Comics – Bloodsport

Riverdale-1.jpg
Writer: Will Ewing
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 1
Cover Date: May, 2017
On-Sale Date: April 5, 2017
Length: 10 pages

I’m sorry that this is so late. Real Life has been crazy-busy lately.

During varsity football practice, Archie is still getting used to it. After practice, in the boys’ locker room, Coach Clayton gives Archie Jason’s old jersey (#9), even though he’d already done that in the first episode. Reggie’s in awe, but Archie doesn’t know how he’s going to live up to it.

Archie gets looks from the ladies while walking down the hall in his varsity jacket. He feels good. Then Chuck (the team captain, coach’s son, and “king of the jocks”) pulls him into a classroom filled with the varsity football team. Archie and Reggie are forced to their knees. Chuck welcomes them to “hell week”.

So the legendary football hell week is kind of like an initiation into a secret society – only much more violent and humiliating. Reggie, Archie, and Moose strip in the boys’ locker room and then streak across the football field in front of girls (including, possibly, Betty). Archie covers his dick. Moose looks embarrassed as well. Reggie, however, proudly lets his “freak flag” fly.

Then they have to stick a bunch of plastic forks in the football field of their arch-rivals. In this continuity, it’s Baxter High (instead of the usual Central High).

Then they toilet-paper Mr. Weatherbee’s house at night. He isn’t amused. Jughead also walks by and observes this.

At lunch one day, Jughead is amazed at the amount of food that Archie’s eating. Archie says Chuck says he needs to put on weight. Jughead wonders why Archie gives a shit about what Chuck says. Jughead asks about Archie’s music. Archie basically says he can do both that and football. He brings up getting Jason’s jersey and says he owes it to Jason to try.

That night, the pledges are told to come to school in only their bathing suits. Archie, Reggie, Moose, and two other guys get in the back of Chuck’s truck. He drives them out to Sweetwater River, where the entire team is gathered. In order to prove they’re “tough enough to be a Bulldog”, they must pass the final test: swim across Sweetwater River and back. It’s at least 100 yards to the other side, and the water is freezing. Um, I’m guessing this is supposed to occur roughly around the same time as the first episode, which means probably around early September. Does water get that cold at night in upstate New York at that time of year?

Anyway, Reggie and Archie whine. Chuck yells at Archie, saying Jason did it, and offers Archie the option of quitting the team.

Archie and Reggie do it. Moose says he can’t swim, so Archie volunteers to do it again in his place. A concerned Reggie tries to talk him out of it. Chuck says Archie can’t do it for Moose, because no weak links (meaning Moose). Archie takes another swim over Chuck’s protest.

During the swim, the cold gets to Archie, and he thinks he sees Jason’s corpse, wearing his varsity jacket. Archie keeps going and makes it. Moose thanks him. Reggie offers Archie a towel. Chuck’s pissed, saying Archie earned another week of hell. Archie tells him to bring it. Another player, though, calls Chuck out on his bullshit, saying Archie did it. Eventually, Chuck backs off, having no other choice.

For all of their trouble, though, Archie, Reggie, and Moose end up as bench-warmers. Coach Clayton puts Archie in the game for the next play, so Chuck can take a breather. When Archie goes to tell him, though, Chuck pushes him and says the number on his chest is a bullseye. As Archie plays, we briefly see Betty and Veronica cheering.

After the game, Archie looks in a mirror in the boys’ locker room and sees Jason’s corpse staring back at him. He feels he’s a dead man walking. Well, that’s creepy as fuck.

Slight continuity hiccup aside, this was pretty good story.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – Woman Scorned

Archie-156.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Harry Lucey*
Inking: Mario Acquaviva*
Colors: ?*
Letters: Mario Acquaviva*
Original Publication: Archie, No. 156
Cover Date: July, 1965
Length: 6 pages

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

I’m sorry that this is late.

Archie and Jughead are walking along a sidewalk. Archie’s explaining how he had to cancel a date with Betty. As he contrasts Betty’s calm attitude regarding it with what he thinks Veronica’s reaction to a broken date would be, he fails to see a tree falling behind him, a toy wagon full of rocks speeding toward him, and a flower pot falling from the sky right behind him. Jughead sees them, excuses himself, and runs off.

Jughead confronts Betty over her slapstick attempts to murder Archie. Well, not really. He confronts her over putting “an innocent bystander” (namely, himself) in harm’s way. Betty calls it “the fortunes of war”. She then gives this awesome line: “If you bystand in the target area, you’re bound to collect a few shell fragments!”

Jughead wonders why Betty’s suddenly this angry over a broken date, since Archie’s pulled this shit before. Betty is fucking enraged, lifting Jughead off his feet by the shirt. She says tonight’s broken date was the last straw. He tells her to take it easy. She lets him go but keeps screaming. He climbs a pole to get away from her. Warning Jughead of Archie’s impending death, Betty sends him off to pay his “last respects”.

Jughead finds Archie and warns him, but Archie doesn’t believe him, saying Betty “always comes around” after his bullshit. Jughead suggests Archie try to pacify her. Archie says he has a date with Veronica, but Jughead gives him a mental image of a gruesome death. Still not taking it seriously, Archie runs off to find Betty and “happy her up a bit”.

At home, Betty is ironing…in the kitchen. Fun detail: the Coopers don’t have chairs at their kitchen table; they have a restaurant-style booth. Oh, and there’s a goldfish bowl on the table.

Yeah, I don’t know either.

Anyway, Betty laments to herself that she’s a “born loser” for failing to get Archie and failing to kill him. Yeah, because nothing says “loser” like not being able to murder someone.

Anyway, Betty is swearing revenge to herself when Archie bursts in, excited. Betty tries to smash his face with her hot iron, but he tells her that their date’s back on.

Figuring he ditched Veronica (although I doubt it), Betty is suddenly elated and forgives Archie. So excited is she that she accidentally hits him in the face with her hot iron. Then she lifts him to his feet and makes him spin in circles with her in some kind of weird happy dance. During all of this, Betty fully admits to wanting to kill Archie.

She accidentally releases him, sending him crashing into the kitchen table. His head gets stuck in the goldfish bowl. The two goldfish somehow survive.

Later, Archie is recovering from his injuries in bed. Reasoning Betty is more dangerous when she’s happy, Archie reveals he called off their date again. He calls Betty a screwball. Jughead leaves to get out of the “target area”, confusing Archie.

Just then, Betty throws a boomerang into Archie’s bedroom in her latest attempt on his life.

What the fuck did I just read? This story blatantly portrays Betty as a murderous teen that can’t handle rejection. Yeah, I realize that’s an actual thing these days, but it’s surprising to find it in an Archie comic, particularly from over fifty years ago. One thing, though: what’s with all of the Wile E. Coyote traps? If Betty was at all competent, she’d lure Archie to a secluded spot with the promise of sex, get him drunk, and then stab him to death.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 6

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-6.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Jen Vaughn
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 6
Cover Date: July, 2018
On-Sale Date: May 9, 2018
Length: 19 pages

This scene doesn’t occur in the actual story.

I’m sorry that this is late. My sister showed up for a somewhat lengthy visit (starting late on Monday night and lasting until early next Monday morning), so it’s been a bit chaotic here.

With this issue, the series has a new artist: Jen Vaughn. Her artwork is serviceable, but I don’t like it as much as Cabrera’s. Eva Cabrera draws a variant cover:

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-6-Variant.jpgBefore the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page.

This issue begins a new five-part storyline called “Hunted”. Let’s get into it.

The first two pages consist of a flashback to the Vixens kicking the punks’ asses outside Sugar’s Roller Rink on Friday night and saving that girl. We get the impression that they’re being watched.

Later, the girl is walking along and forcefully confronted by some punk.

In the present, on the Greendale/Riverdale border, Mad Doc Doom swears he comes in peace, but Toni calls him out on his bullshit (it’s censored) and says he was stalking them. Evelyn wants to kick his ass. Cheryl blows him a kiss with her left hand while having her right hand balled into a fist. Is this a trademark of hers or something? It’s cute.

Anyway, Doc puts down his knife and claims to be unarmed. He wants to chat. Cheryl wants to know why he was following them. He claims it was a coincidence. Evelyn doesn’t believe him. He sticks to his story, even managing to praise his hot rod. He claims he was going to help them in the house. Toni calls him out.

He admits he was going to give Ang’s asshole boyfriend “rightful justice”. Hugging Ang, Toni asks Doc how he knew the asshole. Doc says they “both ran with similar bad crowds”. Toni still doesn’t trust him. He says he wanted to right some wrongs, including getting Ang out of there. Toni says they did and tells him to stay the fuck away from all of them. They get on their bikes and leave Greendale (population: 4,012). Doc guesses he has his work cut out for him.

The Vixens ride at night. Ang is riding with Toni and holding on to her. Cheryl seems to have disappeared (no, this isn’t a plot point; it’s sloppy artwork; she should be riding with Betty as she had been). Anyway, Betty asks Veronica what they do now in case he follows them back to Riverdale and finds out who they are. Veronica is dismissive.

At Doc’s base of operations, he meets with a guy about the Vixens.

We get a flashback to the Riverdale Police finding Fangs Fogarty tied to the tree. A bloody wrench is in the grass nearby. Fangs doesn’t wanna give up who did this to him. He begs to be arrested and taken away from here. They oblige.

Back in the present, Doc is glad that the Vixens scared the “suckers”/”punks” straight. He’s upset at the Serpents for missed opportunities and not seeing the bigger picture. The guy that Doc is talking to is named Chester. Oddly, Chester counts only five girls among the Vixens. Doc enlists the help of Ang’s asshole ex-boyfriend, Sam, to “break” the girls.

The next evening, Veronica is walking downstairs and overhears a news report that her parents are watching about a young local woman being reported missing: Abbey Finn, age 22. Veronica is shocked to realize it’s the girl that they’d helped at Sugar’s Roller Rink. Hiram is surprised at Veronica’s reaction and asks if she knows her. She says she doesn’t and excuses herself.

Later, at Pop’s, Betty, Veronica, Midge, Ethel, and Toni (the core five of this group, it seems) have a Vixens meeting. Betty, the tough biker chick, says her parents don’t want her out too late. Midge exposits what we already know. Veronica tries to convince Ethel that this isn’t her fault. Veronica wants to find out who’s responsible for Abbey’s disappearance but doesn’t exactly have a plan. Toni says she’s full of shit (censored). Toni starts complaining about Veronica and then about Cheryl as well. Betty tells Toni to “be reasonable”. Veronica says Toni’s right: they’re in over their heads.

Veronica gets up and leaves Pop’s. Betty goes after her, sensing Veronica wants to give up. Veronica says they screwed up by not noticing Abbey walked away while they were celebrating. Betty says they have to make it right.

The others come out. Toni not-quite-apologizes to Veronica and says Ang is staying with her while her (Toni’s) parents are away. Ang is traumatized, and Toni feels helpless. Veronica tells her to not apologize.

Cheryl and Evelyn make a flashy entrance on Cheryl’s new(?) motorcycle, which has a lot of red on it. Cheryl’s pissed that the others “forgot” to send her “invite to the pow-wow” and thanks Eve for telling her. Betty asks Eve, “How?” How what? What’s she asking about? Toni tries to kick Cheryl out of the gang, but Cheryl brings up the fact that she handled the ladies’ unfinished business. Betty rudely demands an explanation.

As Cheryl explains, we get a flashback where she and Eve go on “clean-up duty”. Fangs threatens to tell the cops everything. Eve starts punching him. Cheryl jokingly “admonishes” her. Cheryl insults Fangs and explains she had a “ladies lunch” with Bubbles and Penny, where they talked about his relationships with the latter two. Cheryl admits she’s spoiled, but she also says at least she knows no means no. She kicks Fangs in the nuts and threatens the destruction of his dick and balls in a vise by Eve. Cheryl tells him to keep his mouth shut about the Vixens. Fangs begs Cheryl. She takes some blood off his face and puts it on the wrench, I guess to make them seem more badass or something. She tells him to learn some respect.

Back in the present, Toni finds this disturbing. Cheryl insists they need her and asks for Ang’s location. Toni says she went to a kickboxing class that she signed her up for. Cheryl is shocked that Toni let Ang go out alone and says they don’t know what they’re doing. Veronica suggests Cheryl work with them instead of insulting them. Cheryl tells Toni to round up “Stockholm Sally” and for the girls to be on the lookout for anything odd. Cheryl will try to go back to the scene of the crime. Betty’s upset that Cheryl’s bossing them around. Toni adds Cheryl makes it really hard to like her. Cheryl is pleased by that and tells her to move it.

At Lodge Manor, Hiram and Hermione are turning in for the night. All of this gang bullshit and disappearance bullshit is giving Hiram second thoughts about moving his family to Riverdale. He wants them to up and leave if he can’t get answers from his men soon.

Meanwhile, in a warehouse or wherever, a kidnapped Ang is being escorted by Doc, Chester, and Sam. Doc is ready to give Ang her “gift” – and then slits Sam’s throat. Ang is shocked. Doc opens a room, where Abbey is tied to a chair. He says he can finally start his “business”.

This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. A caption on the final page promises “the Vixens head toward danger” next issue, but since when do they not? Anyway, after the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated May of 2018); this one talks about the cameo of the real-life WFTDA team, River City Roller Derby, in the previous issue and welcomes suggestions for cameos by other teams or leagues in future issues. A photo of the actual team is included. There’s one page of ads for other Archie Comics, a full-page ad for Archie Superteens Versus Crusaders (beginning on June 20th), and the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #7, which has Betty and Veronica driving in (presumably) Arizona or New Mexico and about to collide with each other. Both girls have tattoos on their backs – Betty a sword or dagger and Veronica a “V”.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Spring Blossom!

Cheryl-Blossom-13.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 13
Cover Date: June, 1998
Length: 11 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

Outside Riverdale High School (I guess), Betty gives up on something. Cheryl overhears and makes a joke, upsetting Betty. This starts up a conversation. Betty is having trouble getting sponsors for their annual “Riverdale High Cherry Blossom Festival”. Businesses in town usually support the festival, but this year everybody seems to have financial woes. Cheryl suggests finding a rich donor, but Betty says the rules state the festival is to be funded by local businesses. Cheryl offers to help, saying she can be quite persuasive. Betty asks Cheryl why she wants to help them. Cheryl admits she just likes collecting money from people.

Cheryl goes and asks businesses around town and also makes calls, but no one’s interested in funding the festival.

Cheryl goes to see her dad, asking if he owns “that mini-mall in Riverdale” (so Pembrooke is a separate town in this story). Clifford says Cheryl owns it; he put it in her name years ago for tax purposes, but she can’t touch it until she’s 21. Cheryl goes and threatens the tenants with expulsion “in a couple of years” unless they pony up the cash for the festival.

At school (yeah, Cheryl’s attending Riverdale High during this time), Cheryl tells Betty that she got all of her sponsorship money for her “little festival”. When Betty asks how, Cheryl says “Just a little persuasion!” Cheryl claims “the sponsors” required her to organize the event and give it “the Blossom touch”. Veronica overhears and nearly flips her shit, but Betty calms her down and gives Cheryl a to-do list. Cheryl says she’ll get right on it. Archie eagerly offers to help, but Veronica pulls Archie into service of herself and Betty. Archie’s ticked. Veronica volunteers Dilton to help Cheryl. Dilton facepalms. Cheryl has her “assistant” follow her.

On another day, Betty asks Cheryl if she ordered the flowers for the parade float. Cheryl says she “altered the design a bit” and unveils the float, which is devoted to her. Betty and Veronica are shocked. Cheryl feels she deserves “a little recognition” due to creating “quite a sensation” since she started at Riverdale High. (Oddly, Cheryl goes from calm and smiling in one panel to screaming in the next.) Betty talks Veronica into letting Cheryl have her float, saying it’s too late to change it.

On another day, Betty (angrily, for some reason) tells Cheryl to pick up the posters from the printer. Cheryl goes to get them. The posters for “The Riverdale Cheryl Blossom Festival!” promise “fun!”, “food!”, and “Cheryl!” Cheryl justifies it to herself by noting the similarity of “Cheryl Blossom” and “Cherry Blossom”. This makes me wish for a story in which Cheryl takes Japanese for her foreign language class and chooses “Sakura” as her Japanese name.

Veronica and Betty see the posters (and billboard!) around town and get pissed. Despite that, Betty still wonders how it happened. They go to confront Cheryl.

On another day, in the student council’s office, Betty excitedly announces they got some last-minute funding from the Riverdale Business Association, meaning they can have their Cherry Blossom Festival. Veronica promptly fires Cheryl and tells her to forget about her festival. Cheryl wants to have it, anyway, citing the work that went into it. Veronica is looking forward to seeing Cheryl make a fool of herself.

On the big day, Cheryl is having her festival “across the street” (from the high school, I guess). Veronica thinks their festival is kicking ass, but she and Betty notice a lack of boys, and Betty decides to head over to Cheryl’s festival.

Veronica and Betty see Archie, Reggie, and other guys waiting in line at Cheryl’s kissing booth for free kisses. Betty finds it “absurd” (even though it’s actually a smart idea) and asks Jughead how Cheryl lured him here. Free food, of course (there’s even “Cheryl Corn”!). Okay, that idea’s not so smart; Cheryl needs to charge for something in order to make money; maybe there’s a high admission price?

Betty and Veronica check out the attractions: Cheryl’s Funhouse of Beauty, the Glamorous Cheryl Coaster, the Cheryl-Go-Round, and ten shows daily of “The Life of Cheryl Blossom”. Apparently, it’s all free; I seriously hope Cheryl charged admission, but the story seems to insinuate she’s taking a loss on all of this just to have the more popular festival. As a side note, just because a lot of the attractions are self-indulgent doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not enjoyable. There’s a funhouse, a roller coaster, a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, food, candy, and kisses. Just saying.

Anyway, Dilton offers to help Veronica and Betty compete. Veronica’s surprised Dilton’s still helping Cheryl, and Dilton blames Veronica for it, despite the fact that he could have, y’know, quit. Dilton wants to sabotage an event at tonight’s fireworks display, where Cheryl will be lowered via crane onto her float.

Later, back at their own festival, Betty tells Veronica that the girls that showed up basically saved their asses. Dilton calls Veronica on a walkie-talkie and tells the girls to get ready.

That night, at Cheryl’s festival, Cheryl is standing on a platform and introduced as “the Queen of Riverdale”. This is too much, “even for” Archie.

Dilton has Hank, the crane operator, swing Cheryl wildly back and forth. Okay, dudes, no, you don’t attempt to murder someone for providing entertainment, even if it is self-indulgent. Reggie’s enjoying seeing Cheryl in peril. Cheryl is dumped over the dunk tank at the Cherry Blossom Festival, but she grabs hold of the plank and remains dry. Veronica throws a ball and hits the target, dunking Cheryl. Betty and Veronica are amused.

This story is okay. Cheryl was obviously wrong in making the festival all about her, but, other than that, she did actually organize a seemingly fun festival. It wasn’t worth putting her life in danger just to put an early end to her festival, so the guys would go over to the other festival (at least, I think that was the rationale).

The story is followed by “Cheryl’s Fashions Through the Years!”, a page on which Cheryl models 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s clothes.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Fast and Loose

Archie's-Girls-Betty-and-Veronica-322.jpg
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo*
Inks: Jimmy DeCarlo*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica, No. 322
Cover Date: February, 1983
Length: 6 pages

*I don’t have the original issue and am reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book. The story might originally be uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate. The indexer note at GCDb states: “When reprinted in Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine (Archie, 1987 series) #233, Rudy Lapick is credited as the inker.”

I’m sorry that this is a bit late.

Before I get into the actual story, here’s an unfounded rumor about the issue as a whole, courtesy of GCDb: “Betty and Veronica half-naked on the cover, the story titles “Fast and Loose,” “Heavy Date,” and “Moanin’ Low,” and Cheryl Blossom’s aggressive sexuality have led Archie fans to speculate that “something” happened “between the lines” of this issue.”

Betty and Cheryl are walking along and come across Archie and Reggie. Betty introduces Cheryl to them, stating she and Jason go to Pembrooke Academy. Cheryl lets the guys call her Cher. Reggie, ever the smartass, asks “Share what?” Cheryl immediately whores herself out to him. Betty laughs it off, calling her “a great kidder”, but Cheryl lets Betty know she’s serious.

Cheryl then throws herself at Archie, and he misinterprets her advancements as wanting to join their band, The Archies. Cheryl has a “What the fuck?” moment but then resumes her seduction, readily admitting she’s a slut. Archie gets really nervous. Betty calmly observes the situation and says Cheryl is “too rich for poor Archie’s blood”. Reggie agrees. Betty eventually has enough of this and leaves. Reggie follows her, saying Cheryl shows bad taste. Betty calls her a fast woman and adds she knows, from experience, Cheryl is dealing with a “slo-o-ow man”. Laughing, Reggie agrees.

Cheryl tries to get behind Archie, probably to do things to his ass. Veronica comes by and interrupts them, pissed. Archie’s nervous as fuck and makes the introductions. Veronica and Cheryl oddly exchange some cowgirl-like banter (despite years of the old radio show and the Filmation cartoons, Veronica is not Southern; she’s from New York or Boston; Cheryl, also, doesn’t strike me as Southern). Veronica claims Archie as her boyfriend and drags him off.

Jason shows up, so Cheryl calls Archie and “Bonnie” back. Veronica angrily corrects her. Cheryl doesn’t give a shit and makes the introductions. Jason flirts with Veronica, and she likes it, but it pisses Archie off, and he yells at her. Veronica walks off with Jason.

Cheryl wants Archie to show her the “interesting sights” (meaning his dick and ass) and starts their “dandy little sightseeing tour” by making out with him.

Jughead walks over to Betty, and they both talk about how Cheryl is a “mankiller”. Betty’s afraid that Cheryl’s going to make a fool out of Archie, which, according to Jughead, is not too hard to do.

Betty asks Jughead if he has the magic pin that makes him irresistible to women (yeah, that was a thing back then; just go with it). He has it in his pocket and puts it on his hat, ready to save Archie from “a fate worse than death”. Surprised, Betty says it’s “not that bad” (because, y’know, hot chick trying to fuck you is better than death).

Jughead walks over and asks Archie to introduce “the tasty dish”. Cheryl immediately gets a lady boner for Jughead and ignores “Red”. Cheryl walks off with Jughead, questioning her sanity and claiming he really turns her on. Archie tells Betty that they need to figure out how to save Ronnie from Jason, but Betty doesn’t give a shit about that, since she has what she wants.

So this story is pretty risque but also pretty funny. After already knowing (for however long) Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, Cheryl is introduced to Archie and Reggie in this story. I love that Cheryl shamelessly flaunts her sexuality and doesn’t try to hide it by being modest in any way. The only thing that I hate about this story is the stupid magic pin.

This story was reprinted as a flashback within the “Love & War” story in Archie’s Love Showdown Special, No. 1, in late 1994. It was the immediate sequel to the famous “Love Showdown” storyline that reintroduced Cheryl to Riverdale (and readers).

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Extra Disastrous!

BV-Friends-Digest-260.jpgWriter: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: B&V Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 260
On-Sale Date: April 4, 2018
Length: 5 pages

Veronica and Betty have gotten parts as extras in a “big budget disaster movie” that’s filming in Riverdale for economic reasons (plus they’re filming on one of Mr. Lodge’s downtown properties). Veronica and Betty exposit about how they arrived at their current situation – as well as about filmmaking in general – for no in-story reason; it’s an infodump for our benefit.

The film studio seems to be Universal, the movie is called The World’s End, and I can’t tell if the director is supposed to be anyone in particular or not. A member of the crew, who shows up for only three panels, comes by to do nothing except confirm the girls are extras. Thanks for that.

Anyway, per the director’s instructions, Veronica and Betty are supposed to be having a conversation in the background during this outdoors scene while the film’s leads, knock-offs of Mark Wahlberg and Gwyneth Paltrow, walk through the park and deliver poorly-written, ham-fisted exposition. I wonder if the story’s writer is going meta on us.

Well, the girls fuck up the first take by squeeing over the stars. Veronica fucks up takes 2-4 by talking with her hands, doing pilates, and swallowing a bug (the last one scares Mark, because he thinks Veronica’s dying). Veronica’s “acting” in dealing with the bug inspires the director to use her and Betty elsewhere. Veronica’s excited, and Betty jokes she should swallow bugs more often.

At the Riverdale premiere of the movie, Archie’s sitting with the girls, and he’s eager to see them (the movie’s almost over). Betty tells him to be patient.

After the climactic final battle, during which Gwyneth’s character, Constance, exposits that Mark’s character, Matt, saved the world by destroying the asteroid with his modified atomic laser pointer (yeah…), it’s revealed the fragments destroyed their hometown (“it’s the price someplace had to pay!”). Gwyneth hams up mourning the loss of their “poor town folk”.

The joke is Veronica and Betty were used as dead bodies beneath a fake boulder, and you can see only their legs. Betty and Archie are excited, but Veronica’s upset.

This story’s pretty cute. There’s not a lot of space, though, hence the infodump at the beginning.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Just Another Day!

Betty-and-Veronica-269.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 269
Cover Date: February, 2014
On-Sale Date: January 15, 2014
Length: 20 pages

This is kind of an important issue, not so much for any specific part of the story contained herein but for the fact that it’s the first in-continuity issue in over a year. See, for the past five issues (all of 2013), Betty and Veronica had been taken up by parodies of fairy tales, leaving the “real” girls to be seen in only Archie and perhaps new stories in some of the digests. This issue was our first chance to see them in their own adventures on a regular basis again, so we got an issue-length story featuring a day in their lives.

Betty, Veronica, and Archie are all asleep in bed at around 1:30 AM. The girls are dreaming of him, and he’s dreaming both of them are giving him some loving.

As the night wears on, though, the girls interrupt each other’s dreams, giving them a restless night’s sleep. Meanwhile, they’re still giving Archie that sweet, sweet loving in his own dream. It’s now 3:20 AM.

At 7:00 AM, the girls are woken up (Betty by her alarm clock and Veronica by Smithers). Meanwhile, Archie peacefully sleeps through his alarm, still dreaming of getting loving from the girls.

Betty has to rush out the door. Her parents have already left for work, so she decides to grab a quick bite but then realizes she has to feed the cat (whose name is Caramel, although it isn’t mentioned here). She also realizes her blue shirt is still in the dryer. Um, a few questions. Who did the laundry and when? Who forgot to take Betty’s shirt out of the dryer? And why is Betty concerned about this right now, considering she’s already put on a pink shirt?

Meanwhile, Veronica asks her servant, Fifi (who had also brought her her designer pumps in bed), to remove some excess marmalade from her toast. Fifi’s thoughts are censored.

Meanwhile, Archie’s still having his wet dream at 7:10 AM.

Betty runs after the school bus, realizing her watch has stopped (apparently, she doesn’t rely on any clock in the house). She has a peace sign on her bookbag.

Meanwhile, Veronica trying to decide which color car to drive to school today.

Meanwhile, Mary wakes Archie up, because he’s late again.

On the bus ride to school, Betty had helped Ethel with her geometry homework and let Dilton borrow her earbuds. They thank her.

Veronica takes up two parking spaces in the student parking lot (which, oddly, is right next to some residential housing) and gets yelled at for it. She doesn’t give a shit.

Archie’s just now making his way out the door and spills everything out of his bookbag. Why doesn’t his mom give him a ride?

Betty sees a poster for the Riverdale High Winter Blitz dance (which is tonight) and decides to text Archie before Veronica gets to him.

Meanwhile, Reggie asks Veronica to the dance. She’s texting Archie and tells Reggie that she’ll put him on “stand by” only if Archie can’t take her, which means Reggie isn’t even her second choice (or maybe, y’know, the line was poorly worded).

Running to school, Archie realizes he’s been texted.

The girls are pissed off, each worrying the other got to Archie first. Archie got both texts and, smug asshole that he is, tells Jughead that he’ll let them fight it out.

Question: How did these girls not know about this imminent dance until today?

Betty sees Veronica in the hallway and decides to play it cool, but Veronica sees right through it. Meanwhile, Archie’s calmly walking to class, unaware of the girls’ anxiety. The bell rings, so enough of this shit.

In Professor Flutesnoot’s class, he praises Betty for getting an A+ on an assignment or test, but she’s preoccupied over whether Archie got her text or not.

In Ms. Grundy’s class, Veronica hasn’t gotten a text back from Archie. Ms. Grundy is pissed and confiscates her cell phone.

In a history class, an unnamed female teacher criticizes Archie for having the wrong book and wrong homework and also for wearing his shirt backwards. She asks him where his head is. Archie’s winking at a cute girl and doesn’t pay any attention to the teacher.

At lunch time, Betty decides to meet the gang and orders a “regular lunch” from Ms. Beazley. Jughead tries to mooch food off Betty.

Meanwhile, Veronica doesn’t eat “this school slop” and has her lunch delivered from home. Smithers presents her with smoked salmon.

Meanwhile, Archie laments his sandwich getting “all squished” by his books, but it still tastes good, so he doesn’t mind much.

We get a landscape (“widescreen”) shot of the gang at the table. There’s a lot of arguing. In short, the girls are going to the dance by themselves, Reggie reminds Veronica of him, Jughead asks Kevin if he’s gonna eat his burger, and Kevin’s glad that he doesn’t have to deal with this shit (except for, y’know, sitting at the same table as these assholes).

After school, Betty’s waitressing at some random restaurant and complaining about Veronica, confusing her customer and coworkers.

Meanwhile, Veronica is complaining about how nobody appreciates her while Fifi gives her a massage, and Veronica accuses “Fi-Fi” of trying to kill her.

Meanwhile, at home, Archie’s laughing his ass off while watching a parody of Tosh.0.

That night, Betty puts on a homemade dress that she’s already worn – along with a new shawl.

At Veronica’s, Vera Wang has personally dropped Veronica’s dress off. Veronica compliments it and says the check is in the mail. Um, why not just hand it to her? Ms. Wang is eager to buy a summer beach house. Okay, technically, her first name isn’t mentioned, but it’s obviously meant to be her.

At Archie’s, Mary and Fred criticize a stain (which he’ll cover with a flower) on his suit and his mismatching socks, respectively.

As Betty rides her bike to the dance, she starts questioning everything about it (including going at all).

During the limo ride to the dance, Reggie fishes for a compliment on his appearance, but Veronica’s pissed at him for not complimenting her appearance and not bringing her flowers.

At the dance, Archie arrives, disheveled, and explains to Midge, Ginger, and two random girls that he had a flat tire.

Dilton asks Betty to dance, and she’s torn between that and talking to Archie.

Veronica ignores Reggie in favor of Archie and notices Betty “honing in”.

Cheryl asks Archie to dance. Why’s Cheryl at a Riverdale High dance, you ask? Well, around this time, they seemed to quietly do away with Pembrooke Academy, and Cheryl was attending Riverdale High with seemingly no explanation. (Who the hell knows where Jason was during this time?) This lasted up through the final Classic Archieverse floppy issue, just after New Riverdale launched.

Betty tries to talk to Archie, but Cheryl barges in. Betty falls, and Cheryl is surprised and seemingly takes the blame for it. However, when Veronica helps Betty up and accuses Cheryl of pushing her, Betty admits she just tripped over herself (I think we’re meant to believe she tripped over her shawl, which she ends up leaving on the floor).

Veronica makes up with Betty, affirming they’re best friends. Archie wants to dance, and Veronica lets him dance with Betty first. Cheryl asks about herself, but Archie cuts her out for the night, and he seems oddly happy to do it, despite the fact that she really didn’t do anything. As she watches them dance (simultaneously, despite the fact that Betty and Veronica were supposed to take turns with Archie), Cheryl asks what Betty and Veronica have that she doesn’t. Kevin again states he’s glad to not be a part of this shit.

The last two pages are taken up with Betty’s diary entry. She writes about friendship while dressed in her sleep attire (shorts and a T-shirt). We see Veronica looking at a selfie that she (I guess) took of them. Archie comes home, completely wiped and in a happy daze (draw your own conclusions) while his happy parents look on.

The story ends where it began. It’s 12:10 AM, and everyone’s fast asleep. The girls dream of Archie, and Archie dreams of getting some hot loving from the girls.

This story’s pretty nice. Not a whole lot to say about it. It’s nice to see a typical day in the lives of Betty, Veronica, and Archie. Archie is, of course, a complete ass, so I’m upset that the girls flocked back to him and that he got to reject Cheryl.

Tune in tomorrow for a review to make up for the lack of one three weeks ago!