Comics – Wedded Blitz!

Cheryl-Blossom-7
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 7
Cover Date: November, 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.

Cheryl is sitting on a couch at the inn, bored. Louella comes by and asks what’s the matter. Cheryl says, after such an exciting summer, everything is so dull. Louella likes that, saying it’s nice and quiet. Cheryl says they need something to perk things up. After Cheryl’s “recent shenanigans”, Louella wants to keep things safe and calm.

Ignoring her, Cheryl wants to come up with something. Louella sees a Days of Our Lives knockoff; two of the characters are getting married. This gives Cheryl the idea to have a celebrity wedding at the inn to generate some publicity. She rushes off to make some phone calls.

Soon (or so the caption claims, even though Cheryl and Louella have changed clothes), Cheryl tells Louella that two actors that star on an All My Children knockoff date in real life and have agreed to marry in the inn and use the footage for the show. Louella asks if there’ll be a barrage of paparazzi here. Cheryl happily confirms it and goes to start getting herself ready, despite the fact that they can’t be taping the episode today.

Later, at the wedding, Louella is impressed with how the inn looks. Cheryl is impressed with how Cheryl looks. Louella likes how the bride and groom look, but Cheryl isn’t as impressed. Cheryl does go to congratulate the couple for a good photo op. Cheryl goes over and wishes the couple many years of happiness. The bride thanks Cheryl for the use of her “beautiful” inn. Cheryl says the publicity won’t hurt either, and the bride feels awkward. Oh, and the groom gets a boner for Cheryl.

Cheryl excuses herself to “manage these simpletons”, because a “genius’ work is never done”. Cheryl goes to put on her “next outfit”, but then the groom comes by to “thank” Cheryl for all of her help. He then sexually assaults Cheryl by grabbing her and kissing her against her will. Cheryl reminds him that he’s getting married in 15 minutes and asks him what his fucking problem is. He says it’s “just for publicity” but then adds he’d “really like to get to know [her] better”. So which is it, asshole? Cheryl tells the “loser” that she doesn’t “do those things” (meaning being involved in an extramarital relationship, I guess). Cheryl thinks the camera in front of them is running. I suppose she’s had plenty of experience with video cameras at this point.

Cheryl asks the camera operator to run the tape from camera 6 on a monitor for all to see. Cheryl has the bride watch it. Initially, the bride is angry at Cheryl, but, after watching the whole tape, she turns her anger on the groom. She chases him. Cheryl happily notes this is a field day for the tabloids.

Later, Cheryl happily shows some publicity to Jason (including a photo of herself) and says it couldn’t have worked out better. Jason is upset that Cheryl has gotten her face in “every magazine”.

This story was pretty funny, but that guy was a real creep! Good for Cheryl for exposing him!

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Comics – What a Doll!

Cheryl-Blossom-7
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 7
Cover Date: November, 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.

Cheryl is lying on a couch and watching a knockoff of the Home Shopping Network. She’s confused over why people buy all of this junk – and at such “obscene” prices – and guesses they’ll buy anything. She sees a doll and calls herself prettier than the actor that it was modelled after.

Jason comes by, insults Cheryl, and gives her the idea to market a doll of her own, although her mind might have already been going in that direction.

Cheryl goes to a toy company (Toy Model Inc.) and pays them to create a doll of her (she’ll handle the marketing, but she wants them to make it look good). The rather bored guy insults her but seemingly agrees to do it.

Eventually, the doll arrives in the mail. Cheryl is initially excited but then is disappointed to discover the doll melted on the way. Jason insults Cheryl. Cheryl tells him to shut the fuck up and says they’ll have to redo it.

When the next doll arrives in the mail, it’s perfect – except for having a beak like a duck. Jason laughs. Cheryl is disappointed. Personally, I’d be pissed at the toy company for such incompetence.

Finally, the doll arrives just in time, because Cheryl’s already booked to promote her doll on TV tomorrow.

The next day, the host introduces Cheryl, who’s known for “all her wacky stunts in the tabloids”. Cheryl says her doll is sure to be a collectable, given her “media notoriety”.

Cheryl says the doll captures her “shapely figure” and also comes with designer clothes and little tabloid magazines with her on the covers. It also has her scarlet red hair and “beautiful” green eyes. Cheryl’s eye color has been inconsistent. It’s often blue. In this story, it seems to be halfway between blue and green. I’ve probably seen them green as well. However, it seems Cheryl’s eyes are “officially” green. Then the heads pop off the dolls, so the host has them go to commercial. Cheryl is upset and says she’s ruined.

However, someone informs them that the phones are ringing off the hook, and everyone wants the head-popping Cheryl dolls. Cheryl is surprised and says people really will buy anything.

On another day, Cheryl takes Bunny/Priscilla to a doll collectible show. Priscilla is confused over why. Cheryl wants to see her collectible self in person. Cheryl sees little boys playing with – and enjoying – her doll. We learn the dolls are selling for $300 each. Are these kids’ parents rich? Priscilla asks Cheryl if she planned it this way. Cheryl admits she didn’t, but she says she always comes out “a head”. Boo! Lame! At least an apology is issued in a caption.

This story was pretty funny, but how can a toy company stay in business, if it keeps fucking up like this?

Extras

After the story is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Julie Spurrier of Snoqualine Pass, Washington; Jaqueline Tambini of Floral Pk, New York; Melanie Jan of Carollton, Texas; Leah Rick’s friend of Leaf Rapids, Canada; and Halee Turner of Denver, Colorado.

After that is a 1-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

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Comics – Educating Cheryl!

Cheryl-Blossom-7
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 7
Cover Date: November, 1997
Length: 11 pages

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

It’s the first day of school, and Cheryl joyfully announces this fact to her fellow students as they make their way into Pembrooke Academy. Priscilla is annoyed, pointing out the homework, studying, and rules. Cheryl counters with perks, such as willing slaves boys to carry their books. Priscilla basically says that’s a perk for Cheryl alone.

Priscilla even gets angry and yells at guys when they ignore her in favor of carrying Cheryl’s books. An unnamed blonde girl wants to transfer schools. An orange-haired girl with glasses asks how Cheryl does it. Priscilla eliminates money, since they’re all rich, and guesses Cheryl just has a way of getting what she wants. Cheryl agrees, saying it’s something that she’s always had and calling it kind of a “Blossom trait”. Priscilla asks her to share.

Cheryl likes the idea and says she can start her own “school for losers”. This angers Priscilla and the blonde girl. Cheryl tells them to come to the inn after school, and she’ll “whip [them] into shape”. Glasses says they may regret this.

After school, Priscilla, Glasses, and the blonde girl arrive at the inn. Cheryl has already had a sign printed and hung over the entrance that reads “Cheryl’s School of Being a Winner”. This amazes the girls. They go inside.

Cheryl greets them and asks them if they’re familiar with The Rules. Glasses says yes and asks if they’re going to use it as a guide. Nope. They’ll be using Cheryl’s Rules. Glasses asks Cheryl when she wrote this. Cheryl wrote it in study hall and made copies, which amazes the blonde girl.

The lessons begin. The girl with the glasses is named Marcie. Cheryl asks her for rule #1. It is “Never betray a friendship for a boy, unless the boy is a famous celebrity or has major connections.” Cheryl praises Marcie and then asks Bunny what a girl should always bring with her on a date. Wait, Bunny? That was her name in the 1980s, but, ever since Cheryl returned, her name’s been Priscilla. The sole exception was probably done to be consistent with the 1980s reprint story that they were using as a flashback. Anyway, the answer is “A portable phone, so a friend can call you and get you out of the date if he’s a loser.” Cheryl praises Bunny. The blonde girl asks Cheryl how they can get boys to fall all over them at school. Cheryl says that’s a 3-step plan.

Step 1: Huddle with your friends, giggling and whispering, to make the boys feel insecure. Step 2: Act aloof and preoccupied. Step 3: a specially-mixed secret blend of perfume (Cheryl will supply it). Cheryl has them practice their walk, acting like the hallways are their fashion runways. Bunny’s happy that Cheryl’s showing them this. However, Cheryl is videotaping all of this (which she’ll explain later). She’s making a Cheryl’s Rules how-to video to sell. Um, yeah, good luck selling a video consisting of one static shot from the point of view of an indoor cactus. Jason sees this and thinks Cheryl is making a fool out of the girls (he actually gets a laugh out of this). He decides to stir shit up by calling someone and asking a favor.

On another day, at Pembrooke Academy, a guy named Brad asks the girls what they’re whispering about. Bunny has him carry her books in exchange for thinking about telling him. Cheryl praises Bunny. Cheryl’s cameraman “in disguise” (as in not at all) is taping all of this.

Cheryl thinks she’ll be on every talk show. Jason has brought Cheryl a visitor: Seymour Flopsy. Wait, this asshole?! They brought back him?! Cheryl says she hasn’t seen him in “months“, but the footnote tells the reader to consult an issue from 1995. Does the story address how Cheryl was able to celebrate Christmas in the “months” between last seeing Seymour and the start of the new school year? Of course not! Anyway, Cheryl gets a raging lady-boner for Seymour, shocking the blonde girl. Marcie hopes this is a joke. The blonde girl agrees, because Seymour’s “a nerd squared”.

Bunny fills the girls in on Seymour. Marcie cites Cheryl’s rule about ignoring and attraction. Bunny says it works. Sure, but I doubt Seymour is doing this to make Cheryl interested in him. The blonde girl (who steals Marcie’s glasses for a single panel) points out that Cheryl is making a fool of herself by chasing Seymour around school. She wants to get their “mentor” back in line.

Bunny yells at Cheryl to knock this shit off. She then spells everything out for Cheryl, including what Jason did and why Cheryl is attracted to Seymour. Marcie tells her “sister” that they’re here to help her. Cheryl tells Seymour to fuck off. Seymour leaves, relieved.

The girls do a group high five. Cheryl thanks them for saving her. Marcie says they have to stick together. Cheryl then accidentally reveals the existence of the tape. Marcie spots the cameraman, who she thought looked too old to be a student. The three angry girls ignore him (and the tape) in favor of chasing Cheryl. Cheryl tells the guy to turn off the camera, despite the fact that he’s clearly not taping them. Jason has been secretly taping them with his own camera…somefuckinghow.

This story was okay, but it hasn’t aged well.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is are a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Back To School Fashion” and another 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Back to School ‘Do’s”.

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Comics – What a Disaster!

Cheryl-Blossom-6
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 6
Cover Date: October, 1997
Length: 21 pages

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

Part 1

Priscilla and Cheryl leave the movie theater after seeing a disaster movie called Flash Flood. Priscilla found it to be “such a thrill”. Cheryl found it to be “quite dull”. Priscilla thinks Cheryl is cray-cray. Cheryl explains: “It was the same old tired disaster movie formula! If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it 100 times!”

At Priscilla’s prompt, Cheryl admits she thinks she can do better, so Priscilla reminds her of her past failed attempts at acting. Cheryl angrily says she was “just a kid”. She says her recent media adventures have taught her a lot about the business. Cheryl decides to make her own disaster movie. She has the money but tries to figure out how she can make her disaster film stand out.

Her idea is for all disasters to happen all at once. As they arrive outside the Blossom estate, Priscilla asks to be in the movie. Cheryl agrees to give Priscilla a bit part. They part ways, and Cheryl goes to make some phone calls.

Cheryl calls up a Steven Spielberg knockoff and introduces herself. He recognizes her as “that nitty redhead who’s always on Hard Copy“. She asks him to direct her movie, but he’s in the middle of one. She says she’ll pay him three times his fee, so he closes the set for the rest of the day and flies to Pembrooke (without even getting Cheryl’s address).

Once he meets with Cheryl at her place, she asks him if he’s interested. He lists things that he has to do. Cheryl wants the movie in theaters before school begins (which is in one month). He says it’ll take one to two years. In desperation, Cheryl offers to “pay through the nose for this”, because she wants to hit “while this trend is big”. He’ll have his writers work on a script. Cheryl gives him lengthy outlines. She also offers to work cheap in order to act in the film. She asks him for the cost of the film and guesses $1,000,000 – $2,000,000. He laughs and says the “average Hollywood blockbuster” costs $15,000,000. Hahahahahahaha! That’s nowhere near true! Not even for the time period and especially not for his movies. Cheryl is worried but tells him that she’ll get it.

Cheryl goes to the bank to make a withdrawal. The bank calls her father to inform him, because, even though the account is hers, she’s still a minor. Cheryl is asked to wait. Her dad arrives and is like “What the fuck?!” Cheryl explains. Clifford forbids it.

Part 2

On the ride home from the bank, Clifford lectures her about wasting money. Cheryl says making movies can be a learning experience. He suggests she go to film school. He also suggests getting financial backing for her movie. She thanks him for the idea.

While watching a movie at home, Cheryl notices product placement, so she gets knockoffs of Pepsi and Doritos to be used in her movie (she’s known for her media attention, which they view as a good thing). Cheryl signs up a bunch more companies and gets the needed funding. Clifford is impressed and predicts Cheryl will probably run Hollywood one day. Jason makes an insult.

When Cheryl reads Steven’s script, she finds it terrible, because there are “only 3 or 4 disasters” in it. He says they need some reality. Cheryl wants to go all out. She tells him to fire the writers, and she’ll write the script herself.

The next day, Steven reads Cheryl’s script and isn’t impressed. Apparently, she wrote the product placements into the script, which I’m sure isn’t how it’s done. He calls it a big-budget infomercial. He also calls her out on the implausibility of so many disasters hitting the same town. He quits to save his reputation. She tells him to go “hack out some sequels”.

Deciding to direct the movie herself, Cheryl goes out to the set, which is Club Blossom. Apparently, this was a last-minute decision, because Jason is surprised and says she can’t use it. Cheryl says she has no choice, because there’s no time to build sets. He tells her to go elsewhere. Louella, however, says this is great publicity. They agree to let Cheryl use the inn, if she gives them parts in the film. She agrees and gives them instructions about product placement. The actors arrive. They include knockoffs of Jean-Claude Van Damme (who Cheryl loves), Macaulay Culkin (who still looks like he did in Home Alone, despite this being seven years later), and Madonna (who Cheryl hugs and reminds of the last time that they met). Madonna doesn’t give a shit.

Part 3

A couple hours later, on the set, Cheryl compliments Madonna for being in her movie, but Madonna admits she’s doing it for the money. Cheryl takes credit for delivering Madonna’s baby, which she didn’t do. She tells her three actors to take their places and only now tells them who they’re playing and what they’re doing. Yeah, no, bullshit. Any serious actor (and director) would have discussed this long before the first day of filming.

Anyway, they’re the Reynolds family, running this rustic country inn. Cheryl then links a volcanic eruption to tornadoes, massive storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Madonna is confused. She and Jean-Claude check their scripts (which they apparently pull out of their asses) and ask how a blizzard and an asteroid attack come into play. Cheryl says she’ll work that out later and tells them to take their places (again).

Meanwhile, the Clumpitts observe this from their treehouse and decide to come over and investigate. They assume they’re gonna be in the movie, but Cheryl doesn’t want them around. Then, suddenly, a crane smashes their treehouse. I guess it’s some worker performing work for the club, because Cheryl apologizes to the Clumpitts and begs them not to sue. Louella offers to let them stay here until they replace their home. Cheryl would rather be sued. But, seriously, why were these fuckers allowed to live in a treehouse?

They shoot the first scene. Jean-Claude’s character’s name is Hank. Cheryl plays Dr. Mona Delite, the town genius that rushes over to save the day. Jason and Louella (quietly) disapprove of Cheryl’s hammy acting. Cheryl starts with the product placement, which is way more blatant than in actual movies. This causes Madonna to quit.

Cheryl decides to play the wife. The Clumpitts arrive, asking for food (considering the dad already asked about food earlier, while Louella was taking them into the inn, why didn’t she see to it?). Cheryl angrily calls cut. Jean-Claude and Macaulay quit. Cheryl decides to play all of the parts.

Part 4

So they film the entire movie, Cheryl promoting various products through all of it. Cheryl calls it a wrap and thanks everyone. A camera operator predicts the film will be a disaster.

Cheryl calls the special effects lab to see how they’re coming, even though there’s no indication that she’s sent them the footage yet. The guy says they’ll need months. Cheryl says the premiere is in one week and tells him to do what it takes to finish by then. She then slams down her…cell phone…outside.

One week later, the inn is getting ready for the premiere of Cheryl’s film, The End is Near. Jason asks her if the film is ready. Cheryl says they’re still putting it together, and she needs to see the final cut. Cheryl either calls someone or gets called and learns the film won’t be ready until 7:00 tomorrow. She realizes she’ll have to see it with everyone else. Wait, one week earlier, she said the premiere was in one week. Is this a goof, or is the story implying Cheryl is delaying the premiere by one day? Anyway, Cheryl hopes the film comes out okay.

The next day, at the premiere, Cheryl is excited, but Louella quickly notices the less-than-convincing model work. Cheryl notices a stagehand visible in the film and notes they didn’t zoom in as they should have. Cheryl is excited to see herself on screen. An audience member says the multiple product placements are distracting. The stage hand is visible again, and Cheryl asks about cropping him out. I have a few things to say about this. One, this isn’t really a special effects problem, just basic editing incompetence. Two, these aren’t special effects at all; they’re practical effects. They would have been filmed separately from the actors (and likely by a different director); they wouldn’t have been handled by the SFX house that Cheryl hired (unless special effects were added to the shots). Three, Cheryl knows enough about filmmaking to know more than the people behind that complete fucking abortion of a so-called “HD remaster” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, stage hands and other crew do get picked up by cameras during production. Crop them out. It’s not hard. It’s especially inexcusable during shots involving miniatures. Rant over.

Cheryl is horrified to see the Clumpitts appearing in multiple scenes, mugging for the camera, and guesses they must have been snooping around the whole shoot. How did she not notice them while she was directing and starring in the film?! She’s literally in at least one camera shot with them! The audience (especially Jason) finds it hilarious. The final scene has slightly different dialogue than the scene that we saw filmed earlier, and Cheryl and Louella are wearing completely different outfits. Cheryl wants the film to at least end normally, but the Clumpitts are in the final shot. Cheryl starts crying.

After the film ends, Cheryl’s still in tears. Priscilla comes up to her and tells her that everyone’s talking. Cheryl feels she deserves it for rushing the movie. Jason informs her that everyone’s in love with the Clumpitts. Louella tells her that everyone thinks Cheryl made them “these goofy stars” on purpose. The Clumpitts don’t know how to respond to reporters’ questions. Cheryl takes charge of the situation, taking on the role of the Clumpitts’ agent. A reporter asks her about her decision to finally make a parody of disaster movies. Cheryl says she figured it was time to laugh at the genre. Jason’s upset about Cheryl’s good press. Louella is happy and says, as long as it benefits the inn, she doesn’t care.

As if you couldn’t already tell, this story was basically just a rehash of the Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood) miniseries – but done in a third of the space. It offers nothing new. Cheryl has learned nothing from her previous moviemaking experience. But she ended up being an accidental visionary.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Hairstyles”, which include The 60’s Look, The Clueless Look, The Grungy Look, The Elegant Look, and The Wavy Look.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 1-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

Also between Parts 2 and 3 is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Jessica Bertino of Hammonton, New Jersey; Rachael Frimberger of Vancouver, Washington; Jamie Andreson of Mill Valley, California; Nathalie Sosa of Miami, Florida; and Anum Tariq of Fremont, California.

Between Parts 3 and 4 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Blossomy Looks”, which are flower-themed.

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Comics – Water Songs!

Betty-and-Veronica-Double-Digest-Magazine-295Writer: Jamie L. Rotante
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics (Double Digest Magazine), No. 295
On-Sale Date: July 14, 2021
Length: 5

Betty and Veronica attend the Riverdale Mermaid Day celebration in Pickens Park. Um, either Riverdale delayed the celebration for social distancing reasons, or this story was meant to be published around four months earlier. Anyway, the girls are dressed up as swashbucklers for the “big day”. Betty can’t believe they’re finally old enough to work at the Riverdale Mermaid Festival. She wonders why Ronnie isn’t excited. Ronnie had hoped they’d gotten roles as mermaids.

Betty is perfectly content with “selling lemonade as “scallywags”. They go to the lemonade stand and get to work. Archie and Jughead show up, dressed in some rather half-assed costumes (Jughead especially). Archie asks if they’ve seen this year’s new Mermaid Queen. Jughead asks if they’ve seen this year’s new clams casino stand. Betty is in love with the role of the Mermaid Queen, who is “always so magical”. Ronnie gets a tummy ache at the thought of eating clams at a festival. On the stage, a figure dressed as Poseidon introduces the Mermaid Queen, who turns out to be Cheryl. She’s dressed as a mermaid and wearing a gold crown shaped liked seashells.

Cheryl wants a free lemonade from the “wenches”. Ronnie’s upset, but either she or Betty give Cheryl a glass of lemonade. Cheryl spits out the lemonade in disgust, calling it too bitter and insulting Ronnie and Betty. Betty advises Ronnie to just ignore Cheryl. Ronnie starts listing the benefits that Cheryl has. Betty reminds her that it’s for only one day and advises against feeding Cheryl’s ego. Ronnie’s pissed, which Betty mistakes for “pirate spirit”. A boy asks for an extra drop of sugar in his lemonade. Betty jokingly sings one line about it in sea-shanty style, which the crowd immediately goes wild for. An excited Ronnie tells Betty to keep singing.

Betty and Ronnie start singing about squeezing fresh lemons…over…and over…and over again. They follow that up with a line about a thirsty sailor…over…and over…and over again. The crowd goes nuts for this shit. Meanwhile, Cheryl sings one line about a prince off key, and everyone runs away from her. The crowd starts dancing to Betty and Ronnie’s repeated line about a thirsty sailor. Cheryl angrily declares “This must be stopped!”

Cheryl starts singing off key again, and the crowd screams in agony. Then they suddenly run away from all three girls. Ronnie blames Cheryl, but Betty’s surprised that the crowd is actually running toward another singer, whose voice Archie describes as “like magic”. It’s Sabrina, who’s dressed as a mermaid and sitting on her own private stage with her own sound system. She had decided to sing in order to “save the day”. Um, sure. Did she just decide to do this and conjure all of this up within the span of a few seconds?

This story was pretty meh. Why would a crowd get so worked up about two girls singing songs that aren’t, y’know, in any way good?

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Looking for Mr. Mumps!

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: 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.

Cheryl gets in bed after an exhausting day. Once she makes sure nobody’s looking, she gets out her old teddy bear, Mr. Mumps. She’s secretive, because “people wouldn’t understand” a “sophisticate” like her with an old teddy bear. She tells Mr. Mumps that she loves him. She’s slept with him since she was a baby. She kisses him on the cheek and wishes him good night.

The next morning, Cheryl wakes up and is shocked to find Mr. Mumps gone. Worried, she searches her room and then gets angry when she recalls only Jason knows about Mr. Mumps.

Cheryl goes downstairs and asks her mom where Jason is. Penelope says he’s at the beach.

Cheryl goes to the beach, where she finds Jason hanging with some girl. Jason is annoyed to see “the big pain”.

Cheryl angrily asks Jason what he did with Mr. Mumps. A surprised Jason says he “wouldn’t touch that thing”. Cheryl starts crying and says she can’t sleep without it. Jason promises he would never mess with Mr. Mumps. Cheryl believes him and walks off, wondering what happened to Mr. Mumps. Jason actually feels sorry for Cheryl.

Back at the mansion, they try to narrow down the list of suspects. Jason rules out a prowler, because they have an “airtight laser security system”. Cheryl rules out their parents.

Jason mentions Sophie, their maid. Cheryl is suspicious of her, because she’s been acting strange lately, and she always leaves with a large bag. Cheryl bets Sophie kidnapped Mr. Mumps and is going to blackmail her for a reward. Jason points out Sophie, who’s going home. Cheryl gives chase and spots something in Sophie’s bag, but it turns out to be a dust rag. Cheryl admits she overreacted but then starts crying, wondering where her “beloved” Mr. Mumps is.

That night, Cheryl wishes on a star to show Mr. Mumps’ location. She then sees Mr. Mumps in a tree out her window, rushes outside, and climbs the tree to get him. However, the artwork is confusing. The tree branch that Mr. Mumps is sitting on is shown to extend to Cheryl’s bedroom window. However, Cheryl goes downstairs and runs outside. She’s then seen in the tree, approaching Mr. Mumps from the end of the branch (rather than climbing up the trunk). Also, stars are shown behind the crescent moon, and that always irritates me whenever I see it. These people do realize the moon remains whole, right? Anyway, a squirrel angrily grabs Mr. Mumps. Cheryl guesses the squirrel sneaked into her room and grabbed Mr. Mumps, and it’s small enough to dodge their security system. Um, but how did the squirrel get in and out of the mansion?

Cheryl angrily tries to swipe the bear, but the squirrel amusingly holds it out of reach. Cheryl demands the squirrel give the bear back, but the squirrel just snickers.

The next morning, Penelope comes to Cheryl’s room to wake her and is surprised and worried to not find her in bed. Jason has a laugh when he spots Cheryl sleeping on the tree branch (the squirrel sleeping on her legs) while holding Mr. Mumps. That’s all sorts of dangerous. Clifford appears out of nowhere and asks if she sleepwalked. Jason says she’s just sharing her stuffed toy and then walks off. Clifford asks him if he’s going to get her down. Jason says he’s going to alert the media, because they’ll eat this up.

This story was nice. It’s cute that Cheryl still sleeps with a teddy bear. I gotta call out the artist on the depiction of Cheryl’s bedroom, though; it doesn’t even look like a bedroom; it looks like a general large room (complete with a column) with only Cheryl’s bed and a “C” wall decoration. I know Cheryl’s bedroom (and indeed all of the characters’ bedrooms and houses) look different in every story, but this was very lazy. Also, there was no reason to randomly add Clifford to the tail-end of the final scene. Penelope easily could have delivered his lines.

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Comics – Waterparked!

World-of-Archie-Digest-110Writer: Francis Bonnet
Pencils: The Kennedy Brothers
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Archie Jumbo Comics (Double) Digest, No. 110
On-Sale Date: June 16, 2021
Length: 5 pages

Veronica has rented the entire water park for just herself, Betty, Archie, and Jughead. Betty is in disbelief. Ronnie explains she “does not wait in lines”. She’s brought her two poodles. Smithers is on-hand to serve refreshments. Archie wants to check out the water slide first, and Jughead wants to check out the snack stand first. Ronnie, Betty, and the poodles go surfing (Betty’s glad that there are no sharks to worry about).

While on a ride, Ronnie says this would be more fun with more friends. Betty suggests inviting all of their friends. Ronnie decides to text out an invite. Betty suggests waiting until the ride ends. Oh, the poodles are along for the ride, because that’s totally safe.

Reggie, Ginger, and Toni arrive. Ronnie greets them. Toni hopes Jughead left some food for her in the snack stands. A poodle has helped itself to a bunch of sausage links. Ginger has invited “a few others” to join them. Toni and Jughead take a bunch of snacks with them on a ride.

Reggie challenges Archie to a race down the water slide, and Archie accepts. They each try to hide the fact that they each have their eyes closed. They argue over who won the race, and Midge calls them out on having their eyes closed. Yes, Midge, Moose, Dilton, and “a bunch of other friends” have just arrived. Dilton’s trying to study the mechanics of a wave pool, but Chunk points out that it’s just Moose. Moose apologizes to Chuck and Nancy for the impact. Raj is “filming” everything for a water park documentary (it’s a comedy).

Archie goes to find Betty and Veronica, but Cheryl wants to go on a ride through the Tunnel of Love with him. Ronnie’s pissed. Betty messes with the water pressure in order to murder Archie and Cheryl ruin Archie and Cheryl’s ride. They crash.

Archie apologizes to Betty and Ronnie. Ginger comes and gets Archie, Ronnie, and Betty, because “everyone’s waiting for” them to join them at the wave pool party. Jughead asks if they still have the water park to themselves. Archie says it’s just them and a few hundred of their closest friends.

This story was pretty meh. It was mostly just a bunch of random shit that didn’t amount to anything. I guess the big “draw” (if you could call it that) was the large number of characters. Even Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy make appearances. Notably, excluding cover appearances, this is Cheryl’s first appearance in a Classic Archieverse story in well over a year.

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Comics – Gigonometry!

Everything's-Archie-one-shotWriter: Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Everything’s Archie, No. 1 (one-shot)
On-Sale Date: June 9, 2021
Length: 4

This is a 32-page one-shot that consists mostly of reprints, but it does contain a new lead story. The entire issue retails for $3.99, which seems excessive. Oh, and there are three variant covers (retro, chibi, and New Riverdale).

Archie walks by a music store and gets a raging boner for a red guitar in the display window. His behavior startles a woman, and a boy thinks he’s nuts. Archie declares the guitar must be his. He goes into the store and asks an employee for the cost of the “Turbocaster”.

The employee reveals it’s a “honeypot”, basically the opposite of a bait-and-switch scam. The employee correctly guesses Archie can’t afford the guitar. After seeing the price tag, Archie leaves Guitar Planet in a daze while the employee makes a joke.

Archie walks by Betty, who’s sitting on a wall and reading a book. She asks him what’s wrong. He asks her if he looks poor. Betty responds with this groaner: “You’re rich in awesome, that’s all that matters to me!” Archie isn’t pleased with her response. He calls her his “best friend”, which Betty seems to take as a metaphor for “potential fuckbuddy”. Anyway, Archie mentions his money troubles, so Betty brings up the gig economy, which Archie misunderstands. She explains about the app that she downloaded on her phone, but Archie gets upset when he finds out that actual work is involved.

Betty assures him that “it’s never anything too challenging”. She jokes about how “apps are doing things your mom used to do for you”. Archie signs up and is excited that he immediately gets his first gig. He’s confident that he’ll soon own his dream guitar. Archie thanks Betty and kisses her on the cheek. Betty daydreams about her and Archie together, and the dialogue that ends the story seems to indicate Betty and Archie are not together in any romantic capacity, and it’s strictly a one-way attraction on her part, which is very weird.

This story was okay. It seems like only the beginning of a story. The first half is about Archie wanting to get a guitar; the second half is about Betty helping Archie out and desiring a relationship with him. It seems kinda half-baked.

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Comics – Getting Along Swimmingly!

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: 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. However, the digital edition, as of this writing, is missing page 5; fortunately, I located another source that has the missing page.

At Club Blossom, Cheryl and Louella are walking along by the pool, happy that all’s well. Cheryl spots a blond guy in a speedo, gets a lady boner, and asks who it is. Louella says that’s Ken, the swimming instructor that she hired.

Cheryl compliments Louella’s decision making and then proceeds to “accidentally” fall into the pool. Some random guy offers to save the “fair damsel” (who talks like that?), but Cheryl drowns him. Ken saves her.

Cheryl mentions she’s part owner of this place. Ken realizes she’s “the famous Cheryl Blossom”. Cheryl claims she can’t swim (which we know is a lie) and doesn’t want to cause a distraction by joining the class. She asks Ken to tutor her privately. He agrees. She says she’ll meet him out here tonight at 8:00. Jason has overheard and is amused.

That night, beneath a full moon, Cheryl shows up at the pool in a dark pink gown. Ken compliments her appearance but questions the practicality of it. Cheryl delays the swimming lesson.

Cheryl wants to have a romantic candlelight dinner with him. She claims to have made it, but the server quietly disputes that. Ken wants to go change, but Cheryl talks him out of it. They sit at the table, and the tray with the food disappears. Jason comes out to announce something called the “Blossom Retrospective” is about to begin. Cheryl asks what that is. Jason explains it’s a little film that he put together from their home movies. They’re all suddenly inside as Jason continues his explanation: it’s so all of their guests will get to know them a little better.

The movie (shown on a TV) starts. It shows Cheryl and Jason as kids. Jason explains Cheryl’s nickname was “Divebomb”, because she was an expert diver. Ken is shocked and angry. Cheryl tells Ken that Jason is exaggerating. Jason shows videos of Cheryl winning dive at the junior finals and showing off all of the swimming trophies that she’s won. Cheryl claims to have forgotten about those. Ken angrily yells at Cheryl that she lied to him. Cheryl tells him to consider it a compliment.

Ken is upset that Cheryl is taking time away from people that can’t swim. Cheryl apologizes, though I don’t know if she’s sincere. Ken says he doesn’t like being used as an object. Not sure that’s an accurate description of what Cheryl did, but whatever. Cheryl angrily says now he knows what females have gone through since the dawn of time. Jason’s proud of himself, but Cheryl, recalling Jason can’t swim (I’m sure other stories show otherwise), grabs hold of him, ties up his hands and feet, forces him to the edge of the diving board at the swimming pool, and jumps up and down on the board in an attempt to murder Jason get Jason to “confront [his] fear”. Well, that was violent.

This story was okay, I guess. Cheryl was wrong in what she did. I’m kinda surprised that she isn’t working as a swimming instructor at her own club. Maybe she doesn’t want to bother with it.

A page of Cheryl fan art follows the story. Entries come from Miranda Flowerdew of British Columbia, Canada; Jennifer Bezaire of Ontario, Canada; Marc Gentle of New Rochelle, New York; Samantha Lynch of Creastview, Florida; Ellice Butler of Sunvalley, Nevada; and Araseli Torres of El Centro, California.

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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