Comics – Bad Boy Trouble!

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where the storyline of the novel comes in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

There’s a 1-page recap of part 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 3

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

There’s a 1-page recap of part 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 4

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

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

There’s a 1-page recap of part 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad-Boy-Trouble.jpg

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

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – Friendly Fire

Writer: Holly G! (Holly Golightly)
Pencils: Holly G!
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 23
Cover Date: June, 1999
Length: 17 pages

I’m reviewing another comic story today in order to devote extra time to the 1990 movie review, which I hope to post next week.

Today, I’m reviewing a three-part story from Cheryl Blossom’s solo title, which ran for nearly four years from April of 1997 to March of 2001 (cover dates), totaling 37 issues. This is in addition to four earlier miniseries, so, all told, girl has 50 issues to her name. Not too shabby!

Cheryl’s series follows her life at home, at Pembrooke Academy (more on that below), at her job (she ran a teen magazine called “Fresh” during this time), and elsewhere.

I first discovered Cheryl’s solo title with issue #20 in late December of 1998 while in Orlando, and that started up a period of Archie collecting for me. I had already been familiar with the character (well, insofar as “she’s one of Archie’s girls and has a brother named Jason”) from one other story (as a reprint in my very first Archie digest), but this was my opportunity to learn more about her. Needless to say, I became a Cheryl Blossom fan for life.

The story that I’m reviewing today is a three-parter totaling 17 pages (that’s, like, an epic by Archie standards, or at least it was back then) called “Friendly Fire” from Cheryl Blossom, No. 23, from June of 1999 (cover date). The premise?

cheryl-blossom-23

Holy shit.

Yeah, if you don’t know by now, Cheryl isn’t usually friends with the Riverdale gang – except when she is. Whether she is or not depends on the writer, but her gradual integration into the gang began here, and instances of Betty and Cheryl being on friendly terms could still be seen over a decade later.

Oh, yeah, Pembrooke. Archie Comics has been inconsistent over what Pembrooke actually is. It might be a separate town from Riverdale. However, a four-part story called “Queen B” in 2011 had Cheryl attending Pembrooke Academy but specifically living in Riverdale, giving the impression that Pembrooke was an exclusive community within Riverdale. However, there was a Pembrooke Mall, which Betty and Veronica shopped at for whatever reason. The story was weird in general, and no elements from it seem to have made any lasting impression, so it looks like it’s been quietly ignored, which is probably for the best.

Also, Cheryl has sometimes attended Riverdale High, such as from 2003 to 2008, when her family had lost money and was merely upper-middle class instead of filthy fucking rich. However, there have been other instances of her attending Riverdale High (sometimes explained). However, as the Classic Archieverse was winding down in 2015, Cheryl was attending Riverdale High for no apparent reason, giving the impression that the writers had quietly dropped Pembrooke Academy. Indeed, the conclusion of “Freshman Year: The Missing Chapters” in 2010 had Cheryl transferring to Riverdale High in ninth grade. Of course, “Queen B” stepped all over that less than a year later. “Afterlife with Archie” has her at Pembrooke Academy (well, before the zombie apocalypse). “Life with Archie: The Married Life” had her at Riverdale High. New Riverdale continuity has her at Pembrooke Academy. The upcoming “Riverdale” TV series has her at Riverdale High.

However, in this story that I’m about to review right now, Cheryl attends Pembrooke Academy – except she’s not seen doing so in the story itself, because it’s a summer story. Onward!

Part 1 (pages 01-06)

In a television studio for “Cable 82”, Veronica and Betty, in front of a live studio audience, welcome their viewers to “The New Veronica and Betty Teen Talk Show” (or just “Teen Talk”). A footnote humorously reveals it’s a cable access show that premiered in Betty and Veronica, No. 130, not that it fucking matters. It’s not as if we need to know that in order to understand this story.

Anyway, Veronica and Betty have decided to have “interesting local teens” as guests on their show. The first of these guests is Cheryl Blossom. The audience claps and whistles as Cheryl comes out.

Veronica is suspiciously happy to have Cheryl as their guest. Betty calls Cheryl an “active teen” and prompts Veronica to ask her “special question” of Cheryl. Cheryl suggests to “Miss Lodge” the subjects of her teen mag, acting career, and rock star fame, only the first of which is legit. Veronica wants to know the “real” Cheryl. Cheryl admits she’s a “unique individual”.

Then Veronica drops her bombshell, accusing Cheryl of lying about her hair color and offering photographic “proof” of Cheryl’s brown hair and dye job. Cheryl is furious. Betty is aghast. Veronica admits to Betty that she’s doing this out of revenge for Cheryl constantly stealing her spotlight. Cheryl gets up and runs off the stage in tears, calling Veronica horrible. Betty angrily says she’ll have no part of this, runs after Cheryl, and apologizes. However, Cheryl runs out of the television studio, gets in her limo, and tells Jamie (her chauffeur) to take her home.

Back in the studio, Betty finds Veronica in a private room, watching the tape of the show and laughing. Betty is furious, and Veronica further pisses her off by suggesting she start wearing her hair down to hide her “way big” ears. Betty declares Veronica’s gone too far and confiscates the tape. She decides to go over to Cheryl’s to apologize for Veronica’s “horrendous” behavior, which is of no concern to Veronica.

At the Blossom estate, Betty buzzes at the gate. She has to state her name and then learns she’s on “Master Jason’s” “always let in” list.

Jason is buzzed in his room and informed Betty has arrived. He meets her in a hallway. As they take a transparent elevator to Cheryl’s floor, Betty explains the situation.

However, Cheryl is crying and angry and doesn’t want to see Betty. Her dog, a cute Pomeranian named Sugar Blossom, is mad at Betty, too.

Part 2 (pages 07-12)

Betty gives Cheryl the tape and explains she stopped the interview from airing, but she wishes she could do more to make it up to Cheryl. Betty’s sweetness gives Jason a boner. Cheryl thanks Betty for the tape and says she would have “just died” if even more people saw it. Betty suggests a great big strawberry shake at Pop’s, and Jason hopes to come along. Cheryl doesn’t want to show her face in public, but Betty insists no one will believe what they saw, because “they all know Ronnie can pull a fast one”. Cheryl agrees, much to Betty’s delight. Jason asks if he’s coming. Cheryl says yes, because he’s paying, which amuses Betty and delights Jason.

At Pop’s, Cheryl, Betty, and Jason sit in a booth (Jason sits next to Betty and across from Cheryl), and Jason orders three strawberry shakes, which destroys the possibility of a twist on the classic “three on a soda” image.

Archie arrives, and Cheryl ducks behind the table in horror, because Archie was in the studio audience. Archie is sympathetic and doesn’t believe Veronica’s stunt, so Cheryl pretends she was looking for an earring and then gets close to Archie and thanks him (which Betty doesn’t mind in the slightest). Jason asks his “ol’ pal” Archie to pick up their shakes from the counter and get one for himself on him. Archie thanks him and orders a vanilla shake. Get it? Betty and Blossoms are fun, and Archie is bland.

Veronica arrives and greets “Archiekins”, but Archie goes off on her and doesn’t accept Veronica’s “excuse”.

As the newly-formed group of friends enjoy their shakes (Jughead’s eating a burger in the next booth), Veronica tries to downplay her stunt, but Betty and Cheryl make fuck eyes at each other and discuss the deliciousness of their shakes while ignoring Veronica, so Veronica storms out of Pop’s, furious.

The next day, Betty gets two calls (she has call waiting). She accepts Cheryl’s offer to come over and use her tanning room but rejects Veronica’s offer to comes along for a sale at the mall – and lets her know exactly who she has plans with.

Later in the day, Betty is impressed with Cheryl’s tanning room. She had been expecting a tanning bed, but Cheryl has an entire fucking indoor beach (she prefers realism)! The girls have fun, and Cheryl admits this is the first time that she ever had a “friend” share her sun room. Ooh, no build-up to it; Cheryl already considers Betty to be her friend.

Then that fucker Jason barges in, wearing designer swimming trunks with Betty’s face, her name, and hearts on it. Instead of being weirded out, Betty is amused. Cheryl declares he’s “goofy but lovable”, and she and Betty have a laugh over it, which shocks Jason.

Betty ends up spending a lot of time with her new BFF, being out with Cheryl every time that Veronica calls. Alice informs “Ronnie” that they’ve been spending a lot of time together lately. Examples include Betty and Cheryl rollerblading in the park and sharing a drink with Archie at Pop’s (with lot of love all around). Of course, Jason gets an extra straw, hoping to get in on the action. A sad Veronica thanks Alice and sighs.

Part 3 (pages 13-17)

The Cherylification of Betty is now complete. Betty is now wearing a shirt with a giant blossom on it as well as a blossom choker. Cheryl and Betty’s outfits in this scene were designed by Heather Solomon of Sheridan, Indiana.

Anyway, Cheryl thanks Betty for treating her to the movies, and Betty is glad that it was better than the last one that they saw. Cheryl was thinking of throwing a party this weekend, and Betty’s down for that. It gets even better when Cheryl reveals it will be in honor of Betty. Cheryl will invite the kids from Pembrooke. Betty asks permission to invite the Riverdale gang but then wonders about inviting Veronica. The two of them simultaneously decide the fuck with her.

The next day, Cheryl’s thinking up ideas for the party, wanting to make it a party that Betty will remember. Cheryl’s outfit in this scene was designed by, amusingly, Cheryl Jones of Texas. Cheryl needs “top-notch entertainment” and decides on the band that she sees on a “Spun” magazine cover, “Whole Thing“. She calls up Gruffin Records and not-so-subtlely lets them know whose daddy is boss. When that doesn’t work, Cheryl flips her shit and threatens the dude over the phone. Gig secured.

On Saturday night, it’s like a fucking Hollywood premiere at the “Cheryl’s Friendly Bash”. Yeah, even though this party is supposedly in honor of Betty, Cheryl did have to insert her name into the title.

Betty, Archie, Jughead, and Reggie encounter three of Cheryl’s classmates on the red carpet. I believe two of them are Bunny and Cedric, but I don’t know who the other girl is. Anyway, the three of them make fun of the “peasants”.

Once inside the mansion, Cheryl welcomes them to the “Cheryl Blossom’s Friendly Bash” and invites them to “eat, dance and be merry”. Reggie pulls Bunny to dance.

Cheryl gets on the stage and introduces the band. The band starts playing, and Courtney Love unnamed blonde woman starts singing.

Betty and Cheryl take Bunny and Reggie having a good time as harmony between Pembrooke and Riverdale. Cheryl is suspicious of a “strangely familiar” maid that she’s never seen before. As Veronica takes off her disguise, a shocked Cheryl calls for the band to stop the music.

Veronica offers a tearful apology to Cheryl and doesn’t blame the gang for not hanging out with her, because she wouldn’t want to hang out with her either. She then cries and runs off.

Veronica’s apology has affected Archie – but Betty even more so, because she gives chase. For whatever reason, Cheryl considers this “Ronnie” stealing “half” of her guests. Bunny puts down the “mallrats” and then accuses Cheryl of having fake nails (I guess hair and nails are the worst fake things that a girl can have in these comics). An outraged Cheryl orders the “catty creeps” out.

Cheryl wonders if this is the thanks that she gets for being a good friend. That fucking pig, Jughead, is stretched out on a table, having eaten tons of food and making a spectacular mess. He thanks Cheryl for being a good friend and burps. Cheryl replies to Jughead and sighs.

I love this story! It’s one of my favorites and forever included in my personal canon.

That said, it isn’t perfect. The ending is rushed. Betty goes running back to Veronica too easily, and she doesn’t even excuse herself from her bestie’s party in her honor. Also, the quick ending causes some confusion on the final page, making it seem as if most of the rest of the Riverdale gang followed Betty out the door between panels, and then the entire Pembrooke gang was supposedly thrown out, seemingly leaving only Cheryl and Jughead at the party. That’s pretty sloppy – as is the “Your welcome” (which was fixed in reprints – as was “CD’s” -> “CDs”).

Also, the story is pretty dated. Public-access television? Today, “Teen Talk” would be a streaming YouTube series on which Veronica and Betty would have guests either in the studio or remotely. There would potentially be a much greater audience (a world of teens) to witness Cheryl’s humiliation, and the most that Betty could do is prevent the stream from being permanently uploaded to their channel or take it down. Also, the band would be a parody of whatever the current flavor of the month is.

I proudly ship Betty/Cheryl (Beryl? Chetty?), and it’s all thanks to this story. I highly recommend it. If you come across this story, read it!

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – In Search of Change

bettys-diary-17

Writer: Harold Smith
Pencils: Stan Goldberg
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring/Production: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Betty’s Diary, No. 17
Cover Date: June, 1988
Length: 5 pages

I’m changing things up again this week, mostly because NaNoWriMo has started, and I’ve decided to participate again this year. This means you might be getting more comic reviews this month instead of TV reviews. I’m still working on the big movie review, so that will be coming up eventually.

I’ve decided to review a story from the “Betty’s Diary” series. “Betty’s Diary” ran for four years from April of 1986 to April of 1990 (cover dates), totaling 40 issues. Unlike the other series, the main focus of this series wasn’t on laughs; it was to make you pause and think. As the name implies, the set-up is Betty is reflecting on events as she writes about them in her diary, and she comes to some kind of conclusion. I guess the closest comparison would be Doogie Howser’s journal entries at the end of each episode.

Before we get into the story, holy shit, can you imagine there was a time when Betty Cooper had two solo titles? Now, she has none. How times have changed!

Betty muses about how, sometimes, something that seems really bad turns out pretty good after all. Today, she went to a movie and stopped for a pizza. She found she had only one dollar left for bus fare, the bus accepted coins only, and the driver had no change.

Betty looked for a place to get change. A bakery wouldn’t give change without a purchase. A “self-service” laundromat (there’s another kind?) had a change machine, but it short-changed Betty by 75 cents. She refused to spend her last remaining quarter to call the (six-digit) service number. The laundromat was deserted, so Betty decided to call Archie to pick him up, but she was so upset that she dialed the wrong number – and then got upset when the person hung up. Why? Was she planning to ask this stranger to come to the laundromat and give her a lift?

Upset, Betty started walking. She passed by a basket filled with deposit bottles and got an idea; they’re worth five cents each. She collected as many as she could. Some stores wouldn’t take certain bottles, but she managed to collect 75 cents. She needed just 25 cents more.

Betty came across a homeless man digging through a waste basket for bottles. He mistook her as being homeless and decided to show her where to redeem the bottles, because “homeless people have to help each other”. He’s been homeless for over a year. He lost his job and then his house. He, his wife, and his young son live in his car. Betty felt horrible for him and, overriding his refusal, gave him her 75 cents and two bottles. She also gave him the address of her church (this is a rare religious reference in Archie Comics), which she, for whatever reason, has memorized. She said they’ll help him find work and a place to stay.

Betty felt really good for helping that man, who she wouldn’t have met if she hadn’t lost that dollar. Also, she’d been so preoccupied with looking for bottles that she hadn’t realized she’s walked more than halfway home. I just want to point out that, if she hadn’t waited for the bus and then gone off in search of change and bottles, she’d be home already. Why take the bus such a seemingly short distance?

Just then, Archie showed up and offered Betty a lift. She declined, saying “I just got the biggest lift in my life!” She concludes she’ll have to explain that to Archie someday.

This is a pretty nice story. Betty went “in search of change” and ended up bringing change to a man’s life, however small. See what I mean about humor not being the primary goal? “Betty’s Diary” is one of my favorite comic series, because it offers insight into Betty’s character beyond what you get in a typical Archie story (comic or cartoon). I’ll probably review more stories from this title whenever I don’t have enough time to write an episode review.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Comics – A Date With a Dummy

archie-comics-digest-magazine-102

Writer: Harold Smith
Art: Tim Kennedy & Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman & Gregg Suchow
Production: Gregg Suchow
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Archie Comics Digest Magazine, No. 102
Cover Date: June, 1990
Length: 6 pages

I’ve decided to review a comic this week, mostly to give myself more time to work on the big review. This is actually the first Archie story that I ever read (excluding the cover gag), because it’s the first story in the first Archie digest that I ever got. It’s also the new story in the digest. Back then, new stories were credited, but reprints weren’t (these days, with everything credited, who knows?). Of course, not knowing anything about Archie back then, I assumed the entire thing was new.

Jughead invites Archie to attend a triple-bill monster festival with him on Saturday night, but Archie declines, because he’s taking Veronica to the “Grateful Zombies” concert. Jughead is impressed, because his broke ass couldn’t afford the tickets. Somehow, I can’t picture Jughead as a Deadhead, er,…Zombiehead? Archie explains he got a part-time job as a “stock boy” at the Riverdale Department Store on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. He’ll cash his check at lunch time, and that’ll pay for dinner before the concert. Jughead is envious.

Saturday, at 2:30 PM, Archie’s boss, Mr. Sellers (yes, really, and I’m not gonna make fun of it, because I once had a boss that worked as an employment specialist, and his last name was Works), asks Archie to drive out to their store in the mall and pick up a mannequin that they need for their display. So…the Riverdale Department Store has an additional store in the mall? What do they call it? It’d be pretty odd to walk around the mall, in Riverdale, and come across a store called Riverdale Department Store. Anyway, Archie agrees to do it, but first he calls up Veronica to tell her that he’ll be an hour late. This worries Veronica, but Archie says it’ll still be enough time to go to dinner.

Veronica decides to go to the mall and “console” herself with some shopping.

Later, Veronica walks out of the mall with a shit-ton of bags (which, by her standards, isn’t “serious purchasing”) and spots Archie driving off in his car with a red-headed “floozy”, which pisses her off.

Later, Archie has arrived at the main store with the mannequin. While Archie was out, Mr. Sellers got a phone message that Charlie McGee, the window dresser that the mall is sending over here, has car trouble and has Archie pick “him” up at the mall store. Wait, wait, wait. If Archie was heading out to the mall store anyway, why wasn’t he told to pick up Charlie? Or why didn’t Charlie bring the mannequin over to the main store?

Veronica comes by and confronts Archie about his “red-haired girl friend” (odd spelling). Archie points out her error. Veronica apologizes, embarrassed, but Archie finds it funny. He has to cancel dinner to pick up Charlie, and Veronica gets a good line in: “Your working for a living is ceasing to be amusing!”

At the mall, it turns out that Charlie is a hot blonde woman named Charlene. When Mr. Sellers said he got a “phone message”, does that mean he didn’t take the phone call himself? Archie assumed the dresser was a guy, and Mr. Sellers went along with it before even reading the name.

Meanwhile, Veronica remembers she forgot to pick up her dry cleaning and has to go back downtown.

She spots Archie and Charlie entering the main store and gets pissed again.

Mr. Sellers has Archie return the mannequin to the mall, because they don’t need it after all. Archie calls Veronica to tell her, but she tells him to fuck off.

Unfortunately, the store at the mall is closed once Archie gets there. By the time that he gets back to the main store, that’s closed as well. Archie’s mad at Veronica but then decides to take the mannequin to the concert.

Reggie and…some girl (Midge, I guess) see Archie carrying the mannequin, and Reggie has a good laugh over “the perfect date – a pair of dummies”.

Overall, this is an okay story, but it relies on a lack of communication. I hadn’t read it in years (possibly decades), but it’s still fairly funny.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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