re-affirm the girls’ friendship.

On the final page is an ad for the issue that we just read (an odd thing that appeared in issues around that time). The blurb explains the math of 625, name-drops Memory Lane (a stupid time-travel plot device from a few years earlier that doesn’t show up here), advertises the multiple covers, and misuses the term “panoramic”.

Below that is “breaking news” for the new B&V series from Adam Hughes. It promises “some out-of-town adventures”. Yeah, that never happened.

On the inside-front cover is a letter from Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick. He’s been at the company for a long time, and his Editor’s Notebook entries were something that I loved to read, but they’d been discontinued for years by this point. So what does he have to say? He explains the 625 math and hawks the Adam Hughes relaunch. Below the letter is yet another reminder of the Adam Hughes relaunch.

As for the Adam Hughes relaunch, we all know that crashed and burned after three issues. I read only the first two issues, and I’d given up on buying physical comics entirely by the time that issue #3 was farted out, so I never read the conclusion. Here’s the basic gist. Pop’s is being closed, and Veronica’s dad is behind it. This pits Betty and Veronica against each other. Betty is unusually passionate about Pop’s and randomly kicks her friends’ asses (I’m going from memory, but there was at least one random ass-kicking involved). The issues were narrated by Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog (of all possible fucking narrators). He kept using big words to sound intellectual and shit. At one point, a “gag” consisted of the action from two of the pages being entirely missing, and Betty and Veronica lay around in swimsuits against a white background, reading the comic and summarizing the missing pages to each other; there was also a comment about two pages being missing from a $4 comic book. From what I’ve gathered, the final issue had the girls revealing it was all for show, and they are and always will be best friends. Yeah, it totally doesn’t fit with the previous two issues, and I don’t buy the story that this was what Adam Hughes had in mind all along. This series seems doomed from the start, especially since Archie Comics had originally launched a Kickstarter campaign on (circa) May 11, 2015, to fund it, Jughead, and Life with Kevin – and then quickly canceled the campaign by May 15 after criticism (but not before they’d raised $30,000 of their $350,000 goal). I won’t be reviewing these issues in full; they don’t deserve it. Betty & Veronica: Vixens has the girls forming a biker gang, and it’s already a much better B&V title than Hughes’ shit.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – The Kisser Strikes!

Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Harry Lucey*
Inking: Terry Szenics*
Original Publication: Archie, No. 143
Cover Date: February, 1964
Length: 11 pages**

*The original story had no credits. These credits come from Grand Comics Database.

**Technically, this is a two-part story, and part two, starting on page 7, is called “Strike One Kisser!”; unusually, the page numbering is restarted.

So this is sort of an “infamous” Archie story. I happen to have scans of it, so I thought I’d review it.

Before we get into the story, here’s a fun fact, courtesy of Grand Comics Database: “When told about the story and its twist ending in his interview in the Comics Journal, a shocked Dan DeCarlo said: “I didn’t draw that, did I!?” (He didn’t; it was Harry Lucey, who was dead by the time that interview was conducted.)”

One night, while Veronica is either opening or closing the garage door (I call bullshit on this; either the Lodges would have an opener, or Veronica would get a servant to do such a menial task), either before going out or after coming home, Veronica is ambushed from behind by a “new menace”, a figure dressed in a trench coat and fedora known as the Kisser! The shadowy figure grabs Veronica, kisses her full on the lips, and takes off. Veronica falls on her ass in her driveway.

Veronica is shocked but is able to see where the perp went. She makes her way through some bushes and finds a dazed Betty sitting on the ground. Betty gets up and relates a similar experience to Veronica’s. Veronica is worried, but Betty jokes about where she was kissed and, possibly, rapists. Betty leaves, and Veronica is confused.

The next day, a bunch of random girls at school wonder who the Kisser is. Midge hopes it isn’t Moose; Moose hopes the Kisser doesn’t try kissing Midge, which upsets Midge, because she was looking forward to it. They talk for a bit more, and Midge goes down a hall by herself. Someone puts a paper bag over Midge’s head and kisses her (between panels). Midge falls on her ass and is happy to have “joined the club”.

Later, Midge tells some random girls. They love it, but Reggie and Archie don’t find it funny and wanna catch the motherfucker. They ask a random girl named Jenny to be the lure, and she accepts in order to see who the Kisser is. They’re gonna leave school after dark, and the guys are gonna jump the Kisser.

That evening, when it’s “dark enough”, Jenny and the guys leave school. The guys follow her at a distance. There’s a dumb cartoony gag where they’re both impossibly hiding behind a thin lamppost.

They see Jughead, and Reggie jumps to the conclusion that the “woman-hater” is the Kisser. Archie doesn’t buy it. They sneak behind bushes and hear kissing sounds.

They find Jenny. She asks if they got him. Reggie feels vindicated. The guys split up to find Jughead. Archie runs into a tree branch and is knocked out for a few seconds. He’s just regaining consciousness when the Kisser kisses him and runs off. Reggie arrives with Jughead, but Archie tells him to turn him loose.

The three guys debate the sex of the Kisser, whether Jughead kissed Archie, and the Kisser’s vision. Apparently, by Reggie’s reckoning, the Kisser has kissed nine girls so far. Archie says he’s gonna get to the bottom of this mystery and walks off. Reggie tells Jughead that he didn’t see any girl around. Jughead, defensive, says he didn’t kiss Archie.

The next day (I guess), at Riverdale High School, three random girls debate the new information. Reggie overhears and theorizes Archie made up the story about being kissed to throw off suspicion, because he’s the Kisser. The girls decide to be easy targets for Archie to see whether he’s the Kisser or not. Betty overhears this and is worried.

Some time later, one of the girls walks into Archie’s path on the sidewalk, trips, and is caught by him. He drops her in the bushes and runs away. The other two girls are waiting for him, no matter where he runs. He runs to Betty for help in finding a place to hide. She leads him into the woods. Exhausted, Archie lies on the ground and soon falls asleep. Betty checks to make sure no one’s around, and then she kisses Archie on the lips.

The three girls show up. As it turns out, they were working with Archie, because he had theorized to them that Betty was the Kisser. Betty is surprised Archie knew. Archie says this trap was really for her. He explains Betty kissed girls just to throw everybody off her trail; she wanted to create a mystery that no one could solve.

Betty tells a smug, self-satisfied Archie that it almost worked, but he was too clever for her. For discovering the identity of the Kisser, Betty sweeps Archie off his feet (and out of his shoes) and gives him a big kiss, which surprises the three girls.

This story was, um, something. It’s the first time that lesbian kisses have occurred in an Archie story, albeit without lip-on-lip contact being shown. It makes no sense that Archie was able to figure out that Betty was the Kisser, though. So Betty’s motive in kissing eight girls was…to create a mystery that no one could solve? Does Archie know something about Betty that would lead him to this conclusion? Is she a mystery writer? Is she bisexual? I don’t get it. Still, this was pretty daring for a children’s comic story from the 1960s.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Ice Creamed

Writer: Frank Doyle
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo, Jr.
Inking: Jim DeCarlo
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 588
Cover Date: October, 1988
Length: 6 pages

I’m sorry that this is late. I’d been busy with other things. See the end of the review for an explanation.

During a hot summer, the gang gathers in the park. Betty and Veronica complain about the heat. Even a nearby dog is passing out from heat stroke. Naturally, Betty is barefoot and standing on the scorching pavement, and that’s okay. Veronica claims she “glows” instead of “sweats”, but she’s not fooling anyone. Also, the writer she puts her last name in quotes. I think that’s meant to show stress, but it’s incorrect.

Anyway, Veronica has the idea to go to the mall for the air conditioning and indoor ice rink. Betty’s all for it and suggests spending the day, shopping, and beating the heat, but Archie and Jughead aren’t up for it. The girls leave in a hurry.

Jughead grudgingly admits it was a good idea. Archie says they’ll go after lunch, so they won’t have to pay for the girls’ lunches. Jughead claims that would never occur to him. Archie says Ronnie’s got some old-fashioned ideas, and he’s “short on bread”. What teen called money “bread” in 1988?

Before we move on, I need to comment on Jughead’s hat. It’s not the typical crown in this story. He’s wearing a regular grey hat with the front and back of the brim turned up. He still has the typical two pins on it (though the artist forgot about them after the second page). I noticed it and thought it was a fun variant on the typical hat.

Later, at the mall, after a “great lunch”, Betty’s eager to ice-skate. She’s still walking around barefoot, which I’m sure is a violation of the mall’s policy. Veronica calls Betty “Cooper”, which is odd.

Anyway, the girls suck at ice-skating, being no better than the last time that they’d tried it, and they land on their asses. A girl skates by and says they can flatten them by dieting, which is rude as fuck. It turns out that the girl is the rink’s skating instructor, and she continues to insult the girls.

The guys show up. Veronica figured they’d show up after lunch. Archie puts on skates, but Jughead decides to sit it out.

Archie’s a klutz. The instructor eagerly rushes over to catch him, letting go of the girls. She wasn’t seen in the previous panel with the girls, and she definitely wasn’t holding on to Veronica. Betty had her right hand on Veronica’s back. Maybe the instructor was holding on to Betty from off the right side of the panel? Really odd. Anyway, the girls fall on their asses again and are pissed.

The instructor cozies up to “cute and clumsy”, which Archie seems a bit offended by. The instructor wants “lover” to hold her really tight, and she’ll do likewise. Veronica’s pissed at the “man-eater” for dumping them for Archie (yeah, that’s how she phrases it). I should mention Betty has a couple skating jokes in this scene.

Jughead tells the girls that they’re wearing the skates on the wrong part of their anatomy, which irritates Veronica. Betty looks at him like “What the fuck?” I’m with Betty. Seriously, what’s Jughead on about?

Anyway, Jughead, wearing skates, gets in the rink to “handle” the situation. Veronica tells him to get the fuck out. Jughead skates circles around the instructor and Archie, and the instructor falls on her face. The big-shot rink owner (an older, balding man) shows up for one panel to suggest a skating lesson for “Ms. Snidley”, because Jughead made her look like a “rank amateur”. She’s nervous and/or embarrassed.

Veronica and Betty hug Jughead. Veronica kisses him on the cheek and professes her love for him. Betty tells him that he made her day.

Later, at Pop’s, Veronica serves “Juggie, baby” an ice cream soda and (blue) burgers and promises him anything that he wants – on them. Betty, rubbing her aching ass, suggests “luv” consider this to be a kind of standing ovation. She still isn’t wearing any goddamn shoes or socks, which is not only unsanitary but also unsafe.

Archie is sitting in the booth, too, ignored. At the counter, Pop and a random customer watch the scene in confusion. I’m with them.

So…what the fuck was that? A fun slice-of-life story ended with Jughead demonstrating a previously hidden talent for ice-skating (it’s funny, because he’s a lazy-ass motherfucker that constantly eats, get it?) in order to show up the boyfriend-stealing skating instructor. What’s the story behind that? Has Jughead been at this rink before and witnessed her behavior, and that’s why he decided to sit it out at first, because he knew what would happen and wanted to surprise everyone?

And why is Archie tagging along for the congratulatory feast at Pop’s? And why are Riverdale’s businesses so lax in their footwear policies?

The inside-back cover has a “Dear Betty & Veronica” advice column.

For the past four months, I’d been working on a fanfic based on Sabrina the Teenage Witch called “Perfect Trust”. It’s a continuation of the 1996-2003 TV series and basically functions as season 8. It’s a Sabrina/Roxie romance story. It’s pretty long, but, if it’s something that you might be interested in, you can read it here or here. Also, you can check out my Sabrina’s Secret Life fanfic, “Lightning in the Dark”, here or here.

That’s it for 2017. Have a Happy New Year. Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Two of a Kind!

Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Jim DeCarlo
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 588
Cover Date: October, 1988
Length: 4 pages

This unusually short story points out how Betty and Veronica appear to be very different but are actually very similar. This is “proven” through jokes:

Each morning, Veronica is awakened by her personal maid, Robin, and Betty is awakened by a robin singing on her windowsill.

When she was 9, Betty received a miniature house from her dad. At a “similar age”, Veronica also got one from her dad. The difference is Veronica’s was an actual walk-in, private house!

When they were 12, Betty and Veronica each had their own paper route. The difference is Veronica threw her papers out of a limo. Also, the name of the paper that Betty delivers is called Blade Trib, which is weird.

At their birthday parties, Betty and Veronica danced to the music of their favorite group, the Paper Clips. The difference is Veronica actually got the band to perform in person, and Betty had to settle for records.

Both girls get a lot of exercise, but Betty’s comes through doing chores.

Both girls believe in home permanents. Betty does her own, but Veronica get a visit from the staff of Fifi’s Beauty Salon.

Neither girl has enough money to shop, but Veronica has credit cards to fall back on.

Most mornings, they each have difficulty deciding what to wear, but Veronica has far more choices.

Both girls’ food tastes are “quite simple”. Betty orders pizza at Pop’s, and Veronica orders pizza at a fancy restaurant.

Another “simple taste” that both girls share is Archie. Of course, they stereotypically each pull on one of his arms.

This story was okay. Betty and Veronica really are “two very different girls from different worlds”, though.

After this is a one-page ad posing as an Archies story: “Let’s Do the FruitSlush Mush!” Witness the band singing about fruit snacks!

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Twisted Sitters!

Writer: Frank Doyle
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: James DeCarlo
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 588
Cover Date: October, 1988
Length: 5 pages

Veronica comes over to Betty’s, discovers her playing catch with a little boy, and playfully accuses her of pedophilia. Betty explains she’s keeping on eye on Georgie, because his brother Dave is a friend of hers and got called away suddenly.

Veronica guesses Dace stuck her with “the brat” and accuses Betty of getting more gullible every day, which Betty disputes. Betty says she believes in doing favors for others. Veronica doesn’t buy it and walks off, saying Betty has lots of friends, all willing to take advantage of her. Betty says that isn’t true.

Veronica passes a hot guy, sees him talking with Betty, and assumes it’s Dave. She schemes to steal him from Betty. As the guy plays catch with Georgie, Veronica returns and apologizes to Betty, even going so far as to cry. Betty accepts her apology, but Veronica isn’t satisfied with that. She insists on taking over the baby-sitting. Betty finally relents. The guy leaves, and Veronica anticipates his eventual return. When he invites Betty along with him, Veronica is surprised to learn his name is Hank.

Georgie explains Dave got an emergency call from his bird-watching group. Dave returns, and he’s a total nerd. The story ends with Veronica making a self-depreciating joke.

This story relies way too much on Veronica jumping to conclusions. Not much else to say.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Deliverance

Writer: Frank Doyle
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring/Production: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 588
Cover Date: October, 1988
Length: 6 pages

Before this story, on the inside-front cover, there’s a public service announcement comic in which Mr. Weatherbee lectures various students about AIDS. This PSA appeared often during this time period. What’s kind of…amusing (for lack of a better term) is the fact that Betty looks very concerned/worried compared to her fellow students. Just putting that out there.

Veronica and Betty show up at Archie’s house and invite Archie and Reggie for burgers at Pop Tate’s – on them. They decline, suspiciously citing unspecified things to do.

As the girls walk away, Veronica thinks something strange is going on. Betty notices a hot pizza-delivery girl on a skateboard (Veronica has a backward view of hot girls skateboarding). The girl is heading right for Archie’s place. Archie and Reggie enthusiastically run out to greet her and invite her to come in and have some pizza. Veronica and Betty are pissed.

The girl declines the guys’ invitation, citing work. Veronica and Betty confront and interrogate the “pizza pusher”. She works at the new pizza place on Spruce Street, Nick-Nosh. The skimpy outfit and skateboard are Nick’s idea. Veronica has to admit they’re effective. As the girl rides off, she says everybody wants home delivery now. Veronica and Betty are still pissed about the guys.

Betty and Veronica arrive at Pop’s. He asks why he’s getting only female customers. Betty and Veronica angrily explain, and he gets pissed as well. Veronica erroneously calls him “Pops” and suggests fighting fire with fire by hiring them as sexy delivery girls.

Really soon, they return, wearing bikinis and riding skateboards. Pop is excited. Veronica suggests starting with Archie and Reggie’s favorites; they’ll spread the word of his new service. Pop prepares the non-orders (probably ice cream). He decides to make these on the house, so it’ll turn the guys off pizzas. Plus, y’know, there’s the little matter of them not ordering these things.

On the ride to Archie’s house, Veronica and Betty joke about Veronica being a “lowly working girl”. They crash into the pizza-delivery girl – coincidentally, right outside Archie’s goddamn house.

Archie and Reggie run outside. Archie demands to know why Betty and Veronica “assaulted” their delivery girl. Veronica explains they were delivering freebies from Pop’s. Reggie and Archie inspect the items and deem them okay. The girls are pissed at the guys’ lack of concern for their “broken bodies”, and the three of them dump the food on Archie and Reggie. which, I’m sure, will get all three of them fired. But the girls seem to quit, so it’s a moot point. Betty lets the guys keep the “stupid” skateboards, only one of which she (might have) paid for.

This is an okay story, I guess. Typical set-up of the guys flirting with other girls and their girlfriends angrily overreacting.

After this is a one-page ad disguised as a story – “Surprise Ending!” Betty, Veronica, Archie, and Jughead are walking through the Sunkist Fun Fruits Jungle. The girls and guys run into each other, find a laughing tree, and sit down for a picnic, which will, no doubt, involve picking artificially flavored fruit snacks off a tree.

After this is one page of reader-submitted fashions – “Veronica’s flamingo Pink Fashions!”

I’m sorry that there was no review last week. Work has been crazy. Stay tuned for another new review later today.