Comics – Archie, Vol. 2, No. 14

Archie-14.jpgWriters: Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto
Pencils: Joe Eisma
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Coloring: Andre Szymanowicz
Original Publication: Archie, Vol. 2, No. 14
Cover Date: January, 2017
Length: 20 pages

First, that variant cover is a fucking lie. Cheryl hasn’t reached Riverdale yet and certainly hasn’t met Archie yet. It is gorgeous, though. Random note: “Introducing” was changed to “Featuring” on the final cover.

The first page isn’t so much part of a chapter as a teaser. Archie and Jughead are dressed as each other. Archie is letting Jughead explain this one.

Chapter One: The Pavement King (pages 02-07)

Archie is helping Jughead shop for a phone, because it drives Archie “nuts” that Jughead doesn’t have a phone. Jughead has no use for a phone. Archie had wanted Jughead to try out for baseball, but Jughead doesn’t want to. Ugh, this is a pet peeve of mine: I hate when someone tries to get me to do/try things that I have no interest in, and I hate when one character does that to another in a story as well.

Oh, and there’s an unfunny gag where Jughead is drawn as an old man, because he has no use for technology or sports.

Jughead insists he doesn’t want to waste his life, but Archie reminds him that he said he wants to waste his life (when they were six). Jughead takes that part back. Archie claims he’s a “high achiever”, but he hasn’t done shit to put together his parents’ surprise 20th anniversary party (which is in two weeks).

Madison Lee, a pretty girl, comes by and flirts with Archie. Jughead lets us know she’s acting attracted to Archie only because he dated Veronica. I guess dating a guy that used to date a socialite that’s no longer around makes you cool in Riverdale. Oh, and I hate when characters directly address the audience. It’s lazy exposition. Archie was doing this shit at the beginning of the series.

Anyway, Archie still likes Veronica but doesn’t want to hurt Madison, so he agrees to dinner at her house with her parents. Madison’s dad owns a paving company.

Six hours later, Archie shows up at Jughead’s, completely dirty. Jughead washes Archie’s clothes. Archie explains the “pavement king” got mad and accused Archie of leading his daughter on. He tells Jughead that he was right and always is. Jughead demands to know what he’s supposedly been right about. What the fuck? Why’s Jughead overreacting to a compliment?

Anyway, the “joke” is Archie adapts Jughead’s don’t-give-a-fuck philosophy and starts turning into him.

Chapter Two: Meanwhile, in…Switzerland (pages 08-11)

Veronica is about to sit at a table in Cafe Raclette, but Mackenzie, one of Cheryl’s friends/groupies/whatever, tells her that that’s Cheryl’s table. Veronica doesn’t give a fuck and sits down. Cheryl arrives and is pissed. Cheryl sits down and tries to chat with Veronica, but Veronica ignores her. Cheryl decides to forgive “lambie” for leaving her party. Veronica calls Cheryl out on what she did to Julia. Veronica gets up to leave, but Cheryl doesn’t allow it. She tells Veronica to remember her “station”. Veronica has had enough and walks away. Cheryl compares Veronica to her father and brings up his “two-bit election” loss in a “one-horse town”. Veronica storms back over to Cheryl. Cheryl calls her and her father losers. There’s a humorous bit where Mackenzie interjects useless trivia, and Cheryl casually tells her to shut up.

Veronica stares in fury at Cheryl for a moment – and then suddenly smiles. This makes Cheryl feel uneasy. Veronica grins and says “Game on.”

Chapter Three: Invasive is Fine (pages 12-13)

Archie’s eating like a pig. Jughead’s dad’s like “What the fuck?” Jughead’s like “No worries.” Archie falls into a “food coma”. An ambulance is called, and he’s rushed to the hospital.

At the hospital, Archie’s parents have arrived to see him. Archie’s mom’s like “What the fuck?” Archie espouses his new fuck-that-shit mentality and calls Jughead his “number one role model in this life”. Archie’s parents freak out to the doctor and are like “Fucking do something!” Archie basically tells his parents that their twenty years together have amounted to jack shit. Jughead reminds Archie of the party. Archie’s like “Fuck that shit.”

Chapter Four: Simultaneously, in…Switzerland (pages 14-19)

Mr. Lodge calls Veronica up and demands to know what’s with all of the fucking charges on his credit cards. Veronica explains she’s taken his advice and gone to “war” against her “adversary”. She’s thrown an anti-Cheryl party and gotten a bunch of girls to side with her to stop Cheryl’s “reign of terror”. Here’s where things get confusing. Veronica has a plan, but the word balloon has fucking pictures instead of words, and the only thing that I can figure is it has something to do with Paris. Oh, and the girls get massages (in the name of Veronica acquiring and maintaining “allied relationships”), charged to Mr. Lodge, because of course they do. One of the girls went and told Cheryl whatever Veronica said regarding Paris. Cheryl bought a plane ticket to Paris. Veronica references the table from the cafe in a silly statement and then hangs up, leaving her dad confused. Mr. Lodge confesses to Smithers that he may have taught her too well. Smithers says she listens to Mr. Lodge more than Mr. Lodge realizes.

Later, Veronica has gathered the girls for a party at Cafe Raclette. The girl that told Cheryl earlier now tells Veronica that it’s party time. Veronica prepares them to greet their “final guest”.

In Paris (yet still somehow riding in her sports car), Cheryl arrives at a building. She opens the door. It’s a bakery.

The baker that Veronica paid off texts her photos of a pissed-off Cheryl. The girls have a laugh, because “Cheryl hates carbs”. Veronica texts Cheryl a photo of herself leading the party at the cafe, which further infuriates Cheryl.

Two girls toast Veronica, but she’s hesitant to thank them. She goes into a closet and calls her father. She feels bad about winning, which confuses Mr. Lodge. She hangs up and looks at a photo of Archie. It turns out that Riverdale has given her a “soul”, so she feels she can’t survive in her current environment.

Chapter Five: Victory…? (page 20)

Jughead has ransacked Archie’s room in search of party plans but has found none. He puts on Archie’s letter jacket (the same one that was in Jughead’s washing machine?) and finally gets “a fistful of half-achieved goals” from one of the pockets. He vows he has to save his best friend from Jughead Jones.

There’s a reprint of the first chapter of Jughead #10, which is a move that’s lazy beyond words.

This story is uneven. I don’t care for the Archie story, which feels more like a Jughead story. I just don’t like Jughead.

The Veronica story is more enjoyable, but I still don’t know what the fuck Veronica’s plan was nor how it managed to work.

Also, the cliffhanger (of Cheryl setting her sights on Archie) from the end of the previous issue was dropped.

Finally, I don’t like the set-up of alternating between two separate stories in the same issue (and calling them chapters of the same story; the only tenuous thematic similarity is Archie and Veronica each question who they are). I realize the “Betty and Veronica” title has fallen comically behind schedule, so there’s really nowhere else to do Veronica’s storyline, but there’s gotta be a better method than this.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – Archie, Vol. 2, No. 13

Archie-13.jpgWriters: Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto
Pencils: Joe Eisma
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Coloring: Andre Szymanowicz
Original Publication: Archie, Vol. 2, No. 13
Cover Date: December, 2016
Length: 20 pages

I decided to review a New Riverdale story this week, specifically the introduction of Cheryl Blossom into New Riverdale continuity. Let’s get into it:

Each New Riverdale issue has a blurb on the inside-front cover to get readers caught up. Archie and Betty have patched up their friendship after months of estrangement, but this splits up Archie/Veronica and Betty/Sayid (Sayid Ali was apparently Betty’s new boyfriend). Archie and Veronica patched things up. Mr. Lodge lost Riverdale’s mayoral election and, in embarrassment, moved the family far away. I admit I haven’t read every issue of the current “Archie” title, so I’m unfamiliar with a lot of these events, but the details don’t really matter to this story. The point is Archie, Betty, and Veronica are depressed.

Chapter One: Worlds Apart (pages 01-04)

Archie’s walking down the street, singing “Sugar, Sugar“, and sees a poster for a Josie and the Pussycats concert Tuesday at the Beacon. He turns to automatically ask Veronica about getting tickets and realizes she’s not there.

He also imagines Veronica in his car (talking about taking a road trip) and singing while he plays guitar in the garage.

Lying on his bed, Archie tells an absent Veronica that he misses her so much.

Lying on her bed, Veronica is crying.

Chapter Two: Seeing Red (pages 05-11)

Mr. Lodge has moved elsewhere and shipped Veronica to a boarding school for girls, the vaunted Lycee Camembert in Switzerland. Veronica is completely cut off from her old friends in Riverdale, having no phone or Internet access (bullshit) and her friends’ attempted calls and e-mails bouncing (double bullshit), because Mr. Lodge owns all of the connectivity in the entire country (extreme fucking bullshit). Bitch, just borrow someone else’s cell phone or go to an Internet cafe; it’s not hard.

Veronica has to wear a school uniform and gives herself pep talks in the mirror, referring to herself in the plural. Her classes “are not so horrible”, though she has a ton of books on her desk. She plays polo. She holds “court” at the lunch table.

A week in, she’s begun to adjust. Cheryl comes by during lunch (or whenever) and introduces herself. They greet each other in French. Cheryl says she’s happy that Veronica’s here to “class up the joint”. Cheryl looks familiar to Veronica. Cheryl says she was on the same reality show as her, two seasons later. The “dinner party” episode involved Cheryl holding a wine glass and holding onto a rope ladder while fire surrounded her. Veronica is impressed and a little frightened. Cheryl is throwing a party on Friday and invites Veronica, promising “no Molotovs“. Veronica hasn’t been in a party mood lately. Cheryl offers to get coffee for herself and “Chickadee“, so Veronica can tell her all about it. Veronica doesn’t want to, but Cheryl gets an employee named Julia to bring them two espressos. Cheryl tells Veronica to spill and puts a comforting arm around her as Veronica unloads everything on her. Mr. Lodge “expresses his guilt in footwear”, so Veronica got some good shoes out of all of the shit that she went through. Veronica misses Riverdale (even though she was horrified to move there), not just Archie, because she was starting to feel like she belonged somewhere. Cheryl says Veronica belongs here, and she alone understands her. Cheryl invites Veronica on a ski trip to Dubai (she knows a “fantastic” kombucha bar) next weekend. Veronica says maybe and gets Cheryl to keep her secret. Cheryl gets Veronica to come to the off-campus party that she’s throwing for Julia’s birthday. Julia, the daughter of journalists, is here as a student on a scholarship. She has to work here to make ends meet. A chauffeur arrives with Cheryl’s sports car. So Cheryl didn’t drive there herself? After a hug (during which Veronica agrees to come to the party), Cheryl leaves, insisting she’s always right.

Chapter Three: Meanwhile… (pages 12-14)

Archie is still depressed while hanging out with Jughead (who just eats), and Betty is still depressed while playing video games with Kevin. Jughead and Kevin each suggest going out.

Archie and Jughead go to the movies. Betty and Kevin toss a baseball around in a baseball field. Jughead and Archie fly a kite. Betty and Kevin go on a roller coaster. Archie and Jughead play music. Archie feels good. Jughead suggests celebrating with a burger. Betty and Kevin play with a multitude of kittens. Betty feels good. Kevin suggests celebrating with pie.

At Pop’s, Archie tells Jughead about Veronica’s silence (not realizing it’s due to Mr. Lodge’s black-magic Internet and phone service), and Betty tells Kevin of Sayid’s silence (although she’d previously been shown trying to contact Veronica). Apparently, Sayid used to be in their band. Archie feels bad for Sayid, and Betty feels bad for Veronica. The “funny” part is the two pairs of friends are having pretty much the exact same conversation in adjacent booths and either don’t realize it or don’t care. Oh, the hilarity!

Chapter Four: Surprise Party (pages 15-20)

Julia arrives at Veronica’s room to borrow formal clothes for the party. Veronica decides to be Julia’s “personal stylist”, and Julia is overwhelmed by the clothing selection.

Many hours and many dresses later, Veronica has selected the perfect outfit for Julia. Julia doesn’t know how to thank Veronica, but Veronica dismisses it. Julia feels so overwhelmed this semester, and it means so much for people to be kind to her. Veronica gives Julia money as carfare to the party. Why not just drive her herself?

On Friday, Veronica gets dolled up. She looks at pictures of herself and Archie and wishes he was here.

Veronica arrives at the party, and Cheryl greets her “girl”. Veronica is surprised it’s a welcome party for her and asks if Julia’s here. Cheryl had given “the help” the address of the city dump. Y’know, this deception really wouldn’t have worked if Veronica had offered to take Julia – or if Julia had entered the address into her phone’s GPS. A girl named Binky sends pictures of Julia sobbing at the dump. Veronica looks at the pictures and calls all of them monsters. She gets in her car and drives off over Cheryl’s protest. Veronica – she without Internet access – has Siri give her directions to the local dump.

Veronica arrives at the dump. Julia’s gone.

Arriving back at the dorm, Veronica climbs the stairs (barefoot for some reason), knocks on Julia’s door, and calls to her. Julia (whose last name is Finch) opens the door long enough to hand back Veronica’s dress and shoes (but not the earrings and clutch) and tell her to get the fuck out. Veronica insists she didn’t know what was going on and apologizes, but Julia slams the door in her face. Veronica, heartbroken, keeps insisting she didn’t know. Julia opens the door, tells her to shut the fuck up, says she saw the pictures of Veronica at the real party, says Veronica is just like them, and begs Veronica to leave and let her spend the rest of her birthday in peace. Veronica – she without Internet access – takes out her phone and sees the picture that “Cherylbee” posted of her at the party (never mind that Cheryl was never shown holding a cell phone during the brief time that Veronica was at the party and instead seemed more interested in getting Veronica started on the glug-glug). That’s the end of Veronica’s first week in Switzerland.

It turns out that the narrative captions in this story was Cheryl’s narration. She’s telling the story to her brother Jason over the Internet while sitting on her comfy bed and holding a tablet. Cheryl says she’s only just getting warmed up. Jason observes Cheryl likes starting new projects. Cheryl says she’s “queen” around here and is not about to get dethroned by a Lodge. She has plans and says Veronica won’t know what hit her. Cheryl has learned “Miss Priss” has a weak spot: “some hayseed” named Archie. It seems Cheryl has a picture of Archie and Veronica. I think.

A box in the lower-right corner of the final panel says “Veronica vs. the World”. I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be the title of the next story or this story. This story seems to have no unifying title as far as I can tell.

There’s a reprint of “Dare to Be Bare” (with an introduction by Mark Waid), Cheryl’s first appearance in Classic Archie continuity.

This is a pretty good story. It’s definitely more of an introduction to Cheryl than how it was handled back in the days when no one gave a shit about continuity. Cheryl truly is made out to be a bitch. I don’t understand her plan, though. She used Julia to make Veronica seem like a bitch but also threw a party to welcome Veronica into the fold – all, seemingly, in the name of not getting “dethroned” by Veronica. And now she wants to involve Archie somehow. What’s her goal?

Also, Mr. Lodge’s highly selective Internet and phone service is such bad writing. While I appreciate the more modern take on the Archieverse, it means nothing when the writer doesn’t understand how the Internet and cell phones work.

Finally, I realize I was wrong on the Introduction page about Cheryl attending Pembrooke Academy in New Riverdale continuity. I’ll fix that.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Cheryl and Cheryl Alike!

Betty-and-Veronica-Double-Digest-Magazine-240.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Inking: Digikore Studios
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Annual (Double Digest Magazine), No. 240
Cover Date: March, 2016
Length: 10 pages

I’m sorry that there was no review last week. My DSL modem gave out on Saturday the 4th, and the earliest that I could order a replacement was Monday morning. I figured I’d be offline for quite a while, so I used the time to make progress on writing stories and watching my huge backlog of DVDs and Blu-rays. Then the UPS guy dropped off the new modem on Tuesday afternoon. I thought “Do I wanna do a rush job on the review? Nah.”

As a side note, this is actually the last of the modern digests that I own. I had stopped purchasing digests a few months ago, because the cost was adding up, and the available space in my room (I live in a mobile home) was shrinking. I recently made two huge purges of my digests and DVDs. I held on to this one just to review this story.

Before I get into the story, though, let’s address the title of the digest. This is not the 240th annual. Obviously. It’s just a double digest (maybe with more pages; I don’t know) renamed to make it seem like it’s an annual, because Archie Comics is too cheap and/or financially strapped to publish a separate annual anymore.

Anyway, the story itself is notable for being a new Classic Archie story that came out after New Riverdale had started. Any new Classic Archie stories (if there are any) are relegated to the digests. The “real” comics are for New Riverdale, bitches.

This story, nominally a Betty and Veronica story (although that’s a fucking lie, since they disappear 2/3rds of the way through page 2), was written and drawn by longtime Archie Comics writer/artist, Dan Parent, “the last Classic Archie guy left” (at least, that’s what I’d read a while ago). This was part of a series of stories called “The Many Loves of Archie Andrews!!”, which isn’t so much a series as a branding. Each story is standalone and focuses on Archie’s relationship with one of his girlfriends (Archie’s a player in the comics). Let’s get into it:

During winter, Archie, Betty, and Veronica are walking along outside. Veronica is happy that they have Archie all to themselves, which is rare. Archie says it’s their lucky day. Betty calls him out on being full of himself. Archie claims he was just kidding (I’m not so sure). His phone rings, and he answers it. He’s “summoned” by Cheryl, who claims she needs him for an emergency. Veronica calls Cheryl a “loudmouth loser” and demands Archie turn off his phone. She doesn’t believe in the “emergency”, but Archie does and takes off running. Veronica calls him a “poor fool”.

Archie rushes over to the Blossom mansion. Cheryl’s “emergency” is she’s bored at a family function (everybody hates her) and wants Archie to entertain her. She’s confused about the hatred but then yells at her cousin Ed to stop staring at her. Cheryl says it’s mostly her Granny Winslow that hates her. Granny Winslow is going to leave her whole charitable foundation, Arts for America, to Cheryl’s cousin Lily, “a doofus do-gooder”. Granny loves Lily and is always nice to her and mean to Cheryl. Cheryl would love to inherit the foundation. Archie suggests Cheryl try being nice to her grandmother. Cheryl offers to get something for Granny, but Granny burns her. Archie seems to recognize Granny. She recognizes him. He then recognizes her as Olivia Winslow and realizes he did work for her and her foundation (how did he not put it together when Cheryl mentioned the foundation’s name?), spending hours teaching music to needy children. Cheryl is astonished. Olivia is astonished to learn Archie is friends with Cheryl. Cheryl cozies up to Archie and declares Archie’s her boyfriend. Olivia is astonished. Cheryl tries to make herself look good. Olivia starts to wonder about it, but then Jason walks by and tries to sabotage Cheryl’s act. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up but then dials it down for appearances. Cheryl not-so-subtlely suggests Olivia leave the foundation to her and throws Archie in to sweeten the deal. Olivia decides to keep an open mind. Lily protests, but Olivia won’t have it. Cheryl sticks out her tongue at Lily behind Olivia’s back. Lily hates Cheryl.

Cheryl leads a finger-painting group for children, but it’s so boring that she turns it into a face-painting group. Olivia is upset. Cheryl insists she’s just being her “wacky self”. Olivia tells Archie to keep Cheryl in line. Archie has a gig tonight and has to leave soon. Cheryl tries to guilt her “only hope” into staying, but Archie gets her to take him to the dance this Saturday, even though she was going with Johnny Williams (don’t worry, this is a non-character that we never see). Cheryl agrees twice, which is sloppy writing. Cheryl and Archie rib each other over their sneakiness.

Archie and Cheryl don black outfits and dance for the kids, even though they have no idea what the fuck they’re doing.

Later, Archie is playing a guitar and singing “Kumbaya” for puppies while Cheryl is forced to sit and endure it. She feels like a fool. Olivia tells her to “dance for the doggies”, and “poor, gullible Cheryl” does so. Olivia and Lily laugh, and Cheryl realizes it was all a joke. Olivia reveals they were “teasing” Cheryl. Olivia admits she initially took Cheryl seriously, but then Lily showed her some episodes of Cheryl’s reality show, “Keeping Up with the Blossoms” (during which Cheryl treats the staff horribly). I wish I could tell you if there was an earlier mention of such a series, but there probably wasn’t. Olivia calls Cheryl “terrible” and advises Archie to run the fuck away from her. Cheryl kicks the guitar away and insults Lily’s (presumably) fake hair extensions and personality. Cheryl then makes a grabbing motion at…something and throws a temper tantrum. Archie admits she has personality.

This is an okay story. Cheryl is…mildly devious in wanting to get in good with Granny, so she might someday take over a foundation that’s never been mentioned before. For this, she’s teased and forced to do a bunch of bullshit. Two things that I hate are when people tease me or waste my time, so I feel a bit sorry for Cheryl.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Always on Our Mind

Betty-and-Veronica-Comics-Digest-Magazine-175.jpg
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rich Koslowski
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine, No. 175
Cover Date: July, 2007
Length: 6 pages

In Miss Grundy’s class, Miss Grundy is happy that the students are concentrating on their books, but she becomes suspicious of Betty and Veronica and confronts them. They were daydreaming about Archie. Veronica even had her book upside-down. Miss Grundy thinks “I can’t blame them! Everyone daydreams!”

We then see various students’ daydreams. Jughead is daydreaming about food. Reggie is daydreaming about himself. Moose and Midge are daydreaming about each other. Cheryl is daydreaming about Betty and Veronica being blasted off from Earth in the Mars Express. Dilton is daydreaming about what appears to be electronic components. Ginger is daydreaming about clothes. Archie is daydreaming about Betty, Veronica, and three random girls. Miss Grundy is daydreaming about a tropical island, but Nancy walks up to her desk and interrupts her with a question.

Later, Nancy is daydreaming about Chuck. Chuck is daydreaming about his “Bird Man” comic book. Maria is daydreaming about Frankie. Frankie is daydreaming about a guitar.

When the bell rings, Miss Grundy wishes the class a nice weekend and to do well on the test next week. Betty decides she better re-read the story. Veronica thinks her own mind was on other things in class. Betty asks Veronica if it was a great story. Veronica embarrassingly pretends she read it and says yes. Veronica wishes Mr. Weatherbee a nice weekend, but Mr. Weatherbee is daydreaming about being a super-hero. Betty interrupts, and he says bye to them. Veronica and Betty wish each other a good weekend.

When Betty gets home, she greets her mom, but Alice is sitting in a chair, reading a romance novel, and daydreaming that the handsome hero is giving flowers to her. Betty greets her dad, but Hal is daydreaming about driving a monster truck.

When Veronica gets home, she greets her mom, but Hermione is daydreaming about becoming the first female President. Veronica greets her dad, but Hiram is daydreaming about the “NYSE Stock Exchange” (short for “New York Stock Exchange Stock Exchange”, apparently).

That night, Betty and Veronica go to bed and dream about multiple Archies jumping over a fence.

This “story” (if you can call it that) doesn’t have much to it. Basically, it’s just small glimpses into various characters’ fantasies. Most of it is nothing surprising. However, Mr. Weatherbee doesn’t strike me as a comic book fan, so his daydream is questionable.

It’s nice to see some actual businesses mentioned in an Archie comic: Dell and Ebay.

The punchline is Betty and Veronica dream about Archie at night after daydreaming about him. Archie is always on their mind (as the title suggests). However, Archie is the only thing on their minds, which isn’t healthy, and Archie daydreams about multiple girls. Can’t Betty and Veronica see their relationships with Archie are unhealthy?

This story has no real plot to it. It would have been nice to see Betty and Veronica actually taking the test, daydreaming during it, and failing. Instead, the story is made all about Archie.

The differences between the ending of this story and the front cover are Betty, Veronica, and Miss Grundy’s outfits; the color of their books; and the use of individual desks instead of tables.

For the featured story in this digest, I’m not impressed with it. This is one of the laziest stories that I’ve ever read.

I realize this is a short review, so stay tuned for a second comic review soon.

Comics – Civil Chore

Writers: Nelson Ribeiro (plot) and Fernando Ruiz (script)
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inking: Bob Smith
Coloring: Adam Walmsley
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Tales From Riverdale Digest, No. 22-24
Cover Dates: September, 2007 – December, 2007
Length: 33 pages

I’m sorry that this is late. This week, I’m reviewing “Civil Chore”, a “big event” that Archie Comics had been hyping for a few months prior to its publication. Obviously, the title is a parody of Marvel Comics’ then-recent hugely successful “Civil War” big event. Big events in the Archie universe are never as big as big events in the DC or Marvel Universes. Take 1994’s “Love Showdown” for example. Did Archie finally decide between Betty and Veronica? Of course not, but it brought Cheryl Blossom back into the picture. That’s another review, though. This is about “Civil Chore”. It was serialized as the new lead story in three issues of the now-canceled “Tales From Riverdale Digest”, which was kind of a catch-all title for any character to be featured. In other words, random stuff. The summary will come first, followed by my review.

Part 1

Tales-From-Riverdale-Digest-22.jpg

Fred Andrews and Archie are in the front yard. Fred is reading a list of chores for Archie to do. Archie says that’s a lot of chores, and he should be “adequately compensated”. He wants a raise in his allowance. Fred gets out of the discussion by pretending a nonexistent airplane that just flew by prevented him from hearing Archie’s request.

Later that afternoon, Fred is sitting inside, reading a newspaper (happily or unhappily?). Mary points out that Archie is marching around in the backyard, holding a sign that says “On Strike Parents Unfair”. Fred goes outside and demands to know what the fuck’s going on. Archie repeats his request for a raise in his allowance and says “Unfortunately, management was unwilling to listen to my request!” Fred refuses to raise Archie’s allowance, so the strike goes on. Archie is happy that his demonstration is drawing attention, but the old man walking by on the sidewalk yells at Archie, “Get a job, you hooligan!!”, which makes Fred laugh. Jughead comes by and asks what’s going on. Archie explains. Jughead cheers Archie on and says “Way to stick it to the establishment!” Jughead asks Archie for a loan, so he can eat at Pop’s, but Archie is strapped. Archie starts to ask Fred for an advance on his allowance, but Fred immediately refuses. Fred cuts off Archie’s allowance. Jughead tells Archie to end his strike, because it affects him as well: “If you’re not getting your allowance, who am I going to borrow from?!”. This upsets Archie. Betty walks by and asks what’s up. After a quick update, Betty says her folks just turned her down for a raise in her allowance too. She talked to Chuck about this recently. His parents turned him down too. Jughead says “Uh-oh! This is getting bigger!”.

A little while later, Mary points out to Fred that Betty and Chuck have joined Archie’s strike. Betty is holding a sign that says “Raise Our Allowances Now”. We don’t see what Chuck’s sign says. Fred refuses to budge, even if Archie “gets his whole class involved”. Mary, perhaps sarcastically, tells “General Custer” to stand firm. Jughead worries, if this keeps up, “there won’t be a single kid getting an allowance” and wonders “Who will I grub money from?!” Jughead then further postulates “What if he gets his raise? More money for him means more dates…more girls…and less Jughead!” Jughead decides to ally himself with “the darkest forces in Riverdale”, which apparently consist of Reggie and Veronica.

They meet. Veronica doesn’t care if Archie gets a raise, but Reggie points out, “Our good looks and charm aren’t our only advantages over Archie and Betty–there’s also our money! If Archie and the others get their raises, we lose a bit of our edge!” This convinces Veronica. She tells Reggie to start calling their friends, because they’re going to organize a counterstrike. The final blurb says “Whose side are you on? Will it divide Riverdale forever?! Find out–next issue!!”

Part 2

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The strike continues. Archie is holding a sign that says “Parents Unfair Raise Our Allowance!” Betty is holding a sign that says “Teenagers On Strike”. Chuck is holding a sign that says “No Raise No Chores”. Nancy walks by and demands to know what’s going on. Chuck says they’re protesting, and Archie recounts what happened (and didn’t happen) in Part 1. Chuck asks Nancy if she’s “down with” them. Nancy says she thinks they get enough of an allowance, and this demonstration makes them all seem so demanding, like spoiled children. Reggie, Veronica, and Jughead, all holding signs, arrive. Reggie’s sign says “No Allowance Increase”. Veronica’s sign says “Riverdale Teens Ungrateful”. Jughead’s sign says “Parents Stand Firm”. Reggie reiterates what Nancy said, and Veronica announces the counter-strike; they’re going to march until the other side calls off the strike. Chuck sees through Reggie’s motivation (as stated in Part 1) and points it out. A surprised Archie asks Jughead why him. Jughead says he’s only thinking of Archie but admits he’s doing it so he can borrow money from Archie, which surprises Archie. Moose and Midge arrive. Moose asks Reggie what’s going on. After Reggie explains, Moose says he and Midge are with Reggie, but Midge says not her; she can make her own decisions, and she could use a boost in her own allowance. This surprises Moose. Midge says she’s with Archie. Moose says he’s with Jughead. Jughead says this strike is tearing everyone apart. Veronica is upset that Betty and Archie aren’t far enough apart.

The strike continues on the next day. Betty has made “I’m With Archie” t-shirts for their side. Veronica calls up her “connections in the fashion world” to order “I’m With Jughead” t-shirts. Reggie decides to “turn up the heat” himself by calling his dad, Ricky Mantle, editor of the Riverdale Gazette. Ricky, deciding it would be a good human interest story, sends a photographer named Eddie to Hastings Street.

The next day, the headline on the front page of the Riverdale Gazette says “Riverdale Teens On Strike Whose Side Are You On?”, and there are photos of Archie and Jughead. All across Riverdale, people react to the story of the strike. Dilton says he could use a bigger allowance to fund his new experiments and decides to go down there to support Archie. Ethel runs out of her house to join “Juggie”. Mr. Weatherbee says the last thing that Archie needs is more money to waste his time with and decides no raise. His niece, Wendy, sides with “Uncle Waldo”, saying kids shouldn’t need money to have fun and adds “Jughead is kinda cute”. (There’s a footnote of their brief romance in Jughead & Friends, No. 12). Pop Tate hopes “for once” that Archie gets his way, so these kids can spend more money on more food.

Later, at the Andrews residence, Mary is upset that more kids are still arriving, and both sides keep getting bigger and bigger, but Fred doesn’t care, refusing to be forced into giving Archie a raise in his allowance. After a bit more arguing, Mary says she’ll give Archie his raise herself, surprising Fred. Just then, there are knocks on the back door. Fred answers. A shadowy figure, which surprises Fred, declares he’s here to end this crisis.

Meanwhile, in front of Archie’s house, Frankie joins Archie’s side, but Maria joins Jughead’s side. Raj Patel (a then-new Indian character) is on Archie’s side, and Reggie guesses Raj wants a bigger allowance to buy more video equipment (video is his thing in the comics). Jughead exposits his cousin, Bingo Wilkin (a then-new revelation on the part of Archie Comics) from Midvale, and his girlfriend, Samantha, have arrived. They came to show their support to Archie, which shocks Jughead. Bingo explains he wants a few more “greenbacks” in his wallet, so Samantha’s dad wouldn’t think he was such a loser, but then Samantha sides with Jughead, if only to prove to Bingo that money isn’t everything, which surprises Bingo. Jughead observes this is another split caused by this strike. Jughead melodramatically cries out to the sky, asking if it’s all worth it. Fred tells “Hamlet” to put a cork in it. He, Mary, and the shadowy figure have just arrived. The shadowy figure surprises Archie, Jughead, and Veronica. The shadowy figure declares “And I’m going to end this strike as I’ve ended countless others…through negotiations!”

Part 3

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Cheryl and Jason show up, having heard about the strike. Chuck recaps what happened in Parts 1 and 2 for them. Cheryl and Jason are surprised at the number of people that have shown up, but Cheryl happily describes it as “like a big party”. Archie and Jughead are still carrying signs and angry at each other. Chuck recaps the arrival of the shadowy figure in Part 2. Chuck introduces Cheryl and Jason to the shadowy figure, who turns out to be Mr. Lodge. Veronica asks her father what he’s doing here. He says he’s here to help resolve this situation. Fred says they’ll give him a shot. Mr. Lodge has Smithers carry a negotiating table and 4 chairs over. Mr. Lodge sits down with Archie, Jughead, and Fred. Reggie is confident that they can trick Jughead into doing whatever they want and keep this strike going forever. Mr. Lodge asks Jughead what he wants, and Jughead orders a ham and cheese and a Cherry Coke, which shocks Reggie.

Back at the strike, Cheryl sides with Veronica, citing Reggie’s reason from Part 1. Jason sides with Archie just to be close to Betty. He tells Adam to go back to “the D-list”, because “the A-team” is here. Midge comments it’s “another Riverdale romantic triangle”. Cricket O’Dell shows up. Her nose for money brought her here. Betty and Chuck take it as a good sign, but Cricket goes over to Veronica and Cheryl, smelling a whole lot more money there. Li’l Jinx shows up and joins Chuck and Betty, because she gets only 25 cents for her allowance, which shocks Chuck and Betty. Pop Tate shows up with a sign, and Betty is thrilled that he joined the strike, but he’s just advertising his business, because, with all of the kids not on allowance during the strike, business has been terrible.

Meanwhile, back at the negotiations, Fred offers Archie a buck more per week, which Archie dismisses as “pretty lame”. Fred says Archie just doesn’t know the value of a dollar. Jughead asks if it’s lunch yet. Mr. Lodge thinks this is rougher than he thought it would be, but then he spots Pop and has an idea. Mr. Lodge makes a secret suggestion to Fred.

Later, Pop gives out complimentary hot dogs to the crowd in celebration of the strike’s resolution. Mr. Lodge is footing the bill for the whole fiesta. Reggie is shocked that the strike is over. Mr. Lodge has been in touch with all of the parents, and they’re all on board with the plan. All of the kids are getting a “sensible” raise, provided they keep up with their chores and responsibilities. Archie’s side celebrates. Fred then gives Archie a title for starting all of this: “Director of Lawn Mowing”, which upsets Archie. Jughead asks Archie to loan him a few bucks. Archie asks for what. Jughead says Reggie and the other counter-protestors aren’t too happy with how he negotiated, so he needs a bus ticket out of town. Jughead runs away as Reggie and Moose (at least) chase him. Archie, Dilton, and Betty look on in surprise.

My Thoughts

So that’s “Civil Chore”. As far as big events go, this is the most banal one that I’ve ever seen. It’s even more banal than DC Comics’ “Countdown” with its insipid tagline, “Jimmy Olsen Must Die!” No one cares about that. Why should we care if Archie gets an allowance increase or not?

Fred dumps a long list of chores on Archie and then retreats into the house to sit on his lazy butt. How about helping your son, fatso? You could use the exercise anyway. At my house, my mom and I do most of the chores. We both undust, vacuum, mop the floor, and do yardwork. In this story, the dad reads out the chores and leaves. Not even Mary goes out to help Archie. I guess they figure, if Archie’s getting paid, they don’t need to help him. People shouldn’t have children just to turn them into house servants.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t address the laziness of the parents at all. Instead, it focuses on Archie thinking he’s somehow entitled to more money.

I don’t get paid for doing chores at all. I’ve never gotten an allowance. I’ve never complained that I’ve never gotten an allowance. Why not? Because my mom worked hard to provide enough money to feed me (and now I’m doing the same for her). Again, this story doesn’t address that. Archie has daily meals, a roof over his head, and a car (even though it sucks by today’s standards and speaks of the cheapness of his parents). He still wants more money.

While both sides seem to have certain things that they’re right about, this story fails to address their more serious faults: laziness and ungratefulness.

I don’t understand Fred getting out of the discussion of an allowance increase. He should have just said no right from the start. His initial avoidance makes him look like a coward that can’t stand up to his own son, even though he does so later.

Archie going on strike is something that I would never do. My mom would have taken away my video games and computer and/or put me up for adoption. Archie’s parents take a long time to do anything, and then Fred merely cuts off Archie’s allowance.

Archie referring to his father as “management” is a slap-worthy offense. I’d never speak to my parents like that.

I was so happy when the old man told Archie to get a job. I had a summer job between my junior and senior years of high school, and, even though I was there only a month before I got fired, I’d saved up enough money to buy my first computer. If Archie doesn’t already have a job, and he wants more money, then he should simply get a job. I have no idea how Archie got Betty and Chuck on his side. Betty of all people should have pointed out Archie’s wrongs. Keep in mind that I’m not some stuck-up conservative that will one day tell kids to get off my lawn; I just don’t think kids are entitled to more money based on their say-so.

This story shows Jughead cares about Archie only to the extent that it doesn’t affect himself personally. Jughead abandons Archie when it means that he can’t freeload, and he further convinces himself that Archie spending less time with him is a possibility, and he can’t have that. That’s a somewhat reasonable conclusion, considering Archie is the only person that really hangs out with Jughead (gee, I wonder why), and Archie probably would use any excuse to hang out with someone else instead. This story reminds me why I don’t like Jughead.

So Reggie and Veronica are the “darkest forces in Riverdale”? I’d think bank robbers or burglars would be. (Yes, they exist – even in the comics.)

Reggie’s argument makes no sense. Sure, he and Veronica are better looking than Archie – but not Betty. Way to insult Betty, asshole. Also, Veronica is filthy rich, and Reggie is well enough off. His father runs the town’s newspaper! Any increase that the Andrews, Coopers, and Claytons would give to their children wouldn’t make a dent in Reggie and Veronica’s monetary advantage.

Archie and Betty’s signs are different in Part 2 than in Part 1. You could explain this away by saying they made multiple signs, but why would they? Did some hecklers walk by and break their original signs? That sounds good. I’m going with that.

When Archie recounts what happened earlier, the continuity with Part 1 is bad. Fred’s list of chores is longer. Archie is wearing different pants and shoes. There’s a new mini-scene of Archie giving Fred a presentation of “Reasons For Archie’s Raise” that isn’t in Part 1. Archie is holding a different sign when his parents discover he’s striking (Mary seems surprised now too, despite originally finding out before Fred). The house exterior looks a bit different. The passer-by in the background is a different person. Archie and Betty’s signs match those in Part 2 rather than those in Part 1. Betty’s shirt is different. Archie’s clothes as noted above remain wrong. Chuck’s clothes are completely different.

I have to take issue with Archie’s reasons for a raise:

1) More chores – Nowhere in Part 1 was it mentioned that Fred had increased the number of Archie’s chores, so this is a bit of a retcon.

2) Cost of living – Let’s see. Archie’s parents pay for the house, his meals, and other basic needs. What’s this cost of living that Archie’s referring to? An increase in movie ticket prices, CD prices, and video game prices? Please.

3) Responsibility handling money – Yeah, because constantly loaning money to Jughead and having to pay for dates with a rich girl is responsible.

It’s no wonder that Fred fell asleep.

Nancy makes very good points. This stuff should have been said in Part 1.

Most of the positions taken in Part 2 are understandable or at least could go either way, because the characters (such as Midge) aren’t developed enough, but the splits of so many couples (four!) is too convenient.

Also, why is Jughead concerned over the splits? The counter-strike was his idea. He should have anticipated this.

Having Archie live on Hastings Street is a nice touch, since Bob Hastings is perhaps the best-known actor to voice Archie on the old-time “The Adventures of Archie Andrews” radio show. Maybe Archie Comics could continue with this idea and have Jughead live on Stone Street, Betty live on Rice Road, etc.

Riverdale must be a boring town if a strike by a bunch of kids is front-page, headline-making material.

Wendy’s point is a good one too. I had a fun enough childhood without an allowance. It’s called getting video games from my parents. When I started working at a real job (which Archie and the rest of his group would be doing if they had any sense), I had my own money to buy video games, anime, manga, and comic books on my own.

The reasons for Frankie and Maria’s positions are never stated.

Chuck’s recaps in Part 3 contradict Parts 1 and 2, both visually and in some plot details.

The most-anticipated moment of Part 3 is the nearly-full-page depiction of “just about every Riverdale teen” on page 2. Here is a list of the characters, according to Archie Comics:

1. Veronica’s cousin, Marcy (with Jughead)
2. Raj Patel (unclear here but with Archie)
3. Jason Blossom (soon with Archie)
4. Chuck Clayton (with Archie)
5. Cheryl Blossom (soon with Jughead)
6. Bingo’s Drummer, Buddy (no t-shirt)
7. Fernando Ruiz’s Fiancé, Carrie (with Archie, judging by sign)
8. Josie McCoy (no t-shirt)
9. Tough Teddy Tough (with Archie)
10. Archie Andrews (the instigator)
11. Betty Cooper (with Archie)
12. Veronica Lodge (with Jughead)
13. Dilton Doiley (unclear here but with Archie)
14. Alison Adams (with Jughead, judging by sign)
15. Frankie Valdez (unclear here but with Archie)
16. Bingo Wilkin (with Archie, judging by sign)
17. Midge Klump (unclear here but with Archie)
18. Reggie Mantle (with Jughead, judging by sign)
19. Samantha Smythe (with Jughead, judging by sign)
20. Fernando Ruiz (the writer, unclear which side)
21. Maria Rodriguez (with Jughead, judging by sign)
22. Nancy Woods (unclear here but with Jughead)
23. Debbie (with Jughead)
24. January McAndrews (no t-shirt)
25. Trula Twist (unclear which side)
26. Wendy “Double W” Weatherbee (with Jughead)
27. Hot Dog (unclear which side)
28. Big Moose Mason (with Jughead)
29. Sabrina the Teenage Witch (no t-shirt)
30. Ethel Muggs (with Jughead, judging by sign)
31. Jughead (the other guy to blame for this)
32. Joanie Jummp (unclear which side)

I admit I don’t know all of the characters. However, I did notice, when typing this up, that the writer and/or artist failed to specify the sides (if any) of 7 characters (8, if you count the writer). This could have been drawn better.

Why are some non-Riverdale teens, such as Josie and Sabrina, here?

It’s nice to see some characters from the past, such as Debbie and Joanie Jump (Jughead’s old girlfriends from the late 1980s / early 1990s, though I think I missed all of that) and January McAndrews (from the 1990-1991 title, “Jughead’s Time Police”).

We further see Alexandra Cabot is with Jughead, and Alexander Cabot is with Archie and using the opportunity to promote his band. Good manager.

Why are Archie and Jughead still striking and angry at each other in the present time? The shadowy figure had already intervened at the end of Part 2…

…which Part 3 then acknowledges through a recap, so…what just happened here? This is sloppy continuity.

I was pretty much certain that the shadowy figure was Mr. Lodge. There was a chance that Archie Comics might introduce a surprise twist and have it be somebody else (like Clifford Blossom), but that didn’t happen.

Why does Fred now agree to give Mr. Lodge a shot? He must have already agreed to it if he brought him to Archie and Jughead at the end of Part 2.

Why does Reggie all of a sudden want the strike to go on forever? There was no indication of that in Parts 1 or 2. Where did this come from?

That visual gag with the sign snapping and hitting some character (who?) on the head is funny.

Why is Tough Teddy Tough now with Jughead? Is this a goof, or is he switching sides? If the latter, then it might indicate Josie McCoy is with Archie, and Melody Valentine (who we see here without a t-shirt) is with Jughead.

I like Jughead even less for preferring Coke.

I like Cheryl’s attitude towards the whole thing until she decides to join in. She also cites the whole monetary advantage reason. Really, how could a bunch of middle-class teens getting an allowance increase make even a small dent in Cheryl’s (and Reggie’s and Veronica’s) monetary advantage? This “reason” has persisted throughout the story, and it’s just so dumb and nonsensical.

Who’s the white-moustached guy (with Jughead) that’s standing in front of Cheryl?

Who’s the brown-haired girl standing behind Adam (who’s with Archie) and Betty?

Midge’s comment about another Riverdale romantic triangle is heavy-handed. I don’t find it funny. We can figure this stuff out on our own without being told it.

Valerie Brown is here too, but she’s not wearing a t-shirt, so it’s unclear whose side (if any) that she’s on.

Yeah, Cricket O’Dell can smell money. It’s a dumb concept.

So Li’l Jinx exists in the Archieverse, apparently, and Riverdale at that (how else could she have gotten there?). However, the outdated nature of her character is illustrated by the fact that she still receives only 25 cents for an allowance in 2007.

Mr. Weatherbee is with Jughead, as he stated in Part 2, but Ms. Grundy is with Archie. Why?

Why is Betty so excited to see Pop when she didn’t even see his sign yet? For all that she knew, he was part of the counter-strike.

Who are the three kids (one with Archie, one without a t-shirt, and one with Jughead) and dog behind Pop?

Pop makes a good point. Even the counter-strikers aren’t getting any money now. I find it hard to believe that none of them have any spending money, though.

Fred is living in the past if he believes a dollar is a big deal. A 20-ounce bottle of soda costs more than that these days.

Coach Kleats is with Archie. It’s cute that he’s chasing after Pop. I guess he wants food.

We see Professor Flutesnoot, but whose side (if any) is he on?

So the strike is ended by the kids getting a vague increase in their allowance (they aren’t told how much), provided they keep up with their chores and responsibilities. That’s essentially what Archie wanted in the first place, so his side won. It just seems so anti-climactic, though. Wouldn’t the kids want to know how much extra money that they’re getting before they celebrate?

Also, the strike is resolved off-panel. That means we didn’t get to see the resolution to this story. Imagine if “Captain America: Civil War” skipped over the final battle and ended with a scene back at Avengers HQ with Steve and Tony talking about how the conflict was resolved. Total fucking bullshit.

Jughead wastes almost no time in trying to borrow money from Archie. Typical.

Why, exactly, are the counter-protestors mad at Jughead? Sure, he was dumb during the negotiations, but is that all? Did he actively agree to Mr. Lodge’s plan? Not likely, since Mr. Lodge discussed it with the parents, and Archie was surprised by the outcome. So…I don’t get it.

This entire story is so decompressed, it’s ridiculous. There was so much build-up over nothing.

We don’t know exactly how long that this strike lasted, but we have to assume it’s during summer time, because there’s no indication that the kids took breaks to go to school and do homework.

We don’t even get any indication of what the kids did at night when they went home (did they go home?). How did they and their parents behave toward each other?

I don’t care for this story, and I have a feeling that it was merely a stunt that was designed to boost sales.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Way Out West

“Whafuck?” you ask?

Funny (and embarrassing) story: I don’t have a way to record video from TV, so I figured I’d be using downloaded episodes of “Riverdale” to do the reviews. Unfortunately, the file format that it’s in is incompatible with my video editor. Yeah, I use an editor when writing the reviews, because it allows easy rewind, fast-forward, and scrolling, allowing me to capture the exact frame that I want. With “Riverdale”, I’m forced to use a video player, which doesn’t have those controls, so trying to get the shots that I want is a pain in the ass.

So “Riverdale” will have to wait until it’s out on DVD. If it gets canceled before then, I’ll deal with the downloaded video files.

In a way, this is a good thing, because the thought of reviewing a 46-minute episode every week was daunting. Also, my work has slammed me with a lot of hours recently (and for the foreseeable future), giving me little free time as a result.

So sorry, but this blog will feature comic stories and “The New Archies” for the time being.

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Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Henry Scarpelli
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Archie Giant Series Magazine, No. 608
Cover Date: August, 1990
Length: 11 pages

This is a two-part story. No, there were not 600+ issues of “Archie Giant Series Magazine”. In one of the, um, weirdest mysteries in comics, issues #36-135 and #252-451 were simply skipped over. Really bizarre. So there are actually 332 issues of this title, which is still pretty impressive. Each issue actually “presents” a different subtitle (in this case, “Betty and Veronica Spectacular”), which indicates which character(s) will be featured.

Veronica and Betty get off of a train somewhere out west and are met by Veronica’s “Uncle Charlie” Chuck and Sylvester (aka Sly), his nephew and ranch foreman. Veronica introduces Betty to Charlie Chuck, “the world’s greatest writer of Westerns”. Charlie isn’t Veronica’s uncle at all, just a dear friend of her father that knew Veronica since she was little. Charlie and Sly carry the girls’ luggage to Charlie’s car. Veronica spots a rattlesnake in the back of the car and asks Charlie if he’s going to shoot it. Charlie says he can’t; his guns aren’t loaded; he just carries them to help inspire him to write his stories. Charlie gets the snake out of the car with a stick.

On the ride to the ranch, Sly and Charlie talk about how Charlie fell off of his horse and almost broke his leg. Charlie says someone deliberately cut the cinch in his saddle. The oil companies are offering to buy Charlie’s land. Sly says Charlie should sell, but Charlie refuses. They come upon “Ol’ Curly Saddlesore”, a prospector, who hasn’t hit any payloads lately. Charlie and Curly went to high school together.

When they arrive at Charlie’s Ranch, they’re greeted by oilmen. Charlie gets them to leave. Charlie introduces Lenora (presumably his wife) to Veronica and Betty. Lenora says, before his accident, Charlie would ride the range for hours; it helped inspire him to write his Western novels. Now, he rides a mechanical, toy horse, which he doesn’t find the same. Lenora tells the girls to freshen up, because they’re going to a square dance tonight.

At the square dance, Betty is excited to hear “real honest-to-goodness country music”, and Veronica is excited about the two “real honest-to-goodness cowboys” approaching them. One of them introduces himself as Slim and then introduces his sidekick, Dusty. Veronica introduces herself and then introduces Betty as her sidekick. Veronica dances with Slim, and Betty dances with Dusty. Slim says they worked at Charlie’s ranch until “mean dude” Sly fired them. A bullet is fired through the window and goes through Charlie’s hat. Veronica mentions to Betty about how Sly stepped outside just before the shot was fired. Betty agrees and guesses he put the snake in the car.

The next day, Charlie wants to show the girls around “the spread”. Veronica advises him to not leave the house. Charlie says he’ll ask Sly to show them around, but Veronica says she and Betty would rather ride on their own.

As Veronica and Betty ride, Betty says she’s so glad that Veronica insisted Betty take riding lessons back in Riverdale. Both Betty and Veronica express a distrust of Sly. Betty spots someone following them at a distance. Veronica looks through her binoculars; it’s Sly. Veronica suggests they ride into a canyon to lose him and then spots a cabin, which Betty guesses is Curly’s cabin, based on his mule being outside.

They go into the cabin, and Betty discovers Curly has a collection of Charlie’s books. Veronica discovers Curly put a hangman’s noose around a picture of Charlie. Curly comes inside, holding the rifle with which he’d almost “finished” Charlie. Veronica asks Curly why he wants to “harm” Charlie. Curly says Charlie maligns him in all of his books, mistaking mentions of a “tall dark handsome stranger” and other such villains as being about him. Sly comes in and points a gun at Curly. Curly uses the butt of his rifle to knock the gun out of Sly’s hand. Taking advantage of the distraction, Betty kicks the rifle out of Curly’s hands. Sly picks up the gun and points it at Curly. Sly praises Betty’s “fancy footwork” on and off the dance floor, and Betty admits they were wrong about Sly.

Later, back at the ranch, Charlie tells Curly that he never once put him in any of his books. Curly says that’s even worse as Sly leads him away. Charlie blames Curly’s behavior on years of prospecting. Charlie wants to make it up to Veronica and Betty for all of the trouble that they went through. Veronica asks for dates for herself and Betty with Slim and Dusty. Lenora has already done that. They’re at the ranch and greet the girls.

This is a pretty nice story, but I don’t care for it much, because I don’t care for Westerns in general.

It’s nice to get some background info on Veronica, even if it’s not much.

Betty loses some cool points for liking country music.

Slim and Dusty are such stereotypical cowboy names.

Veronica alternates between referring to Charlie as “Uncle Charlie” and “Charlie Chuck”. That’s weird. Why would Veronica call him by his full name when she thinks he’s been shot?

It’s odd that Charlie would have no idea of who’d want him dead. The connection is never made between the oil companies and the incidents.

It’s weird that Betty and Veronica would become suspicious of Sly based on no more than Slim calling him a “mean dude” and Sly walking outside before the shot was fired (which we didn’t see). Sure, it might plant the thoughts in their heads, but they overreacted.

It’s kind of pathetic that, with an attempt on Charlie’s life, the writer keeps trying to avoid calling it what it is: killing. Instead, we get “goner”, “finished”, and “harm”. Sheesh. What about “brown bread”? Would that work?

Did Sly pull a loaded gun on Curly, or did he take one of Charlie’s unloaded guns?

Betty is awesome for kicking the rifle out of Curly’s hands. Betty picks up the rifle but doesn’t have her finger on the trigger, leaving Sly to hold Curly at gunpoint.

Sly rides back to the ranch on a horse, and Curly is tied up while riding with him on his mule. When they get to the ranch, they dismount, and Sly has Curly walk off with him somewhere. Why? Where? If they’re (presumably) going to the sheriff (and not behind the wood shed), then shouldn’t they ride instead of walk?

In general, this story is nice, but Curly’s motive is insane.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Bad Boy Trouble!

Writer: Melanie J. Morgan (Michael J. Pellowski)
Pencils: Steven Butler
Inking: Al Milgrom
Coloring: Stephanie Vozzo
Lettering: John Workman
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine, No. 151-154
Cover Date: July, August, September, October, 2007
Length: 110 pages (25, 27, 29, 29)

This week, I’m reviewing “Bad Boy Trouble!”, the comic adaptation of the “Riverdale High” novel, “Bad News Boyfriend”.

bad-news-boyfriend

Archie Comics really hyped this story. It was to be a lengthy, more realistic story that portrayed the familiar Archie characters in a “dynamic new look”. What many people (including myself) didn’t know (at the time of the announcement) was the story itself wasn’t new. Considering there seemed to be no actual information online about Melanie J. Morgan, the writer of this comic book adaptation, rumors had circulated that it was merely a pen name for Michael J. Pellowski, adapting his own story. This was pretty much confirmed (perhaps unintentionally) by Archie Comics itself when it released preview pages for a later “Dynamic New Look” story (adapting a different “Riverdale High” novel), and one of the pages had Pellowski credited as the writer.

I’ve already reviewed “Bad News Boyfriend”. If you haven’t already done so, please read that review first.

Because this is an adaptation of an earlier story (which I already summarized in detail), I won’t do that again here. Instead, I’m going to point out the differences (additions, removals, compressions, etc.) and comment on each as I go along.

Part 1

betty-and-veronica-double-digest-magazine-1

Before we get into the story, let’s talk about the artwork, which is what most of the hype was focused on. It’s gorgeous. I love the art style. All of the familiar characters (Betty, Veronica, Smithers, Midge, and Mr. Lodge) look good. Mr. Lodge does look a bit too old, though. We don’t see Mrs. Lodge in this story. If she’s younger, then, um, ew. If she’s older, then I’d seriously be considering the possibility of Veronica being adopted. Anyway, Steven Butler (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), and Stephanie Vozzo (colors) have done a great job. The artwork is lively and vibrant. I love the use of black-and-white in the darkened theater, too.

There’s an (uncredited) 2-page introduction to the story.

Part 1 of “Bad Boy Trouble!” adapts the first 3 chapters of “Bad News Boyfriend”. It’s adapting the first 31 pages of the novel (29 prose pages) in 25 comic pages.

There’s a new beginning that’s not found in the novel. The first 4 pages occur in the Lodge mansion. Veronica can’t find her leather handbag and has Smithers and the staff (which apparently consists of two maids) search the house for it. A maid named Angelina finds it. Meanwhile, Betty and Midge have to stand around and wait. Betty uses the time to think exposition about Veronica and their rivalry over Archie.

Okay, that’s just clunky. Why would Betty daydream exposition about this stuff? I know it’s for the benefit of new readers that know nothing about Archie Comics, but this should have been done as a “Betty’s Diary” story and used captions.

Betty’s homoerotic-sounding description of her relationship with Veronica from the novel (“love” and “deep affection”) is substituted with…different homoerotic-sounding description (Betty thinks of Veronica as “drop-dead gorgeous”).

Anyway, Midge snaps Betty out of her daydream, and Veronica treats them to a ride in the family limo, because they’re her guests (and so she won’t have to worry about parking).

This is where the storyline of the novel comes in.

The scene before the movie is condensed. There’s no mention of the season (it’s spring in the novel). The movie (unnamed in the novel) is given a name here: “Night of the Killer Zombees!”. Midge is made a wuss for wanting Moose to be there to protect her during the scary movie. The boxing program is mentioned, but Veronica doesn’t disapprove of it or boxing. Veronica and Betty would rather be with Archie specifically (instead of simply a boy as in the novel), and Midge would welcome Reggie at the moment. Midge’s slugging fetish from the novel is not present. The girls don’t talk about popcorn or drinks.

The theater scene is condensed. Betty says Nick is dressed like a hood, but Veronica tries to make Betty not think of Nick as a gang member. The excuse to leave the theater is changed from Betty going for a soda to Midge going for popcorn. Betty doesn’t try to dissuade Nick from joining them but doesn’t like it when he does.

The lobby scene is condensed. There’s no mention of Betty knowing the theater owners, but Betty disapproves of Nick sneaking into the theater anyway. Betty and Midge don’t get sodas from a cup-dispensing soda machine. Instead, Veronica goes for a soda, and Midge goes for popcorn. Betty, not Veronica, asks Nick when he arrived. Nick rode in on his motorcycle yesterday instead of a few days ago. Betty is left alone with Nick, because Veronica and Midge go to the snack counter, not the ladies’ room. Betty doesn’t buy popcorn. Betty says she works part-time at a garage. Nick says he has a thing for “blonds”, but that spelling refers to males. Nick doesn’t downplay the importance of friends. Veronica doesn’t dispute Midge’s “billions” claim. They don’t go back into the theater for Veronica’s coat (which she doesn’t have here). Nick and Veronica go out the front entrance, and Betty and Midge watch them leave. Betty and Midge go back into the theater to watch the rest of the movie, and Midge makes a joke about not having to sneak in (because of their tickets), which causes Betty to laugh.

After the movie, Betty and Midge wait with the chauffeur outside the theater instead of in the limo. Betty uses her cell phone to try calling Veronica on her cell phone (an update of technology that’s not in the novel). Midge, not Betty, guesses maybe Veronica went home. The rest of the discussion of Veronica’s safety is cut.

At the Lodge mansion, Betty’s explanation to Mr. Lodge is cut and simply referenced as a joint explanation while she and Midge wait in the sitting room. Mr. Lodge, not Smithers, speaks with Nick’s uncle (and aunt) on the phone. Nick and Veronica arrive home without the others having to wait further. Mr. Lodge invites Betty and Midge to join him outside, and they do so. Betty and Midge, not just Mr. Lodge, yell at Veronica. Mr. Lodge compares Archie favorably to Nick. Mr. Lodge doesn’t kiss Veronica on the cheek. Betty, not Midge, asks what happened but isn’t enthusiastic to know.

The girls don’t go up to Veronica’s bedroom suite, change into pajamas, or gorge themselves on junk food or soda. Instead, Veronica recounts the evening in a hallway. The pizza place is “Pete’s Famous Pizza!” in “South Side”. There’s no mention of the pizza parlor being new. There’s additional material here: Nick beat up some “tough guys” that “got fresh” with Veronica. I’m not sure what the point of it is. Is it meant to make Nick seem more likeable? The rest of the discussion of the date is cut.

The girls go into Veronica’s kitchen and get cake to eat (Midge gets hungry when she gets nervous) and milk. Midge says Veronica will have to choose between Nick and Archie, and Veronica says she’d choose Nick. Nick’s reason for being here is changed (or at least toned down) from pushing a teacher and getting expelled to getting into a “scuffle” with a bossy gym teacher (no mention of expulsion). Nick’s “folks” (not just his father) sent him to Riverdale. No mention is made of military school. Betty doesn’t compare Nick to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or voice her concerns. Midge doesn’t talk about Moose or start a gossip session. Veronica says Betty can have Archie. Midge is happy for Betty.

Well, that’s the first part of “Bad Boy Trouble!”. Not counting the new material in the first 4 pages, this comic adapts 29 pages of prose in 21 comic pages. Obviously, some stuff had to go. Betty’s personal observations and opinions are what suffered the most. It seems the writer tried to retain some of that as Betty’s thoughts early in the story, but it’s such an odd approach, and it was soon abandoned.

Part 2

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This scene is meant to occur during Part 1, but it’s unclear if Betty and Midge left the theater or not, and Veronica’s cup is a different color. It would have been better if the covers for #151 and #152 were swapped.

There’s a 1-page recap of part 1.

Before we get into the story, let’s talk about the artwork. It continues to be gorgeous. In this part, Archie, Ms. Grundy, Professor Flutesnoot, Dilton, Jughead, Moose, Chuck, and Nancy make their “dynamic new look” debuts. Ms. Grundy looks like death warmed over, but that’s what she looked like early on anyway. They gave Jughead a goatee, which fits in nicely with his slacker persona (he’s too lazy to shave).

Part 2 of “Bad Boy Trouble!” adapts chapters 4-6 of “Bad News Boyfriend”. It’s adapting pages 32-61 of the novel (28 prose pages) in 27 comic pages.

The hallway scene is condensed. Betty’s recollection of Sunday and feelings regarding Veronica have been removed. Midge is already with Betty. Instead of pulling out her biology book, Betty puts her geometry book into her locker. Jughead is removed from the scene. Archie doesn’t overhear anything but merely asks how the girls’ weekend was (thereby removing Betty and Archie’s Sunday date). Midge almost tells Archie about Nick, but Betty slams her locker shut, explains about the horror movie, and gets Midge to keep quiet about Nick. Archie suspects they’re being secretive about something but isn’t as nosey as he is in the novel. Midge, not Betty, defends their right to privacy and talks about the boxing. Archie practices punches in the hallway and bumps into two “underclassmen”, not just a freshman. Midge briefly touches upon Archie’s clumsiness instead of Betty. Betty’s joke is removed.

The homeroom scene is condensed. Jughead is removed from this scene as well. Some new material appears here in which Ms. Grundy (not “Miss Grundy”; nice update) reminds Archie of the English homework that he forgot to read. This addition is meant to convey verbally the information regarding classes from Betty’s narrative. The bell doesn’t ring to begin homeroom. The morning announcements are cut. Midge may or may not be reading a note from Big Moose (the comic version doesn’t specify). Betty’s information regarding Moose, Veronica, and Reggie’s homeroom(s) is cut. Archie wants to hurry to biology class (his first class of the day with Veronica) to tell Veronica about his boxing match, but Betty tells him to slow down. Why? He’s gonna meet Nick eventually anyway.

The next hallway scene is condensed. Archie and Betty’s feelings regarding Professor Flutesnoot are cut. Midge’s joke and Betty’s feelings regarding science are cut as well. There’s no mention of the room being close. Jughead is removed from this scene as well. Archie sees Veronica with Nick right away (no one waits in the hall). Betty’s silence and mention of Nick’s strange effect on people is cut. The waving is cut. Archie simply asks who he is, and Betty tells him. Only Betty, not Midge, tells him about Nick. This is also when Betty says she wanted to let Veronica tell him. Archie doesn’t say “Ooh.” That’s just as well, since it seems odd in the novel. The greetings are cut. Veronica introduces Archie to Nick (as opposed to Betty introducing Nick to Archie) and tells him (not Betty and Midge) that Nick is in most of their classes (not just her homeroom and biology class). Archie isn’t angered by this but still gets angered at Nick’s insults. Betty tells Archie to calm down instead of the bell preventing anything from happening. Veronica calls Nick “comical”.

The biology class scene is condensed. The bell rings when they’re in the classroom. Professor Flutesnoot, not Veronica, introduces Nick as a new student. Everything until Nick sits is cut, but he sits elsewhere than in the novel. The bits regarding Nick, Betty, and Veronica are cut and replaced with Veronica offering a pen and paper to Nick and Nick’s thoughts regarding Moose (who originally wasn’t in this scene), Archie, Jughead (who finally appears), and Dilton. Nick makes clucking (not squeaking) noises twice (not three times). Betty isn’t amused by it as she is in the novel. Betty’s hesitation isn’t given a reason (in the novel, she doesn’t want to lie but also doesn’t want to squeal and get Veronica mad at her). There’s no indication that Betty feels bad, and she thanks Archie (which she doesn’t do in the novel). Professor Flutesnoot accompanies Nick to Mr. Weatherbee’s office instead of sending him with a note. There’s no mention of Nick setting a record. Nick may or may not blow a kiss to Veronica (it might be merely a wave). In place of Professor Flutesnoot resuming his lecture, Veronica feels sorry for Nick, blames Professor Flutesnoot, and tells the others to help “Nicky” fit in and make an extra effort. She also indicates Nick will be joining them for lunch, which gets Jughead interested. Note: Chuck and Nancy (who are not in the novel) have silent cameos in this scene.

Betty’s summary of the events until lunch are cut.

The lunch scene is condensed. Betty, not Midge, asks Archie what he thinks of Nick. Everyone seems to be eating generic school lunches. Reggie, who’s already here, comments positively on one of Nick’s jokes. Archie doesn’t make a joke. Midge doesn’t recount the incident. Moose is replaced by Chuck at the table. Midge, not Dilton, says Nick may not be here next fall and mentions Nick getting in trouble in Ms. Smith’s (not Miss Riley’s) history class but stops at giving the reason without any of the follow-up material. Betty isn’t at all optimistic about Veronica realizing the truth about Nick (the exact opposite of what she says in the novel). Archie doesn’t ask where Veronica is. There’s no mention of Veronica having a “regular seat” at the table. Betty, not Dilton, announces her arrival with Nick. Since Veronica already announced Nick would be joining them for lunch, the conversation about it here is cut. Nick doesn’t sit down. Nick and Archie’s argument omits mentions of teachers and focuses on just the students. Everything else until Veronica wants lunch is cut. Archie doesn’t grimace. Veronica orders a juice in addition to a salad but doesn’t offer Nick the option to get something for himself. We don’t see how much money that Veronica was going to give Nick. This is when Jughead arrives with his lunch (later than in the novel). Veronica doesn’t compliment Nick. Archie offers to drive Veronica down to Pop Tate’s after school for a pizza, not a soda. Veronica doesn’t apologize. Archie doesn’t tell her to have a good time. He says he’s finished with lunch without any prompt from Betty but doesn’t say where he’s going (in the novel, it’s to get changed early for gym). Midge and Chuck leave, too. Reggie disappears for the rest of the scene (in the novel, he and Moose leave with Archie). Dilton arrives (later than in the novel), and Betty invites him to sit next to her. There’s no mention of Betty being in gym class. Nick’s tray has Veronica’s juice in place of the drinks from the novel. Nick doesn’t specify who he cut in front of. Veronica, not Jughead, explains where everybody is. Betty doesn’t comment on Nick’s lack of exercise. Everything else is cut until the sweating discussion. Betty, not Midge, says Midge, not Veronica, doesn’t like phys-ed class. Betty is annoyed at Veronica’s correction of “perspire”. Jughead, not Veronica, asks Nick where he got the sandwiches. Nick makes up dumb excuses instead of saying they were a gift (until later). Nick’s cookies and cigarettes are cut. Betty angrily expresses her surprise that Nick didn’t steal some dessert, which is what leads to Nick snatching Dilton’s dessert pie (not Dilton angering Nick). Betty demands Nick give it back. Dilton relents. No mention is made of Dilton being in gym class or Betty feeling sorry for Dilton. Veronica, not Betty, offers some information about Dilton (but not that he’s not participating in the boxing lessons at the center). Nick says he’ll pay Dilton for the pie in gym class, which he doesn’t do in the novel. Betty decides to get to gym. Veronica offers to show Nick the gym instead of Betty saying Veronica can show him and Veronica telling Betty to go ahead. Veronica stays at the table with Jughead. Betty doesn’t say bye to Jughead. Jughead doesn’t wave. The trash can stop is cut.

The next hallway scene is condensed. Betty doesn’t express her confusion or uncertainty and instead tells Nick why she doesn’t like him. Nick and Betty don’t talk about friends. Instead, Nick plays himself up. Betty and Nick’s conversation for the rest of the scene is pretty much the same, but Betty ditches Nick in the comic (whereas she doesn’t in the novel). The bells don’t ring, and students don’t enter the hall.

Betty’s summary of later events and her feelings regarding them are cut.

The next hallway scene is condensed. There’s also a bit of a stretching of Nick’s stay in Riverdale, since this scene takes place “weeks later”, and Nick’s total stay in Riverdale is one month in the novel. There’s no mention of the homework assignment. Nancy walks down the hall with Betty, and they chat a bit, whereas Nancy isn’t in the novel. Midge isn’t visibly angry and even grins. The conversation and general tone is changed. Betty mentions Midge is a hall monitor and guesses Nick wanted her to forge him a late pass for Ms. Grundy’s class. Betty’s desires of violence against Nick by Moose are cut. Instead, Betty oddly asks if Midge told Moose about this, and Midge didn’t in order to prevent violence against Nick for Veronica’s sake. Veronica meets Betty in the hallway instead of in the girls’ room. There’s no mention of Polly. Betty initially refuses to go along with Veronica’s plan (which she doesn’t do in the novel), and the reason is changed from Veronica wanting to cover up the date to Betty bending her parents’ one-guest-when-alone rule. Betty doesn’t have any additional conditions or think she sounds just like a parent. Veronica doesn’t kiss Betty on the cheek (damn it). Nick joins them (he’s absent from this scene in the novel). Betty considers herself a lady and doesn’t mention what Nick is.

The English lit class scene is condensed. Betty, not Veronica, wonders where Nick is. He’s shown roaming the hallway. Ms. Grundy doesn’t take attendance or ask for the homework from the class. Nick doesn’t physically threaten Ms. Grundy. The class’ initial reaction to Nick’s outburst isn’t shown. Ms. Grundy accompanies Nick to Mr. Weatherbee’s office and instructs the class to read silently instead of sending Nick by himself. Instead of Veronica looking shocked and simply sympathizing with Nick, there’s a heated discussion in which Dilton, Midge, and Betty point out Nick’s flaws, and Veronica defends Nick. Instead of wondering what it would take to make Veronica see Nick for what he really is, Betty gives up in frustration.

Well, that’s the second part of “Bad Boy Trouble!”. The story has more room to breathe in this part. Still, Betty’s personal observations and opinions from the novel are completely gone.

Part 3

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This scene doesn’t occur anywhere in the actual story, although it could fit between some scenes.

There’s a 1-page recap of part 2.

Okay, before we get into the story, let’s talk about the artwork. It continues to be gorgeous. In this part, Coach Clayton makes his “dynamic new look” debut. He looks fine.

Part 3 of “Bad Boy Trouble!” adapts chapters 7-9 of “Bad News Boyfriend”. It’s adapting pages 62-85 of the novel (22 prose pages) in 29 comic pages.

Veronica gets ready for her date in Betty’s bedroom instead of bathroom. Veronica doesn’t explicitly say she will be back on time. There’s no mention that Betty has been nagging her ever since Veronica arrived. Betty is a bit more forceful with Veronica. Betty doesn’t wish Veronica wouldn’t go out with Nick. The conversation about Veronica’s dad is a bit different, focusing on Veronica “working on” him instead of his trust of Betty. There’s no discussion of Betty being part of the middle class. Veronica doesn’t say she’ll think of another safe place where Nick and she can meet in the future. Betty doesn’t wonder what her own parents would think of this or feel ashamed. Betty doesn’t specify where she was going to go with Archie (in the novel, it was the mall). Veronica says Betty would have “done almost anything” (as opposed to “killed” as in the novel) for a date with Archie. Betty says the same thing regarding Veronica, but she also (instead of Veronica) says that was before Nick. Veronica asks Betty how she looks, and Betty verbally calls Veronica “gorgeous” here (whereas it’s in her narrative in the novel). Veronica isn’t nervous and tells Betty to tell Nick that she’ll be right down instead of keep him company. Veronica wants to finish with her make-up instead of dressing. Betty tells Veronica to not take too long and decides to not let Nick hang around outside, wondering what the neighbors would think. Betty doesn’t take a deep breath before opening the door. Nick doesn’t thank her. Betty isn’t shown shutting the door, even though she obviously does. Betty doesn’t explain about Veronica. Betty doesn’t lead Nick to her living room, since the front door is in her living room (I’m not sure where it’s supposed to be in the novel). Everything until Nick tries to kiss Betty is cut. Betty’s verbal reaction to the attempted kiss is trimmed down to saying she “ought to slug” Nick (as opposed to saying she’d punch his lights out if Veronica wasn’t there as in the novel). Nick’s comeback is changed to suggesting boxing lessons, and Betty considers it. Veronica announces her arrival (as opposed to being ready to go) but doesn’t apologize to Nick. Nick gets up a little bit later than in the novel and doesn’t put an arm around Veronica. There’s some additional material in which Veronica asks about Betty making a fist, and Betty lies that she was showing Nick some boxing moves that Archie taught her. Nick doesn’t pull Veronica toward the front door. Betty asks Veronica where she’s off to instead of telling her to remember her promise. Veronica says Nick’s taking her to a new teen club that he heard about in South Side. Betty isn’t shown closing the door (even though she obviously does) or locking it. There’s no indication that she hears the motorcycle engine roar outside. Betty doesn’t catch a glimpse through the front window of them speeding off. Betty doesn’t say it’s going to be a long evening but instead decides to “get comfortable in front of the TV” and watch “cable”. Betty’s channel-surfing is specified here to be horror movies (the only things on), all of which she has seen. Betty wonders who could be calling but checks the caller I.D. (not present in the novel) instead of making any guesses, so she knows it’s Mr. Lodge before she answers. Mr. Lodge doesn’t ask to speak to Veronica but instead says he can’t reach her on her cell phone. Betty doesn’t try to stall or lie but merely says Veronica is “indisposed at the moment”. The rest of the conversation is cut, and Mr. Lodge tells Betty to have Veronica call him back as soon as possible. We see outside of Betty’s perspective for two panels: Mr. Lodge is using a cell phone. Betty doesn’t feel terrible but instead panics and tries to reach Veronica. We see Veronica at “Club Mayhem” for three panels. After Betty talks with Veronica, the rest of Betty’s channel-surfing is cut, and she dozes off almost right away. Betty doesn’t check her watch (it’s 1:30 AM in the novel). There’s no mention of the time that Veronica had promised to return (no later than 1:00 AM in the novel). Betty looks out the window and sees Veronica and Nick kissing. Here, there’s no indication of how Veronica gets inside (in the novel, Betty had loaned her a key). Veronica doesn’t rush into the house or explain anything. The entire, lengthy conversation between Betty and Veronica is cut. Veronica merely says they had a “wonderful” time, tells Betty to remind her to tell Betty all about it in the morning, says good night, thanks Betty, and goes upstairs.

Betty’s summary of the next week is cut. Instead, the information is conveyed by Nancy in English lit class. Also, contrary to Betty’s narrative in the novel, Midge says Nick hasn’t made any trouble at school lately. She also mentions Ms. Grundy having let Nick back in class, but this isn’t elaborated on. Nick doesn’t pester Veronica or tell Ms. Grundy to drop dead. The essay is 2,000 words instead of 1,200 words. Ms. Grundy mentions it’s Thursday (whereas it’s Friday afternoon in the novel), supposedly to make such an important assignment more realistic, time-wise, but it’s still ridiculous, especially considering the essay is longer. Everyone’s reaction except for Midge’s (which is moved up to before the assignment is specified) is cut. Ms. Grundy’s explanation of her expectations and the seriousness of the assignment are trimmed. Nick looks scared instead of hateful. He doesn’t mutter. A bit is added where Ms. Grundy asks if they understand, and Dilton said yes for the class. The class isn’t shown getting up. Dilton doesn’t express his enthusiasm for starting the assignment or his love of the novel. No one is shown actually leaving the classroom.

In the hall, Archie grumbles about the essay ruining his weekend plans, Dilton says it won’t be that bad, and Archie agrees. This is when Nick looks at Dilton strangely (later than in the novel, and Betty doesn’t notice). Veronica is absent from this scene. Betty exposits about Dilton’s smarts while Nick listens in. Betty and Dilton don’t say bye to each other. Midge is absent from this scene. Archie offers to treat Betty to a milkshake at Pop’s, and Betty accepts. This places English lit as Betty’s last class of the day, whereas it isn’t in the novel. At least, it appears that way, due to a lack of a caption indicating a passage of time. It comes off as confusing, though, because Betty appears to leave Dilton and go outside with Archie, and that’s when Betty sees Nick bullying Dilton outside. Sloppy.

Regarding the scene outside the school, Archie isn’t going to drive Betty home. Nick balls his free hand into a fist after Betty spots him. Dilton’s books aren’t shown scattered on the ground. Archie drops his bookbag instead of books. Dilton doesn’t thank Archie. Trash-talking between Nick and Archie is added. Betty doesn’t scream. Nick doesn’t boast. Dilton doesn’t back up beside Betty. Nick oddly calls Coach Clayton “tangerine-top”, an insult more appropriate to describe Archie. Coach Clayton threatens Archie and Nick with expulsion, which he doesn’t do in the novel. His tone doesn’t seem to send shivers down Betty’s spine. Nick and Archie’s banter is cut. The meeting time is changed from 9:00 AM to 6:00 AM. There’s no mention of when the teen center opens. Nick agrees before Archie. Coach Clayton doesn’t remind them to follow the rules. He outright says all five of them will be there instead of inviting Dilton and Betty. Neither Dilton nor Betty say anything. No one agrees to keep the match a secret. Coach Clayton doesn’t tell Archie and Nick to stay away from each other until then. Nick doesn’t go to meet Veronica and instead jokes about Coach Clayton bringing his first aid kit on Saturday.

The teen center scene is condensed. A bit is added where Nick asks where Archie is, and he arrives right after. There’s additions of some banter between Nick and Archie. Archie and Nick are in the center of the ring when Coach Clayton talks to them. Coach Clayton doesn’t give instructions to Dilton. Betty doesn’t look around. While Betty’s thoughts are cut, her “that hour in the morning” thought from the novel would make a lot more sense here (6:00 AM as opposed to 9:00 AM). Betty immediately covers her eyes in fear, but Dilton reassures her. Betty doesn’t look away. Nick punches Archie in the eye during round one, and Dilton predicts Archie’s eventual black eye based on that. After round one, Betty tries to get Archie to quit, but he refuses. Coach Clayton doesn’t check on the two fighters or ask them if they want to continue. Betty gives a brief vocal description (Archie blocks all of Nick’s punches), replacing her narrative comments. Nick punches Archie after the bell to end round two (as opposed to round three in the novel) with his left fist (as opposed to his right fist in the novel). Nick claims he never heard the bell, and Coach Clayton warns him to hear it from now on. Coach Clayton, instead of asking Archie and Nick if they’re ready for the last round, ask Nick to call it a draw, but Nick refuses. Betty and Dilton comment on Nick’s out-of-shape condition, but skipping gym class (not smoking) is the explanation. There are additions of Nick taunting Archie and daring Archie to hit him, so Archie does. Coach Clayton ends the fight, much to Nick’s protests. Nick refuses Coach Clayton’s insistence that Nick and Archie shake hands and says the fight was rigged. Coach Clayton angrily disputes that, says Nick has the potential to be a good boxer, and invites him to join them for lessons. Archie offers to work out with Nick. Nick refuses. None of this reaching-out-to-Nick stuff is in the novel. Betty doesn’t rant against Nick. Betty tells Nick to not hold his breath in response to his offer (in the novel, she doesn’t say anything). Dilton, instead of agreeing with Coach Clayton, talks about how Nick could use the boxing lessons and needs to learn the meaning of friendship. Betty doesn’t talk about Nick. Coach Clayton decides to take care of Archie’s eye, which is already turning black. The date discussion is moved to the end.

Well, that’s the third part of “Bad Boy Trouble!”. The story has even more room to breathe in this part. Still, Betty’s personal observations and opinions from the novel are completely gone, and she’s made into more of a wuss and less assertive. Also, Nick’s badness is again toned down by having him fairly give Archie the black eye (as opposed to an illegal punch after the match). Nick does hit Archie after a bell, but it’s not related to the black eye.

Part 4

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This scene doesn’t occur anywhere in the actual story but does represent the general feeling of deception/betrayal/revelation.

Before we get into the story, let’s talk about the artwork. It continues to be gorgeous. I especially love the close-up of Betty’s lips when she says “Then prove it, big boy!”

There’s a 1-page recap of part 3.

Part 4 of “Bad Boy Trouble!” adapts chapters 10-13 of “Bad News Boyfriend”. It’s adapting pages 86-124 of the novel (36 prose pages) in 29 comic pages.

The stargazing scene is condensed. The place where Betty and Archie are is not named (it’s Hamilton Hill in the novel) or given a backstory. There’s some additional material (Betty speaks of Saturn). Archie laments Nick not shaking hands or making friends with him. Betty says Nick wouldn’t make much of a friend. Archie doesn’t hold Betty close. Betty doesn’t rest her head against Archie’s shoulder. Betty’s reason for not going anywhere special is changed from being glad to be out on a Saturday night for a change to enjoying just being with Archie. Betty doesn’t wink at Archie. Instead of asking Archie what he’ll say, Betty suggests he “make up a little white lie, just this once”. Archie, not Betty, says everyone will believe his story. Betty says she’s starved right away instead of Archie asking her. Betty doesn’t say what she wants to eat (in the novel, it’s a cheeseburger, which she is cheated out of). The “Jughead Jones Disease” joke is moved to before they leave and told by Archie instead of Betty. Archie doesn’t brag about Old Betsy or nearly bump into a huge oak tree (they’re in a parking space here). Archie suggests going to Pop’s (after Betty already suggested it; clumsy) instead of announcing it.

The scene at Pop’s is condensed. It is simply called Pop’s here, although Betty’s lengthy description in the novel might not have been the actual name of the business. Betty and Archie don’t spot their friends’ cars. Archie parking his car is cut. Archie’s joke is replaced by a desire for pizza, which is what triggers Betty’s joke. Only Archie laughs. Archie doesn’t ask Betty anything before they enter Pop’s. Chuck and Moose join Reggie in the joking. Archie doesn’t look at Betty, and Betty doesn’t silently deny saying anything. Archie doesn’t ask Reggie. Luiz Martinez doesn’t appear. Betty and Archie have no problem moving through the crowd. Archie doesn’t unbutton his coat (he’s wearing an unbuttoned letter jacket here). Betty doesn’t tell Archie to relax or talk to him at all. Jughead is sitting at the counter instead of at a table. Archie immediately accuses Dilton (after they arrive at the table). Betty doesn’t ask Reggie to “put a clamp on it”. Midge doesn’t say Nick had it coming to him. Jughead doesn’t agree. Dilton is drinking something instead of eating an ice cream sundae. He doesn’t nod. Midge and Nancy, not Reggie as in the novel, confirm and explain things. Betty is angry at Nick’s lies (she’s merely surprised in the novel) and yells. An unnecessary flashback is added in which Dilton is shown exposing Nick’s lies (I guess to make Dilton look brave), but the writer accidentally has Dilton state the novel’s origin for Archie’s black eye (Nick’s cheap shot after the bell), whereas the comic had changed it in the previous chapter (to a legitimate punch during the course of the match). Big oops. Anyway, Moose and Chuck stick up for Dilton, so Nick leaves to pick up Veronica. Moose and Jughead don’t confirm the story. Dilton doesn’t apologize to Archie. Archie thanks Dilton. Dilton tells him to forget it. The rest of the conversation between Archie and Dilton is cut. Betty doesn’t call Dilton a doll or kiss him. Moose doesn’t invite Betty, Archie, and Reggie to join them. The finding of chairs and sitting down are removed. The conversation between Archie and Jughead is cut. Jughead ordering the pizzas is cut. Later on, they are not talking about the English lit homework. Betty, not Midge, announces Veronica and Nick’s arrival. Nick and Veronica don’t march through the front door (that we can see). Everyone’s reactions upon seeing them are cut. Dilton, not Midge, says it’s crowded. Veronica doesn’t look hurt. Betty doesn’t contradict Dilton (but does contradict Midge in the novel). Nick doesn’t ask Archie how he’s doing. Archie doesn’t ask Nick and Veronica how they’re doing. No one is shown laughing at Archie’s joke. Nick doesn’t take hold of Veronica’s arm (he goes to the counter by himself before Archie jokes). There’s extra material where Nick says he’s going to the rinse his knuckles in cold water, because his knuckles are still sore. This is because Betty and Veronica have their conversation a short distance from the counter instead of in the ladies’ room. Veronica’s explanation of Nick’s apology is shortened, and Betty’s response about Nick and Veronica’s father is cut. Veronica’s feelings regarding fighting are cut. Betty tells Veronica the truth of the fight. Veronica seemingly hasn’t heard Nick’s lies regarding it (as in the novel) and instead accuses Betty of being jealous and wanting Nick for herself. Veronica doesn’t put an arm around Betty’s shoulder or wish Betty and Nick would get along. The entire dialogue about going steady is cut. Nick, not Veronica, is planning the anniversary date (which isn’t specified to be the one-month anniversary as in the novel). Nick comes out of the restroom and convinces Veronica to go with him to a movie. Archie doesn’t ask Betty what’s wrong. Betty starts thinking of her plan after Veronica leaves (in the novel, she does so during her conversation with Veronica). Betty doesn’t tell them everything that she’s been holding back (or anything at all, actually). Midge, not Betty, wants to stop the relationship from going much further (no mention of Veronica and Nick going steady). Midge and Dilton’s lines come before Archie’s desire of violence against Nick here (in the novel, Betty and Dilton’s equivalent lines come after Archie’s line). Betty moralizes regarding Archie’s desire of violence against Nick instead of simply saying it’s too late for that now. The rest of the scene from the novel is changed to Betty starting to flesh out her plan (as opposed to suggesting the others help her think of it) and saying Veronica may end up hating her.

The hallway scene at school is condensed. Nancy is added to the scene. Archie, not Midge, asks how Nick heard about their party. Nick specifies Reggie told Moose (whereas, in the novel, he specifies he heard Reggie at lunch). Nancy, not Betty, asks Archie what’s the problem, but she doesn’t smile. Midge says it’s an open party rather than appearing to reluctantly agree to have Nick at the party. She doesn’t wink at Betty. Archie says he won’t be there (whereas he doesn’t in the novel). Veronica doesn’t noticeably shuffle through papers. Nick doesn’t apparently automatically assume the party is at Midge’s house. Nick doesn’t try to hide the fact that he forgot about their anniversary. Veronica says maybe they’ll come for a little while (whereas she doesn’t in the novel). Veronica typed Nick’s essay in computer class instead of writing it in health class (so the mention of handwriting is gone). It’s one paper instead of multiple papers. Nick doesn’t snatch it from Veronica or scribble his name on it. The rest of their discussion is cut. Veronica says they’d better get to class after the bell rings instead of before. Betty grins instead of rolling her eyes. They’re right outside class, but Betty oddly walks in a different direction from Veronica and Nick, despite having the class with them. Truancy?

The English lit class scene is condensed. The students aren’t shown stepping into the room or taking their seats. Attendance is cut. Ms. Grundy telling the class to pass in the essays is cut. Ms. Grundy doesn’t check to make certain that everyone had done the assignment. Nick doesn’t praise English lit. He says he’s sure that Ms. Grundy will enjoy it instead of hoping she’ll give him a good grade. Nick doesn’t wink at Veronica. Veronica doesn’t lower her eyes. There’s a (vague) reaction shot from Veronica at Ms. Grundy’s suspicion. The rest of the scene is cut. Also, Betty isn’t shown being in the classroom. Is this a subtle way of portraying Betty as a rebel for Nick’s benefit, or did the writer and/or artist screw up?

The next hallway scene is condensed. Ms. Grundy calls Veronica back into the classroom instead of telling her to stay after class. Nick doesn’t talk to Veronica. Betty is casually leaning against a locker – as if she skipped class. Archie is absent from this scene, so his and Betty’s conversation is cut. Betty and Nick’s conversation is condensed but has the same essence. Unlike in the novel, Betty claims to not mind “stabbing Ron in the back”, only what her other friends might think of her. Unlike in the novel, Nick expresses concern over losing Veronica, which is what prompts Betty to think up an excuse for him. Betty tells Nick to send Veronica to the party with Archie (she doesn’t mention Archie in the novel; you’ll see the reason for the addition below). Nick comes up with his own excuse (helping his uncle on Saturday) for no apparent reason. Nick saying he’ll get together with Veronica on Sunday is moved up to this scene (you’ll see why below). Nick is far more easily convinced here than in the novel (probably for space reasons). Nick walks away instead of leaning against the wall.

The scenes in Betty’s house, on the road, and in the parking lot are all cut. This means Betty’s parents don’t make their Dynamic New Look debut. It’s a shame. It would have been interesting to see them. The mentions of Sunday and Veronica going out with Archie are in the scene in Betty’s driveway in the novel. The scene’s absence here is why they were moved into the hallway scene earlier.

The cinema scene is condensed. Betty and Nick are already in the lobby. Betty is wearing what looks like a Harley-Davidson sleeveless shirt. I guess she’s trying to appeal to Nick. Then again, we know from previous stories that Betty likes motorcycles, so maybe she genuinely likes wearing it. There’s some additional material where Nick complains they wouldn’t be late if Betty didn’t insist on Nick taking her for a ride after he picked her up (something that doesn’t happen in the novel). It’s done to get the timing of the surprise right, but it’s an unnecessary addition. Betty has popcorn, and Nick has a soda (Betty doesn’t have time to get snacks in the novel). Betty is nowhere near in a hurry here. As they enter the dark theater, Betty says “Ron fell for my story hook, line, and sinker. She and all of your friends are at Midge’s party.” These lines were obviously meant for Nick. Sloppy. I never understand how dialogue can be attributed to the wrong character in the final comic. The movie that they’re seeing, unnamed in the novel, is “The Shield”, a superhero movie. Betty doesn’t delay the kiss. It’s kind of strange in the novel when Betty hurries Nick into the theater and then has to delay the kiss for ten minutes. I guess, here, the motorcycle ride took care of it. The actual kiss isn’t shown. There’s merely a small “Smooch!” panel. That’s stupid. Veronica calls Nick a name instead of asking how he could do this. Betty reacts in disgust to the kiss. Veronica and Archie are in their seats behind Nick and Betty, not standing in the aisle behind them. There’s a comment by some kid to another kid while watching this. Veronica says Archie brought her (which she doesn’t say in the novel, because, in the cut driveway scene, Nick says Veronica said she’d call Archie). Veronica doesn’t refer to Betty by her first and last name (yet), just her first name. Veronica doesn’t ask why Nick’s kissing Betty. Unlike in the novel, Nick immediately concludes it was a set-up. Betty continues to be disgusted at the kiss. Betty’s interaction with Archie is cut. Veronica keeps exclaiming “Boo hoo hoo!” I’m not sure if she’s supposed to literally be exclaiming that, or if it’s meant to be an indication that she’s crying (we can see her tears anyway), but it comes off as stupid and ruins the moment, especially “Boo hoo hoo! And the same goes for you, Betty Cooper!”. Nick had made a comment earlier about being attracted to Veronica’s money (just before the kiss), and Veronica says she heard that. Betty doesn’t tell Archie to go after Veronica. Nick wants to go after Veronica and explain, but Archie tells him to let her go. Nick doesn’t ask Betty why she did this. No ushers approach them. Nick wants Archie and Betty to take this outside with him. Midge, Moose, Reggie, Dilton, and Nancy are in the theater, so the confrontation occurs there instead of in the alley. Jughead isn’t noticeably present. Betty doesn’t talk about Veronica. Archie, not Betty, gives the speech about friendship. Nick doesn’t decide to even the score. Nick asks who needs friends and Riverdale. He’s the one to leave, not the others.

The final scene in the hallway is condensed. Midge and Jughead aren’t visible until the second page of it. They’re at Archie’s locker, not Betty’s. Reggie isn’t apparently breathless. Archie, Betty, Midge, and Jughead don’t say anything. Jughead isn’t munching on a granola bar. Dilton asks what news. Reggie says Nick is leaving Riverdale High today (he doesn’t specify when in the novel). Archie isn’t in disbelief. Reggie doesn’t mention delivering a note or detention or explain how he came across the information. The reason for Nick leaving is changed from his grades to getting busted for turning in the phony English lit essay (Ms. Grundy flunked him). Nick’s “folks” are sending him to a private military school (in the novel, it’s vague who’s sending him). Archie isn’t suspicious of Reggie and wishes Nick luck. The others don’t seem astonished at Nick’s epiphany. Betty seems happy. Reggie doesn’t say Nick singled out Veronica and Betty in his goodbyes. There isn’t a moment of silence. Dilton, not Betty, guesses Nick had some good in him after all. Archie asks doesn’t everyone. Jughead and Midge don’t comment about Nick. Betty doesn’t talk about friendship. Midge, not Betty, spots Veronica and warns Betty. Veronica exclaims “Betty Cooper!” instead of walking up in silence. Betty acknowledges her but doesn’t say anything else, so Veronica doesn’t cut her off. Veronica adds Nancy told her everything. Everything until Veronica says Betty was right, and she was wrong, is cut. Midge isn’t visible on the last page, so she doesn’t look misty-eyed. The guys aren’t apparently sniffling. The bell doesn’t ring. Jughead says “Once again, all is well at Riverdale High.” Veronica says never again will they let a guy come between them and asks Betty for confirmation. Betty sees Archie waving and says maybe not. No one walks away. Veronica doesn’t flirt with Archie. Betty asks what’s the note in Veronica’s hand (unseen until now). Veronica mentions her one week of detention from Ms. Grundy (previously mentioned by Nick in Betty’s driveway in the novel). Betty makes a joke about not serving detention with Veronica, and Archie jokes Veronica will have plenty of company, because detention is “our” second home. It’s not clear who he’s referring to, but Jughead is surprised, and Reggie slaps himself in the face.

Well, that’s the fourth and final part of “Bad Boy Trouble!”. The story has the least room to breathe in this part. A lot of stuff is cut. Prior to this part, no whole scenes were cut. Betty’s personal observations and opinions from the novel are completely gone…again. Also, Betty is turned into more of a goody-goody in spots.

There are probably two types of readers of this story: those that read it after the novel and those that read it before / instead of the novel. I read it before the novel, but I was originally unaware that the novel existed. I was originally very excited. I thought “Here comes a more serious story with more realistic artwork that’s gonna turn the Archieverse upside-down.” However, when I found out that it’s based on an earlier novel, my excitement lessened, because I realized this story wasn’t going to break any new ground.

The artwork is gorgeous to look at, of course, but that’s pretty much all that this adaptation has going for it. Story-wise, the novel is much better.

The story was collected in a trade paperback with somewhat larger pages:

Bad-Boy-Trouble.jpg

While “Life With Archie: The Married Life” (which started in 2010) indicated the New Look stories were in a separate continuity from the normal Archieverse, Nick St. Clair returned to Riverdale in a regular story in 2008, thus bringing this story into Classic Archieverse continuity…before LWA said it wasn’t. Nice going, guys.

Tune in next Wednesday!