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 – 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.

Comics – Family Matters

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.

Elaine arrives at Cheryl’s and begs her cousin for help. Cheryl asks Elaine what she’s doing here. Elaine says Cheryl’s “magic” wore off. Wait, we’re revisiting that story? The footnote even tells the readers to consult a three-year-old issue to understand what the fuck is going on – except it references the wrong issue: Cheryl Special #2 instead of #3. We’re off to a great start.

Cheryl agrees to help her while silently deciding to sabotage her to avoid repeating her past mistake.

Later, at Pop’s, Cheryl asks Dilton to go out with Elaine. Dilton immediately refuses…for whatever reason. Archie remembers Elaine as Cheryl’s “cute cousin” that visited “last year”. Archie’s endorsement of Elaine convinces Dilton that he wants to date her. Cheryl is happy, because this will keep Elaine away from Archie.

Back at Cheryl’s, she gives Elaine a bad hairdo. Elaine says she looks like the Bride of Frankenstein, but she really doesn’t; her hair’s just messy. Cheryl calls it “the Gothic look”, but it isn’t. Cheryl has Elaine put on a snowsuit, even though “it’s summer now”, because “reversible season wear is cool”. She also adds a boa. As for makeup, “the circus clown look is very chic”.

Cheryl can’t help giggling, which somehow doesn’t immediately clue Elaine in that all of this is bullshit. Instead, Elaine asks Cheryl why she isn’t wearing anything like this. She puts it off for later and sends Elaine to Pop’s to meet Dilton. She decides to follow closely to see the results. Clifford sees Elaine leaving through the window and asks why she’s dressed like that. Jason pops up out of nowhere and tells him that Cheryl’s trying to set her up. Clifford’s angry.

At Pop’s, Dilton is impressed with Elaine, mistaking her for an “avant-garde fashion model”. Elaine likes Dilton.

Watching from outside, Cheryl can’t believe it but is happy that, at least, Elaine’s not going to get anywhere with Archie.

Back home, Clifford and Penelope confront Cheryl over what she did to Elaine, ignoring Cheryl’s defense that Dilton really likes Elaine. As punishment, they make Cheryl up in the same way as she’d done to Elaine and force her to go out in public like that, which makes Betty laugh and think Cheryl’s gone fucking insane.

This story was okay, I guess, but it seems really odd to follow up on a three-year-old story and ask the younger readers to seek it out.

Extras

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

Comics – Cheers To You

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: 11 pages

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

At Riverdale High, Cheryl sees Ms. Grundy in the hall and tries to avoid her, but no luck. Grundy gets a wicked grin upon spotting Cheryl. Cheryl guesses Grundy’s on her ass about the extracurricular shit from before.

Grundy says the school year is almost over, and Cheryl has failed at the school paper and the science club. Wait, science club? Is Grundy talking about that time that Cheryl wanted a star named after her? That’s quite a stretch. Anyway, why is Grundy so obsessed about Cheryl’s lack of participation? Cheryl will be gone soon. Anyway, Cheryl says she’ll find some shitty club to join. She comes across cheerleading practice in the gym and decides to join. She then realizes the state cheerleading competition is in two weeks and “could stand the attention”. She decides to hire a professional trainer.

Sometime later, at home, an older man (a butler?) informs Cheryl that she has a visitor: a knockoff of Mary Lou Retton, who was a gymnast, not a cheerleader. Cheryl wants to get down to business. She’s paying Mary “more than most small countries make in a year”. They practice, and Cheryl gets better.

Finally, once she’s good, only then does Cheryl put on a cheerleading uniform, walk into the gym, and ask to join the team. Betty and Veronica aren’t happy. Cheryl shows off her moves. A random teammate is impressed and compliments Cheryl. Betty tells a dismayed Cheryl that she can’t join, because the Riverdale cheerleading squad has been chosen for the year. Well, yeah, especially with the school year being almost over. Cheryl should have asked them before she wasted her time and money on training. Cheryl wants to be in the state competition. Ronnie’s like “Tough shit” and laughs at her.

Grundy has overheard about who trained Cheryl and offers Cheryl to “pinch hit” as their cheerleading coach for the rest of the year. Ronnie loses her shit. Cheryl agrees to it. Ronnie angrily asks about Coach Weaver. At that moment, Coach Weaver walks by in the hall alongside her husband or boyfriend or fuckbuddy and announces she’s off to have her baby girl, who’s come a bit early. Coach Weaver is all smiles and doesn’t behave at all like a woman in labor. Ronnie calls her inconsiderate. Grundy angrily tells Betty and Ronnie (but mostly Ronnie) that Cheryl “needs comaraderie” [sic] and orders them to support her. Betty seems happy to. Grundy exposits about how Betty’s the team captain and knows all of the moves. Ronnie agrees to it but warns Cheryl against pulling any shit. Cheryl says no one’s more competitive than her and says she can take them right to the top. Ronnie tells Betty that it would be nice to have Cheryl on their side for once. Betty seems to agree without saying anything.

Cheryl is eager to get started and shows the girls a cheer that she learned. It ends with Cheryl ripping her pants (or rather panties in this case). This had also happened during her training, so I guess it’s a running gag during this story. Hilarious. Betty and Ronnie laugh at Cheryl’s misfortune, despite the rest of the routine being good. An embarrassed Cheryl leaves, promising to “be back with some preparation for the competition”. I thought she’s already prepared.

Anyway, now’s a good time to mention something distracting, art-wise. Usually, it’s only Betty and Ronnie that are given any attention during these practice scenes. Sometimes, a third girl is tossed in, but the third girl always changes from panel to panel (one girl looked like just Ronnie with short hair, which confused me for a moment). There’s no sense of team cohesion.

On another day, Cheryl surprises the girls with a cheerleading bus. It has “Riverdale” on it but no mention of a team mascot (in the classic comics, the mascot is usually the Bulldogs, which is what Riverdale uses; in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie and in the The Archies in Jugman TV movie, which is a loose sequel to Archie’s Weird Mysteries, the mascot is the Raccoons). Ronnie thinks the bus is tacky and gawdy (it really isn’t), but Grundy says it was a generous donation from Cheryl’s family and forces Betty, Ronnie, and Midge (who’s on the team, I guess) to agree.

Somehow, Cheryl had gotten it fixed so the bus’ sign changes from “The Riverdale Cheerleaders” to “Cheryl Blossom’s Cheerleaders Supreme” when they’re on the road. How’d she manage that?

With absolutely no transition, they’re suddenly in the school, and Cheryl surprises Betty and Ronnie with new uniforms with a blossom on the chest. Perhaps thinking the outfits are too skimpy (although the only difference is a lack of sleeves), Betty says this isn’t a Las Vegas show. Cheryl begs them to humor her and wear them “for now”. Betty angrily agrees. Cheryl plots to switch them with their regular outfits before the competition.

Cheryl puts red wigs on Betty and Ronnie, but they refuse to wear them.

Finally, the big competition day arrives. The team’s on its way. Why are they leaving on the day of the competition? Do they not have the money to pay for hotel rooms or something? Anyway, Betty complains to Grundy that Cheryl’s driving them crazy. Grundy tells her to admire Cheryl’s determination. Cheryl asks the driver why the bus is slowing down. He says there’s a big accident on the bridge. Cheryl says the competition starts in an hour. That’s insane and totally irresponsible. I’m guessing it was Grundy’s decision of when to leave the school, so I’m blaming her for this.

Cheryl’s upset at the thought of the money that she spent on the costumes going to waste, and Ronnie picks up on that and questions Cheryl. Cheryl tries to cover her ass by saying she “forgot” their “old costumes”. Ronnie wants to beat the shit out of Cheryl, but Grundy restrains her and says they may not make it there. Cheryl’s gloomy. The bus driver relays some information from the police: they’re gonna be here for a couple hours. This gives Cheryl an idea. Knowing they have a captive audience, Cheryl suggests putting on a show, because “it’s better than sitting here doing nothing”.

Ronnie agrees, and I guess the rest of the girls are on board as well. They go outside. Cheryl spots traffic ‘copters and mentions the media coverage that they’ll get. The girls (minus Cheryl, shockingly) do a routine and are a hit. Grundy credits Cheryl with ending the year “with a bang”. Teasing an upcoming storyline, Cheryl mentions summer and says “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

This story was okay, I guess, but it feels very contrived. None of this would happen in real life. Also, the story feels very dated. It’s not really the fault of the story itself but rather the development that has occurred since its publication. I’m so used to Cheryl being the team captain and calling the shots (mostly from Riverdale, but comics like Betty & Veronica: Vixens have also run with it) that reading an old story where Cheryl’s a nobody that has to try out for the team feels odd.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a Salem (yeah, Sabrina’s cat) story titled “One Cool Cat”.

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Spring Carnival Style”, which seems like something that should have appeared earlier.

Comics – Spaced Out!

Cheryl-Blossom-13
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 13
Cover Date: June, 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 walking along outside, overhears Betty call Archie a star, and takes issue with that. Veronica calls Cheryl “Scarlet Witch” and says they just had a star named after Archie. Cheryl asks how they did that. Betty shows Cheryl a star map “certificate” and explains her uncle named a star after her for her birthday.

Betty then got Ronnie a star for her birthday. Betty says they both then “just had to” register a star under Archie’s name. Cheryl asks why. Betty shows Cheryl another map showing their three stars, which “make the perfect triangle”. *groan* Cheryl calls it “nauseatingly cute” and considers purchasing a nearby star, so they’d be a “love ‘square'”. Ronnie says she can’t, because they made sure all of the stars in this section are registered, so Cheryl couldn’t interfere.

Keep in mind that organizations like the one that they use don’t have any authority to name stars, which resides solely with the International Astronomical Union, which immediately makes this story completely fucking pointless.

Cheryl says she’s above this shit, says goodbye to the “children”, and walks away. Sounds good.

Of course, this is an Archie Comics story, so things are about to take a turn for the stupid.

Later, Cheryl calls the bullshit organization and wants to buy star “A-642” (which, as far as I can tell, is not a real designation), but it’s “currently under license” to Marty Simpson of Boise, Idaho.

So Cheryl goes to Boise to convince this boy to sell it to her. *rolls eyes*

Cheryl bribes Marty by taking him to “every toy store within 50 miles” and spending many hours and dollars buying him a “truckload of toys”. Cheryl wants her star. Marty is satisfied but makes Cheryl pay for a bunch of shit for his parents.

Later, back in Riverdale, at Riverdale High, Cheryl surprises Betty and Ronnie by announcing her star. She invites them to go look tonight in Dilton’s telescope.

That night, at Dilton’s house, Cheryl looks at her “beautiful star”, which is much brighter than the others. Immediately after she stops looking, Dilton looks and tells her to look at something. Her star burns out. Dilton calls it “one hot mass of gas”. Ronnie and Betty have a laugh, and Cheryl warns them against saying anything.

This story was so stupid. Beyond the complete unofficialness of it all (which I’ve already gone into), a lot of the stars whose light we see in the night sky have already burned out long ago; it’s just that their light is just now reaching us. That means Cheryl’s star already burned out long ago. It’s one hell of a coincidence that they were able to witness the precise (delayed) moment through a telescope. Of course, the writer probably thought we see stars’ light in real time.

Comics – What a Nice Trip!

Cheryl-Blossom-13
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 13
Cover Date: June, 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 watching a knockoff of Today. Without any irony, Cheryl makes fun of the “losers” trying to get on TV. Jason compares them to her. She tells him to shut the fuck up and decides to go show the “pathetic crowd” how it’s done. She wears her new sequined jogging outfit and jogs to the studio to get noticed.

Cheryl jogs near a knockoff of Al Roker and trips and falls live on national television. Most onlookers laugh at her misfortune. Al asks Cheryl if she’s okay.

Cheryl tries to claim she tripped on purpose. On onlooker says it looked real to him. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up and leaves in anger.

Either on another day or later the same day (it’s unclear), at Riverdale High, Betty tells Cheryl that everyone’s talking about her appearance on the show, because, if there’s one thing that teens are known for watching, it’s morning news programs. Reggie and Veronica make fun of Cheryl by asking for pointers on falling, so Cheryl walks away.

Later, at home, Cheryl’s going through magazines and newspapers, surprised at the amount of attention that she’s received. She wonders how to take advantage of it.

Reasoning this is free publicity for the show, Cheryl goes to the studio and asks to come back on. An executive agrees. Cheryl asks if she’ll co-host with a knockoff of Katie Couric. He says no but wants her to do the fall again. Angry, Cheryl threatens to sue, if that’s all that they want from her. He tells her to go ahead, since it’s more publicity for them. Cheryl decides to call her lawyer immediately. So…Cheryl is suing the show for…what, exactly? Wanting her to publicly fall on live TV?

Okay, at the lawyer’s office, Cheryl clarifies. She’s suing the show for $30,000,000 due to hurt pride and physical damage that she sustained on their property. He agrees to file the suit. Cheryl says she’ll withdraw it “if they do the right thing”.

Sometime later, Jason informs Cheryl that the lawsuit is the laughing stock of the media. Cheryl says bad press is better than no press. Clifford runs into the room, angry and screaming. Cheryl guesses he owns the parent company that owns the show. He tells her to withdraw the lawsuit immediately. He shows her The Pembrookian newspaper’s headline: “Cheryl Sues Own Father!”

On another day, in an interview for Channel 5 News, Cheryl admits she’s been grounded.

This story was so stupid. How did Cheryl not know her dad owns the parent company. How did her lawyer not know? Why did Cheryl’s father learn about the lawsuit from the local paper instead of from his lawyer?

Extras

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

A brief correction, due to my reviewing “Spring Blossom!” from online scans: “Cheryl’s Fashion Through the Years!” actually appears between the two parts of that story, not after it.

Comics – Wigged Out

Cheryl-Blossom-12
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 12
Cover Date: May, 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 looks at a hair magazine and wants to try out the hairstyle but doesn’t want to mess up her hair, so she goes to the studio of a guy named Armondo to have a wig made, so she can see how it looks.

Soon, the wig is done, and Cheryl finds it beautiful, so she decides to test it out at school.

On another day, at Riverdale High, Cheryl gets a compliment from Archie on her new hairstyle. Veronica gets jealous and wants her and Betty to visit her stylist after school.

The next day, Ronnie and Betty have shamelessly copied Cheryl’s hairstyle. Cheryl calls them out on it and then calls Armondo and has him meet her at her house after school.

After school, Cheryl tells Armondo to make wigs of every hairstyle in a magazine – and is willing to pay out the ass for it.

Cheryl eventually gets a van loaded with wigs. Someone (Tomoko, I think) takes notice of Cheryl’s “hip style”. Ronnie is upset, and Betty correctly guesses they’re gonna have another after-school makeover.

Armando passes another wig to Cheryl between classes. Betty and Ronnie are stumped and apparently can’t tell these are wigs. Ronnie is obsessed, but Betty’s like “Who gives a fuck? Let her show off!” Ronnie’s concerned Cheryl’s taking attention away from her.

Somehow, Cheryl wears more wigs throughout the day than there are classes in a school day. Ronnie’s pissed. Cheryl gets Archie and Reggie’s attention. Cheryl goes to get one more wig for the day, and Ronnie orders Betty to follow her.

They see Cheryl go out to the van, and Ronnie (who has a sudden revelation that they’re wigs) confronts her upon her return. Cheryl tells Ronnie and Betty to get the fuck out of her way – and then trips and falls into a mud puddle just as Betty’s warning her. Cheryl’s pissed. Ronnie makes fun of her.

The final panel has Cheryl asking her fans to vote for their favorite style, and they’ll spotlight it in a future issue. We’ll see if that happens.

This story was okay. Not much to it. Ronnie made a big deal out of nothing.