Comics – Inn Big Trouble!

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

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

Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extras

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Join the Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extras

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comics – Hollywood or Bust

Cheryl-Blossom-GH-3
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Rudy Lapick*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood**), No. 3
Cover Date: February, 1997
Length: 21 pages

*The credits come from Grand Comics Database, because, oddly, the digital version omits them. The first page is obviously cropped, but I assume that’s mostly the indicia that’s missing. Perhaps the credits were accidentally cropped out, too.

**The first two Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. Things get more complicated here. This third miniseries is called Cheryl goes Hollywood on the front covers and Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) in the indicia. Additionally, it has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom Goes Hollywood by fans, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Goes to Hollywood.

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

Chapter 1

There’s a brief text recap of the previous issue.

Cheryl is dressed up in a beautiful, strapless, blue-and-black gown. She fishes for a compliment from Jason.

He says she seems so smug, which she has no problem with. She’s confident. According to Captain Thomas, the “Riverdale simpletons” were stuck on some farm (how does he know this?), hours from here, but the premiere’s in an hour. Jason is shocked and is apparently just now realizing the full extent of Cheryl’s plan. She doesn’t want them to steal her limelight, and Jason adds she doesn’t want them to see how bad that she’s made them look in the film (which she agrees with).

Soon, Cheryl arrives at the film festival and is starstruck by knockoffs of Alicia Silverstone, Jack Nicholson, and Meryl Streep and what appears to be the assbaby of Keanu Reeves and Mel Gibson. A reporter wants to ask Cheryl a question, which she gladly agrees to. The problem is the question is “Who are you?”, which sets her off. She angrily lets him know about her documentary, Cheryl: A Life.

Cheryl drones on (she’s sixteen in this story), but the reporter leaves, angering her. The fashion photographers start taking pictures of her, which pleases her, but then she’s warned to get out of the way. Veronica, riding a mule, runs into her.

Cheryl, upset, asks how they got here. Betty explains a farmer led them here by mule. So many things wrong with that. Mules travel 2.5 miles per hour, which a human can do. There is no way that they’d make it in time. Also, they’d never be allowed on the red carpet. If they pulled this shit, they’d be arrested – or maybe even shot. Oh, and the gang tied up and gagged Captain Thomas and brought him along (kidnapping), despite the fact that the previous issue explicitly showed only the teens being thrown off the train, whereas Captain Thomas stayed on board and reported to Cheryl. Also, his physical appearance has completely changed from the previous issue, going from a mostly-bald, dark-haired, mustached man to a younger blond. Cheryl gets upset at the gang (and a mule) posing for a photo.

Cheryl goes to find her seat. She got the gang passes, too (just in case they came), but the seats are in the balcony (they don’t mind).

Cheryl is bored by the films (including The Wonderful World of Bread). Finally, her film is introduced. Betty and Ronnie wait in anticipation (Ronnie’s expectations are low).

Chapter 2

As the film starts, Betty calls Cheryl out on her ego for her 30-second credit. Ronnie’s pissed that the rest of them don’t get proper credits. Cheryl immediately starts lying, claiming to have lower-middle-class origins. Jason points out that their dad was a millionaire at 19.

Cheryl takes credit for her dad’s success (when she was 10). She claims to have founded (and worked at) a soup kitchen. She pushes the image of Riverdale as a crime-ridden ghetto. Archie is a “simple lad”. The two “shameful bimbos” are Betty “Peroxide” Cooper and Veronica “Nose Job” Lodge.

Cheryl passes off Ronnie’s gypsy Halloween outfit as an example of her typical clothes. She somehow got a camera into Betty’s bedroom and filmed her as she was having difficulty after her jeans shrank, giving the impression that she’d gained weight (falling over doesn’t help her image). She dubbed in a much louder belch for Jughead. She passes the “poor lad” Reggie’s egotism off as loneliness. For the classroom scene, Cheryl dubbed in other voices, praising her.

Two-and-a-half hours later, people are falling asleep (this is during the patriotic portion near the end of the film). The audience is impatient – or laughing. The film finally ends.

Oh, but then there’s a quick tag at the end where Cheryl gives her address (unseen) and phone number (555-3607; no area code) for acting or modeling jobs. She “humbly” thanks them and then signs off with the “That’s All Folks!” logo from the old Looney Tunes shorts. Jason wants to take a break in the lobby, but Cheryl rushes toward the paparazzi. She then gets hit in the head with a bucket of popcorn by one of her “friends” from Riverdale. They want her ass on a pike.

Chapter 3

As the rest of the gang chases Cheryl, Jason tapes it. A random guy that claims to “produce a show back in the States” takes an interest in him.

Cheryl makes it back to her hotel room. She looks forward to tomorrow, when she can “bask in the glow” when reviews of her film come out.

Yeah, no, it gets trashed. Cheryl’s upset. She gets scared when the gang shows up, but Archie says they come in peace.

Betty says the reviews focused on Cheryl, not them, so it’s okay. Betty asks Cheryl if she sees what it’s like to be humiliated. Cheryl begrudgingly says she does. Suddenly, the press barges in, and Cheryl quickly bullshits that she was doing a “mock documentary”, a “parody”. They buy it, and she gets them to follow her around and take pictures as she shops for clothes. The others are incredulous. Cheryl believes bad press is better than no press.

A few days later, at the airport, the press sees Cheryl off as she boards her plane, praising her as “Canned’s answer to Jerry Lewis”. For her part, Cheryl says she’s “like a voluptuous Lucille Ball”. Cheryl waves and says goodbye to her many fans and friends that have come to see her off. Ronnie’s pissed that they got no recognition out of this at all. Um, did they ever even ask to be interviewed? Anyway, Archie just wants the whole ordeal to end.

On the plane, Jason’s being cryptic about the fame that awaits Cheryl at home (and also briefly changes shirts).

At the Riverdale Airport (which is a full-sized airport, by the way, not just for small planes), Cheryl is surprised to find two “brats” pointing and laughing at her. It turns out that Jason had sent a tape of her to an America’s Funniest Home Videos knockoff, and it aired last night. Cheryl is shocked by this, even though she really shouldn’t be.

Chapter 4

Back home (and after changing her jacket), Cheryl learns what Jason did and is furious. He says they won last night’s show and get to be back for the final competition. Cheryl doesn’t want to, but Jason says the show is seen by 25,000,000 viewers.

Cheryl changes her mind, silently noting she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve.

So now the miniseries tries to justify its title in its last 3.5 pages by having Cheryl actually go to Hollywood…to sit through an AFHV taping. Jason’s here, too. Keep in mind that this would be at the end of the season, so it’s probably months later. Anyway, Cheryl shudders to watch the outtakes of her movie. The “funny” stuff consists of a close-up of Cheryl eating caviar during a break, Ronnie and Betty pulling Cheryl into the water, and Cheryl spraying herself with the firehose (which didn’t happen).

The host then announces Cheryl has a surprise, which surprises Jason. Cheryl reveals, as soon as she knew Jason was following her with a video camera, she had someone follow him. This is the first that we’ve heard of this.

Anyway, highlights include Jason trying to tape a girl but then falling down a hill and a girl barfing on Jason. The audience votes. Cheryl’s barf video wins (which isn’t fair, because this is a last-minute entry in the finals, but whatever). Jason is pissed and tries to take the trophy from Cheryl, so she assaults him on television. Jason concedes. Cheryl makes a pun based on her last name. The end.

So…this story was okay, I guess. The entire storyline as a whole was pretty meh. You know how this would be done in 2020? Cheryl rents some equipment, gets the gang to star in a movie with her, uploads it to YouTube, goes viral for the wrong reasons, and watches as those sweet, sweet royalties are deposited into her bank account. The end.

The following info comes from Grand Comics Database: After the story is a PSA (drawn by Dan DeCarlo) titled “Food for Thought”, a page of fan art (from Stephanie Curran (San Francisco, CA), Le Myat Tun (Langon, Myanmar), Sylvia Smasal (La Mesa, CA), Dorothy Becks (San Francisco, CA), Trina Witt (Marion, SD), and Anna Chenoweth (Windsor, CA)), a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column (also including Cheryl’s Love Tips) by Sara Algase, a half-page Editor’s Notebook by Victor Gorelick, and a 1-page Cheryl illustration (by Dan Parent and Rudy Lapick) titled “Stars of the 90’s”. None of this extra stuff is included in the digital edition, which is a shame.

So that’s the last of Cheryl’s miniseries. I guess it did well enough, because it led to Cheryl getting her very own ongoing series. Stay tuned for that.

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Comics – Movie Madness

Cheryl-Blossom-GH-2
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood*), No. 2
Cover Date: January, 1997
Length: 21 pages

*The first two Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. Things get more complicated here. This third miniseries is called Cheryl goes Hollywood on the front covers and Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) in the indicia. Additionally, it has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom Goes Hollywood by fans, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Goes to Hollywood (which makes no sense, considering, as we’ll soon see, Cheryl doesn’t actually go to Hollywood).

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

Part 1

There’s a brief text recap of the previous issue.

Cheryl walks into Jason’s room (we know this, because there’s a convenient sign on the wall that reads “Jason’s room”) and finds his video camera. She wants to get rid of the alleged embarrassing footage of herself (which she hasn’t actually seen and which Jason really had no way of recording). She picks it up, setting off his security system.

Guard dogs somehow open the closet door and come out. Cheryl runs away. Oblivious, Penelope is happy to see Cheryl “taking Jason’s new pets for a walk”. Cheryl climbs onto the chandelier (her “only hope”) but drops the camera, which Jason is conveniently waiting to catch.

Jason brings a ladder over for her, and she climbs down. They banter for a while. It boils down to Jason using the tape as an “insurance policy” to make sure there’s nothing embarrassing to him in Cheryl’s film (not that Jason had ever been indicated to be part of Cheryl’s film). Apparently, one scene in the film involved Cheryl pushing her hesitant bungee-jumping grandmother off a cliff.

Cheryl leaves to edit her documentary. Jason warns her to stay away from his.

Cheryl purchased a bunch of state-of-the-art equipment to edit the film with the Tarantino knockoff. Why not just edit it at his facilities? He’s working for you, anyway. Anyway, Cheryl wants to “make Jurassic Park and Star Wars look like cheap home movies”. Good luck with that.

A few weeks later, Veronica walks into Pop’s and asks if anyone’s seen Cheryl. Jughead tells her. Betty is honestly excited and can’t wait to see their movie debuts, seemingly not caring that Cheryl’s gonna make them look like idiots. When Jughead mentions the Tarantino knockoff and Cheryl’s budget, Betty suddenly gets upset and asks how Cheryl can invest so much in an ego trip. Ronnie’s like “It’s Cheryl, bitch.”

Reggie just wants to see himself on the big screen. Someone (possibly Reggie) talks about how Cheryl’s film will be worth a fortune. Someone else (possibly Archie, although he hasn’t been in this scene until now) agrees. Gah, the continuity in this scene is horrible. We start out with Ronnie (coming in), Betty (near the table), Jughead (at the table), and Dilton (at the table). On the next page, we’ve suddenly got Reggie and Jughead at the counter, and Jughead’s wearing a completely different shirt. Then we’ve got a silhouette shot of (I’m guessing) Betty and Reggie at the table, Archie near the table, and Jughead at the counter. Ronnie and Dilton have gone missing. It’s a mess. Dilton didn’t even contribute to the conversation, so why have him here in the first place?

Anyway, at a nearby table, two stereotypical idiotic sleazeballs named Frankie and Shorty have overheard Reggie’s remark. Frankie wants to steal Cheryl’s film and hold it for ransom.

Meanwhile, outside Cheryl’s, Cheryl pays the SFX artists for the “special defects”. A film canister suddenly appears in her hand (they didn’t hand it to her; in fact, they explicitly walk away while she’s empty-handed). Cheryl holds the canister up high and loudly announces Cheryl Blossom The Documentary to the world – or at least her neighbors. Frankie runs by and grabs the film out of her hands. Cheryl starts crying and demands the Tarantino knockoff go after them, but this is all too “weird” for him, so he’s going back to “quiet ol’ Hollywood”. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Part 2

On…another day (or else everyone decided to change clothes), Archie, Reggie, Betty, Jughead, and Dilton have gotten the message that Cheryl left at the Chocklit Shoppe (ah, the days before widespread cell phone use) and rushed right over. Okay, this is sloppy beyond belief. It’s obviously meant to be the same day (it would make no sense otherwise), so why is everyone wearing different clothes? At first, Cheryl was the only one that I noticed: a white-and-blue sailor fuku in Part 1 and a blue dress in Part 2; however, everyone has been the victim of shitty continuity. Anyway, Cheryl wants her “dear friends” to hold her, so Archie hugs her. Cheryl recounts what happened between sobs and then just breaks down.

Wait. Are we expected to believe that is the only copy of the film? Wouldn’t there be at least a workprint somewhere? And what about all of the raw footage? Combine that with the edit sheets, and the film could be reconstructed.

Later, in Cheryl’s house, Archie vows to Cheryl that they’ll get her film back. Suddenly, a stone with a note wrapped around it crashes through a window and hits Archie right in the fucking face. Dilton reads the ransom note while Betty checks on Archie. The ransom is $1,000,000. Cheryl wants to call the police, but a second stone (hitting Archie in the head) warns against it.

Ronnie spots Frankie and Shorty hiding in the bushes, and Cheryl identifies them as the thieves. Archie’s seen them in Pop’s before. Archie hops outside to take a shortcut through the trellis and will meet the gang downstairs. Cheryl gives Archie Jason’s walkie talkie (why does she have it?) to keep in touch. The thieves’ van stalls out for a while, allowing Archie to hop on the bumper and cling to the back. Jason overheard the commotion and offers to drive the rest of the gang.

Archie relays to Cheryl (who’s at home) that they just turned on Front Street, and he guesses they’re heading for the waterfront. Jason (I guess) says they’re right behind him. While Cheryl listens on the scanner, she makes a phone call.

The thieves have arrived at the waterfront and want to get into their hideout. Archie confronts Frankie. Frankie bonks Archie on the head with the film canister. The others arrives. Frankie threatens to drop the film in the water.

Dilton confronts him, so Frankie throws the film (instead of just dropping it). Suddenly, Cheryl swoops in, hanging from a helicopter, and rescues the “tape” (which seems to be two film canisters). As she detaches from the line, lands on the ground, and strips for the cameras (the film canisters disappear in all of this), Cheryl explains what she did, which includes calling the press. Yup, she did this for publicity.

Part 3

Okay, I count news crews from at least four TV stations: channels 3, 5, 6, and 8. These can’t all be local, town-owned stations, but how could they arrive here in time otherwise? And would they really come to interview some teen heiress about rescuing her own film from thieves? It’s like…who fucking cares?

And…what the fuck? Everyone except Cheryl has changed clothes again! Reggie’s shirt even changes within the same scene!

Anywway, per Cheryl’s interview, she’s going to premiere her film at the film festival held by a Robert Redford knockoff in…Canned, Turkey. Ha. Betty just assumes they’re all going and is excited over a trip to Turkey. Because, when I think of places that I wanna visit, Turkey is at the top of the list. Anyway, Cheryl says her plane will be leaving from Riverdale Airport tomorrow afternoon (she gets no more specific than that) and tells the press to be there to cover it. Riverdale Airport?!

After the press leaves, Betty again assumes they’re all going. Cheryl’s upset and says they’re not fucking going. Betty says they thought they would be, since they’re the “stars”. Um, no, only you thought you’d be going, Betty. Cheryl says it’ll be “too confusing” having everyone there and says they can see it when she gets back. Jason’s suddenly holding his camera for whatever reason. Ronnie’s pissed, but Cheryl threatens to leave her out of the sequel. Cheryl regains the film canisters and leaves with Jason in a completely different car than Jason was driving in Part 2. Betty is hellbent on going to Turkey. We learn Riverdale apparently is large enough to have a crosstown bus.

Ronnie, with “a little convincing with Daddy”, offers to get them to Turkey. Um, why are you now seeking Daddy’s permission, Ronnie? You do remember you and Betty going to Paris just to prevent Cheryl and Archie from fucking, don’t you?

The next day, at the airport, Cheryl hams it up for the crowd (and the news crews and the TV audience) After Cheryl’s plane takes off, Ronnie orders her own pilots to follow it.

Soon, on her own plane, Cheryl is surprised to find out that Jason’s on board. Um, how could she possibly miss that? Anyway, he’s still got his stupid camera and is getting footage of “dear sister” for his “little project”. Just knock the fucking camera to the floor and smash it to pieces.

Jason overheard Cheryl’s supporting cast is on its way. Cheryl’s pissed but then realizes they won’t be allowed in, anyway. Still, she has a plan.

Later, at the airport in Turkey (they flew on the Lodges’ private plane; why are they at a commercial airport?), Betty’s positively orgasmic. Ronnie wonders where Cheryl is, assuming she made the same nonsensical landing choice that they did. Betty spots “Cheryl” getting in a cab, but it’s just her pilot, Captain Thomas, in a wig. The gang hails another cab and are in hot pursuit. Why not just go directly to the festival? Anyway, Thomas calls Cheryl, who tells him to get them as lost as he can.

The gang follows “Cheryl” onto a train, but then the conductor asks them for their tickets (as all conductors do). He somehow identifies them as Americans. Ronnie says she and Betty are the new lounge entertainment (taking a cue from a sign but not accounting for the actual lounge entertainment), and Dilton, Archie, Reggie, and Jughead are the new dishwashers. The guys are like “What the fuck, bitch?!” Thomas relays everything to Cheryl.

Part 4

Cheryl (who has changed clothes) gets a big laugh over it. She instructs Thomas to get plenty of film footage for her. Jason (who has also changed clothes) wants to check out the film festival.

In the train’s kitchen, Reggie’s pissed at Ronnie and seemingly threatens to punch her. Ronnie apologizes, saying they were under pressure. Way to blame it on your bestie. That was all you, Ronnie.

Soon, Betty and Ronnie squeeze themselves into the gowns for the usual entertainers. Speaking of the usual entertainers, where are they? Did Betty and Veronica clobber them, strip them naked, and stuff them in a closet or something?

They go out. Ronnie wasn’t counting on them having to play the instruments themselves. Ronnie goes and sits in front of the piano, and Betty picks up the microphone. Betty asks if Ronnie knows “any native songs of Turkey” for whatever reason. Ronnie recalls her fifth grade piano lessons and plays “Turkey in the Straw“. Betty facepalms.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Archie gets on Reggie’s case for refusing to wash dishes with the “losers”, which soon escalates to a food fight, much to Dilton’s delight.

Meanwhile, the audience has gotten tired of Ronnie and Betty repeatedly performing “Turkey in the Straw” (they did it nine times). If only these bitches were in a band or something. Anyway, they wrap it up and take bows, ripping the backs of their stolen gowns. They cover their asses in embarrassment. They’re lucky that their boobs didn’t pop out. Anyway, Thomas has gotten it all on film.

Back in the kitchen, a server (or whoever) has opened the door, and one of Reggie’s thrown dishes flies outside, hitting a passenger. A food fight starts among the passengers, because that would totally happen.

Amidst the chaos, Betty spots “Cheryl”, who Ronnie tackles. Thomas explains. Someone (not the conductor) throws the “crazy Americans” off the train.

Meanwhile, Cheryl and Jason arrive at the festival. Cheryl meets the Redford knockoff, who has no idea who she is. She introduces himself, and he recognizes her from the story that’s been “all over the papers”. Seriously? He kisses her on the hand.

Cheryl gets a call from Thomas, who informs her that the gang just got kicked off the train (somehow, he didn’t). He also mentions the “great footage” that he got. Cheryl wants Thomas to send the footage to her right away, hoping to edit it in before tomorrow evening’s premiere. This is impossible on so many levels. Sure, you can do that easily in the digital age but not back in 1996. Cheryl declares “I’m going to make my movie the best in the world, no matter how much it might embarrass them!” Jason is happy to have gotten footage of her saying her “best line”. Somehow, this doesn’t make Cheryl suspicious.

Archie asks a goatherder for directions to the film festival, confusing him. The end. A caption hypes the “unbelievable conclusion” next month.

So…this story was all over the place. If it had ended a little after the halfway point, it would have been fine (albeit still pretty flimsy), but this feels like two separate issues squished together. Riverdale is made to seem to be about the size of a big city, there’s no concept of how films are actually made, once again characters go halfway around the world just to interfere with Cheryl, and there are more art errors than I’ve ever seen in a single issue.

The following info comes from Grand Comics Database: After the story is a page of fan art (from Brenda Ferguson (Alberta, Canada), Nicole Laney (Honolulu, HI), Julie Leibach (Gainesville, FL), and Jennifer Delacruz (Ann Arbor, MI)), a 1-page illustration (supposedly by Dan Parent) titled “Cheryl’s Hollywood Hot Teen Looks”, a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column (also including a messageboard and fan art (from Stephanie Stewart (Independence, KS) and Tessa Barrett (Nova Scotia, Canada))) by Sara Algase, and a half-page Editor’s Notebook by Victor Gorelick. None of this extra stuff is included in the digital edition, which is a shame.

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Comics – Season of the Witch

BV-Friends-Digest-285Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Best Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 285
On-Sale Date: October 14, 2020
Length: 5

So here’s some backstory. When the plague hit, the comic book industry had its ass kicked. Diamond stopped shipping comics. DC went its own way. The Big Two drastically reduced their output. Nerdrage was unleashed. Prophecies of doom were foretold. Shitslinging commenced.

Even Archie Comics was affected. Vampironica: New Blood just barely concluded in time. The third issue of Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked didn’t come out until nearly five months after the second issue, and the series still hasn’t concluded. Archie #713 didn’t come out until over four months after #712, finally completing the “Archie and Katy Keene” arc, and there’s been no new issue (nor announcement of one) since then. Over at Dynamite, the final two issues of the Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica crossover didn’t come out until four months after the previous issue. Back at Archie, four novels and two original graphic novels, unaffected by the ass-reaming that the comic shops were taking, came out, but those are stories for later.

Over at the digests, new stories were suspended. In fact, not counting a noncanon fairy tale story in #281, this story that I’m reviewing today is the first new story in this digest series since this one (and, yes, it is the same series, even though it was unnecessarily renamed with #282). This is actually the first new classic-style story since June 3.

Let’s get into it.

Archie and Jughead are hanging out at Pop’s. Veronica and Betty come in, having just hit up some antique shops in town. So…Pop’s isn’t “in town”? Whatever. What Ronnie really means is she shopped, and Betty watched, because her broke ass can’t afford antiques. Honestly, I’m surprised that Ronnie has an interest in antiques at all, considering the market is pretty much dead.

Anyway, Ronnie shows off an antique locket that she bought. Inside is a really old picture of a woman. Jughead says the woman is a witch, Old Lady Brentlock; she’s a legendary witch that lived in Riverdale years ago. Ronnie thinks Jughead’s cray-cray, but Jughead warns Ronnie is “unlocking a Pandora’s box of trouble”.

Ronnie asks Betty if she’s heard of the witch. Betty gets a funny response in: “No! But I’m not in the know on the witches of Riverdale past!” Jughead takes a picture of the locket and, as he’s leaving, advises Ronnie to put the locket away. Ronnie and Betty wonder if Jughead’s fucking with her or not.

Soon, Ronnie and Betty meet Jughead outside somewhere. Why? Anyway, Ronnie couldn’t find anything about that witch online. Jughead claims he found a curse attached to the “ancient” locket: possession by Brentlock’s spirit. He shows her a picture of the locket. Convinced, Ronnie gives the locket to Jughead to dispose of. He agrees and says she can thank him in burgers later.

A few days later, on Halloween, Betty and Ronnie show up at Jughead’s house to pick up Jellybean for trick-or-treating (which isn’t a thing anymore, at least not in the traditional sense). Gladys tells them that Jellybean is so excited and sends her out – along with her costume in a bag.

At Ronnie’s house, Ronnie has dressed up as the Bride of Frankenstein, and Betty has dressed up as a Supergirl knockoff (the shield has a B instead of an S). Ronnie and Betty banter for a bit, during which Ronnie manages to insult Betty and piss her off. Ronnie call for Jellybean, so they can see her costume. Jellybean is dressed as a witch, but Ronnie is concerned about the look in her eyes. Betty frantically points out that Jellybean’s wearing the locket.

Ronnie freaks out and asks how she got it. Betty guesses she must have taken it from Jughead. Ronnie tells Jellybean to stop and tells her that she’s possessed. She calls to Betty for help, but Betty runs away. Betty’s like “Fuck you, you’re on your own!” Ronnie tells the “traitor” that she’ll remember this. Ronnie, for no discernable reason, suddenly bursts into hysterics, deathly afraid of this little girl (possessed or not). Ronnie begs Jellybean to spare her life, saying she’s “too young and pretty to die”. As it turns out, though, it was all a trick, and Jellybean, Jughead, and even Betty were all in on it. Wait, Betty was in on it? How? Why? When did she get in on it? Ronnie angrily says she would have thought better of her. Betty make a lame pun. The end.

This story was fairly mediocre. Jughead seemed to randomly come up with this “witch” story, triggered solely by the picture in the locket that Ronnie showed off, solely to dick with Ronnie. Ronnie falls for it way too easily. It’s not even explained how, why, or when Betty got in on the act.

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Comics – She Ought to Be in Pictures!

Cheryl-Blossom-GH-1
Writers: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood*), No. 1
Cover Date: December, 1996
Length: 21 pages

I’m sorry that there hasn’t been a review in a while. My mother died on the morning of September 17, and things had been hectic here.

*The first two Cheryl Blossom miniseries that preceded her ongoing series were simply named Cheryl Blossom, but they have unofficial names. Things get more complicated here. This third miniseries is called Cheryl goes Hollywood on the front covers and Cheryl Blossom (Goes Hollywood) in the indicia. Additionally, it has been referred to as Cheryl Blossom Goes Hollywood by fans, but it’s listed on Amazon as Cheryl Blossom: Goes to Hollywood (which makes no sense, considering, as we’ll soon see, Cheryl doesn’t actually go to Hollywood).

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

Before I get into reviewing the issue, though, I want to address something. Usually, when a storyline spans multiple issues, I review the entire storyline in one post to have the story all in one place. I didn’t do that for the first two miniseries, because I underestimated just how connected that they’d be (I’d assumed the individual parts would be only loosely thematically related). I believe that’ll be the case here as well, but I’m going to continue to review the parts separately to be consistent with my reviews of the first two miniseries. Besides, the stories in the individual issues have different titles, indicating they’re meant to mostly be able to stand on their own.

Part One

Cheryl and Priscilla are hanging out outside somewhere. Two random girls arrive and heap praise. Cheryl assumes it’s for herself and is flattered. These girls (who know Cheryl) are actually talking to a random black girl named Brenda. Cheryl’s pissed and wonders what’s so great about her. Priscilla is surprised that Cheryl didn’t hear and informs her that Brenda won an award.

Cheryl jokes about Brenda winning the “Worst Hairstyle of 1996” award. It’s fairly rare that an actual then-current year is mentioned in Archie Comics. It immediately dates the story. For the record, assuming the gang are now incoming seniors, Cheryl’s current birth year is 2003.

Anyway, Brenda won the “Golden Reel” Award (not sure why that’s in quotes). As Priscilla explains, all young aspiring filmmakers send in their films to a contest; the winner gets $10,000 and a contract to produce a short film. Cheryl claims to be bored and asks why “they all” (meaning the two random girls) are flocking to Brenda. Priscilla says Brenda can make her friends famous movie stars. I seriously doubt that. Brenda herself is just some girl that made a good enough film to get a contract to produce a short film; she’s basically a nobody that’s been given a shot at something small. Anyway, Cheryl says it’s pathetic, walks off, and says she’s glad that she doesn’t need that kind of “phoney” notoriety. Priscilla walks off, dismissive of Cheryl.

The next day, at the mall, Priscilla comes across Brenda, who’s shopping. Priscilla asks her if she’s spending all of her prize money. Um, I guess it’s not meant to go toward her new short film. Anyway, Cheryl bought all of this stuff for her. Priscilla is suspicious and rags on Cheryl. Cheryl plays innocent and treats her “sis” to lunch. Priscilla observes Cheryl’s trying to buy some fame. Cheryl calls Brenda her best friend, but Brenda accuses Cheryl of being after a part in her next movie.

Cheryl lets loose the hysterics, and Brenda apologizes. They go to the food court. Brenda wants to eat at a cheap place, but Cheryl wants to eat in a fancy restaurant (yeah, in the mall’s food court), supposedly for the ambiance.

As Brenda sits down, she finds the restaurant “okay”. Cheryl excuses herself to use the restroom. She changes into an elegant, sleeveless, glittery blue dress. She’s paid Hank, the pianist (in this upscale, mall-based restaurant), to play while she sings her musical number. Brenda is surprised, and Cheryl reveals she’s auditioning in case Brenda makes her next movie a musical. Brenda’s angry. Cheryl lies on the piano and starts singing. The guests aren’t impressed by the “choking” sounds.

Cheryl sings “Theme from New York, New York“, embarrassing Brenda and shattering a customer’s glass. A customer warns Cheryl to not stand on the piano, correctly predicting she’s gonna trip on her microphone’s cord. (Cheryl was holding a cordless microphone in all previous panels.) Cheryl somehow falls into the lobster tank (when she’d actually fall to the floor at most), which doesn’t have a lid on it.

Part 2

Cheryl gets out of the lobster tank and demands to know why no one saved her. A guy blatantly says they’re too busy laughing. Brenda tells Cheryl that she’s just not a performer. Cheryl says she doesn’t need her and leaves.

Cheryl walks along the sidewalk, wet. Um, I guess she’s walking home? Does that mean Brenda drove her to the mall? Anyway, she’s still wet and gets odd looks. Priscilla makes fun of her and is confused as to why Cheryl is seeking stardom, when she’s rich (which should be enough). “Anybody can have money”, so Cheryl is bored with it. She wants to be “on every magazine cover”. Even Prevention and AARP? Anyway, Priscilla tells Cheryl to go out there and make it happen. Cheryl takes the trade paper that Priscilla is reading.

Cheryl reads about an upcoming annual film festival, but Priscilla thinks it’s way out of Cheryl’s league. Cheryl decides to use her “financial resources” and make herself a star, producing, directing, and starring in her own film. Priscilla is doubtful.

Soon, at home, Cheryl watches TV as she tries to think of a starring vehicle for herself. Doing an action movie would make her “second fiddle” to special effects. A period piece would mean wearing “dull conservative clothes”, which she could never do. A rom-com would mean co-starring with someone prettier than her. Is Cheryl not confident in her looks? One movie on TV inspires her to do a film where a strong lady takes charge and molds young minds. She goes into the garage and gets into her sports car to drive into town and bankroll her venture. Um, shouldn’t she sit down and write a script first or something?

Cheryl says she’s driving “to Riverdale” as she passes a “Welcome to Riverdale” sign. But she’d said she’s driving “into town”. So I guess Pembrooke isn’t a town in and of itself, just an upscale community outside Riverdale’s city limits? I don’t know. Cheryl is suddenly inspired to do a documentary, which “always win awards”, and she’ll look like a “heroine”. Cheryl stops outside Pop’s and addresses the “poor slovenly citizens of Riverdale” (Archie, Betty, and Veronica). She announces they’re gonna make a movie, which confuses them.

Part 3

In Pop’s, presumably on another day (they’re all wearing different clothes), Ronnie asks Cheryl what makes her think they’d want to be in her stupid film. Cheryl has others speak for her. She promised Jughead unlimited eats, Archie unlimited dates, Pop a fee for using his place, and Dilton that she wouldn’t humiliate him publicly for one month.

Ronnie says she’s rich and can’t be bought. Cheryl introduces Ronnie to her director, a Brad Pitt knock-off. As Cheryl predicted, Ronnie gets a lady-boner and suddenly wants to be in the movie.

Cheryl is bored filming the documentary, because nothing interesting is happening in Riverdale. Just give it a while, Cheryl. Rather than do the sensible thing (make the documentary about her helping communities and individual people while also having some fun on the side), Cheryl decides to “save” Jughead from a “falling” ladder. She just ends up getting them covered in paint.

Later (on another day, I guess), Cheryl shoves Betty and Ronnie into the river in order to “save” the “drowning” girls. Betty points out that this water’s not even deep. Ronnie calls Cheryl a con artist. Cheryl gets a large stick and has the girls grab it. Ronnie and Betty do as told, pulling Cheryl into the river. Ronnie and Betty yuck it up.

Cheryl demands Brad turn off the camera. When he refuses, she fires him, which doesn’t bother him at all.

On another day, at Pop’s, Cheryl has taken over as director of the documentary. She’s hired a Quentin Tarantino knock-off as her new writer. She hands the scripts for Cheryl: The Movie to the gang. Archie is confused over there being scripts for a documentary.

Part 4

Note: there’s a headshot of a winking Cheryl next to her logo at the beginning of this part, and she has green eyes, whereas she has blue eyes in the rest of the issue.

On another day, Betty is frightened to see a fire, even though it’s clearly a fake building that’s on fire, and someone is recording it with a camera. Archie has to point this out to her. Jughead is upset and, oddly, says he’d be out of here if not for Pop’s getting a fee. I’d think his unlimited eats would be a bigger motivator. Cheryl calls action, and two actors behind the set ham it up for the camera. There’s a major error here. There are now bushes suddenly in front of the building. This is on the same page.

Cheryl somehow manages to strip naked and throw on a sexy firefighter get-up in a few seconds (rather than already having it on beforehand). She then “saves the day” to much cheering and adoration. Ronnie’s about to vomit.

The next day, at school, they’re having a rehearsal. Why here? Are they doing this after school, and it’s just convenient to have everyone already in the same building? Anyway, Betty is surprised at the “crazy lines” in the script. Cheryl says, if she’s not comfortable, she doesn’t have to do it, but she wants her to try.

Basically, according to the script, Ronnie is dumb, Archie has a criminal record, Betty has acne, and Jughead’s just an unspecified failure. So Cheryl’s doing a Dangerous Minds knock-off film, playing the “savior” teacher that turned a bunch of “hoodlums” into prime students through her “tough love”, caring, and 185 I.Q. (sure). Ronnie’s pissed.

Cheryl is off to work with “needy orphans”. Ronnie and Jughead quit. Cheryl reveals a hidden camera (behind a wall mirror). So she got (or didn’t get) footage of them reading their scripts. She considers this to be putting one over on the “suckers”. They chase Cheryl out of the school. Outside, Priscilla and a random Pembrooke student (who looks kind of like Jason but is too short to be him) make fun of Cheryl.

Cheryl hides in bushes. Then the real Jason (who happens to be in the area) saves Cheryl. They ride off. Cheryl asks him why he’d save her. He says “Blood is thicker than water, sis!” Cheryl is happy about how she “duped” the gang. Jason pulls out a video camera and claims he got all of the blunders on film…somefuckinghow. Cheryl is shocked and worried. Um, just grab the camera and expose the film.

This story is pretty fun, but Cheryl is going about trying to make a movie all wrong. It’s frustrating to watch her be this short-sighted and naive.

The following info comes from Grand Comics Database: After the story is a 1-page illustration by Dan Parent, Rudy Lapick, and Barry Grossman titled “Cheryl Hollywood Style”. This fashion page is not included in the digital edition, which is a shame.

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Comics – The Big Yak Flack!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-4
Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Mindy Eisman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4
Cover Date: 1996
Length: 18 pages (including 10 pages of reprints)

*Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book, since this is one of the few issues of any Cheryl Blossom series for which there’s no digital edition. The credits come from Grand Comics Database. The digital edition has the credits: Golliher/Goldberg/Lapick/Yoshida/Grossman, seemingly combining the credits of the new story and the 1980s reprint (the latter of which GCDb doesn’t have credits for) but leaving out Eisman. I don’t know how the credits appear in the physical printed story.

Cheryl walks into Pop’s. She has an upside-down “u” nose in this story instead of her usual triangle nose. Anyway, Archie and Betty are happy to see Cheryl, but Veronica isn’t. Cheryl greets her “little townie friends” and asks what they’re talking about. Ronnie explains Pop is sponsoring a recipe contest to put a new item on his menu. Betty adds they’re entering. Archie, smug asshole that he is, says he’s going to be a judge, like that makes him some hot shit. Cheryl sees Jughead making something behind the counter and asks if he’s entering the contest, adding he knows his food.

Jughead says he can’t be a judge, because he plans to win. He then promptly fucks up whatever he was cooking, causing an explosion, startling Cheryl. Cheryl then plans to win the contest herself. Ronnie and Betty are amused. Betty gets in a dig at Cheryl’s supposed lack of cooking skills. Cheryl claims to know “the best recipe in the world”, angering Ronnie. Cheryl then lightly flirts with Archie, angering Betty. Cheryl leaves to cook. Betty gets in another dig before Cheryl’s out the door.

At home, Jason is shocked to hear what Cheryl did. We learn she didn’t learn to boil water until she was fifteen. Cheryl needs Jason’s help, but Jason doesn’t know anything about cooking. Cheryl wants Jason’s help with “this computer thingy”. Um, I seriously doubt, in 1996, Cheryl wouldn’t have already taken computer classes at school. Hell, by that point, I’d already taken two years of Computer Programming, and I’d learned how to get on the Internet. Granted, these were Macs, and they sucked ass (“There is not enough memory to open the hard drive.”), but the classes were being taught. Anyway, Cheryl is smart enough to want to search for the tastiest recipe on the Internet. She also wants to get one “from the most remote corner of the world”, which seems highly unnecessary, but whatever. After some discussion of who Cheryl’s up against, Cheryl brings up an incident from the past.

The next 10 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “The Great All-American Pembrooke-Riverdale Food-Eating Contest!“, presented as a flashback from Cheryl’s perspective. I assume Jane filled her in on some of the stuff at some point.

Cheryl tells Jason to tell “the head butler” to hire a few extra chefs to try out the new recipes, since she isn’t going to prepare them herself.

The chefs prepare various dishes, which Cheryl and Jason taste. Cheryl mentions one more recipe that she wanted, but “he” doesn’t give it out. Jason asks about it.

According to Cheryl’s research, the tastiest dish in the world is yak stew made by a Tibetan monk, but he isn’t online and hasn’t shared his recipe with anyone. Jason is disgusted. Clifford overhears and regales Cheryl with his tale of trekking through Tibet and stopping at a monk’s house for a meal, which turned out to be the best thing that he ever tasted, but he refused to give Clifford the recipe. Cheryl decides to fly to Tibet to convince the monk.

In Tibet, Cheryl’s guide leads her to the monk’s house, which can only be described as a TARDIS outhouse. Cheryl knocks. The monk answers. Cheryl asks for the recipe. The monk lets her in but doesn’t reply. Her guide explains the monk has taken a vow of silence for the last twenty years. Cheryl is incredulous, not imagining going twenty minutes without talking; she started when she was a year old and hasn’t stopped since.

As the hours pass, Cheryl talks the monk’s ears off about shit (as he prays to maintain control). He finally has enough of her yapping and screams out in frustration – in English. Well, isn’t that convenient?

He gives her a cup of stew to go and shoves her out the door. Cheryl wants the recipe, but her guide advises her to not push it, lest the monk break his non-violence vow. Cheryl waves goodbye to the monk, who’s still pissed.

On the plane, Cheryl decides she’ll get one of her dad’s scientists to analyze the contents of the cup, and “the secret yak stew recipe will be [hers]!”

The day before the contest, Cheryl’s in the kitchen with a chef. She has all of the ingredients that she needs: carrots, herbs, sprouts, and one medium-sized yak (which the chef holds still with one hand while clutching an axe with the other hand). The yak seems nervous as it chews on greenery.

On the big day, at Pop’s (by the way, Archie and Moose are two of the judges), Pop announces the clear winner: Cheryl’s yak stew. Betty is surprised (even though the dishes should have already been announced by this point) and asks Cheryl about it. Pop shakes Cheryl’s hand and congratulates her, but he doesn’t know where he’ll get the yak to put this on the menu. Then why’d you even accept her entry, asshole?! Cheryl tells him that she substituted with hamburger, because she “couldn’t whack the yak”. Rather than be relieved on multiple fronts, Pop is aghast. Ronnie tells Cheryl that substituting is against the rules, pointing out the fine print. Cheryl had no idea. Pop says the new winner is Jughead Jones’ Chili Surprise. Jughead rubs salt in Cheryl’s wounds by declaring it’s “real chili”. Cheryl complains to Jason about the townies beating her on a technical error. Jughead gets in front of a microphone and gives his acceptance speech. Jason makes a stupid pun. Cheryl threatens physical violence if Jason doesn’t shut the fuck up. Jason tells his sister to look on the bright side: she got a new pet out of the deal.

Outside Pop’s, where Cheryl had tied the yak to the fire hydrant (um, I guess she brought him along to use for a potential photo op), the yak has yanked the fire hydrant out of the sidewalk (causing water to gush everywhere) and gone across the street to munch bush.

This story was pretty funny, but Cheryl losing was bullshit. No substitutions on a recipe of their own choosing? What in the actual fuck? Also, does the winner of the contest actually get anything?

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Comics – Don’t Rain On My Parade!

Cheryl-Blossom-Special-4
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Mindy Eisman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4
Cover Date: 1996
Length: 21 pages (including 11 pages of reprints)

*Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book, since this is one of the few issues of any Cheryl Blossom series for which there’s no digital edition. The credits come from Grand Comics Database. The digital edition has the credits: Parent/Doyle/Goldberg/Lapick/Yoshida/Grossman, seemingly combining the credits of the new story and the 1980s reprint but leaving out Eisman. I don’t know how the credits appear in the physical printed story.

There’s a credits page before the story. I’m not going to open up my physical copy to look at it, but Grand Comics Database seems to indicate it has a concert theme.

Jason and Cheryl see an Archies poster pinned or nailed on the brick(!) wall of a building. The Archies are performing in the “big parade” on “Riverdale Day”, presumably some kind of holiday that’s given no further explanation. Cheryl thinks it sounds boring. Cheryl then points out that the Archies are performing (as if that’s not the first fucking thing that they noticed, what with the band’s photo taking up so much space). Cheryl and Jason have a laugh over it. Incidentally, the poster photo of the Archies seems to be inspired by their appearance on The Archie Show, what with the inclusion of Hot Dog:

Archie-Show-16-band-3Thankfully, Hot Dog is not conducting them here.

Cheryl points out that their local TV channel (channel 6) is covering the event, and “the whole state” will see it. So Riverdale’s shitty local station is broadcast statewide? Is that the case in any state in real life? Anyway, Jason is shocked.

Cheryl says the Archies will be seen by “hundreds of thousands” of people. Jason says it could make them famous. Jason wants to stop them from performing. Cheryl shoots that down, saying they’re “outnumbered on this one”. Who is she counting, and what point is she trying to make? Anyway, Cheryl wants to join the Archies.

At the next band practice, at Archie’s house, Veronica refuses to let Cheryl join. Cheryl takes off her coat, revealing a music-themed dress that she had designed for the occasion. Archie and Reggie get boners, and Archie (I guess; it’s unclear) suggests letting her try out.

Betty is upset at the situation but then agrees to let Cheryl demonstrate her talent. Ronnie is upset, but Betty whispers to her to trust her on this. Cheryl suggests they start playing, and she’ll join in somewhere. They start playing “Jingle Jangle“, because they have nothing new and must resort, yet again, to 1960s bubblegum pop. Cheryl grabs Betty’s tambourine from her “girlfriend” (hey, she said it, and who am I to argue?) to shake it, and she somehow manages to drive her fist through it…and punch Ronnie in the nose. How? And why isn’t Ronnie playing her keyboard? Anyway, Ronnie’s pissed. Cheryl apologizes and picks up a microphone to sing backup, but she somehow trips over “wires” (chords) on the floor…

…and collides with Jughead (after flying over his drum set and completely changing position in midair). Cheryl wants to try drumming. Jason (who’s suddenly here) encourages it. Cheryl looks cute with her tongue sticking out. Anyway, a drumstick flies out of Cheryl’s hand and hits Fred on the head. As Mary takes her husband away, she gives Cheryl a death stare. Ronnie and Archie are pissed at Cheryl. Ronnie refuses to let Cheryl join the band, which shocks her. Um, why the fuck is Cheryl suddenly an Archie-level klutz? It’s totally out of character.

Anyway, Cheryl and Jason leave. Cheryl’s upset. Jason reminds her of “the last time” that they “got involved with their band”.

The next 11 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “The Governor’s Gig“, presented as a flashback from Jason’s perspective (perhaps with some contributions from Cheryl), despite the fact that they’re absent for large portions of it (although I guess the band could have filled them in at some point). It seems to me that “Snob Hill Sextette” would have been a better fit as a flashback here. Using “The Governor’s Gig” is also problematic, because the Archies had already been seen by the entire state and become famous in that story, making the parade situation in this story feel like a step down in comparison.

Anyway, back home, Jason suggests giving up this battle. Clifford is off to the “Riverdale Day” meeting. Cheryl’s upset that her dad is “in on that fiasco”. Penelope says Clifford is one of the creators of the event. Clifford adds he’s also the main financial backer. Jason and Cheryl realize this means they’re “in”. They do a celebratory dance, leaving their dad confused and concerned.

Cheryl and Jason go over to Archie’s house and blackmail their way into the band. Ronnie demands proof. Cheryl shows her a flier, which instantly convinces her (I’m not doubting the flier is genuine). The event is sponsored by “Mr. Blossom and the Corporation to Preserve Riverdale”. Betty calls them out on the blackmail, vaguely threatening to let their dad know. Cheryl tells her to keep her mouth shut if they want to stay in the parade. Um, Cheryl is a horrible strategist.

Archie agrees but allows Cheryl to just sing backup. Jason declares himself to be their new manager. Jughead protests, but Archie tells Jughead to allow it, because everything’s taken care of, anyway. Cheryl wants to practice. Ronnie gives Jason a to-do list, including submitting a design for a balloon float. Ronnie explains there’s going to be a balloon of the Archies behind them. Um, how far away is Riverdale Day, and why (despite Archie’s assertion to the contrary) hasn’t this shit already been taken care of? Anyway, Jason doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that he crumples up the old list and writes a new one (using a notepad and pen that he pulls out of his ass).

On the day of the big parade, everyone’s excited. Betty compliments Cheryl, saying she’s surprised at how cooperative that she’s been. Cheryl says she can be a team player, but she’s secretly planning something for showtime, which is…now. They start performing “Jingle Jangle” in front of a huge crowd. Ronnie’s surprised that Cheryl’s taking the lead. Archie realizes none of their instruments or mikes are hooked up. Cheryl is the only one being heard. This is what you assholes get for not checking your gear before you start playing. Hmm, Cheryl’s not singing “Jingle Jangle”, despite the “Sha! La! La! La!” from the band earlier. Maybe it actually is a new song. The crowd hates Cheryl’s voice. This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone involved.

The crowd boos her. Cheryl presents “the Cheryl float” (really just a giant balloon of her), much to the band’s shock. Archie demands to know where the Archies balloon is. Cheryl says it’s stuck behind hers. So they had it made, anyway? And how could the band not notice the Cheryl balloon earlier? Ronnie and Betty come at Cheryl to beat the shit out of her, so Cheryl escapes by climbing her balloon, palming her giant, shapely ass cheeks.

Cheryl sits on her balloon’s right shoulder and welcomes everyone to her parade. The crowd pelts her with shit. Cheryl accidentally punctures the balloon with her fingernails. Reggie and Betty have a laugh over it. As the Cheryl balloon deflates (revealing the Archies balloon behind it), Cheryl references The Wizard of Oz. Clifford is pissed at the $30,000 bill that he got for the balloon (so I guess this story occurs over quite a long time), but Cheryl is chill enough to make a joke about it.

This story is pretty fun, but it seems like a rehash.

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Comics – The Governor’s Gig

AaRH-90
Writer: Frank Doyle*
Pencils: Stan Goldberg*
Inks: Stan Goldberg*
Colors: Barry Grossman*
Letters: Bill Yoshida*
Original Publication: Archie at Riverdale High, No. 90
Cover Date: February, 1983
Length: 11 pages

*I don’t have the original issue and am reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book (where it appears as a flashback within the 1996 story, “Don’t Rain on My Parade!”, from Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4, which is one of the few issues of any Cheryl Blossom series for which there’s no digital edition). The story might originally be uncredited. The credits come from Grand Comics Database and may or may not be accurate.

Jason and Cheryl are in Jason’s sports car. Jason notices the Archies’ van parked outside a place called Star Rehearsal Hall and makes fun of them. Cheryl calls them “semi-literates”. Archie comes out with his gear. Jason insults him. Jughead comes out and gets in a sharp comeback. Jason continues insulting Archie.

Betty loads gear in the van and gets in a not-so-sharp comeback. Cheryl wants to leave. Jughead gets in a joke. Jason tears off. Betty, Jughead, and Archie breathe in his exhaust and cough. Archie seems to indicate Pembrooke Academy is relatively new.

As they arrive at Pembrooke Academy, Jason bashes “townies”, but Cheryl admits some of them are sort of cute in a low-class way.

They pass by a room, and Jason asks a guy named Birdie Birdwell how his new job heading up the entertainment committee is going. He says “Jolly fine, Jason!” He’s British, I’m guessing.

He has “a line” on a “smashing group” for their next dance. Cheryl’s excited. Jason asks for their name. Birdie reveals it’s the Archies, which makes Jason flip his shit. He tries to dissuade Birdie, but Birdie knows all about his personal gripe. It seems the Archies are popular with the rest of the Pembrooke crowd. After more nagging from Jason, Birdie leaves.

Jason and Cheryl leave the room. Jason keeps complaining. Cheryl gets in a hilarious dry zinger (which I won’t spoil). Then Jason realizes Birdie didn’t say he hired them yet, so Jason wants to stop it. Cheryl’s for it, and they have a bit of playful banter.

Archie, Veronica, Reggie, and Betty are just hanging out at Archie’s house, “all set for a gig” but lacking one. Jason calls, pretending to be “the governor’s aide” at “the state capital”. He invites the Archies to play the governor’s ball on Saturday night. Archie accepts, somehow not recognizing Jason’s voice nor questioning or verifying any of this. Ronnie thinks it’s a wrong number. Reggie wonders who recommended them. After Jason hangs up, he and Cheryl yuck it up. Oh, and it “doesn’t pay to incur the wrath of Jason Blossom”. Wrath? All that they did was insult him after he insulted them.

Jason continues to laugh over it. Cheryl hopes Betty and Veronica will think less of Archie after this. Birdie walks by, ready to call the Archies and hire them for the dance. Jason, unable to contain his laughter, encourages it. Cheryl says they’ll enjoy them. Birdie is confused.

On Friday night (I guess), the band’s packing their van for an overnight trip. Jughead exposits they’re 200 miles from “the state capital” and never went that far for a gig before. Assuming Riverdale is supposed to be in the Northeast (which most fans usually believe it is), this one sentence eliminates Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. That leaves Maine, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. There are plenty of hints in the comics that Riverdale is in New York, and Riverdale has even gotten in on it by name-dropping Rockland County.

Anyway, Ronnie says this gig could make their reputation, and Betty says they might even be on television. OMG, television! An audience of people sitting at home and watching you perform! How awesome is that?! Yeah, this story is so ’80s.

Jason and Cheryl are sitting in Jason’s sports car, watching them leave. Somehow, they were unnoticed. They laugh. Cheryl guesses the band will guess Jason set them up. Jason hopes they do. Jason guesses they might pay for food and lodging, if they don’t “sack out” in the van. There’s probably gonna be at least two full fill-ups of gas, too. Cheryl calls them “pretentious peasants”.

On the road, Archie admits to Ronnie that he’s nervous “but not scared”. He says they’re good.

On Saturday, at the “capitol”, someone informs the governor that they have no music for the ball tonight. The leader of the high society group that they hired was too much of a snob for his men, and they all quit. That’s pretty funny. With the ball only hours away, the governor is upset. The guy that gave him the news offers to play the harmonica.

Miss Brown (some assistant, I guess) arrives to inform them of the Archies’ arrival. The governor goes out to the Archies (who are waiting outside his office) and asks them to play. They take ten minutes to set up and then play. The governor’s impressed, claiming they saved his life. The guy shows them to the ballroom, and they follow, not taking their gear.

At Pembrooke’s party, Birdie tells Jason and Cheryl that he found out why he couldn’t get hold of the Archies. He takes them to a TV and shows them the Archies playing the governor’s ball. Jason is shocked, and so is Cheryl. Birdie says they’ll be in “so much demand” after this. Cheryl is upset at Jason, who’s upset with himself.

This story was pretty funny – if a bit too contrived.

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Comics – The Great All-American Pembrooke-Riverdale Food-Eating Contest!

AaRH-97
Writer: ?*
Pencils: ?*
Inks: ?*
Colors: ?*
Letters: ?*
Original Publication: Archie at Riverdale High, No. 97
Cover Date: June, 1984
Length: 10 pages

*I don’t have the original issue and am reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book (where it appears as a flashback within the 1996 story, “The Big Yak Flack!”, from Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4, which is one of the few issues of any Cheryl Blossom series for which there’s no digital edition). The story might originally be uncredited. Grand Comics Database doesn’t have credits for this story.

For everyone’s sanity, I’ve kept the title of this post short. This story’s title is one of the wordiest and most inconsistent that I’ve ever seen.

The Great All-American Pembrooke-Riverdale Food-Eating Contest! Munchie Mania! Part 1

Out on a sidewalk, downtown, Jason, Cheryl, Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Dilton are gathered. Jason’s sick of the notion of Riverdale being great, and he declares his school challenges Archie’s to a contest. He allows Archie to pick any game and promises Pembrooke will beat them. Jason is thinking of only hoity-toity sports, but Archie surprises “Jase” by picking a food-eating contest. This surprises Betty and Dilton, but Jughead seems okay with it.

Archie introduces Jughead “The Man” Jones, their “champion, all-time food eater”. Jason and Cheryl are upset. Cheryl actually growls! Who actually does that in real life? Anyway, Jason takes issue with “food eating” being a sport, but Dilton points out that Jason used the words “contest” and “game”, not “sport”. Jason tells him to shut the fuck up, calls this a “con job”, and sets the contest for a week from today. He still says Pembrooke will win.

Jason and Cheryl get into Cheryl’s yellow sports car and drive off. Cheryl’s upset at Jason and points out Jughead’s eating ability. Jason wants to rig the contest in their favor. Cheryl knows exactly what to do.

The night before the contest, a cute girl named Jane Dough shows up at Jughead’s house. Gladys, Jughead’s mom, lets her in, impressed with her manners. Jughead’s eating a sub sandwich and ice cream while watching TV. Jane introduces herself as Jughead’s competition tomorrow. She wants to make peace. Jughead advises her against going through with the contest for her sake. Jane takes him out for a movie and dinner – her treat. Oh, and a “quick snack” first. Jason and Cheryl are watching from behind a tree. Cheryl’s plan is to have her friend Jane force-feed Jughead so much food that he can’t out-eat them tomorrow. Jason’s impressed.

Shortly, at “the local burger palace” (a fast-food place, not Pop’s), Jason and Cheryl have tailed Jane and Jughead here at Cheryl’s insistence. Cheryl had given Jane her allowance for a week, and she wants to be sure that Jane spends every penny on Jughead.

Inside, Jughead orders an insane amount of food while the startled employee is bringing him…what I guess is what he’d initially ordered before Jane told him to order whatever.

Soon, Jughead’s stuffed, but Jane guesses he’ll get his appetite back at the movies.

Jason and Cheryl follow Jane and Jughead to the Riverdale Bijou. I wonder if this brings back bad memories for Jason.

Inside, Jughead orders an insane amount of food at the candy counter. Despite being unspecific with some of the quantities, the cashier is able to give him an exact total.

Jane and Jughead have gone to see “a classic sci-fi picture”, The Creature That Drank Lake Eerie. Halfway through the movie, though, Jughead’s out of food, and his stomach’s rumbling, so Jane suggests they leave and go to dinner, claiming she’s seen this movie a dozen times. Jughead readily agrees. Cheryl gets down and has Jason do the same, because it would “ruin everything” if Jughead…sees them at the movies.

Outside, Cheryl’s pissed that there’s a ticket on her car, because Jason left it in a no parking zone. Two questions: Why didn’t Cheryl notice this earlier? And why’s Jason driving Cheryl’s car? Anyway, Jason tells her to hurry the fuck up and get in, because Jane and Jughead are leaving.

The Great All-American Pembrooke-Riverdale Food Eating Contest! …And in This Corner, Jughead Jones! Chapter Two

Jason and Cheryl follow Jane and Jughead to “one of Riverdale’s poshest restaurants”. Cheryl hopes Jane knows what she’s doing with her money. She doesn’t. If Jane was smart, she would have cut out the movie tickets, overpriced theater snacks, and fancy restaurant and stuck with fast food, where Cheryl would get more bang for her buck.

Anyway, Jason and Cheryl go inside El Swanko, and Jason’s worried that they won’t let them in without reservations. Cheryl’s got it covered, though, slipping the maitre d some cash. Where’d she get that? I thought she’d given her entire week’s allowance to Jane. Anyway, Jughead is doing lobster, steak, and imported seltzer water, items that Spanish-themed restaurants are known to serve. Jane’s worried that Cheryl’s gonna kill her, because she’s spent most of her money, and Jughead’s still going strong.

Jane finally suggests a cheaper place, and Jughead agrees. Cheryl shoves Jason’s face into a bowl of soup to “hide” him, but she remains visible. Somehow, it gets all over his suit as well. Cheryl offers to buy him a whole new wardrobe.

Jason and Cheryl follow Jane and Jughead to a greasy spoon diner. Cheryl declines to follow them inside, since she’s nearly broke, and decides they can watch everything from her car. How does Cheryl have any cash at all? I find it hard to believe she’s the type that would save cash from a previous week. Did she withdraw this money from her bank account?

Anyway, Jane and Jughead go in for $10 all-you-can-eat spaghetti. Much later, the chef throws them out for cleaning out the kitchen. Jughead’s had more than enough and says it’s been a wonderful “date”. Jane’s pleased with herself. Cheryl (who suddenly has an upside-down “u” nose for one panel) is excited, and so is Jason, who predicts a Pembrooke victory. They’ve got a flat tire, though, so Cheryl flags down a police wrecker.

It turns out that Jason had parked in a fire zone (which neither Jason nor Cheryl had noticed during that entire time…somehow), so the cops tow Cheryl’s car. Y’know, Cheryl could have lied and said they had no choice but to stop in the fire zone, because of the flat tire. Anyway, Cheryl’s pissed, saying she never should’ve let Jason drive her car in the first place. Why did Cheryl let Jason drive her car? Is he better at keeping up with people or something?

Anyway, early the following day, in…a park (I guess), a huge crowd has gathered to watch this stupid contest. Cheryl informs Jughead that Jane “can’t make it”. Jason introduces the real competitor her replacement, Jane’s cousin, “Two Ton Tommy”. Tommy growls. Jughead makes fun of Tommy’s weight (specifically, his stomach). Y’know, not everyone with an overeating problem has as great a metabolism as you, asshole. Anyway, the referee fires the gun, and Tommy and Jughead start chowing down the food on the table. How do they keep track of whose food is whose and how much that each of them has eaten? Anyway, Cheryl cheers on Tommy, and Reggie (who’s suddenly in this story) cheers on Jughead.

Tommy eventually concedes. Betty cheers Jughead’s victory. Jughead tells her to shut the fuck up, because he’s “on a roll”. Cheryl asks Jughead why he “quit” eating in the middle of his date. Jughead says it was to discipline himself, comparing himself to an athlete. This is all bullshit. Jughead didn’t quit and didn’t discipline himself. He’d gotten thrown out for eating all of the food in the place! Anyway, Jughead tells Cheryl that last night was only a “practice run” for today. He has Cheryl thank Jane for her “expert coaching”; otherwise, he couldn’t have won. Cheryl and Jason argue with each other. Archie guesses they lost more than their school’s reputation.

This story was okay, but it couldn’t keep track of a basic plot point, and Reggie’s sudden appearance at the end was kind of jarring.

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