Comics – Cheryl in the Morning

Cheryl-Blossom-5
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 5
Cover Date: September, 1997
Length: 11 pages

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

At home, Cheryl is watching a knockoff of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and complaining about how the female cohost is “so self-absorbed”. Jason points out the obvious. Clifford says she won’t be hosting the show much longer. Cheryl is surprised.

Clifford has a friend that manages the show. He tells Cheryl that the Kathie Lee knockoff is getting released from her contract. Cheryl loves receiving “inside Hollywood gossip”. Jason asks Clifford for the reason. Clifford explains she’s involved in a land scandal: she bought an entire town in the middle of nowhere and had it leveled just to build a superstore. He looks way too happy when he explains this. Cheryl correctly remembers the woman owns that particular chain. Clifford explains she tried to hide her name from the scandal, but it leaked out.

The woman is then fired on live TV, much to her cohost’s – and the audience’s – delight. Clifford says they’re going to have to search for a new cohost. Cheryl gets stars in her eyes.

Cheryl shows up at the tryouts at a beach (presumably Pembrooke Beach), which is packed. She learns from a sign that the show is filming at Pembrooke Beach all next month (actually, the sign says “tape”, which is much more realistic; it’s Cheryl that says “filming”). Cheryl sees horny females mobbing the Regis knockoff, He starts to fall off the platform. Cheryl rushes to save him…

…but refuses to pull him up until he gives her the cohost job. Otherwise, she’ll drop him into the “mob of crazed housewives”. He agrees. Cheryl pulls a microphone out of her ass and has him loudly proclaim his decision. She then pulls him up. The other females are upset.

On another day, Cheryl shows up at Pembrooke Beach to check out the set. Apparently, this is only a tryout for the next couple of weeks. Cheryl’s name is in the show’s title, but she gets second billing.

Cheryl is full of herself. The Regis knockoff says this is crazy, but the director points out that there are lots of photos in the tabloids of Cheryl saving him and says this is great press. He also brings up her reputation as a “publicity maker” and her looks. Cheryl has had a new sign made for the show, giving herself first billing.

On the first day of taping (they don’t use Cheryl’s sign), the Regis knockoff introduces Cheryl, who walks onto the set. A female audience member complains Cheryl isn’t “wholesome” like the previous cohost. If she’s shaming Cheryl for her outfit (which is likely), she can fuck right off. The Regis knockoff introduces their first guest, a Jenny McCarthy knockoff, who he calls a “sex symbol”. She walks onto the stage. Cheryl isn’t pleased.

The Regis knockoff compliments her appearance “on behalf of male America”. Creep. Cheryl says she looks “much older” up close, pissing her off. The Regis knockoff tells Cheryl that he’ll handle this.

While he does the interview, Cheryl parades around the stage in a skimpy bikini to get attention, pissing off the Jenny knockoff. The camera operators, being men, focus on Cheryl, angering other members of the crew.

Soon, the Regis knockoff introduces their next guest, an animal expert named Charles Fowl (ha). He’s brought lizards and snakes and holds a snake in his hands. Cheryl screams, but he warns her against it, saying she’ll startle them. It’s their sliminess that she doesn’t like. Somehow, the snake gets on her and curls around her. Cheryl tells Charles to get it off her, but he just tells her that she’s scaring the owl, Owlie. Owlie then perches on her head. The audience loves it. One member calls Cheryl “the funniest thing since Lucy“. One of the female crew members, who had previously criticized Cheryl’s behavior, is now gleeful that the phones are ringing off the hook from a loving home audience.

Soon, the Regis knockoff introduces their last guest, a Martha Stewart knockoff. For some reason, Martha has blue hair. She says they’re going to cook a quiche. An eager Cheryl lights the oven. Martha tries to stop her, saying the gas has been on “far too long”. Why has the gas been on at all? And how was Martha planning on cooking anything? Anyway, an explosion occurs. Martha starts strangling Cheryl for ruining her segment, vowing she’ll “pay” for this. Cheryl says Martha’s gone fucking cuckoo. A fight ensues, though it’s unclear who starts it. The audience loves it, and one female member says it’s “better than WrestleMania“.

Soon, the director looks at the ratings (which are up) and says Cheryl’s a hit. The female crew member from earlier says it’s too bad that they have to let her go. Their biggest sponsor is dropping them, if they don’t drop Cheryl. The sponsor claims the show is bad for their image. The director is upset, because the ratings are skyrocketing.

Soon, back home, Jason laughs about Cheryl’s firing to her. Cheryl says some “big corporate stiff” didn’t like her. Clifford claims responsibility, shocking her. Cheryl asks him why she was bad for her company’s image. Clifford says not his company; she was bad for their family image. Jason agrees and continues laughing. Cheryl angrily tells him to shut the fuck up.

This story was bullshit. Sure, some of it was on Cheryl: forcing her way onto the show and trying to get attention by wearing a bikini. But the rest of it was very clearly not her fault. Animals attacked her, and she received no help. She tried to be helpful by lighting an oven for their celebrity guest, not knowing the gas had already been on for a long time. The guest then tried to murder her. And then her own father sabotaged her chance at stardom. Poor girl can’t catch a break.

A “Leading Lady Fashion” Cheryl fashion page sits between the two parts of this story. A 1-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase follows the story.

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Comics – Picture This!!

Cheryl-Blossom-4
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 4
Cover Date: August, 1997
Length: 6 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

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

At Club Blossom, Louella happily notes they’re busy today. Cheryl feels something is missing; she’s not satisfied. Louella is confused over Cheryl not being satisfied with a busy inn that makes money. Cheryl says she’s “suffering from celebrity withdrawal”. Louella’s like “What the fuck?!” Cheryl says it’s been weeks since any celebrities have shown up.

Louella says they can’t put out an ad for celebrities to stay here. Cheryl sees a tabloid on a table. She opens to the “Paparazzi Page”, because she loves the paparazzi and the pictures that they take of celebrities. As she explains to Louella, she just needs to get photographed and appear in the paper, and then she’ll become a “big name”. Um, Cheryl was already stated to have been all over tabloid TV (related to her previous exploits) in just the previous issue. Is she worried that people have already forgotten about her? Anyway, Cheryl says, soon, “everyone will want to hang at the cool girl’s inn”. So she wants to be considered a celebrity in order to draw celebrities to her inn. Okay, fine, by why not take out an ad in the various entertainment magazines, advertising your business and listing the celebrities that have already stayed here and the bands that have performed here?

Louella questions if the paparazzi will warm up to Cheryl. Cheryl intends to hire them.

Soon, Cheryl has dressed up for a night out and brings along two photogs named Fernando and Rene. She tells them to take her to “where the pretty people are”. One of them tells her that there’s a party at “the Ritz” (which could be referring to any number of hotels, but this seems the most likely), and everyone will be there. What’s stupid is they’re having this conversation as they’re arriving at the Ritz! Cheryl reminds them of the job that she hired them for: they’ll get big bucks for taking pictures of her with a “hotshot”. Cheryl sees a George Clooney knockoff (star of an ER knockoff)¬†and pretends to slip and fall against him. A photog snaps a pic.

Cheryl then sees knockoffs of Winona Ryder, Alicia Silverstone, and Gwyneth Paltrow in a “gabfest” and decides to join in. She gets all handsy with Alicia and Winona. An angry Alicia’s like “Who the fuck is she?” Cheryl accidentally calls Alicia “Winona” (this might be an error) and has to remind a photog to snap the pic. Cheryl spots a knockoff of Tom Cruise, but a photog warns he’s “very elusive”. Tom threatens to sue them, if they don’t back off. Cheryl finds this “cool” and then shoves the photog away for no apparent reason. Well, that’s rude. Cheryl falls backwards and knocks glasses off a waiter’s tray. Her other photog snaps a pic.

Cheryl guesses she overdid it but is actually pleased, guessing she’ll be in all of the papers. Cheryl spots a knockoff of Antonio Banderas and decides to try to kiss him. She tells a photog to get his camera ready. He advises against it, but she doesn’t heed his warning. She kisses Antonio on the cheek. His angry girlfriend comes over and splashes her drink on Cheryl’s dress. Cheryl’s other photog snaps a pic. Even though it didn’t go as planned, Cheryl’s happy, because the press “loves a good fight”.

The next day, at Club Blossom, Cheryl asks Louella if she made the Paparazzi Page. Louella says yes. However, Cheryl is shocked to see they didn’t print any of her stuff, just some other paparazzi following her with her paparazzi (she forgot about the “real” paparazzi). The headline reads “Desperate Cheryl Blossom Hires Own Paparazzi In Attempt For Fame!” Louella points out that knockoffs of Claudia Schiffer and David Copperfield have arrived. Cheryl is happy that celebrities are showing up. It turns out that Claudia was specifically searching for the business of “that crackpot in the paper”. Cheryl blushes, smiles, shrugs, and goes with it.

This story was pretty cute, but Cheryl lucked out in this case. Celebrities could have just as easily boycotted her business.

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Comics – Sibling Rivalry

Cheryl-Blossom-4
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 4
Cover Date: August, 1997
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

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

Jason is looking through old photos and finds a photo of Cheryl looking “geeky” (she had buck teeth like Ethel). He decides it’ll be great for the paper. Cheryl found a “hilarious” photo of Jason. Jason says he had the mumps. Cheryl decides to keep that a secret. Jason chases after her, demanding the picture back.

Clifford asks them what’s going on. Cheryl explains the paper is running baby pictures on the Society page. Clifford correctly guesses they’re each trying to humiliate the other one. Both he and Penelope disapprove but don’t stop them. Cheryl and Jason leave. Penelope asks why they’re such rivals. Clifford picks up a photo album and guesses it’s because they’re twins. Penelope points out a photo of herself holding Cheryl and Jason, probably as newborn babies. Wait. Penelope has dark brown hair in the photo. Was she dyeing it at the time? Or is she dyeing it now? And does that mean Cheryl’s not a natural redhead? Or is she, and she simply got it from someone farther back in the family tree? So many questions for what’s likely a careless coloring error. Anyway, a year later, Cheryl’s already starting food fights with Jason as they sit in high chairs.

When they were at the playground at age 7, Cheryl removed Jason’s training wheels. As Clifford got richer, Cheryl and Jason each had to outdo each other materialistically. Jason got an arcade game (a Pac-Man knockoff), so Cheryl got an entire arcade (named Cheryl’s Arcade). Cheryl got a Barbie knockoff electric-powered car, so Jason ordered a real sports car (at 12, he couldn’t even drive it). Clifford knows they’ve spoiled their kids but says it’s hard not to. Penelope says, if the going got tough, they would help each other out. Clifford is unsure.

Penelope points out that Cheryl missed her “junior prom” with measles. Um, judging by their appearances in the photos, I think she meant “junior high prom”. Anyway, Jason pretended to be sick, too, just to stay with Cheryl. They ended up literally fighting the whole night (Cheryl gave Jason an uppercut), but the thought was there. Clifford guesses, as twins, they have a deep bond. Penelope says it’s intense.

Later, Jason comes by, complaining to his parents that Cheryl posted a flyer around with a goofy picture of him and the lines, “Hi! I’m a goober! My name is Jason Blossom!” Cheryl’s happy, but Clifford’s upset and asks if their rivalry will ever end.

Penelope asks them if they can’t just get along. Clifford orders them out. Cheryl and Jason leave the mansion. Cheryl suggests a truce. Jason agrees and decides to treat Cheryl to a soda. He compliments her on the flyer. Cheryl says they have “quite a wacky relationship”. Jason agrees. He stops at a sign and points it out to her. It’s another bucktoothed child photo of Cheryl (at age 6) with her name and the word “Loser!” on it. Jason is pleased with himself for having the last word. A furious Cheryl chases after him and threatens to murder him.

Not much to this story. Just rich kids competing in stupid shit. However, it was nice to see Jason skip the prom to spend time with his sister.

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Comics – Radio Daze

Cheryl-Blossom-4
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 4
Cover Date: August, 1997
Length: 11 pages

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

Cheryl is driving her sports car and is stuck in rush hour traffic. She’s going crazy, both from the traffic and from the traffic reports on the radio stating the obvious. She switches stations and comes across a knockoff of Howard Stern. She hates him but decides to listen to his show out of curiosity.

He says a bunch of misogynistic stuff, shocking her and pissing her off. His guest is a knockoff of Pamela Anderson, who Cheryl loves. Cheryl gets pissed again when he asks her why she’s not wearing a bikini. Amusingly, she says “I’m an actress, not a Baywatch model!” He talks shit about her. Cheryl picks up her car phone (which really just looks like a cell phone), calls the station, and demands to speak to the asshole. Sensing something “good” will come of this, the guy working the switchboard puts her through.

Cheryl lets the asshole have it – and also sticks up for the Pamela knockoff. He plays his behavior off as “teasing”. Somehow, he knows she’s calling from a car phone. She lets him know who she is, but he doesn’t give a shit and hangs up, which pisses her off. She calls up again.

He honks a horn into his microphone, which scares her. Pissed, she parks her car and runs in high heels to the station, which, um, well, you’re a trooper, Cheryl. Actually, the station is identified as WCAX, which is presented in this story as a talk radio station. Anyway, Cheryl intends to “seek revenge”.

Cheryl enters the station, blows past everyone, and enters the recording studio. The Stern knockoff guesses who she is.

Cheryl demands he treat female celebrities with respect. He calls her “kinda cute”. She detects a wig and pulls it off his head. She laughs about it. He says no one can see. She pulls her camera (which I guess she just carries around with her) out of her purse, takes a picture of him, and runs away. He demands someone get her. He chases her through the building. The Pamela knockoff thinks Cheryl will escape. By the way, it’s interesting that, after playing a “tool girl” in the previous story, Cheryl now meets the original tool girl. Also, there’s a black female cohost, who is completely made up for this story.

The listeners love Cheryl and flood the station’s switchboard.

Soon, back at home (I guess traffic was no longer a problem), Cheryl gets a call from the station, offering her her own radio show. She takes, like, one second to think about it and then enthusiastically agrees. Penelope comes by to ask her something.

We don’t find out what that is, though. However, a caption lets us know Cheryl’s parents agree to let their daughter give it a try.

Unfortunately, Cheryl is oblivious to a heartbroken, lonely caller’s economic situation and suggests a tropical vacation – and getting a higher-paying job.

Then a guy named “Jake” calls, but it’s just Jason pulling a prank by belching. He plans to inundate her with calls.

Somehow not recognizing her own brother’s voice, Jason pranks Cheryl again, honking a horn into the phone. The Stern knockoff, listening in, loves it. Cheryl is upset that Roth, the guy operating the switchboard, isn’t doing a good job screening the calls. Roth apologizes and says Jason is “so convincing”. Cheryl screens the next call, which is supposedly from Jane, a retired schoolteacher with a problem. Believing it’s Jason again, Cheryl takes the call and puts “Jane” on the air.

“Jane” is very lonely and asks for advice on how to meet new people. Cheryl calls her a loser, tells her to stop whining and feeling sorry for herself, and honks a horn into her microphone. She also calls the woman (who’s a real caller) “Jason”. When Roth informs her that it was a real caller, Cheryl’s worried. He informs her that the switchboard is suddenly flooded with negative phone calls. Rather than take responsibility and offer an on-air apology, Cheryl leaves, because she can’t handle this.

Cheryl runs past the mob outside the station, who chant “Down with Cheryl!” Keep in mind that it’s been less than a minute since the call ended.

Later (probably on another day, since Cheryl’s wearing different clothes), Cheryl sees an exclusive interview on a knockoff of A Current Affair, which was off the air at the time, with the “old lady” that she’d honked. Cheryl calls Mr. Reynolds, one of her producers, to resign. He informs her that they’ve already replaced her with a “new media darling”. Cheryl slams the phone down in anger. She informs Jason and blames him. Jason tunes into the station to find out who she’s replaced with. It’s Jane, hosting her new show, Radio Chat With Jane. Also, to add insult to injury (even though the listeners can’t see it), Jane’s granny sweater is covered with blossoms.

This story was myopic. A lot more could have been done with Cheryl hosting her own radio show. This deserved to be an issue-length story. As it is, it’s rushed. Also, if Cheryl had just apologized and explained why she’d acted as she had (and it’s not like there’s a lack of on-air evidence that she was being pranked), then she’d still have a job. But she seems to not be able to handle any amount of conflict.

A “Cheryl’s on the Air!” fashion page sits between the two parts of this story. A 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase follows the story.

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Comics – Home Un-Improvement

Cheryl-Blossom-3
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 3
Cover Date: June, 1997
Length: 21 pages

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

Part 1

There’s a very brief recap of “Join the Club”. More like an explanation of the setting, really.

At Club Blossom, Cheryl is excited upon reading a letter from a band called Hurling Nuggets (I can’t tell if this is a parody of anything) in which they agree to perform at Club Blossom. Why is Club Blossom in quotes? Well, whatever. Louella doesn’t know how to react, but Cheryl assures her that Hurling Nuggets is hot shit.

Unfortunately, Cheryl had already agreed to all of their stage requirements, including a giant spaceship. She goes to call the contractors, but Louella stops her (and scares the shit out of her), says it’s not in their budget, says they can’t run to her dad for money, and says they can use only “appropriate” funds. Louella says the band will have to either perform as is or go elsewhere. Cheryl fumes.

Later, Cheryl’s watching a knockoff of This Old House. Jason comes by to make fun of her for her plans being shot down. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up. She’s watching the show for inspiration. The show is hosted by a Bob Vila knockoff, even though he hadn’t hosted for 8 years by this point. Cheryl gets the idea to have the show do the work. Jason is skeptical, but Cheryl is confident. She says the place needs other work done, too. As if on cue, Jason pulls a door knob right off a door. Ha.

The next day, the TV crew arrives. I’m pretty sure it takes far longer than that for them to agree to and start on a project, but this is excused by Cheryl’s fame. Bob says they saw all of Cheryl’s publicity stunts and names knockoffs of Hard Copy, A Current Affair (which had been off the air since August 30 of the previous year), and Inside Edition. A footnote refers the reader to the first two issues of the ongoing series “plus other back issues, too!” A lighting guy says Cheryl is “a publicist’s dream”. They’re hoping Cheryl’s “magic” can boost them out of their ratings dip. They agreed to do all of the work for free – on the condition that Cheryl is their “tool girl”. Yeah, as if you couldn’t tell already, this story was inspired by Home Improvement. Jason wants to help. Bob tells him to stay out of his “genius” sister’s way.

Clifford comes to Club Blossom. He’s impressed with Cheryl’s “very resourceful idea”. Bob starts off the show and introduces Cheryl, who’s wearing a skimpy outfit. The TV crew gets boners. Clifford is mildly scandalized (but seems unusually happy). Bob wants to tear down a railing and asks Cheryl for a crowbar.

Unfortunately, Cheryl loses her grip and drops it on his foot, possibly breaking his toe. Cheryl apologizes. Bob’s assistant, Hank, will sand some boards. Hank, who has a boner, asks Cheryl for help. Cheryl goes to get the sandpaper. Hank stares at Cheryl’s ass, walks into a sawhorse, and injures himself. Jason volunteers to sub for him (I think he just wants to get on camera), but Clifford sends in Archie instead.

Part 2

Archie runs over. Clifford tells Archie that he will be Bob and Cheryl’s assistant on this show. Jason questions the wisdom of this. Clifford’s still got a man-crush on Archie. Bob wants some lumber moved.

Archie roughly whacks Cheryl in the ass with it and knocks her to the floor. She yells at him. He apologizes to “sweets”. Jason has a good laugh. Bob has Archie unroll some insulation, and Archie somehow manages to whack Cheryl in the ass with it.

Cheryl angrily asks Archie if he slapped her on the ass. He says it was the insulation. She grabs it from him and whacks him in the ass with it. Bob gives Archie a staple gun for the insulation, and Archie somehow manages to staple Cheryl to the wall (off her feet at that). Cheryl yells at the “goober” and demands he get her down. Bob tells Clifford that he needs someone more skilled than Archie. Jason offers to help. Clifford won’t let him on TV. However, Jason meant…

…Betty, who’s a wiz at carpentry. Cheryl isn’t pleased and would rather have Archie back. Apparently, the show is filmed instead of taped, which is odd for a show like this. Anyway, Betty knows what to do regarding installing a window, and Cheryl seems upset that…Betty’s smarter than her? I guess?

Anyway, the window is installed. Betty, Jason, and Clifford are pleased. Cheryl isn’t. They take a break. Archie compliments Betty on her knowledge. Cheryl invites Archie to have a soda with her.

Archie agrees. Betty’s upset over being ditched, and Bob asks Betty to build the next set for them to work on. Cheryl’s pleased that Betty’s occupied.

The next day, Jason hates the loud sounds of carpentry. Cheryl is unconcerned, since it’ll look great in the end. Did Cheryl just compliment Betty? Anyway, Jason’s concerned that it’s keeping the guests awake. Right on cue, a guest complains. The Clumpitts come over and complain as well, since they can’t get any sleep either. Cheryl’s surprised that…loud noises bother people? Maybe?

Part 3

The Clumpitts demand to know what the fuck is going on. Cheryl insults them, slams the door in their faces, and then gives them an explanation. The Clumpitts are suspicious.

Back in their treehouse, they use their “trusty” telescope to spy on the people at Club Blossom. The son and dad spy a cutie in room 28 and get boners.

Back at Club Blossom, Jason is upset. It seems he had brought Betty on in the hope of having some time with her, but the crew is using her full time. He also seems to be upset that Cheryl and Archie are rekindling their romance.

Soon, Bob says they’re ready to film the next sequence. Cheryl excuses herself from “sugarlips”. Jason arrives with Hank, who’s better now. Hank wants Cheryl to keep her distance. Asshole, don’t blame the girl for your lust-filled daze.

Betty gets permission from Bob to leave, and she hooks up with Archie. Cheryl is shaken.

Soon, Bob announces the completion of the expansion. Cheryl goes off to look for Betty and Archie and finds them in the spaceship. Jason demands Archie come down, since he works for them.

In the treehouse, the Clumpitts see the spaceship and believe aliens have landed – or the Blossoms are the aliens. For fuck’s sake…

Anyway, there’s a single light bulb in the treehouse, so it seems they do have electricity…somehow. Instead of calling the F.B.I. right away, they’re gonna investigate.

Back at Club Blossom, Cheryl takes Archie away, supposedly to work. Jason takes Betty to Pop Tate’s for a soda. Louella informs Cheryl that their “guests” have arrived. Cheryl guesses they’re the Hurling Nuggets. One of the members guesses Cheryl is “Sharon Flowers”.

Cheryl angrily corrects her, but the woman doesn’t give a shit. Cheryl informs them that they’re just finishing up the set for the show. The woman orders Cheryl to take them to their room and gives her a long list of the items that they’re requiring. Cheryl asks for their thoughts on the spaceship and reaches for a rope to lower it. Bob warns her against pulling the rope, because it’s not ready, but it’s too late. The spaceship falls toward the stage. Cheryl calls out a warning. The spaceship lands on Bob. Cheryl nervously makes an insensitive joke. Bob angrily asks her if she has insurance.

Part 4

The big night arrives. The place is packed. Cheryl is with the band up by the spaceship. She explains she’ll announce them as soon as the spaceship lands and the door opens. The bitch woman from earlier reminds Cheryl that the band will then come out and wants to make sure Cheryl’s got it. Um, what? That’s self-explanatory. It seems to me that what Cheryl was telling them was more important. Cheryl realizes they forgot to attach the front door to the spaceship since she injured Bob. Um, what? The spaceship had to repositioned after the accident; how did they overlook the door? Anyway, Cheryl wants one of them to help her nail the hinges on, but the bitch (who’s a guitarist in the band) refuses.

With only two minutes left to showtime, Cheryl calls Archie up to help her. Cheryl goes into the spaceship with the band (to check the work from the inside, I guess) and initially thanks Archie, but the dumbass has accidentally nailed the door to the spaceship and trapped her inside. Cheryl is pissed. Archie’s scared when the ship starts moving, but Cheryl (I guess) informs him that it’s pre-programmed to do that.

Cheryl pounds on the door and demands to be let out. The male guitarist tells her to calm down. The band reeks, since they don’t bathe (in order to conserve water) and apparently don’t fight their bad breath. As the spaceship lands, someone inside orders the smoke and fireworks to be set off. Jason decides to do the announcing, but the Clumpitts storm the stage. The son has a baseball bat. Cheryl is happy that they’re being rescued but, once the Clumpitts bust open the door, decides to stay. The dad informs…someone that they’re here to save…someone from “those ugly aliens”. Who? And is Cheryl not the alien anymore?

Oh, wait, yes, she is, seeing as how the redneck dad is manhandling her. Oh, wait. As he stuffs her in a giant sack (seriously), he talks of de-programming her. So she’s a victim of the aliens? There’s no use in trying to figure out the mind of a hillbilly. Anyway, as the dad and mom run off with Cheryl, an audience member finds it cool. Archie (dumbass that he is) left his tools on the stage (when?). The Clumpitts trip, and Cheryl flies free of the sack. Some members of the audience catch her. Others laugh. A quick-thinking Cheryl passes it off as part of the show. The band starts playing. The Clumpitts are put off by the loud music and just give up and leave.

Later (same night? I don’t know, but Cheryl’s wearing the same outfit), Louella informs Clifford and Cheryl that, with all of the damage from the show, they need more work done. Cheryl says the TV show has agreed to film more shows here. Clifford guesses they like what Cheryl did for the ratings. Cheryl confirms it but says she’s taking a breather. Betty’s hanging around (for some reason; maybe she attended the concert?), and Cheryl wants Archie away from her. Clifford asks Cheryl who the tool girl is going to be. Cheryl presents Jason, who’s wearing a skimpy outfit and introduces himself as the new “tool guy”. So Jason finally got his wish of being on the show. Cheryl’s happy for him. Betty seems amused but doesn’t think the world’s ready for another Blossom.

This story was pretty funny, but the Clumpitts seriously need to go. They’re nothing but annoying. Cheryl should call the police and have them charged with attempted kidnapping.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Karen Reno of Rolla, Missouri; Demy Potter of Big Rapids, Michigan; Ashlea Weston of Hartland, Michigan; Sally B. of Victoria, Australia; and Desara Thomas of Ontario, Canada.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Celebrity Looks”. Cheryl narrates it, calling herself a trendsetter but also sharing her celebrity fashion influences, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Alanis Morissette, and Drew Barrymore.

Also between Parts 2 and 3 is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

According to GCDb, all of the extras are included in the digital edition, but we must consider the possibility that the GCDb contributors use the digital editions when typing up the contents.

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Comics – Snowbored

Cheryl-Blossom-28
Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)*
Pencils: Holly G!*
Inking: John Lowe*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 28
Cover Date: January, 2000
Length: 5 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories. The digest reprint seems to agree, even though it doesn’t credit a colorist.

So here’s some odd backstory for you. I had originally planned to review this story back in December of 2018, between my reviews of “Holi-Daze” (the Christmas story) and “Kiss of the Century” (the New Year story). Indeed, that’s where this story sits in the issue. However, when I got to it (remember, even though I have the physical issue, I’m doing these reviews primarily using the digital editions), I noticed it was only 3 pages long. Perplexed, I checked Grand Comics Database. It listed a length of 3 pages. I didn’t know what to think, so I moved on.

Well, recently, I saw the physical edition of World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest #1 at the store and decided to check it out after work. It replaces B&V Friends Double/Jumbo Digest, which ended in November of 2020. It has a pretty good mix of stories, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a decent amount of Cheryl content – including this story. It was 5 pages long. I bought the digest.

So now, before sitting down to write this review, I decided to check my physical copy of Cheryl Blossom #28, which I bought back in 1999. The missing pages are in there. So it’s just the digital edition that’s missing the pages, and whoever’s editing GCDb is simply using the digital edition of these issues as reference instead of the physical edition.

Anyway, let’s get to the story:

The gang’s on a snowboarding trip. Veronica’s upset that Cheryl’s on the slopes. Archie and Reggie have boners for her. Betty is concerned that she and Ronnie are never going to get the boys’ attention now. Ronnie says she’s not giving in that easy and walks off, surprising Betty. Cheryl’s snowboard is white and covered with purple blossoms.

Ronnie asks Archie to teach her how to snowboard. He seems into it. Betty thinks Ronnie is a genius with boys. But then Archie just tells Ronnie to watch Cheryl, who’s “the best snowboarder on the slopes” (and, yes, she does seem skilled, which makes sense, considering she’s a good skateboarder). Cheryl asks Archie what he thinks of her new moves. Archie responds with this gem: “Cheryl! All your moves are poetry!” Ronnie’s pissed.

Cheryl engages in some minor trash talk toward Ronnie. Ronnie says she’s just learning how to snowboard. Cheryl suggests she go to the beginner hill while she takes “expert care” of Archie. Ronnie is pissed but then gets “a beast of an idea that will freeze Cheryl’s assets”. She takes out her cell phone and calls Smithers. Betty is impressed with Cheryl’s snowboarding and calls her good. Ronnie teases retribution, confusing Betty.

Soon, Smithers delivers an abominable snowman costume. Betty is surprised and unimpressed. Ronnie expects Betty to wear it and scare Cheryl away, and Betty will get “first dibs on Archie” in return. Betty seems embarrassed to be doing this for Archie.

When Cheryl snowboards by, Ronnie sends a reluctant, costumed Betty out to scare her. Betty approaches Cheryl and unleashes a mighty roar, but then Cheryl unleashes an even mightier scream, which causes an avalanche. Cheryl abandons her snowboard and runs away.

Betty is happy that that was only a “mini avalanche”, and she’s only lightly covered with snow. Ronnie helps her to her feet. Betty takes off her mask and happily asks if they got rid of Cheryl. Ronnie guesses they scared her into the ski lodge and suggests checking it out.

At the ski lodge, sitting on a couch in front of a roaring fire, her shoes kicked off, and with hot beverages nearby, Cheryl has told Archie and Reggie what happened. Archie calls her brave. Reggie praises her “quick thinking” in causing the avalanche. It isn’t clear if she presented it to them this way or if they drew their own conclusions, but she’s pleased and doesn’t contradict them. Betty is pissed at Ronnie for moving “Cheryl’s little boy party from mountain side to fireside”.

This story is okay, but Betty’s really not being a good friend to Cheryl, whose biggest crimes in this story are…being attractive and…being a good snowboarder. Also, what’s with the title? No one in this story was bored.

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Comics – The Challenge

World-of-BV-Digest-1Writer: Jamie Rotante
Pencils: Bill Galvan
Inks: Ben Galvan
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 1
On-Sale Date: January 6, 2021
Length: 10

The new year starts off with a brand-new digest. Cool. It’s not like Archie Comics has much else going on right now, what with Archie being on hiatus or cancelled since July and Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked waiting to fart out its last issue. So I’m glad that there’s a new digest. And that it’s a female-led digest. And that it’s kicking off with a brand-new 10-page story. Let’s get into it.

Someone is watching a video of Veronica and Betty dancing on her phone. Someone is incredulous that it has over 10,000 views.

It turns out that Ronnie and Betty are watching it on Ronnie’s phone while sitting in a booth at Pop’s. And Jughead’s the one that’s incredulous. Ronnie asks why. Jughead says it’s just them doing dances. Not just dances, Jug! They also swap clothes during the dance, which is totally not an art error! Anyway, Betty says they also have informative videos on current issues. And memes! Pop loves “those me-me things”. Jughead trash-talks “you kids nowadays” and modern technology but then takes off in excitement when he discovers a hotspot for a Pokemon Go knockoff game (which, yes, I do recall reading about in a previous issue somewhere, so points for continuity) in the parking lot. Ha.

Ronnie’s like “Fuck him” and fishes for compliments from Archie. Archie begrudgingly approves but lets her know they spend so much time on the videos that they never go on dates anymore. Ronnie is excited when she learns a BTS knockoff group is hosting a challenge: whoever has the most creative video on a TikTok knockoff wins a grand prize: the band will play in their hometown. Despite Ronnie whispering this, Ethel, Midge, and Toni are sitting in the booth behind her (despite Archie sitting there just two panels earlier) and overhear. Everyone leaves in a rush to make their videos.

Pop wonders where the fuck they went. Archie doesn’t know that but mentions what he overheard. An excited Ms. Beazley takes off running. Haha, because she’s an old hag that’s somehow interested in a K-Pop boy band. Pop asks more, so Archie explains. Reggie overhears and gets an idea.

Soon, at Riverdale High School, Reggie walks in and interrupts Betty and Veronica’s dance practice in the gym. He tells them to get inventive, or they’ll lose. Ronnie asks why the fuck they should listen to him. Reggie pulls out his phone, brings up his TikTik knockoff account, and reveals he’s…some kind of monster character that’s apparently “one of the most popular…accounts ever!” Yeah, no, but that’s what they’re going with in this story, so let’s continue. Reggie promises the girls that they’ll win this challenge, if they listen to him. He says they’ll need to “film” a few practice videos first.

Reggie records Ronnie, Betty, Midge, Ethel, and Toni exercising on treadmills, two on each; Toni herself doesn’t appear to be on a treadmill; Ethel falls off. Reggie gets Archie and Jughead involved, so he can get a video of their dogs, Vegas and Hot Dog, stacking cans. Reggie sees Betty doing a fairly impressive skateboarding stunt on a ramp and records it. Reggie then has Archie try; Archie crashes spectacularly, which Reggie loves, but he still wants something better and bigger.

Meanwhile on the band’s tour bus, their manager (or whoever) has found the winning video, and it’s…Ronnie and Betty’s dance video from earlier. The band’s impressed. One of them asks where they’re headed to perform. The manager says “Riverdale, USA”. One of them asks where Riverdale is, but the scene cuts away before the manager can answer. Fuck you, story. Numerous clues in the comics (as well as a license plate in Life With Archie: The Married Life) have placed Riverdale in New York. Stop trying to pretend Riverdale “could be anywhere”.

On another day, Reggie has seemingly called all of Riverdale outside somewhere and again promises they’ll win the challenge. Ronnie calls him out on “filming” and posting all of their most embarrassing moments. Betty questions whether he really is the person behind that popular, made-up account. He admits he isn’t and cites his vanity. Reggie wants them to participate in a video and has Dilton explain. A giant cylinder has been filled halfway with “a few” (understatement) gallons of orange soda. Soon, everyone in town will drop in their open packs of a Mentos knockoff candy, and it will create a “stellar surprise”. This seems like a variant on the Diet Coke and Mentos eruption. Betty asks if it’s dangerous. Dilton says no; they’re going for the longest ongoing stream, not the largest by volume; they just have to be careful and not have everyone do it at the same time.

But then Reggie tells everyone to do it at the same time, and there’s a huge explosion of orange soda, covering everyone. The band takes that moment to arrive in town. Oh, look, it seems Classic Archieverse Riverdale has the same basic “Welcome to Riverdale, the Town with Pep!” welcome sign from Riverdale. Everyone’s pissed at Reggie, but then the band arrives. They’re impressed with the “welcome”. They get on the roof of their tour bus and invite Betty and Veronica, who are suddenly completely spotless (not to mention fresh and full of life), up to join them as they perform their songs. Reggie tries to take credit. Jughead records a video of the girls dancing with the band in the hope of getting 10,000 views.

This story was okay. It’s a nice attempt at trying to keep up with current trends.

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Comics – Snow Way Out

Cheryl-Blossom-9
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 9
Cover Date: February, 1998
Length: 5 pages

*These roles aren’t credited in this story; I assume the credits from the lead story apply here.

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

At Club Blossom, Louella watches the snow fall hard outside. The doorbell rings. Cheryl wonders who could be out here in this weather. She answers the door. It’s Archie. He’s delivering stuff for Hanson’s Sporting Goods Store, but the roads are getting slippery, and he thought he could seek shelter at her inn. Jason finds this convenient. Cheryl lets Archie stay a bit.

Cheryl and Archie play two games of Monopoly (and eat popcorn) in front of a roaring fire. Two games are her limit, so she decides to send him off. But then a cop arrives and informs her that all of the roads are closed, and no one is to leave; it’s very dangerous. Cheryl’s shocked, but Archie’s more than okay with it. I don’t get why Cheryl’s upset; she has the perfect excuse to take Archie upstairs for some hot fucking. Some guests are inconvenienced. The officer apologizes as he leaves. Cheryl suggests they watch some TV on the large screen in the den to pass the time.

Unfortunately for the guests, Cheryl submits them to hours of home movies and media coverage of herself. The only movies that she has to watch are “a couple” that she made starring herself. Huh, I guess she made another movie after Cheryl: A Life. Cheryl suggests singing Christmas carols and decides to go first; she has Jason film her.

An hour later, Cheryl has turned off the guests by hogging the spotlight. Even Jason unfavorably compares her to Liza Minnelli. Desperate to keep the guests around, Cheryl suggests they play charades. She has them stumped for an hour (the answer was her). A guest asks Archie what sort of sporting goods that he was transporting.

It’s winter stuff like skis and sleds. They use the equipment to escape from Cheryl (which Cheryl suspects). A worried Archie hopes the guests plan on paying for all of this.

This story is pretty funny. Not much else to say.

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

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Comics – Inn Big Trouble!

Cheryl-Blossom-2
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan DeCarlo
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 2
Cover Date: May, 1997
Length: 21 pages

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

Part 1

Jason has replaced a picture of Cheryl over the fireplace at the club with a “more distinguished” picture of him, so she takes it and smashes it over his fucking head. He has dozens more.

Cheryl chases after Jason. Louella tells them to knock that shit off. Apparently, they’ve been fighting ever since they inherited this “inn”. Wait, inn? It’s a country club. But they keep referring to it as an inn in this story. It seems we’ve got a bit of revisionism going on. Anyway, Louella hands them a stack of books to put away in the lounge. Jason carries them, but one catches Cheryl’s interest: Pembrooke History; it describes the history of the inn.

The inn was opened over 150 years ago by Elmyra Willowbrook. She mysteriously vanished (some say murdered by ruthless competitors). Almost every proprietor of the inn since has reported supernatural events; many say it’s the ghost of “Elmira” Willowbrook. That’s nice: they use two spellings of the woman’s name in two adjacent panels. Anyway, Cheryl and Jason laugh it off, but then Jason gets the idea to prank Cheryl and scare her off, so he can run the inn with Betty. Yeah, wishful thinking, Jason.

Soon, Cheryl has put her picture back over the fireplace, but then it starts shaking and spinning. A shrieking voice yells “Get out!” Cheryl runs away. Of course, it’s just Jason’s doing; he got a guy named Stan (a “great special effects whiz”) to help him. Cheryl goes to tell Louella, but then there’s just a “lovely” still life painting over the fireplace, so a surprised Cheryl drops it, guessing she’s been working too hard. She decides to get her club ready for the show tomorrow night.

That night, at House of Cheryl, Priscilla is pleasantly surprised that a band called Roadkill is performing (I can’t tell if this is supposed to be parodying an actual band). Wait, the show was supposed to be “tomorrow night”. They can’t even keep details straight from one panel to another? Anyway, Cheryl sends the band out on stage, and then the ghost of Elmyra/Elmira shows up and warns Cheryl to get out of her inn before it’s “too late”. Cheryl is freaked the fuck out.

Cheryl dares to ask for proof, so Jason unleashes special effects. Cheryl runs out onto the stage and calls for help. She trips and falls into the crowd, who mistake it for moshing and clap for her. They love her.

Part 2

The next day (I guess), Cheryl recounts what happened to Priscilla. Why she waited this long instead of just telling her right after the show, I have no idea. Suddenly, three hillbillies show up, looking for the ghost. It’s the club’s neighbors, the Clumpitts. They tried to buy them out, but they wouldn’t move. They live in an old tree house with no lights and no power. Cheryl says it’s “really weird”.

Cheryl tells the Clumpitts to get the fuck out, but Louella admonishes her for it. Cheryl answers a knock at the door and instantly gets a lady boner for their new guest: a Brad Pitt knockoff. Cheryl calls him a “teen heartthrob”, but Pitt was 33 at the time. Brad has brought his (very elderly) father with him, because it’s his turn to watch him this week. Cheryl guesses he must’ve been 75 when he became a father (but doesn’t say it out loud). Brad’s dad claims to be an actor, too (he wasn’t in real life), but Cheryl’s “never seen silent movies”. Brutal.

Cheryl offers to help Brad’s dad to his room (just to get in Brad’s good graces). Archie (who Clifford has hired, because he’s a “good influence” on Cheryl) is watching from the kitchen while washing dishes and gets jealous. Jason gets on his case about his lack of productivity.

Soon, Brad asks Cheryl to get his dad some milk and cookies and keep him company. Cheryl agrees to do it but then just tosses them to the old man. He asks her to get him his medicine. Cheryl complains.

Back in the kitchen, Archie sees Brad “hitting on every girl here” and gets pissed. Archie jumps to the conclusion that Brad is using Cheryl to care for his “doddering” old father.

Doors slam shut, confusing Cheryl. The ghost appears again. Cheryl feels “trapped”, even though she’s in a hallway, so she jumps into an old laundry chute. She has fun sliding down it.

When Cheryl exits the chute, she inadvertently kicks Brad’s dad in the ass with both feet. Ouch. Cheryl apologizes but says a ghost is after her. Brad’s dad thought he felt a strange presence and suggests holding a seance (he then has to explain to Cheryl what it is). He says they need a medium (and has to explain that, too). Louella, who’s nearby, overhears and says she’s a psychic. She claims to have worked for The Psychic Friends Hot Line. Brad’s dad says they’ll have a seance tomorrow night. Cheryl ponders what to wear.

Part 3

Later, Archie overhears Jason talking to Stan about his trickery. Jason wants to plan something good for the seance tomorrow night. Archie decides he needs to tell Cheryl (and wants to score some points with her).

When he lets Cheryl know, she’s enraged. He expects a reward. Cheryl puts that off for now and needs Archie’s help. She tells him the plan.

At the seance (which is on the following night, I guess, even though Cheryl, Jason, and Brad’s dad are all still dressed the same), the Clumpitts interrupt. They came to watch (and even brought popcorn). Cheryl’s upset but allows them to stay as long as they sit down and shut up. Louella tries to summon “Elmyra”. The “ghost” appears. Jason is happy regarding Stan’s work. Also, Stan is Jason’s “bosom buddy”.

Elmyra disses Cheryl, but then a competing Elmyra arrives, praises Cheryl, and exposes Jason (even getting him to confess, stop his bullshit, and do all of Cheryl’s work for the next two weeks). Cheryl loves it. It’s all Archie (and a holographic projector) with a voice changer, of course. Archie’s still dressed in the same clothes as before.

Archie then has Elmyra expose how Brad’s been using Cheryl, so he can whore himself out to the ladies. Cheryl’s pissed, which initially scares Brad, but Brad really doesn’t give a shit. “Elmyra” praises Cheryl again and say she has a date with Abraham Lincoln. Cheryl advises Elmyra against a “dutch treat” and tells her to make him pay (she’ll change her view on this eventually).

Cheryl adjourns the seance. One of the Clumpitts says that was better than a rerun of Hee Haw. Brad takes his dad and leaves. Cheryl gets in a parting shot. Cheryl praises Archie. Louella is surprised and scared that she can conjure the dead. Cheryl starts to show her appreciation toward Archie.

Part 4

A few weeks later, in the kitchen, Jason’s doing the dishes, and Cheryl’s reading a gossip rag. She’s shocked to learn Brad and his dad are starring in a new TV show based on a haunted inn run by two incompetent teens. The teens disappear in the pilot episode.

Jason’s surprised. Cheryl’s pissed but admits they can’t legally do anything. She wants to generate a little publicity. She also admits she and Archie pranked Jason. He’s pissed.

Cheryl calls in during Brad’s appearance on a knockoff of Larry King Live and reveals where he got the idea for his show from. A nervous and then angry Brad leaves the studio.

Cheryl gives interviews everywhere (including on Sally), which pisses off Brad. Cheryl had faxed a list of her demands, and his dad advises they give in.

Three of the demands are filming their show at Club Blossom, giving Cheryl a small part, and giving them free advertising during the show.

As filming begins, Cheryl mugs for the camera in a skimpy outfit, ruining takes. Suddenly, they hear shrieks. Brad’s scared. Cheryl wonders if it’s part of the show. The statue of Elmyra outside is glowing. Cheryl starts to be scared. Brad decides to go outside and investigate.

There’s a “Get Out” message written in a mound of dirt. Brad and the crew get the fuck out. Cheryl and Jason blame each other for the prank. Realizing they both wanted the publicity from the show, they freak out at the thought of the place really being haunted.

Nah, it was the Clumpitts. They didn’t want the cameras and people around. They watch with satisfaction from their tree house.

This story was pretty funny, but the ending makes no sense. How could these hillbillies, who don’t even use electricity, pull off a prank like this?

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Whitney Egerton of Oro Valley, Arizona; Jessica Mix of Whiteriver, Arizona; Belinda Dagaas of Plymouth, Indiana; and Jaselyn Logan of Alberta, Canada.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column (plus “You know your boyfriend’s bad news when”) by Sara Algase.

Between Parts 3 and 4 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Ready for Spring”.

According to GCDb, all of the extras are included in the digital edition, but we must consider the possibility that the GCDb contributors use the digital editions when typing up the contents.

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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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