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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Comics – Picture This!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Sibling Rivalry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Radio Daze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Home Un-Improvement

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

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

Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extras

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Snowbored

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, let’s get to the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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