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Topics - Bluto

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Fernando, that is great Good Girl Art!!! I'm going to have to add this to my pull list!

General Discussion / My Popeye book is finally here!
« on: November 30, 2009, 09:24:41 PM »
My new book, "Stronger Than Spinach - The Secret Appeal of the Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons" published by Bear Manor Media, is now available at and  It's a fan's celebration of the films a lot of us grew up watching on TV.  But because the cartoons were originally produced for adult movie-going audiences, they contained jokes, situations, and innuendos that went right over children's heads.  The book explores these, along with the ways the characters changed over the years, how the films were products of their times, the romance of some of the storylines, the extreme violence on screen, the suspense and tension in many of the cartoons, and the delightful dilemma the viewers face as they try to determine who to root for. 

I hope you enjoy the book and that everyone has a Happy Holiday season whether you buy the book or not.
Steve R. Bierly

General Discussion / My new books
« on: October 29, 2009, 03:24:17 PM »

Hi All!
Sorry I haven't posted much lately, but a neck injury has kept me away from the computer.  Anyway, I have two self-published books available at and  They deal with Christianity and are called "Did God Really Say THAT? 12 Tips on How to Read, Understand, and Apply the Bible,", and "How To Be Single, Sexual, Spiritual, and Sane: A Different Christian Perspective"  If you like them, please help spread the word!  And, my Popeye book, "Stronger Than Spinach - The Secret Appeal Of The Famous Studios Cartoons" published by Bear Manor Media, should be available very soon.  I'll let you know as soon as it is done!
Steve Bierly

Archie's Friends / How Old Are Josie And The Pussycats Anyway?
« on: June 22, 2009, 08:19:18 PM »
I know I tend to beat a dead horse when it comes to how old the Archie characters are supposed to be, but while reading several old issues of Josie And The Pussycats, I found that the characters went to high school, but danced at posh exclusive night clubs and bought and developed property.  So, how old are they supposed to be again??? ;)

Trading Post / Mile High Comics Sale
« on: June 22, 2009, 08:14:56 PM »
Mile High Comics has been having a sale for awhile now on back issues.  I picked a bunch of old Josie And The Pussycats and Reggie And Me issues for a song!  Check it out if you are looking for bargains!

Reviews / Short Archie Free Comic Book Day Review
« on: May 31, 2009, 07:02:15 AM »
I'm confused by Archie Comic's free comic book for Free Comic Book Day 2009.  Who is this targeted at?  Children and tweenagers won't get the Johnny Carson, High Noon, ancient Rome/Egypt, and other references, while adults will find all of the jokes to be old and stale and juvenile and fitting for a Scholastic Books' "My First Joke Book" edition.  How is this supposed to attract new readers?  I'm glad I got it for free.  I would have hated to have paid money for it, especially at today's comic book prices!

I've posted in the past that when I read certain Archie stories, I tell myself that the characters are older than teenagers.  It's the only way the stories really work without being creepy.  And, actually, some of them are still creepy even when you believe that the characters are in their twenties.  These stories don't reference school, homework, allowances, etc.

And I've posted about stories which quite naturally take the readers minds down sexy, romantic, or provocative paths.  Kids might not really understand what's going on, but others do!

Looking through a couple of old Digests, I found some stories which fit into either, or both, of these categories.   I'll describe them as proof that I'm not making this stuff up.  :)


"Cover Girls" - Betty and Veronica are chosen to be the new models for Sportsman's swimsuit issue.  Veronica is even dubbed the magazine's Swimsuit Queen, though the cover features lifeguard Betty rescuiing a nearly drowned Veronica.  So unless a magazine for males is going crazy over 16 and 17 year-olds, Betty and Veronica are probably supposed to be older in this story.

"Barely Covered" - The humor in this story comes from the fact that first Betty's Mom, and then Archie, think that Betty is sunbathing in the nude out where males can see her.  She's not, of course, but the way her towel is strategically positioned makes Archie's concern credible.  And male readers can be forgiven, I think, for beginning to imagine Betty in the nude.  This is where the creators took the readers!

"The Disorganizer" - Veronica in a bikini gets a flat tire while driving her car.  Males of all ages, including a cop and a businessman, keep gathering, and staying around, to ogle her.  When one suggests that they help her with her car, another replies, "There's a car?"  Unless we want to believe that the men of Riverdale spend their day ogling a teenage girl, Veronica has to be in her twenties.  But wait!  There's more.  A bunch of older women, self-appointed moral guardians have formed an organization, H.I.S.S.S. - Honorale Institute to Stop Sinful Swimsuits - and confront the "hussy," Veronica.  So, Veronics'a swimsuit is considered sinful!  Veronica and the group wind up on TV.  Archie sees the news broadcast and comments, because of her skimpy swimsuit, that Veronica is live and almost in the flesh.  That double-entendre seems pretty obvious to me!!  But Veronica convinces the ladies to work out more and to buy new outfits, and she changes the organization's name to H.I.P.S.S. - Honorable Institute to Preserve Sexy Swimsuits.  So the word "sexy" was actually used in an Archie comic book and Veronica applies it to what she's wearing, or as Archie might say, what she's almost wearing.

Betty And Veronica Digest #178 (November 2007)

Josie stories:

"Three Little Maidens" - A caption over a picture of Melody reads, "You would think a girl who looked like that would REALLY need protection!"  Hmm, what, pray tell, do you think she REALLY needs protection from?  And what sort of protection does she REALLY need?  We then see that males of all ages, including a businessman and an obviously middle-aged man, get into accidents because they can't take their eyes off of Melody.  Several of them have their tongues hanging out.  The caption tells us that Melody doesn't actually need protection because guys can't get their eyes back in their heads after seing her, so they can't approach her.  Again, unless the men of the city can't take their eyes off of a teenage girl, Melody has to be older in this story.  And in the next one as well...

"Beyond The Doors" - Melody, working in a department store, keeps innocently showing off her spectacular legs and striking sexy and seductive poses.  Men of literally all ages flock to her, leaving their wives to do so!  (So much for Archie Comics always providing wholesome entertainment and upholding family values!)  The wives complain to the store owner.  He gives Melody a coffee break.  But all the men follow her to the coffee shop, caring nothing about their wives.  The wives complain again, so the owner takes her off the floor and puts her to work modeling in the store's window.  Sailors, policemen, and all types and ages of men crowd around on the sidewalk to spend the day ogling her.  They even try to buy spots closer to her.  The wives complain again.  Finally, Melody is assigned to a desk in a backroom behind a closed door.

Betty And Veronica Double Digest # 144 (September 2006)

"Fantasy Time" - Veronica's fantasy of being an expert surfer doesn't come true, but, as Betty says, another one of her fantasies did - Veronica was "rescued by a handsome bronzed Apollo."  So, Betty and Veronica obviously share their romantic (and sexual?) fantasies with each other!!  The story ends with Veronica going off hand-in-hand with her heroic lifeguard, whom she hasn't even been introduced to yet, to be alone!!  Should teenagers do this?  Maybe Veronica is in her twenties in this story.  But should anybody do this?  But Betty and Veronica and Midge and Josie and Melody and Samantha, etc., used to routinely go off with amorous males they had just met.  And in the fictional world of Archie Comics, they somehow still were viewed as being "good girls" and presumably kept their "virtue.'  But it was often implied, or even spelled out, that they did some serious kissing and hugging and handholding and cuddling with these guys!

Reviews / Betty & Veronica Spectacular #5 (Oct.1993)
« on: September 12, 2008, 10:02:04 AM »
Now this is what I call a Betty & Veronica comic book!!!  It is "spectacular" indeed!  The cover by Dan DeCarlo and Alison Flood features the girls showing off their 26 year-old supermodel bodies on the beach, and a blurb tells us that this is a "Special Swimsuit Issue!" 

The main story is a two-parter, "Wiener Wars" with stunning art by DeCarlo, Parent, and Flood.  Archie and Betty get a job for Pop Tate selling hotdogs from a cart on the beach.  They aren't having any luck until Archie spills mustard all over Betty's cover-up.  She takes it off, revealing her bikini and her luscious self underrneath.  Of course, all the guys on the beach drool, go ape, have hearts flying around their heads, etc., and line up for food.  Reggie, leering at Betty and wearing an expression of pure male animal lust, says he is suddenly overtaken with hunger.  (That's an understatement, and an example of the type of double-entendres that the Archie Comics used to frequently employ.  I miss them!)  But Veronica enlists his help to get their own cart fronm a gourmet restaurant and compete.  The competition consists of Betty and Veronica trying to outdo each other by wearing stylish, increasingly skimpy bikinis and by striking sexy poses.  Some of Veronica's outfits and poses more than justify my claim that she is the most gorgeous, sexiest female comic book character of all time!!! :smitten:  But girl readers don't need to feel left out of this issue.  Reggie strips down to a skimpy, all most non-existent swimsuit, too, showing off his own spectacular twenty-something male body.  When Veronica finally wears a suit that leaves almost nothing to the imagination, Betty believes that there's only one way to retaliate - go all natural!!!  She begins to undress and the boys go crazy.  but that little tease is wearing an all natural cotton tropical print.   Finally both teams lose out to Jughead and Ethel whose hotdogs actually taste good.
Archie Comics rarely get better than this!!

In the second story,  Betty is sewing the most impossibly small bikini imaginable for the "Miss Sunshine" Contest.  While Veronica gets jealous, all the boys in town are beside themselves waiting for the contest in order to see Betty in that bikini.  Reggie won't even help Veronica scheme because he says that, "...seeing Betty in that suit could be enough to end my life of crime." But it turns out that the contest is for 8-10 year-olds, and Betty was making the suit for her little cousin, Jenny.  Clever and teasing script by Parent and Golliher.

The last story has Betty and Verionica strangely and suddenly becoming tired of being sex objects, even though they enjoyed their status during the rest of the issue!  So they cover up and begin to catcall the boys.  The boys feel demeaned and then they cover up, too.  Betty, Veronica, Archie, and  Reggie go to the beach in sweaters, coats, scarves, and hats.  But they are still noticed because all the girls on the beach believe that Veronica Lodge is startng a new fashion trend.

Even though this issue is from the '90s, it definitely has that old-time Archie feel and magic.  I highly recommend it to you, particularly if you are a heterosexual guy, or if you enjoy "Good Girl Art."  The plots and the dialog are fun, too!

Much has been made about the "topless," "provocative" pictures that were released of Miley Cyrus, age 15.  It doesn't seem right for teenagers to be exploring their sexuality, or to be used as sex objects.  When good ol' Brittney Spears became a millionarie for doing it, people called her a slut, a "pop tart," etc. 

But Betty and Veronica and the rest of the Archie girls routinely cause guys of all ages to droll over them.  They wear suggestive clothing and strike sexy poses.  They go off alone with guys they hardly know.  They cheat on their boyfriends.  And is there an encyclopedia somewhere of all the guys they have made out with in some way over the years?  The kind of situations I'm writing about happened a lot in the good old days (i.e. in the comic books I grew up with), but also happen now.  Yet the belief persisits that Betty is a sweet, wholesome teen, and that Ronnie has a heart of gold deep inside, and that Midge is cute, etc.  And that all the Archie girls are virgins.  Heck, I even believe these things!

My question is, "Why aren't we appalled at B & V and company the way many are, and were, appalled by Brooke, Lindsey, Brittney, Miley, Hillary (Duff, not Clinton), etc.?"

I think it's because we all know at some level deep inside ourselves that the Archie characters exist in their own universe where actions have no long term, and sometimes not any, consequences.  It's a totally fictional place where slapstick violence occurs, and girls are sex objects while maintaining their total innocense,  where charcters can just about get away with murder, where kids can experiment with sex and no one gets pregnant or raped - or even loses their virginity.  This is one reason why stories about Moose having dyslexia, Reggie going green, the gang being role models, teens dealing with divorce, etc., always strike me as being strange and out of place.  Those kind of stories just don't belong in a universe where Betty lands a job in a commercial because of her sex appeal, makes out with a handsome adman/actor who has got to be in his mid to late twenties at least, becomes world famous portraying a young housewife - men want her, woman want to be her - and appears on billboards in a skimpy bikini.  (I've just described a story in an old Archie I got at Chirstmas.)  If the Archie characters lived in a universe approximating our own, why aren't people accusing the men of the ad agency of being pedophiles?  Why wasn't the actor arrested?  Why didn't Betty realize she was being exploited?  And why did Mr. Lodge, the head of the agency, approve of the exploitation?  (Hmm, how about that one!  The father of Betty's best friend sees her as a sex object!!!)  And why, oh why, do the rest of the stories in the issue, and indeed in all the other Archie comic books, treat this story as if it never happened.  Nobody ever wonders what happened to Betty's money or why she isn't famous any more.  Nobody recognizes her from the bikini shots.

I think, too, that, yes the characters are supposed to be teens in high school, but that they are in a high school in a different kind of universe - one where the boys can openly drool over a new student teacher and where Dilton can create artificial intelligence.  And I think in many Archie stories over the years, the writers and artists didn't treat the charcters as teens, but as independent 20-something attractuive young adults. In fact the only way some stories can work, without totally creeping you out if you think about them, is if the charcters are in their 20s.

I also think that the members of the Archie gang work best when they are treated as if they were - guess what- humorous cartoon, comic strip, and comic book characters!  They don't have to inhabit reality or suffer any consequences for what they do.  They don't even have to live in a world that has any kind of strict story-to-story continuity.  They just have to intrigue and entertain us and make us laugh.  And just as we don't need an episode where SpongeBob discovers Ritalin, or Wile E. Coyote becomes a vegetarian, or Pepe Le Pew is sued for sexual harrassment, so we don't need stories about Archie characters dealing with their parents' divorces or learning valuable life lessons.

Another option would be for the Archie company to do a "Crisis Of Infinite Archies" type of thing where we find out that there's an Archie Earth - 1, where all the realistic stories take place, an Archie Earth - 2, which combines realistic and outrageous elements,  an Archie Earth - 3, where the characters met in high school when new girl Veronica showed up, an  Archie Earth - 4, where slapstick violence and sexy situations reign supreme, an Archie Earth - 5, where the characters all were in grade school together, an Archie Earth 6 -where Arch, Jughead, Betty, and Reggie were superheroes and, in Reggie's case, a supervillain, an Archie Earth -7, where the characters live in the stone age, an Archie Earth - 8, where they are in all in high school, an Archie Earth - 9, where Archie is The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E., an Archie Earth - 10, where the characters are in their twenties, etc.  Fans can debate which stories take place on which Archie Earths. And the company can the have all the Earths collapse into one.  ;)

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and opinions.  I know you may disagree.  Thanks for listening!

Trading Post / More Desperate Than Ever To Find This Story!!
« on: November 03, 2007, 05:36:03 PM »

Below I'll repeat a post I made earlier.  I am now desperate too find this story than ever because I have a publisher interested in my book!!!!  So any help anyone can give me will be appreciated.  And my thanks to those who tried to help in the past!

I know this is probably an impossible quest, but I'm looking for an Archie comics story that I think was published somewhere between the late '60s and the mid '70s and I think it was in a book like Pep, or Pals 'N' Gals, or Laugh - books that didn't feature one particular character in the title. In the story, a movie star that Veronica has a crush on is staying at Lodge mansion for a few days. I think his name was "Brandywine." Anyway, he gets Archie out of the way, getting the redhead to ruin his shoes in wet cement, lends Archie a pair of his own, and sending Arch home. Then the star tells Veronica that they will practice a love scene. Archie runs into Reggie who is spying on Lodge mansion with a pair of binoculars. Reg says he'd give anything to be in the star's shoes. So Archie sells Reggie the pair he is wearing.

Any help discovering what issue that this story was in would be appreciated. If it was ever reprinted anywhere, that information would be helpful, too. Even if anyone could direct me to someone who might know what issue this story was in, it would be helpful. Thanks! I'm looking for this comic book not only as a collector, but also as a writer who is working on a book about the Popeye cartoons made by Famous Studios and who has a website dedicated to them. What's the connection between Archie and Popeye, you might ask? This particular comic book story reminded me of a Famous Studios Popeye cartoon. Also, Veronica was portrayed in this story (as she was in some stories of that period and even of today) as more of a sweet, young, innocent thing, sort of like Betty Boop and the Famous Studios version of Olive Oyl, rather than as a spoiled rich girl.

The art style of the story was what I've always called "The Slightly More Cartoony Style." But I don't think every story in the issue was drawn in that style. It's the style that was often used in the caveman Archie stories. It was used in two stories in the paperback collection of The Best Of The Sixties - "Board Game" from Archie #167, September 1966 and "Lip Service" from Life With Archie #78, 1968.

It was also used in the story "Teaser For Ceasar" in Archie #180 from 1968 and if you have Archie #194, it's the art style of the figures running above the title on the cover. It was a style that was used in some stories into the 70s. I think it died out in the late '70s, but i could be wrong.

I seem to remember reading this story while I was in college. I was waiting for a friend in a car and the issue was in the car. I was in college from September 1973 to May 1977. And I think the incident occurred somewhere between September 1973 and May 1975. But, of course, the issue could have been cover dated before or after this. In fact, it could have been a much older issue as well that someone had kept around. I seem to remember that Ronnie was in short shorts and a halter top and Archie was in shorts as well. I remember the movie star looking sort of like a Reggie with slightly longer hair wearing sunglasses. But again, I could be wrong.

I have Archie #180, #194, #203, #213. And Archie's Pals 'N' Gals #80 - #116and Laugh #188, # 210, #223, #271 - #284, #286 - #302, and #305 - #308 and Laugh Digests #36, #46, #49, so I know the story isn't in any of these issues. I seem to remember it was in a title like Laugh, Pals 'N' Gals, Life With Archie, or Pep, and not in Jughead or B & V, Betty And Me, Reggie And Me, or Archie. Laugh or Pals 'N' Gals would be my best guesses. But, unfortunately, I could be wrong.

Any help is DEEPLY appreciated! Thanks again!

All About Archie / Veronica As The Classic "Unattainable Women"
« on: September 05, 2007, 03:40:02 PM »
To me, Veronica is an "Unattainable Woman," a character that appears in fiction and has appeared in some of our real lives as well. See if she doesn't sound familiar to you.

To Archie, she's the gorgeous, popular, out-of-his-league girl who, for some reason likes to hang out with him and sometimes even calls him her boyfriend and necks with him. Yet she won't totally decide on only him as a steady beau and dumps him readily enough when someone more attractive to her comes along. She accepts dates and proposals of every kind from other guys without giving Archie a second thought. Yet she'll call on him when she needs something, or is lonely, or thinks he is falling for someone else. And he will dutifully answer the call.  But Archie can never completely and finally win her.  He will just keep being strung along forever.

To Reggie, she's the girl of his dreams who for some unfathomable reason
still wants another guy to stay in the picture. And though she gets
real turned on by Reg and the two of them seem totally compatible, she'll still accept dates with Archie. Reggie can never seem to be the only guy in her life.

And both Reg and Archie know that if they can't woo Veronica in the manner to which she is accustomed and/or if a better looking, more exciting, richer, or more famous guy comes along, she's gone with the wind.

All About Archie / The Age Of Betty And Veronica
« on: May 29, 2007, 07:58:42 AM »
Okay, we all know that the Archie characters are supposed to be teenagers in high school.  BUT...

In order for some stories to work, I have to pretend that they are older.  For example, through the decades, I have seen stories where males of all sizes and ages check Betty and Veronica and Melody and Midge, etc., out and/or go crazy over them and/or pursue them.  Unless the Archie universe is full of perverts, for those stories to work, I have to tell myself that the girls are  24 -26 years old.  Otherwise we end up with uncomfortable situations like the one in the Mad magazine parody of Archie where Mr. Weatherby chases Betty and Veronica around his office and says he can't help himself because they are drawn so darned cute!  :o

Then there are those stories where Betty and Veronica meet total strangers and go off with them almost immediately, or where the gang can stay out as late as they want to and do whatever they want to, and go wherever they want to, even seeminly across the country, without ever once checking in with parents or having any sort of restrictions or warnings laid on them.  They behave like young adults, not like teens at all.

To complicate matters, the girls don't look like teenagers.  As someone pointed out in another post, the Archie universe is populated by supermodels.  And I have seen some examples of Archie artists drawing women, not teens, for cartoons in other publications, and the young, sexy women look very much like Betty and Veronica and Melody and Midge, etc.  And while growing up, I used to read my sister's copies of MMMMillie The Model from Marvel.  At one point, the comic book switched over to an art style that was more like the style of Archie comics.  Suddenly Millie and Chili and their model friends looked like they stepped out of Archie's world.  But they were single, independent, young women who were in their twenties.  They weren't teenagers, but they were drawn the same way the supposed teenage beauties of Archie comics were!

I have stated in other posts that I'm a fan of the romance-oriented stories in Archie comic books.  In many of my favorite stories of this type, the girls don't have to be teenagers in high school at all, in fact the stories work better if they aren't.  In the stories, the characters don't act like teens and there is no mention of school, parents, home work, etc.

When I was in college, my friends and I would sometimes check out Archie comic books for the humor, but mostly for the Good Girl Art.  And we didn't feel we were being perverted or reverting to childhood when we did it.

To sum up, I think that in some stories and/or scenes and/or panels and/or joke strips, the girls in the Archie universe are "spiritually" in their twenties.  What I mean by this is that, in order for the reader to enter into the spirit of the story, the girls have to be older than high schoolers.  (At least I have to look at them this way.  But maybe that's just me.)

And I don't mean this as a criticism at all.  It's part of what makes Archie comics work for adults as well as for children. 

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