Comics – Join the Club

Cheryl-Blossom-1
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 1
Cover Date: April, 1997
Length: 21 pages

After her triumphant return to Riverdale near the end of 1994, from 1995 to 1996, Cheryl Blossom was given a Special miniseries followed by three more miniseries. Those thirteen issues must have done well enough, because Archie Comics saw fit to give Cheryl her own ongoing series, premiering just two months after her latest miniseries ended.

I got into this series with issue #20 (which came out in the last days of 1998) and faithfully followed it to its conclusion at issue #37. Despite the fact that I won the entire run (plus the Special issues, miniseries, and various other Cheryl-related issues) in an eBay auction in 2012, I have never taken any of the issues out of their packaging to read them, preferring to keep them in a tote.

My point is, until we reach issue #20, I likely have never read these stories before (unless I read them as reprints in digests), so this should be a fun experience.

I have one more observation before we get into the story. Remember how, in the final issue of the last miniseries, Cheryl stated she was 16? Well, that wreaks havoc on continuity. If Cheryl was 16 in the final month of 1996, then she was likely born in 1980 (or, at the earliest, December of 1979) – at the very earliest. It also means Cheryl would have gotten her driver’s license no earlier than December of 1995 – at the very earliest. That means, at the very least, Love Showdown, Love & War, the first two Special issues, and the first miniseries (Summertime Fun) came out before “current Cheryl” could drive. Obviously, older stories falling outside the current “window” is constant in Archie Comics, but stories fall out that much quicker when the characters are made too young.

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

Part 1

Penelope gets a call and informs Cheryl that their “dear” Aunt Melinda has died. Wait, she was an aunt to both Penelope and Cheryl? How does that work? Anyway, Cheryl is distraught and bursts into tears as she makes claims about their closeness. Penelope points out that Cheryl never met her, because Melinda lived overseas most of her life.

As the Blossom family leaves Shady Glenn Funeral Home, Clifford expresses his disapproval of Cheryl’s choice of funeral attire: a low-cut, sleeveless gold dress with white stars (it reveals plenty of cleavage). Penelope also (silently) disapproves.

They get in a limousine to go to attend the reading of the will. Cheryl is excited at the prospect of “getting stuff”. Penelope angrily tells her to show some respect. Jason makes fun of Cheryl for dressing sexy, and he can fuck right off. Cheryl tries to…strangle him, I guess. Clifford tells them to cut that shit out.

At the reading of the will, “Frank Blossom” (Melinda’s “favorite”) and “his wife” get $1,500,000. Wait, Frank Blossom? I don’t recall offhand if Clifford had been named yet up to this point, but apparently his name is Frank in this story. I’m still gonna call him Clifford, though. Anyway, the audience gets a good laugh out of Melinda’s certainty that Cheryl and Jason are “as loving and caring as Frank”. Cheryl shushes them and tells them to show some respect.

Anyway, Melinda left them the old Millbrook Country Club and its property. Cheryl and Jason are excited at the thought of making a lot of money.

The next day, though, Clifford wants them to sell the country club and use the money for their future. Jason and Cheryl, upset, argue this could be their future. Cheryl starts talking about gaining skills to cooperate, grow, and mature. I’m not sure if she’s serious about that, but she convinces her dad. However, he’ll be “supervising closely”. Cheryl wants to go check out the place, and Clifford comes with them.

The place is a wreck. Cheryl asks (more like assumes) her dad will renovate it. He agrees but says they’ll pay him back. They’re shocked. He says their goal will be to pay him back when the club opens. Cheryl is upset at the “catch”. Clifford’s like “Welcome to the business world, motherfuckers.”

Several weeks later, Clifford is impressed that the place is really coming together. Cheryl says her Rock N’ Roll club (apparently one section of the club) is “really dynamite”. She says they’ll attract all kinds of talent to perform in this club. She’s primarily thinking of performing here herself, though.

Clifford introduces a tall, buff woman named Louella McGruff. Jason is initially scared of her. Cheryl asks her dad if Louella is applying for a bouncer job. Louella “playfully” slaps Cheryl on the back really hard. That’s fucking rude. Clifford says Louella is going to supervise the club. Jason takes issue with this. Cheryl isn’t pleased either. Clifford says they’ll run the club under the supervision of Ms. McGruff, who has years of business management experience – and will watch over them for him. Cheryl had thought he’d leave her and Jason alone here.

Sometime later, Jason and Cheryl get into an argument, because Cheryl had put up a forty-foot mural of her face to counteract the “homely” bronze sculpture (seemingly of Jason playing a guitar). Louella tells them to shut the fuck up. Jason kisses up to her. A worker comes in and leads them outside to the sign for the country club. Jason is surprised that the sign reads “Club Cheryl”. Louella angrily asks who authorized it. Cheryl says she did. Louella orders the sign taken away and tells Cheryl that they make decisions together. Jason agrees. Cheryl is pissed.

Part 2

Louella reveals the “much more diplomatic” sign above the club’s doors: “Club Blossom”. Cheryl reluctantly accepts it. Louella says their grand opening is next week, and they’ve got to get out and really promote the place. She’s hired an advertising agency to help them out. Cheryl goes off to promote the club her way.

Cheryl does a media blitz, which includes a Club Blossom blimp releasing flyers made to look like blossoms, a TV commercial with Cheryl for the club, and Cheryl posing for the photogs while wearing a shirt advertising the club. Louella is impressed but also can’t explain Cheryl’s ability to attract attention.

During an interview with channel 3 in which Cheryl talks about getting headliners at the club, she’s pressed on names. She sees a billboard advertising a singer named (I’m not joking) Sydney Skank and suggests maybe her. The reporter takes it as a certainty and passes it along to the rest of the media. A nervous Cheryl corrects him.

It makes the papers, though, and enrages a very pregnant Madonna knockoff. She insists on appearing at Club Blossom and upstaging her “rival”. Her husband (Madonna was divorced at the time) and personal trainer, a beefcake named Jose, takes issue with this, but she shuts him up.

Jose is pissed. Madonna’s assistant (whose hair is now a lighter shade of brown) objects as well, but Madonna tells her to get her booked.

Cheryl is excited and “honored” when she gets the news and tells the assistant to fax her a list of Madonna’s demands, which she soon regrets. Cheryl learns (probably from one of the papers) that Madonna thinks Sydney Skank is going to be here and doesn’t want to disappoint her by telling her otherwise.

On opening day, Cheryl is excited about the chain reaction. Word’s gotten out about their celebrity status. Knockoffs of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman want to stay in their guest suite. Jason says a Friends knockoff series is filming nearby, and they need lodging for the cast and crew.

Jason says their rooms are booked full. Cheryl hopes they can attract people to the rock club, golf course, and other areas. Louella is pleased. Cheryl thinks about her true motivation for not telling Madonna the truth (getting the ball rolling) but figures she won’t mind once she’s here. Cheryl wonders out loud about Madonna performing a song or two with her. Jason yells at her that she can’t sing. Cheryl says neither can Madonna. The rock club is called House of Cheryl. Madonna shows up suddenly and immediately insults the place. Cheryl’s happy to see her, anyway.

Part 3

Cheryl reveals to Madonna that Sydney Skank won’t be here due to “other commitments”. Madonna tries to leave, but Cheryl reminds her of her signed contract.

Cheryl also brings up the possibility of discussing on TV how Madonna “betrayed” her fans. Madonna reluctantly agrees to stay. Besides, she’s too bloated.

On opening day (wait, I thought it already was), Cheryl is excited to see the cast of the Friends knockoff series, but it turns out that they’re assholes that argue with each other. Jason spots Tom and Nicole (who’s much taller). Tom’s wearing a “rug” on his head; Cheryl can see the seam.

Veronica shows up, and Cheryl demands some fucking answers. Ronnie explains Clifford invited Hiram. Betty arrives. A surprised (but not angry) Cheryl asks what she’s doing here. Jason explains Betty’s his date for the evening. He actually did this to piss Cheryl off but forces Cheryl to agree Cheryl and Betty admire each other. Cheryl is pleased to see Archie with her dad (who invited him).

Clifford’s still hoping Archie will be a good influence on Cheryl, so Hiram decides they need to talk. Cheryl excuses herself from Archie to talk with a Matt LeBlanc knockoff. Apparently, Joey’s her favorite. Louella spoils Cheryl’s chances of getting celebrity cock, though; the maids are sick, so she and Cheryl have to pitch in. She gives Cheryl a stack of towels to carry upstairs. Cheryl is upset. Louella’s like “Welcome to the real world, bitch.” Cheryl angrily asks her how Jason is helping.

He’s sponging Madonna’s head. Of course. Cheryl overhears Tom and Nicole arguing. Nicole accuses him of looking at a Jennifer Aniston knockoff and throws a vase at him as he runs away. Cheryl has a laugh over it.

Later, at the club (as opposed to where?), Madonna, indicating her contract, tells Cheryl that she’s performing solo (Jason had brought up Cheryl’s duet plans). Cheryl chases after him and threatens to beat the shit out of him.

Part 4

Clifford (who’s hanging out with Archie, Betty, and Ronnie in the audience) is amazed that the place is packed. Betty happily admits Cheryl throws a good party.

Backstage, Madonna is ready to go on and warns Cheryl against interfering. Cheryl’s angry. Suddenly, Madonna goes into labor. Cheryl worries about the show but then decides the show (namely, her) must go on. Cheryl asks Madonna for the location of her husband. He’s “off on a fat burning session with Oprah”. Cheryl calls 911, but Madonna seems to try to talk her out of it.

Cheryl goes out to perform in Madonna’s place. Ronnie can’t stand Cheryl’s singing. Cheryl sings a funny knockoff of “Like a Virgin”. However, Madonna’s screams make Cheryl leave the stage and see to her. Madonna insults Cheryl’s “lousy” singing and, oh, yeah, the baby’s coming right fucking now. Cheryl doesn’t know anything about babies. Madonna screams at her to find someone fast. Cheryl finds a doctor in the audience and offers him a free steak dinner, if he does a good job.

Cheryl tries to continue her performance despite Madonna’s backstage screams. At one point, it seems like Cheryl is, oddly, singing “Take Me Home Tonight”, which…is not a Madonna song.

Anyway, the delivery is successful. Cheryl comes backstage to tell them to keep it down. Madonna shows off her girl. Cheryl snatches the baby from her to show her off to the audience – and also take credit for the delivery, which pisses off the doctor.

The audience gives a standing ovation – except Ronnie, who recognizes this isn’t for Cheryl.

Sometime later, back home, Cheryl is excited about all of the publicity that they’ve gotten. They’re in the tabloids and on TV. The club is booked for months. Everybody wants to see where Madonna’s baby was born. Cheryl notices the Madonna knockoff is on a Hard Copy knockoff. Madonna passes on the title of “Queen of Self-Promotion” to Cheryl, much to the latter’s excitement. Jason rolls his eyes.

This story was pretty funny. The series is off to a good start. It looks like they decided to stick to the issue-length stories at the beginning. Obviously, that will change.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 are a combination ad/PSA for Jimmy Dean meat products and United Cerebral Palsey featuring Jughead and a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Melissa of Jakarta, Indonesia; Laura Madson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Alana Gentner of Norristown, Pennsylvania; Jennifer Ritz of Wildwood Crest, New Jersey; Stella Yoo of Los Angeles, California; and Irene Pensacola of Antioch, California.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column (plus “Things NOT to say to your boyfriends’s mother. (if you want to date him again)”) by Sara Algase.

Between Parts 3 and 4 is a half-page Editor’s Notebook by Victor Gorelick.

After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration (by Rex W. Lindsey) titled “Indoor Winter-Wear” with fashion ideas submitted by Allie of New Mexico; Emily Ferguson of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada; and Jessica Balzola of Pembroke Pines, Florida.

There’s also a Sabrina ad or two in there somewhere – along with other ads.

With the exceptions of the PSA, Editor’s Notebook, and ad(s), all of the extras are included in the digital edition, surprisingly enough.

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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