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Some questions about Adam Hughes' BETTY & VERONICA

Started by DeCarlo Rules, November 13, 2016, 12:47:16 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

DeCarlo Rules

Before I ask the questions, let me preface this by stating that some (if not most) of these questions may seem strange to some of you. So let me set this up by explaining why I think I need to ask them. I've read the first 2 issues of the New Riverdale BETTY & VERONICA (once only) but I don't own them so I don't have them to refer to. I've also read every issue of the New Riverdale JUGHEAD, but apart from #9 & 10, I don't own any of the first 8 issues. I've read the first two issues of ARCHIE, but don't own those either, and haven't even read issues #3-12 (or whatever number they're up to now).

I don't recall reading anything in those JUGHEAD issues that would seem relevant to background knowledge that a reader of BETTY & VERONICA would be expected to have prior to reading the story, but I'm not sure if that's true of the New Riverdale ARCHIE title. Ideally, a reader of B&V would not require any background knowledge prior to reading the story, but I realize comic books are now written in such a way that sometimes the reader of a new title is presumed to have also read previous titles published by the same company, and supposedly taking place within the same universe.

Now, it also occurs to me that since the New Riverdale comics are all part of a REBOOTED Archie universe, no information applicable to the publisher's previous incarnations of the characters should be presumed, either. Therefore any background information that the reader of BETTY & VERONICA can be presumed to bring with them before reading the story should go back no further in the publishing history than ARCHIE (2015) #1. I mean, isn't that the point, to get new readers to read the New Riverdale comics, and not assume that the readers had also read Archie Comics published prior to  ARCHIE #1? Clearly there are many specific aspects of the Archie characters in the New Riverdale comics that differ from their Classic incarnations, so they shouldn't be asking any readers to fill in any missing background information about the characters appearing in New Riverdale based on the pre-rebooted characters' incarnations.

So these questions I have are by way of determining whether background information necessary to the story in B&V #1-2 is simply not given in the story, or whether that information was stated or depicted in the stories in ARCHIE, and the publisher (and writer) has simply presumed that all of the readers of BETTY & VERONICA would have read those comics already. Also by way of determining whether the reason it doesn't seem like a real story to me (because there's too much background information missing for me to make much sense of it) is because in order to really understand what's going on in this story, I would need to understand things that happened in ARCHIE.



1. Are Betty and Veronica best friends? Are they friends at all? (Because it sure doesn't seem like it.) I know Veronica only moved to Riverdale recently in the new ARCHIE series, so where & how did they become friends (if indeed they are, sure doesn't seem like it)? If they're not friends, then how does a BETTY VS. VERONICA story even matter?




2. Is Mr. Lodge an evil greedy 1%er who doesn't care about anybody but himself/money/his family (maybe?)




3. Betty tried to explain why she's trying to save Pop's in the first issue, but what does Veronica get out of making sure Pop Tate is driven out of business? Another successful gourmet coffee franchise in Riverdale doesn't make a difference in her lifestyle one way or another, because she's too rich already for a few more $$$ in profit to change anything for her, right? She doesn't have to do a thing to help Pop Tate, but she doesn't have to go out of her way to annihilate him either, unless she's just doing it to crush Betty's hopes. And why do you think she'd want to do that, if that's what she's doing? She could just stand back, do absolutely nothing, and let the chips fall where they may.





4. Who do you think we're supposed to be rooting for in this story? And why does it matter? Places go out of business all the time, get bought up or change ownership, etc. You see it all the time, if you even notice it. Why would it be a good thing if Betty/Pop's wins, or why would it be a good thing if Veronica/coffee wins? The reason I ask is that if it doesn't matter to the reader which one wins, Betty/Pop's or Veronica/Lodge coffee franchise, then what do you think the story IS about?





5. This one's tough, and you won't find the answers in any of those other comic books, so you'll just have to put on your thinking cap. There's no right answer or wrong answer.
IF it does matter somehow, then WHY does it matter? What does Pop's symbolize or stand for? What does Lodgebucks Coffee (or whateverthehell the franchise is called) represent, and how do the values, ideas/ideals or philosophies that those two different companies embody have anything to say about anything? Are Pop Tate's and Lodgebucks Coffee metaphors for something else?




************************************************************************************************************************
I have some ideas of my own about Question #5, but I'm wondering if anybody thinks about these stories or what they're about, or just reads them in 10-15 minutes and puts them away in a bag and/or box and forgets about them.

BettyReggie

#1
Those are some good thoughts about B & V #1 & 2. It was strange that when Veronica called her father to complain that she was almost ran over by a truck & she wanted her father put his money where his mouth is & can buy the company so he take control. When Veronica hung up the phone, her face looked like he told her he already owned them. Wouldn't she know that? And I wonder if Veronica & her father run Pop out of  business, will Veronica have any friends at all in the end? Jughead hates Veronica, Midge & Moose are not too friendly with her either. Even Dilton & Ethel were never friends with her either. I think this back fire in Veronica's face & she will have no friends. Pop will out of luck & money, what will happen to him. He's old, what's he going do?

SAGG

I think (think, now) that the writers are trying to strengthen the flimsy friendship of Betty and Ronica by having them go through this. Perhaps, though, they should have chosen a stronger subject. As for Pop's Shoppe fate? Please. It's Pop's.  :D  It's an institution in Riverdale. I predict it's not going anywhere. Hm. I think I may just have figured out what's going to happen: How about a combination of the two ideas? Pop's Coffee Shop? It would appease both girls, and strengthen their friendship...  :)

irishmoxie

#3
I think it was a mistake to have Adam Hughes as writer. I wish they had chosen a female writer and made the comic girlie. The colors are a bit muted but I think that's because he's so obsessed with fall in the issue and the colors were chosen to match that theme. I love dogs but I'm not getting the humor having Hot Dog narrate. It's just creepy.


I've read each issue once. I put it away in its plastic coffin and don't think about it too much. I think B&V are better friends in the B&V and Jughead series as opposed to the Archie series were they seem like sworn enemies. Mr. Lodge comes across as more evil in the Archie series.


Metaphors: Pop's represents Classic Archie and StarLodge the new Riverdale.


As for Veronica campaigning for the big chain...rich people do things because they can. She wants to show her power.


My favorite ACP series right now: Josie (except the 1st issue was way better than the 2nd) and surprisingly Jughead. I hope they keep Sabrina in the series or better yet give her her own series. I also liked Cheryl in the Archie series.

DeCarlo Rules

#4
Quote from: irishmoxie on November 14, 2016, 01:59:20 AM
Metaphors: Pop's represents Classic Archie and StarLodge the new Riverdale.

I didn't want to plant any suggestions in anyone's mind, but Betty's little speech in issue #1 about why saving Pop's mattered to her made me think the same thing.

HOWEVER, if this is indeed a metaphor and the comic is alluding to some meta statement, the message is very confusing.

If Pop's symbolizes tradition, the sort of fundamental things we hope will never change and always be with us, a comforting place that's always there for us to return to, and remains steadfast from generation to generation... and StarLodge Coffee symbolizes the New Thing, the thing of the moment, moving with changing times, what's currently popular with the mainstream of culture, and the franchising of a brand for the primary purpose of increasing profits, then what message is being sent in the story, if Betty & Pop's seems to be cast in the role of "the good guys" and Veronica and StarLodge Coffee seems to be cast in the role of "the bad guys"? Doesn't that make it seem like the comic is casting the New Riverdale reboot in the role of the villain here, versus "Good Ol' Classic Archie"? If it is a meta statement, then the statement seems to be "I am the bad thing that you should resist with all your might." Or are they foreshadowing an unexpected outcome, where Veronica is triumphant, StarLodge Coffee winds up sweeping Pop's into the dustbin of history, and the message is "Everything changes. You can't fight progress."


DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: BettyReggie on November 13, 2016, 03:40:22 PM
Those are some good thoughts about B & V #1 & 2. It was strange that when Veronica called her father to complain that she was almost ran over by a truck & she wanted her father put his money where his mouth is & can buy the company so he take control. When Veronica hung up the phone, her face looked like he told her he already owned them. Wouldn't she know that? And I wonder if Veronica & her father run Pop out of  business, will Veronica have any friends at all in the end? Jughead hates Veronica, Midge & Moose are not too friendly with her either. Even Dilton & Ethel were never friends with her either. I think this back fire in Veronica's face & she will have no friends. Pop will out of luck & money, what will happen to him. He's old, what's he going do?

Yes, the only thing that Veronica's campaign seems to be doing is making enemies for her. If she wins, her father becomes a LITTLE bit richer, but how does that improve Veronica's life by much, if she has no friend left?

You bring up an interesting point about it never being positively established that Mr. Lodge did indeed take control of the coffee franchise, and maybe you have guessed the key to the story's ending here.

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: SAGG on November 13, 2016, 04:15:48 PM
I think (think, now) that the writers are trying to strengthen the flimsy friendship of Betty and Ronica by having them go through this. Perhaps, though, they should have chosen a stronger subject. As for Pop's Shoppe fate? Please. It's Pop's.  :D  It's an institution in Riverdale. I predict it's not going anywhere. Hm. I think I may just have figured out what's going to happen: How about a combination of the two ideas? Pop's Coffee Shop? It would appease both girls, and strengthen their friendship...  :)

Applying the theory that Pop's is a metaphor for Classic Archie, and StarLodge is a metaphor for New Riverdale, a more accurately representational compromise outcome would be for Pop's to be preserved as sort of a museum, with varnished plates of food from the menu and unchanging wax figures of its former patrons preserved as relics of a fondly-remembered, but now bygone past, open to the public so long as misty nostalgia still generates a small profit stream, but irrelevant to the modern world. That would serve as a metaphor for the reprint digests, sequestered off in a corner and maintained but no longer part of the mainstream culture.

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: irishmoxie on November 14, 2016, 01:59:20 AM
I think it was a mistake to have Adam Hughes as writer. I wish they had chosen a female writer and made the comic girlie.
[ . . . ]
My favorite ACP series right now: Josie (except the 1st issue was way better than the 2nd) and surprisingly Jughead. I hope they keep Sabrina in the series or better yet give her her own series. I also liked Cheryl in the Archie series.

It probably won't surprise you that I don't like the idea of ACP becoming a "No Boys Allowed" niche-marketing comic book publisher servicing only the female demographic of comic readers. Obviously from my own perspective as a male comic book reader, but while it's true that this has been an increasing trend at the Big Two publishers, Marvel and DC, in the last few years, it makes financial sense for those companies only with respect to the fact that they both publish a dozen or two titles every week. Therefore if they convert a half-dozen of their comics to "girlie titles", it's merely redressing a balance considering that the vast majority of their comics are aimed at or appeal mainly to males. And relatively speaking, it's a burgeoning demographic, with an influx of female readers having recently come into the marketplace due to the influence of movie adaptations, video games, cosplaying, and the increased visibility of comic conventions. ACP only publishes a scant few comics, however, so even if they were to exploit the female comic-reading demographic to its fullest, they are limiting the appeal of the characters, which (in Classic Archie comics) was traditionally always universal between the sexes.

Or are you saying it may be okay for books like ARCHIE and JUGHEAD to be written to appeal to a male audience, but if it's a female lead character tile like B&V, JOSIE, or SABRINA, then those titles should be written exclusively by females, and for females? I have nothing against female writers as long as I consider them good writers, and they are putting something in their stories for everybody.

So let me ask you how classic Archie Comics female writers like Kathleen Webb, Barbara Slate, Holly Golightly, and Tania del Rio rank on your personal "girlieness" scale. Of the four I mentioned, I haven't read an extensive number of stories by Barbara Slate or Tania del Rio, but in my view Kathleen Webb and Holly G's stories seem pretty girlie to me (but I guess I could be wrong about that), yet still maintain a universality of appeal. I have to say I don't consider Marguerite Bennet to be a very good writer. Her internal story logic seems weak, and the scripts are overladen with burdensome, tangential dialogue that seems almost stream-of-consciousness at some points. The dialogue doesn't ring true to me as something you'd actually hear in people's conversations with each other.

steveinthecity

#8
I really thought this would be an interesting(and active) thread topic, particularly to the "classic" readers that are now checking out the reboot, or the reboot readers exclusively (that apparently don't check out this forum  ???  ).


I finally read B&V #2 a few days ago, and I'll re-read #1&2 again with a more discerning eye.  Adam Hughes art doesn't seem a big plus here btw.
Comics!

DeCarlo Rules

#9
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 04:42:57 AM
Adam Hughes art doesn't seem a big plus here btw.

I'm not sure in what sense you mean that, but after the long wait since the B&V reboot was first hyped, Hughes can't bedazzle the way he did years ago. It's still good art relative to the median of the industry in the broader sense, but it's not ranking high relative to Hughes' own oeuvre. The coloring here certainly doesn't help much.

Furthermore, the announcement of his being contracted by ACP led towards speculation that this might be a somewhat more controversial choice on ACP's part, and that it might in essence be a swinging of the pendulum back towards the sexier sort of Dan DeCarlo girl-humor art not seen in a couple of decades or more. Looked at from that perspective, Hughes' work on B&V has got to seem like a dud, like it's far too self-restrained (or editorially restrained). I don't think Hughes is really the sort of artist for the quieter, slowly-paced story, unless he can throw in some glamour shots every few pages.  It seems that ACP spent a lot of money for his name value, but isn't willing to risk potentially alienating some of its female readers by exploiting the 'good girl art' talents that Hughes is most renowned for. I mean... there's a small scene in #2 where Veronica stages a Bikini Car Wash, and you'd barely even know it's in there. If someone had just told you (assuming you're familiar with his prior work) that scene was in an Adam Hughes BETTY & VERONICA comic book, you'd imagine it would be a big deal... but nothing of the kind.

Lastly, there's the Achilles' heel of  the journeyman-writer/accomplished-artist... the tendency of the artist (as a primarily visual thinker) to focus so much on thinking about the visuals of WHAT he'd like to draw in the story (like, for instance... a big shaggy dog), that in effect the plot meanders around being led by the nose from one scene that he really wanted to draw to the next one.

And now that you mention it, when things get quiet enough around here that I'm forced to talk about the reboot hoping to stir up some interest,  but still get precious few takers, maybe this forum is stumbling towards the graveyard.

I can talk about Donald Trump or bath soap (the two threads recently attracting the most members) with the people at work... assuming that I wanted to (not much).

steveinthecity

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 19, 2016, 12:13:52 PM
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 04:42:57 AM
Adam Hughes art doesn't seem a big plus here btw.

I'm not sure in what sense you mean that, but after the long wait since the B&V reboot was first hyped, Hughes can't bedazzle the way he did years ago. It's still good art relative to the median of the industry in the broader sense, but it's not ranking high relative to Hughes' own oeuvre. The coloring here certainly doesn't help much.
What you stated was pretty much what I meant.  :) I don't collect posters, so as I offered in SAGG's now defunct thread of whether Art or Story is more important to a comic, I'm leaning towards story in this instance.  I like that Hughes makes Ethel somewhat homely and that Hot Dog smokes, but beyond that, the art does nothing  for me.  Not a plus by my measure. Being "median" doesn't resonate with me here.


Comics!

irishmoxie

#11
I'd much rather talk about Betty and Veronica than Donald Trump. I come here to get away from all that stuff.


It would be fine with me if Adam Hughes went more sexy with B&V. I just want the writing to improve. Make it more zippy and funny like Cameron is doing on the Josie title.

steveinthecity

Quote from: irishmoxie on November 19, 2016, 07:38:38 PM
I'd much rather talk about Betty and Veronica than Donald Trump. I come here to get away from all that stuff.


It would be fine with me if Adam Hughes went more sexy with B&V. I just want the writing to improve. Make it more zippy and funny like Cameron is doing on the Josie title.
I realize my political diatribe was pretty over the top.  I'll back off from that stuff going forward.
Comics!

DeCarlo Rules

#13
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 07:28:49 PM
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 19, 2016, 12:13:52 PM
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 04:42:57 AM
Adam Hughes art doesn't seem a big plus here btw.

I'm not sure in what sense you mean that, but after the long wait since the B&V reboot was first hyped, Hughes can't bedazzle the way he did years ago. It's still good art relative to the median of the industry in the broader sense, but it's not ranking high relative to Hughes' own oeuvre. The coloring here certainly doesn't help much.
What you stated was pretty much what I meant.  :) I don't collect posters, so as I offered in SAGG's now defunct thread of whether Art or Story is more important to a comic, I'm leaning towards story in this instance.  I like that Hughes makes Ethel somewhat homely and that Hot Dog smokes, but beyond that, the art does nothing  for me.  Not a plus by my measure. Being "median" doesn't resonate with me here.

I don't think it's median. I said it's good relative to the median for the industry. I think the artwork in ARCHIE is median or below median; none of the artists who've drawn that book have impressed me in the slightest. The artwork in B&V is above that, but it's not good art compared to Adam Hughes' other work. It's only "not good" relative to my high level of expectations for a B&V comic book drawn by Adam Hughes.

When you consider what he could be getting paid for his art by other publishers, he's got to be the biggest financial drain on ACP's resources of any of the artists working on the New Riverdale titles so far, who are all relative newcomers to the industry compared to Hughes, and IMO the costs to the company aren't worth the results. I think the relative sales on the B&V title bear that out as well.

steveinthecity

Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 19, 2016, 08:22:27 PM
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 07:28:49 PM
Quote from: DeCarlo Rules on November 19, 2016, 12:13:52 PM
Quote from: steveinthecity on November 19, 2016, 04:42:57 AM
Adam Hughes art doesn't seem a big plus here btw.

I'm not sure in what sense you mean that, but after the long wait since the B&V reboot was first hyped, Hughes can't bedazzle the way he did years ago. It's still good art relative to the median of the industry in the broader sense, but it's not ranking high relative to Hughes' own oeuvre. The coloring here certainly doesn't help much.
What you stated was pretty much what I meant.  :) I don't collect posters, so as I offered in SAGG's now defunct thread of whether Art or Story is more important to a comic, I'm leaning towards story in this instance.  I like that Hughes makes Ethel somewhat homely and that Hot Dog smokes, but beyond that, the art does nothing  for me.  Not a plus by my measure. Being "median" doesn't resonate with me here.

I don't think it's median. I said it's good relative to the median for the industry. I think the artwork in ARCHIE is median or below median; none of the artists who've drawn that book have impressed me in the slightest. The artwork in B&V is above that, but it's not good art compared to Adam Hughes' other work. It's only "not good" relative to my high level of expectations for a B&V comic book drawn by Adam Hughes.

When you consider what he could be getting paid for his art by other publishers, he's got to be the biggest financial drain on ACP's resources of any of the artists working on the New Riverdale titles so far, who are all relative newcomers to the industry compared to Hughes, and IMO the costs to the company aren't worth the results. I think the relative sales on the B&V title bear that out as well.
I understood what you were saying.  I was probably to opaque in my reply, but regardless of such a small pool of artists being considered, I just don't care where Hughes ranks.  I don't care about the art, but the story.  The story is the tipping point for me. I don't understand the story as a long time reader, and equally I don't understand why a New reader would be interested in this. Too many questions as your original post puts forth, which is why I want to re-read both issues back to back.



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