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Everything Archie => Reviews => Topic started by: DeCarlo Rules on October 06, 2016, 03:01:24 PM

Title: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 06, 2016, 03:01:24 PM
This has to be one of the best weeks for Archie (and "Archie-related") comics that I've had in a long, long time. What are the odds that ACP and Dynamite would both release a new floppy print comic book featuring the artwork of Gisele Lagace on the same Wednesday? Of course I'm talking about ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES and BETTY BOOP #1 (from Dynamite Entertainment).

On top of that, my two favorite ACP digests both came out this week, and I got both my subscription copies in the mail this week (both un-ding'ed and un-dented by the USPS, what are the odds?), BETTY AND VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #247 on Tuesday, and B&V FRIENDS HALLOWEEN ANNUAL #251 on Thursday. Both of them came out in comic stores on Wednesday, so -- hopefully without jinxing things here, maybe they're actually starting to get it together down in the mail room at ACP subscription HQ.

And if those weren't enough, by pure chance (I wasn't even looking, just happened to find them by accident), I managed to find 11 issues (none of which I had) of the 1997 SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH comic book series in Fine/Very Fine condition (and a single BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR, issue #30 -- which just happened to feature a long Prom story with Cheryl Blossom in it). What did I pay for those? Would you believe cover price?? Which, by 1997/1998's economy, amounts to $1.75 each!

Wow, the only way this could have been a better teen-humor week was if the floppy comic version of Die Kitty Die and/or a new print edition of Super 'Suckers had come out.

So, while I still have a few days to go before I finish reading all of those, I just wanted to briefly mention what a delight it was, just paging through that latest B&V FRIENDS HALLOWEEN ANNUAL. Quick breakdown here; there are about 10 Halloween-themed stories or features included in this Annual (which amounts to 73 pages, if you really want to know). As you might expect, B&V stories predominate in this issue, with 15 of those stories or features, totaling 85 pages (notable as a stand-out is the 2-part, 11-page "How Much Is That Hunk In The Window?", with Cheryl and Jason Blossom). Next in volume come 5 Betty stories adding up to 34 pages (and including an 11-page "Betty Cooper, Super Sleuther" saga, with Betty doing her best to make Nancy Drew look like a dummy). Next, tied in page count, are 3 Josie stories or features (one 1-pager and a pin-up, and one long 14-page Dick Malmgren/Dan DeCarlo classic), and -- surprise!! -- FIVE Ethel stories. Both Josie and Ethel get 16 pages each (although Ethel's stories are spread out throughout the Annual). Next are 2 Sabrina stories and a puzzle page (one Stan Goldberg story, one Dan Parent story -- late '80s/early '90s, respectively) -- 11 pages, and 2 Veronica stories (two 5-pagers plus a "monster" pin-up, also 11 pages total). Mr. Lodge gets one page (2 half-page gag strips) to himself.

Dan Parent kicks off the Annual with the new story "The Costume Calamity!", and it's another in what seems to be a recent string of new DP stories that features topical fads. A few months ago, he did a story poking fun at the hoverboard fad (which I'd never heard of, and had to have Dan explain it to me when I saw him at Boston Comic Con - the story had just come out the week before); to me, when someone says "hoverboard", I'm thinking like those skateboards that really hovered without wheels, like Marty McFly in Back To The Future, not this thing he drew into the story which looks like the bastard offspring of the Segway. Anyway, he followed up in Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics #247 with a story where Mr. Lodge gets into the "adult coloring book" craze http://www.cbr.com/betty-veronica-jumbo-comics-digest-247/ (http://www.cbr.com/betty-veronica-jumbo-comics-digest-247/), and in this Annual, he's got Betty costumed as "Ilsa, from the animated movie Chilled" (i.e. Elsa from Frozen) -- so Veronica, afraid of being shown up by what she admits to herself are "Betty's superior sewing skills, creativity, and resourcefulness" -- and on a side note, I was just thinking that was so blatantly honest of her to admit, that I thought I was reading a Kathleen Webb story for a second -- has the brilliant idea to go to the Halloween costume contest dressed in a cardboard box. But in keeping with Dan's trending to topical fads, it's a cardboard box painted to look like one of those highly-rasterized sprites from the game app Minefield. She not only looks like an idiot, but the fact that she can't foresee the obvious practical problems that her rectangular solid shape will cause is "comedy gold", as they say.

There's another Dan Parent feature (I hesitate to call it a story, as such...) It's a series of 21 'photos' from Betty & Veronica's childhood Halloweens together, loosely strung together by some bridging text narration, and entitled "Betty and Veronica's Halloween Memories". These 5 pages are all in full-bleed (runs to the edge of the page cut), full-process (gradient) color. I think DP just did what I'd considered impossible -- he got me to read a cleverly-disguised "LITTLE Betty & Veronica" story, and even more than that, to actually enjoy it. Somehow I just never felt these characters were "cute", as drawn by Bob Bolling or Dexter Taylor... but Dan Parent actually does make B&V cute as little girls. I suspect this feature came from one of the later, "magazine"-style B&V SPECTACULARS, and ditto for the (also full-process color) 2-page "B&V Halloween Style" fashion spread. The Annual also includes that now-classic 12-page B&V Halloween tale, Dan's "An Axe To Grind!" that features Veronica's truck-drivin' Aunt Gladys.

I will get to more of the above comics in some reviews later on in this thread.

Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on October 08, 2016, 05:00:35 PM
I didn't know Holly G! drew Betty and Veronica too (in addition to Cheryl and Sabrina). I wonder where her story "Where's the Werewolf?" is from.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 09, 2016, 12:26:18 AM
I didn't know Holly G! drew Betty and Veronica too (in addition to Cheryl and Sabrina). I wonder where her story "Where's the Werewolf?" is from.

And for a short while, she took over Josie and the Pussycats in Archie & Friends, when it was the cover feature. Holly even had a few stories in Sabrina the Animated Series.

When she was first starting out at ACP, like most new artists, she drew a variety of different stories in various comics -- a few Archie stories, a few Jughead stories, a few Betty stories, a few B&V stories. In fact, isn't one of the two Veronica stories in B&V Halloween Annual #251 also a Holly G. story? I don't have the digest right here in front of me to check. A number of those 'one-off' stories may have been original to the digests -- the earliest story of hers that I could find is in Laugh Comics Digest #145, Nov. 1998 ("Lightning Strikes"). If you see Nelson Ribeiro's name credited on the story as editor, chances are it's from one of the digest titles (I don't think he ever edited the regular floppy line of titles). Around that time, Ribeiro introduced a lot of new stories into the digest line. (After leaving ACP, Ribeiro moved on to work for Marvel as an editor on its reprint collections line.)

http://www.comics.org/penciller/name/Holly%20Golightly/sort/alpha/ (http://www.comics.org/penciller/name/Holly%20Golightly/sort/alpha/)

And of course, Holly G. wrote and drew "She's Goth To Have It", where Betty goes goth. One of the telltale ID signs of a Holly G. story is the way she drew the girls' eyes in closeup shots, which is a departure from the usual 'Archie house style' eyes as refined by Dan DeCarlo.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv445%2Fpapajoemambo%2FLongBox%2520Playhouse%2520Presents%2FRiverdale_Rep%2FGoth_Betty%2FArchie-ShesGoth2HaveIt-4.jpg&hash=60c0ce9a181ef8c30a4fd542edf3c305)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv445%2Fpapajoemambo%2FLongBox%2520Playhouse%2520Presents%2FRiverdale_Rep%2FGoth_Betty%2FArchie-ShesGoth2HaveIt-5.jpg&hash=ab014c497c0a823eb394bd8ad143f06b)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 09, 2016, 12:48:33 PM
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (1997) #5, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31 - There's a fair amount of continuity to this title (and the subsequent series by Bill Golliher and Holly Golightly) that is pretty unusual for any Archie title. This series started off with a 3-part story (guest-starring Queen Cleopatra of Egypt), in the first three and even after that it seems like especially when they get to issues later in the run, in any given issue there's a 50/50 chance you're going to see a footnote referring you to something that happened in an earlier issue. Like in issue #5, Sabrina wants to get her driver's license, so Aunties Hil and Zel dust off their old 1922 model car (which they bought new) and more or less force Sabrina to drive it (she's mortified) until she can pass the driving test. It looks a bit like Archie's old jalopy (before he traded it in for a classic old Ford Mustang in the 1980s). Then we don't see the car again until issue twenty-something when a situation arises that Sabrina needs it, but when that happens a footnote reminds the reader that her aunts gave her the car back in issue #5. Later, in issue #19, Sabrina decides to take Salem with her back in time to the late 1960s, and when Hilda and Zelda discover this, they must follow Sabrina back to prevent her from causing a temporal paradox. Zelda's green hairstyle won't fit in inconspicuously in the sixties, so she changes it to a conservative brunette medium-length style with a simple hairband. Although the time-tripping adventure wraps up in #19, Zelda's hairstyle continues to be a minor plot point in the following issue, after they've returned to the late 1990s, and again, a footnote appears explaining why Zelda's hairstyle changed in the prior issue. Eventually Zelda settled on blonde hair instead of green, parted in the center in front.

I'd assumed that most of the changes that happened in this series had their roots in the T.V. show, like having Sabrina's aunts de-aged, but while that was probably the motivation, the editor didn't just decide to have Dan DeCarlo draw them to resemble (however vaguely) their television counterparts. In this series, it was explained in issue #1 that they decided to de-age themselves (from how they appeared in classic Sabrina stories). On the other hand, there's no explanation for the change in appearance of Salem -- in the classic series he was an orange cat, and he was an actual cat, not a warlock who'd been turned into a (black and white) cat. Salem is given a last name in this series for the first time, but it's NOT Saberhagen as it was in the series that followed later. I don't have the issue at hand but it was some name beginning with G. In the later series, Salem Saberhagen was punished for using his warlock powers in some crazy attempt to take over the world, by being turned into a cat by the Witches' Council. In this series, Salem was punished by Enchantra for breaking his engagement to marry her, by being turned into a cat. All this is discovered when Cousin Ambrose finds himself in the same situation (engaged to Enchantra, that is). When Cousin Ambrose first appears in this series, he also looks different (without explanation) from the old series. He's slimmed down now, and has a goatee instead of just a mustache, and in general acts and looks younger. He has a tendency to wear black t-shirts with white suits.

Then there is the change in management over in the Other Realm where the witches are the native inhabitants. In the old series it was Head Witch Della, but now in this series it's Head Witch Enchantra, while a certain Della has the task of catering to Enchantra's every whim, as her personal executive assistant. Della now dresses conservatively, like an office lady, and she has her hair done up in a bun and wears big round eyeglasses like Dilton. Yet if you look closely, in some issues you can still see that bolt-shaped streak of white down the middle of her otherwise black hair. I had assumed this was all stuff established on TV, but in searching imdb, I could find no listing of cast members of the show who played any part named "Enchantra" or "Della". Which makes me wonder why they had to change things around in the first place. While the old Della was kind of scary in an arch-authoritarian way, Enchantra's more scary in a fruit-loopy Red Queen 'Off-with-her-head!' kind of way.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on October 09, 2016, 02:24:18 PM
I also liked the Veronica story where she gets abducted by aliens reprinted in the Halloween annual mentioned above. I've read it before probably in a digital exclusive. Comics.org doesn't list in but I think it's probably from the Veronica series in the early 90s.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 20, 2016, 05:47:33 PM
The new Archie Double Digest came in the mail today, and it's already the Christmas issue. It's been unseasonably warm around here the last few days, so it felt weird reading Xmas stories a week and a half before Halloween. Nevertheless, I couldn't resist reading the new lead story, by Tom DeFalco and the Kennedy brothers. I can't recall ever reading a bad Archie story by DeFalco, and this one certainly didn't break that rule. Y'know, some of the shorts (this one was actually SIX pages) are sort of 'lukewarm'... they're okay, but they don't make much of a lasting impression. This was a sweet little Xmas tale involving Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica, and one of the better Xmas shorts, IMO. It put an unusual spin on the usual triangle troubles due to the influence of Forsythe P. Jones, and had a nice little ending.

Were the Kennedy brothers this GOOD three or four years ago? I might be wrong about this, but I don't think so...  They really seem to have come into their own signature style, but at the same time, it's totally classic. I can't think of any other ACP artists that went from average to stellar in such a short time -- if there were an award for the most improved artwork, it should go to the Kennedy brothers. I assume it's an inventory story (but it can't be from too long ago, because there's a reference to "that television show" The Speedster -- obviously they're talking about The Flash, and that hasn't been on TV that long, has it?), but if the Kennedys hadn't been let go, they'd be offering a serious challenge to Dan and Fernando -- I really believe they've gotten that good. I wish they were working on some comics of their own similar to classic Archie, because the comics industry sorely needs artists like them.

I still haven't decided if I'll read the rest of this digest or hold off for a couple of months until it gets close to Xmas. Had a quick flip through the issue, and it definitely seems above average (in terms of the variety of stories and artists, with some good classic artists (from their classic period) like Lucey, DeCarlo, Schwartz, and Goldberg represented. I'll detail the stories included in this issue later when I find the time (even if I decide not to actually read them for six weeks or so).
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: E.Quiet on October 23, 2016, 09:13:11 AM
I’m so late to this party, I only recently found out that Fernando Ruiz was let go from Archie Comics and just found out from DeCarlos Rules’s post above that the Kennedys aren’t drawing for them any more either! I’m so bummed on both counts … is Dan Parent (who I also love) the only ‘classic’ artist left?
Kennedy art took a while but they grew on me. At first I didn’t like the exaggerated poses and over the top facial expressions. Their work in Life with Archie totally won me over. Their work in those books opened my eyes to how the poses enhanced the storytelling as well as comedic value.
I’m enjoying the new look of Archie (so much more than Archie’s “New Look” … sorry but that first B&V story which was supposed to be “more realistic” just came off awkward and unnatural). But I did not expect that they would move completely away from the house style artwork – is that what’s happening now?
Does anyone know what happened to Rex Lindsey? Does he still do work for ACP? My google-fu fails me. I feel so ill informed, just consuming these great comics and not realising what’s going on for the creators.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 23, 2016, 12:14:00 PM
I’m so late to this party, I only recently found out that Fernando Ruiz was let go from Archie Comics and just found out from DeCarlos Rules’s post above that the Kennedys aren’t drawing for them any more either! I’m so bummed on both counts … is Dan Parent (who I also love) the only ‘classic’ artist left?
Kennedy art took a while but they grew on me. At first I didn’t like the exaggerated poses and over the top facial expressions. Their work in Life with Archie totally won me over. Their work in those books opened my eyes to how the poses enhanced the storytelling as well as comedic value.
I’m enjoying the new look of Archie (so much more than Archie’s “New Look” … sorry but that first B&V story which was supposed to be “more realistic” just came off awkward and unnatural). But I did not expect that they would move completely away from the house style artwork – is that what’s happening now?
Does anyone know what happened to Rex Lindsey? Does he still do work for ACP? My google-fu fails me. I feel so ill informed, just consuming these great comics and not realising what’s going on for the creators.

According to Fernando, the no-longer-employed-by-ACP artists like to joke that they are "on hiatus" (a term that ACP prefers to use instead of "cancelled"). No one's been "fired" or "let go", or "laid off"... they just haven't been getting any phone calls or scripts assigned from the editor at Archie Comics (and with the exception of Dan Parent's scripting his own stories, no writing assignments are being handed out to writers, either).

The Last Man Standing is Dan Parent, who continues to draw and/or write new five-page stories for the digest titles, and some new covers, as well. There have been no new comics assignments for ANY of the other classic ACP artists. Fernando Ruiz only found out that there was no new work to be had for him at Archie Comics when he turned in his last completed story at the end of January 2016. Some of the other artists, like Jeff Shultz and Rex Lindsey, hadn't had any new scripts handed to them to draw from the editor at ACP for many months before that, but by January of this year, Bill Galvan wasn't getting any new assignments, and neither were the Kennedy brothers. In fact, I don't know for sure that ANY new stories appeared by Rex Lindsey in 2015, never mind 2016.

Well, there is the occasional fluke like the Archie Meets Ramones special that came out a couple of weeks ago, drawn by Gisele Lagace. But to be fair, it was announced a whole year in advance, which is when she agreed to the assignment. She has to work a little further in advance, because she's got ongoing commitments with her own webcomics, but even so, it was more than six months later that she finally got sent a script to start drawing. They haven't contacted her about any new story assignments since she got the one-shot, either.

So it is... how do they say in Hollywood...?  "We decided to go in another direction."   :(
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 24, 2016, 04:52:22 AM
The new Archie Double Digest came in the mail today, and it's already the Christmas issue.

. . .

Had a quick flip through the issue, and it definitely seems above average (in terms of the variety of stories and artists, with some good classic artists (from their classic period) like Lucey, DeCarlo, Schwartz, and Goldberg represented. I'll detail the stories included in this issue later when I find the time (even if I decide not to actually read them for six weeks or so).

As promised, here is the list of the complete contents of ARCHIE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #273:

ARCHIE in "The Christmas Elf" (6 pages) Script: Tom DeFalco, Pencils: Pat & Tim Kennedy, Inks: Jim Amash
ARCHIE in "Wrapped Up In Christmas" (5 pages) Script: Mike Pellowski, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Rudy Lapick
ARCHIE in "Price Clubbed" (6 pages) Script: Mike Pellowski, Pencils: Randy Elliot, Inks: Bob Smith
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING "Super Santa" (5 pages) Script: George Gladir, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Dan DeCarlo Jr.
ARCHIE in "Christmas Cheer Up!" (5 pages) Script: Mike Pellowski, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Henry Scarpelli
ARCHIE in "The Present" (1 page) no credits
YULE PUZZLE PAGE (1 page)
ARCHIE in "Wrap Flap" (1 page) no credits
SANTA CLAUS MAZE (1 page)
ARCHIE in "Sprightly Spirits" (1 page) no credits
... and thus endeth the Christmas stories, for now. There are a couple more in the back of the digest ...

ARCHIE in "Direction Correction" (1 page) no credits
ARCHIE: FRESHMAN YEAR [Part 3 of 5] (24 pages) Script: Batton Lash, Pencils: Bill Galvan, Inks: Bob Smith
ARCHIE in "Heave Peeve" (1 page) no credits
ARCHIE SWEATER FASHIONS (pin-up)
ARCHIE in "Chop Talk" (1 page) no credits
ARCHIE in "All Washed Up" (6 pages) no credits
ARCHIE in "Growing Pains" (5 pages) Script: Kathleen Webb, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: unknown
ARCHIE in "The Crossing At Devil's Gorge" (6 pages) Script: Frank Doyle, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Jon D'Agostino
ARCHIE in "Role Model" (5 pages) Script: Mike Pellowski, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Henry Scarpelli
ARCHIE in "1-2-3-KICK!" (5 pages) Script: Frank Doyle, Pencils: Dan DeCarlo Jr., Inks: Rudy Lapick
ARCHIE in "Take A Hike!" (5 pages) Script: Mike Pellowski, Pencils: Doug Crane, Inks: Mike Esposito
ARCHIE in "Plaidness Madness" (6 pages) Script: Craig Boldman, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Bob Smith
ARCHIE in "AUTO Suggestion" (5 pages) Script: Frank Doyle, Pencils: Harry Lucey, Inks: Terry Szenics
ARCHIE in "Rocks In His Head" (6 pages) Script: Angelo DeCesare, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Rich Koslowski
ARCHIE in "The Big Stall" (5 pages) Script: George Gladir, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Mike Esposito
ARCHIE in "Homemade Mistake" (5 pages) Script: Frank Doyle, Pencils: Bob Bolling, Inks: Rudy Lapick
ARCHIE in "Shopping Phobia" (5 pages) Script: Kathleen Webb, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Bob Smith
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Believe It Or Not" (6 pages) Script & Pencils: Bob Bolling, Inks: Chic Stone
LITTLE ARCHIE in "The Letter" (4 pages) Dexter Taylor
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Ask Me No Questions" (1 page) Bob Bolling
ARCHIE'S DAD in "Phone Frenzy" (2 pages) Samm Schwartz
ARCHIE in "Good Advice" (1 page) no credits

... and a few more pages of Christmas stories to wrap things up ...
ARCHIE in "Prize Package" (1 page) [Xmas] no credits
ARCHIE in "Picture Frame" (6 pages) [Xmas] Script: Frank Doyle, Pencils: Dan DeCarlo, Inks: Vince DeCarlo
ARCHIE in "Home Style" (5 pages) [Xmas] Script: George Gladir, Pencils: Stan Goldberg, Inks: Rudy Lapick

And now, after typing all those out, I have to retract my earlier assessment that this issue looked to me to be "above average". There are far too many stories in here written by Mike Pellowski, who was a real workhorse in churning out stories for ACP for a decade or two... but whose stories never stood out as anything more than average. The shorts by Doyle/Lucey, Doyle/DeCarlo, a couple of stories by Kathleen Webb, and one by Craig Boldman, and the short Archie's Dad by Samm Schwartz obviously caught my eye on a quick flip through, and I guess I must have been in a charitable mood after reading that new DeFalco/Kennedy story. Apart from these few nuggets, and with far too few seasonal stories, I'm going to amend my former opinion to say that this issue is resoundingly average.  :( Great cover by Dan Parent, though.  :)

Anyway, apart from the new lead story which I already read, I decided to just read all the stories after FRESHMAN YEAR (I usually just skip the continued stories when I already own the trade paperback collection), and read the rest of the digest (apart from the LITTLE ARCHIE stories, which I always skip). Then I'll put this issue aside for a couple of months and come back and read the Christmas stories in the front (which won't take long) a week or two before Christmas. In fact, that sounds like a plan (apart from the new lead stories, which I can always read again at Xmas time) for all the Christmas-themed digest issues which will be coming out.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: E.Quiet on October 24, 2016, 09:02:48 AM

According to Fernando, the no-longer-employed-by-ACP artists like to joke that they are "on hiatus" (a term that ACP prefers to use instead of "cancelled"). No one's been "fired" or "let go", or "laid off"... they just haven't been getting any phone calls or scripts assigned from the editor at Archie Comics (and with the exception of Dan Parent's scripting his own stories, no writing assignments are being handed out to writers, either).

The Last Man Standing is Dan Parent, who continues to draw and/or write new five-page stories for the digest titles, and some new covers, as well. There have been no new comics assignments for ANY of the other classic ACP artists. Fernando Ruiz only found out that there was no new work to be had for him at Archie Comics when he turned in his last completed story at the end of January 2016. Some of the other artists, like Jeff Shultz and Rex Lindsey, hadn't had any new scripts handed to them to draw from the editor at ACP for many months before that, but by January of this year, Bill Galvan wasn't getting any new assignments, and neither were the Kennedy brothers. In fact, I don't know for sure that ANY new stories appeared by Rex Lindsey in 2015, never mind 2016.

Well, there is the occasional fluke like the Archie Meets Ramones special that came out a couple of weeks ago, drawn by Gisele Lagace. But to be fair, it was announced a whole year in advance, which is when she agreed to the assignment. She has to work a little further in advance, because she's got ongoing commitments with her own webcomics, but even so, it was more than six months later that she finally got sent a script to start drawing. They haven't contacted her about any new story assignments since she got the one-shot, either.

So it is... how do they say in Hollywood...?  "We decided to go in another direction."   :(


thank you for your detailed response. It's sad to see the creators being treated like this. Given what happened to DeCarlo I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear this.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 27, 2016, 12:57:59 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513PaqhvvUL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

DIARY OF A GIRL NEXT DOOR: BETTY by Tania del Rio - Not exactly a comic, more of an illustrated novel. It takes place in Betty's freshman year at Riverdale, but not the same "Freshman Year" as Batton Lash's multipart story (the basic idea may possibly have been inspired by Lash's story, because that story became a best-seller for ACP when it was collected as a TPB). For example, in this particular alternate reality of the Archie multiverse, Kevin Keller, Ginger Lopez, and Kumi Tamura are all students at RHS during freshman year, instead of transferring to RHS later. I guess I judge this less harshly in light of the New Riverdale comics than I did before, but I still wish they'd have let Bill Galvan draw the illustrations in his regular Archie style. The illustrations here are more like 'stick-figure' cartoon versions of the regular Archie cartoon style, as if to imply that Betty herself is drawing these pictures into her diary -- but really it's trying to rip off the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books' style of illustration. It doesn't really come off as believable though, because even in 'stick-figure' style these cartoons are too professional-looking to be the work of a 14-year old, so they should have just let Galvan draw the pictures in the regular style he uses for Archie Comics and called them 'photos' that Betty pasted into her diary or something. They probably didn't even need to explain them with any excuse. Too bad they didn't try something like this 20 years earlier, and get Kathleen Webb to write it (and set it during Junior year, like the regular Betty stories) -- it would have been a lot better. As it is, Tania del Rio does an okay job with the concept, but the character just seems less like the 16-year-old Betty than I would have liked, even if she is supposed to be two years younger.

It's a little odd that Veronica isn't in Betty's diary much, given that they're supposed to be best friends, even as freshmen. Oh, she's in it, all right, but mostly comes off pretty badly here, spending most of her time hanging out with a new clique of popular girls that Betty has dubbed "the Glossies", rather than hanging out with Betty -- her few interactions here with Betty invariably cast her in a negative light.

ACP obviously had high hopes for this novel as some kind of breakout hit, and tried to promote it heavily in advertising in the comics, and by serializing six complete chapters in the back pages of B&V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #238 through 244 (skipping issue #241, which was the Christmas issue) -- that's more than half of the book. The people at ACP must have considered this novel to be SO important as a potential new inroad to the lucrative tween-age book market, that they spent quite a bit of time tinkering with the all-important cover design, before finally settling on the actual cover (seen above). Here are some of their preliminary cover designs (personally, I prefer the classic Betty logo, and Bill Galvan's Betty illustration, used on that last cover on the right, to the cover they finally went with - she looks cuter):
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg5a.flixcart.com%2Fimage%2Fbook%2F3%2F7%2F2%2Fdiary-of-a-girl-next-door-betty-400x400-imadgtwj7yzt9dvu.jpeg&hash=8ed8f6888babb0854cb843541d27ca9a)  (https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.ebayimg.com%2Fimages%2Fg%2FRKsAAOSwd0BV0kT%7E%2Fs-l1600.jpg&hash=68bbff47b62dd919e08358a1944e6061)  (https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F2.bp.blogspot.com%2F-siMKN24Tjwk%2FU9DuEuSIxCI%2FAAAAAAAAVq4%2FMkPe6i1lVp0%2Fs1600%2F140858.jpg&hash=cb6c9fd56870543d9b5e6bf19be90319)


Also interesting is the image of this first page of the book that I found online, indicating that the 'stick-figure' style of illustration was not set in stone from the start of the project. It's a real shame they didn't just decide to go this way, and let Galvan illustrate the diary in his normal Archie Comics style:
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcbr1.imgix.net%2Fpreview%2FDiaryOfAGirlNextDoorBetty-1-daaea.jpg%3Fauto%3Dformat%26amp%3Blossless%3D1%26amp%3Bq%3D40%26amp%3Bw%3D700%26amp%3Bh%3D1018%26amp%3Bfit%3Dcrop&hash=0b13b9a408ff3da6352b62e9e1afc9e1)


They even had solicited a companion Diary, to give Veronica's side of the story (see proposed cover below), which might have been interesting if it had covered some of the same events in which Betty wrote about Veronica in her own diary -- but it was not to be. Sales were obviously poor (I picked up the Betty DIARY at a con this past summer for $5, discounted from its $14 cover price), and the proposed DIARY OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCESS: VERONICA (which Tania del Rio probably completed, and thus theoretically exists somewhere at ACP), was never published.
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archiefans.com%2Findex.php%3Fmedia%2Ffile%2Fdiary-of-a-high-school-princess-veronica-not-final.318%2Fpreview%2F&hash=307cf2c21fbd9a794bdea3cc390acdec)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 28, 2016, 04:58:17 AM
THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fthumbs4.picclick.com%2Fd%2Fl400%2Fpict%2F142091694123_%2FThe-Best-of-Archie-Comics.jpg&hash=a0e9a2e017bb933b033864c98d0277e3) VS. (https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg6a.flixcart.com%2Fimage%2Fbook%2F5%2F5%2F2%2Fthe-best-of-archie-comics-book-1-deluxe-edition-400x400-imaeb7tne3bkszng.jpeg&hash=9871f8b4457c322f5275e55f884af1cd)
                      2011 TP Edition                                              2016 HC Edition

Comparison:
Physical dimensions/page size:
2011 TP - 5 1/4" (w) X 7 1/2" (h)
2016 HC - 6 1/2" (w) X 10 1/8" (h) [cover dimensions slightly larger]

Paper grade:
2011 TP - standard newsprint, off-white
2016 HC - bright white, semi-gloss

Page count:
2011 TP - 416 pages
2016 HC - 416 pages

Content differences:
General - Cover and text pages (introductions and commentary) have been completely redesigned for the HC edition, using a different font, and with the editorial replacement of all references to "70 years" with "75 years". Otherwise identical except for specific content differences noted below.

Pages 302-308:
2011 TP - Intro page ("Cover Gallery 1990-1992") and 6 pages of badly reproduced (low resolution) cover images from ARCHIE'S EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN! #1, JUGHEAD'S TIME POLICE #1, JUGHEAD'S DINER #1, RIVERDALE HIGH #5, FACULTY FUNNIES #4, VERONICA ("in Greece") #10.

2016 HC - Intro page and 6-page story "Archie the Genius!" from ARCHIE 3000 #6, 1990, by Hal Smith (script), Rex Lindsey (pencils), Jon D'Agostino (inks). Not included in the 2011 TP edition.

Pages 344-370 ("The 2000s"):
2011 TP - Intro commentary page (1) for the stories "I Squid You Not" (SABRINA THE ANIMATED SERIES #8, 2000, 6 pages), title page (1) containing the logos and character designs from SABRINA THE ANIMATED SERIES and ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES, and "Fall For It Classic" (ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES #19, 2001, 6 pages). Not included in the 2016 HC edition.

2016 HC - Page 344 skips directly to the next section (pages 358-370 in the TP, the Intro commentary page for the story "Clock Crock" and "The Archie Wedding" cover gallery). In the HC, the cover gallery is reduced to the single cover for the TP collection THE ARCHIE WEDDING: ARCHIE IN "WILL YOU MARRY ME?".

Pages 372-398 ("2010 and Beyond"):
2011 TP - 2 page Intro section, 1 page Intro commentary to "Lodge A Complaint" (LIFE WITH ARCHIE MAGAZINE #1, 2010, 24 pages).

2016 HC - Same Intro sections and story as above, included in the HC on pages 352-378.

Pages 399-416 ("2010 and Beyond"):
2011 TP - 1 page Intro commentary and the stories "Egology" (TALES FROM RIVERDALE DIGEST #37, 2010, 5 pages), "Snug As A Jug In A Rug" (JUGHEAD #206, 2011, 7 pages), and 1 page Intro commentary and the three 1-page JINX stories "Chat Fight", "Frenemy of the State", and "The Dating Game" (LIFE WITH ARCHIE MAGAZINE #6, 2011). Not included in the 2016 HC edition.

Pages 379-416 ("2010 and Beyond"):
2016 HC - 1 page Intro commentary, cover reprint of ARCHIE (2015) #1, complete reprint of the story from ARCHIE #1 (22 pages), followed by a reprint of the cover and a 5-page excerpt from JUGHEAD (2015) #1; 1 page Intro commentary followed by a reprint of the cover and a 5-page excerpt from BETTY AND VERONICA (2016) #1, plus a reprint of the cover of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #1. Not included in the 2011 TP edition.

Comments:
Well, I don't miss the 12 pages left out of the HC of SABRINA THE ANIMATED SERIES and ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES (at best, an excerpt from a longer story). I'd rather have the 6-page story from ARCHIE 3000! I do miss the inclusion of the very cool Reggie story "Egology", Jughead in "Snug As A Jug In A Rug", and even the three 1-page Jinx shorts, and resent the inclusion of 38 pages of advertising for their currently-published floppy comics. And I KNOW they are advertising because each reprint ends with the words "ON SALE NOW!". So, a more accurate title would have been THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS: DELUXE EDITION HARDCOVER - Now With LESS Content, and MORE "What Else Can We Sell You Today??"




Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 30, 2016, 02:10:27 AM
Additional comments, Re:THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS DELUXE EDITION:
I should probably have mentioned that in comparing the reproduction quality to the earlier TP edition, it's like day and night, and that alone (apart from the larger page size) may be enough justification for the $10 difference in cover price. Part of that improvement is the better paper quality and the better color, and part of it is definitely due to them having cleaned up the quality of the scans that they're working from, so that the new book is more on a par with the hardcovers put out by IDW and Dark Horse.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the cover price, $19.99, is extremely cheap compared to most hardcover books of comparable page count and paper quality. I can only assume the price was kept low as an inducement to purchase the same collection of stories again, but really, if this were a completely original collection of stories never assembled before, a cover price of from $29.99 to $59.99 would likely be the going rate from other publishers, and considered well worth it by the main market of consumers for this type of hardcover comics collections, as long as the content justifies the price tag. What do I mean by that? The rarity of the stories, the creators involved, and other attractions including the overall design of the book, and the opportunity to get complete runs of stories featuring the same character(s) all in one place. That said, these days "The Best of..." collections are becoming rarer, because what the typical consumer really wants in this type of higher-end book is "The Complete...", not a random collection of stories that someone else decided were the best.

What's really odd to me is that this hardcover represents the kind of backwards-thinking of ACP. With other comics publishers, the more expensive hardcover edition usually comes first (to capture the audience of "I don't care that much about the cover price, got to have it NOW" consumers), followed after a reasonable selling window (so as not to compete with themselves) of six months to a couple of years, by the cheaper trade paperback, which usually gets a higher print run due to the lower cover price, and sells in greater numbers -- the intention being to do only ONE printing of the hardcover, and have that sell out by the time the trade paperback comes out. Also worth noting is that in most cases (except where the hardcover is marketed as a Limited Edition, containing bonus material), the later trade paperback is absolutely identical to the hardcover in every way, except for the cover (not only the paper size, but the paper quality, too).

Hopefully this version of TBOAC sells well enough for ACP that it will warrant them beginning to offer hardcover collections NOT available previously in any form, and that when and if they do begin to produce new HC collections, it will be in the Archival format -- i.e., sequential or chronological collections of a single feature or comic book title (for example, JOSIE ARCHIVES Volume 1 HC, containing their first few appearances in PEP and issues #1-10 of the JOSIE comic book). Then too, many of the "Archival"-type hardcover collections are aimed ONLY at the market of hardcover collectors/consumers, and NEVER get a trade paperback edition. Those tend to have the highest cover prices to begin with, because some of the cost of producing the book can be shared when a hardcover edition is designed and planned from the beginning to have a later softcover edition, lowering the cover cost of the initial hardcover somewhat. Since ACP is new to producing hardcovers, any new collections they would produce would probably have to be priced on the higher side to insure that the book generates a profit (and a later trade paperback would be dependent on initial sales of the hardcover), but I suppose it would depend on how much actual work needs to go into it, or if they have the existing material (scans, color separations, etc) on hand already and don't need to incur any additional expenses for those things.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: Deb on October 30, 2016, 07:31:35 PM
A few of the stories that were scanned in from printed comics have been replaced with awkwardly reinked versions, with new color added.  Some of the reinked stories were harder to notice the difference, but Pool Sharks and the Martial Arts Little Archie story are the worst looking "remastered" stories in the book.  Two of the stories that were dropped, the Archie's Weird Mysteries story and Ego-ology were drawn by Fernando Ruiz, and the new Sabrina story had an intro by Jonathan Gray, two people who are not working with Archie Comics anymore.  Coincidence or intentional?  I could be reading too much into it.  The Jinx pages are a curious deletion, as is the Animated Sabrina material, seeing as The New Archies material stayed in.  The New Riverdale material makes sense to be included, if mostly from a salesmanship standpoint. 
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on October 31, 2016, 12:51:46 AM
Two of the stories that were dropped, the Archie's Weird Mysteries story and Ego-ology were drawn by Fernando Ruiz, and the new Sabrina story had an intro by Jonathan Gray, two people who are not working with Archie Comics anymore.  Coincidence or intentional?  I could be reading too much into it.  The Jinx pages are a curious deletion, as is the Animated Sabrina material, seeing as The New Archies material stayed in.  The New Riverdale material makes sense to be included, if mostly from a salesmanship standpoint.

No doubt the decision was made to keep the same page count (416), but they absolutely HAD to get "the latest and greatest" ARCHIE #1 (plus additional excerpts) in there from a marketing standpoint. There's no way that enough time has passed to warrant any value judgment relative to "the best" for the 2015 and newer material. So they just looked at what they could eliminate to make room. First thing that had to go was the cover galleries for the early 1990s and The Archie Wedding. Then stuff that once seemed relevant, but is now no more than a curious footnote in ACP history -- Animated Sabrina and Archie's Weird Mysteries, and JINX. The Reggie story "Egology" really deserved to be in there, but they needed to make space for advertising New Riverdale comic books that are, they carefully remind us, ON SALE NOW! Why they left in the New Archies story is a mystery, but probably has more to do with filling a certain number of pages from each decade. Since they couldn't reduce the number of 1980s and 1990s pages too much to add additional pages to the "2010 and Beyond" section, most of the replacements had to come from the 2000s material.

Also, consider the fact that if this book were being published in 2007, some portion of the New Look Archie story "Bad Boy Trouble" would absolutely have been included as representative of "the latest and greatest", and it would have been unthinkable to have left out some excerpt from the longer "Archie Marries..." storyline. The manga version of Sabrina would probably have rated some excerpt as well, but it's now all but forgotten. Now "New Look Archie" barely rates a passing reference in recounting the highlights of ACP's history, and even the highly-celebrated (at the time, because it generated so much publicity for ACP) "Archie Marries" has been reduced to a small text commentary and a single cover image representation. How much LESS relevant from a 2016 perspective does that make things like Sabrina Animated, Manga Sabrina, Archie's Weird Mysteries, and the Jinx reboot seem? The Katy Keene reboot (from the early 2000s) didn't even rate an excerpt in the 2011 TP edition of TBOAC. I've no doubt that the passage of 10 or 15 years will put New Riverdale comics in similar company with those things.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 01, 2016, 03:46:58 PM
BETTY AND VERONICA HOLIDAY ANNUAL #248 - Mostly good stories, with the usual proportion of Xmas-themed stories to non-Xmas stories -- 4 or 5 stories in the front of the digest, and 2 or 3 more in the back. Pulled it out of the mailbox yesterday at noon time and immediately sat down and read the whole thing (with the exception of the 11 pages of Little B&V and Little Sabrina stories towards the end, yadda yadda yadda). Mostly good stories in here, but I'd already read most of the Xmas ones. They should really go back further in the vaults and pull out more of the oldies. Since they reprint so many of the Xmas stories every year, it seems like some of the ones from more recent decades are getting a little well-worn by now. That said, there are a fair number of stories in this issue written by Kathleen Webb, who IMO rarely turns out a boring story. There's one story written by Craig Boldman, that while it bears a B&V logo... let's just say I have my doubts about that -- B&V are in the first couple of pages, but then it turns out to be another one of those "Archie tries his hand at do-it-yourself plumbing" stories (nowhere as good as Boldman's later Jughead stories).
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 03, 2016, 12:45:04 AM
2000 AD PROG 2000 - The 2000th issue of this long-running (since 1977, almost 40 years) British science-fiction weekly. Surely some kind of record for longevity for any English-language comic book (although the early numbers were in a color/black & white tabloid newsprint format, much like a Sunday newspaper supplement). That's over 60,000 pages of comics from one magazine, and in fact the comic outlived its original publisher, Fleetway Publications, and is now published by a company named Rebellion. The original editor could hardly have imagined in 1977 that the comic would last past the then near-futuristic sounding year 2000 AD, and it's to their credit that the comic has never been rebooted or renumbered, sailing blithely past the year 2000 with not so much as a name change to "3000 AD" or something like that. It's a concession to tradition and its loyal following that is sure to puzzle the uninitiated.

This issue brought back a number of the early classic features - besides the cornerstone feature, Judge Dredd, it included individual strips for the features Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper, Psi-Judge Anderson, and Sinister Dexter (as well as having a crossover with Strontium Dog in the Judge Dredd strip). Normally I don't get this comic on a regular basis, as the features are usually all continued from issue to issue (and in fact, there's a single new feature beginning its first prog in this issue called "Counterfeit Girl"), but just buy the later graphic novel compilations of the features I like, but that said, this is a good sampler for anyone vaguely interested or for some past reader revisiting. It also brought back a number of the original creators from the earliest days of the comic, most of whom are still with us and still out there creating comics, although some have since moved on to more lucrative careers elsewhere in the industry. The list of names of creators that began their careers working for 2000AD is truly a long one. In case you're wondering, "Prog", in the future slang of the 2000AD comic, refers to the number of the programme (because the comic maintains the fiction that it's edited by an alien named Tharg - seen here popping out of a birthday cake on the cover - who assigns the various features to his various 'creator droids').

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn.bleedingcool.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F09%2F2000b-600x789.jpg&hash=1cb92b187e13f63ff4f7fd2e4cb56e44)

As a curious side note, this isn't the first time 2000AD had celebrated with a number Prog 2000 -- back at the end of the last millenium, the comic jumped ahead of itself (in what should have been, by a proper accounting, Prog 1174, dated December 15, 1999) to usher in the year 2000 with an earlier Prog 2000. The cover artwork by Brian Bolland shows (left to right) Nemesis, Nicolai Dante, Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd, and Rogue Trooper planting the 2000 AD flag to claim its preeminent position as 'king of the hill' (represented by a large pile of now-defunct comic publications) of all British comic books.
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Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: steveinthecity on November 03, 2016, 07:23:42 PM

Nice review!

Judge Dredd is a terrific series imo. The Judge Dredd "Complete Case Files" collections are a good way to read the older stories for anyone looking to check it out.  Volume 13 is supposed to be coming early next year.


In addition to it's longevity as a comic, I don't believe he's ever been shown without his helmet after all these years.  :)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 05, 2016, 08:54:04 PM
In addition to it's longevity as a comic, I don't believe he's ever been shown without his helmet after all these years.  :)

Not directly... but we DO know what his face looks like. Both Joe Dredd and his brother Rico were cloned from the cells of former Chief Justice Eustace Fargo.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F31.media.tumblr.com%2Ftumblr_ljfrdisnft1qcf9q6o1_500.png&hash=b8b5f3c2ae4218be7f282df50d0cd7c9)

Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 06, 2016, 04:37:07 AM
ARCHIE GIANT SIZE 48-PAGE SPECIALS (1993 - 2000):

It occurs to me that I should write a little bit about these specials, since I'm going to be reviewing a few of them. The Giant Size 48-Page format floppy comic specials first appeared in the Fall of 1993. The first two to be released were JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #1 (in a tie-in to the animated Josie series then appearing in heavy rotation on Cartoon Network, the cover bore the CN logo) [NOTE:  This was previously a rotating title in Archie Giant Series Magazine (issues #528, 540, 551, 562, 571, 584, 597, 610.]), and SABRINA'S HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR #1 NOTE:  Sabrina's Christmas Magic was  previously a rotating title in Archie Giant Series Magazine (issues #207, 231, 220, 243, 455, 467, 479, 491, 503, 515.  Sabrina the Teenage Witch also appeared in issues #533, 544. Bold #s are giant-sized issues). The JOSIE 48-Page Giant was all-reprint, but SABRINA'S special was a mix of new and reprinted stories, and that is the format that virtually all subsequent 48-Page Giants through Summer 2000 would follow. In 1994 and 1995, many, if not most of them also featured a pull-out mini-poster or calendar (if you're buying a graded comic, make sure it includes this -- the cover always announced when one was included). SABRINA'S HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR #1 also contains a 10-page (2 part) story of Dan Parent and Bill Golliher's THE CARNEYS, who would go on to appear in their own self-titled 48-Page Giant the following summer (1994). This was almost (but not quite) the first appearance in print of The Carneys -- they had previously appeared in a 1-page feature, "Sabrina and her friends Meet THE CARNEYS" (the final panel of which mentions their upcoming appearance in Sabrina's Halloween Spooktacular #1 "On sale in September") that ran in ARCHIE & FRIENDS #6.

Following the Josie and Sabrina 48-Page Giant #1's came the first issue of ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING (Winter 1993). This was highly appropriate, since in a way the 1990s 48-Page Giants were sort of reviving the legacy of the old ARCHIE GIANT SERIES MAGAZINE title, which had ceased publication in 1992, more than a year earlier. However, it's important to note that the Archie Giant Series had ceased to be an actual giant-sized comic book back in 1975, when it had reduced its page count from 52 pages (itself representing a shrinkage from 64 pages only a few years prior) to 36 pages (at the standard price) with the June-dated issues of that year. So by 1993 it had been almost 19 years since ACP had published an actual giant-sized title in the floppy comic book (with a couple of one-shot exceptions in 1990).  [NOTE: ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING was previously a rotating title in Archie Giant Series Magazine (issues #1-6, 10, 15, 20, 25, 31, 137, 144, 150, 158, 167, 179, 190, 203, 216, 228, 240, 452, 464, 476, 488, 500, 512, 524, 535, 546, 557, 567, 579, 592, 605, 617, 630. Numbers in bold indicate an actual giant-sized issue.) ]

Following the re-introduction of Archie's Christmas Stocking (which would turn out to be one of the most succesful in this format, running every year from Christmas 1993 until 1999 -- 7 issues, until finally being replaced in the 2000s by ARCHIE'S HOLIDAY DIGEST) came more 48-Page Giants in the Spring of 1994: JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #2 (the final issue), JUGHEAD'S BABY TALES #1 (of 2, the second issue published in Winter 1994), REGGIE'S REVENGE! #1 (of 3, ending in Spring of 1995), and ARCHIE'S LOVE SHOWDOWN SPECIAL #1 (and only, although functionally this could be thought of as a precursor to CHERYL BLOSSOM SPECIAL, which would launch the first of four such specials beginning in Spring 1995).

Following this, in the Summer of 1994, four new 48-Page Giants were published: ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #1 (which would go on to become the longest-running of the 48-Page titles, ending with #8 in the Summer of 2000, and the final 48-Page Giant to be published by ACP); the aforementioned one-shot all-new special THE CARNEYS #1; the bizarre crossover ARCHIE MEETS THE PUNISHER #1 (again all-new); and BETTY AND VERONICA SUMMER FUN #1 - again a resurrection of an old favorite title from the Archie Giant Series Magazine rotation (in Archie Giant Series Magazine issues #8, 18, 23, 28, 34, 140, 147, 155, 164, 175, 187, 199, 212, 224, 236, 248, 460, 472, 484, 496, 508, 520, 529, 539, 561, 572, 585, 598, 611, 621.) Again, numbers in bold indicate an actual giant-sized issue.

In the Fall of 1994, one more new title appeared, ARCHIE'S SUPER TEENS #1 (of 4, ending in Spring 1996). Also in the Fall of '94 were #2 issues of REGGIE'S REVENGE! and SABRINA'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR, replacing the previous Fall's all-Halloween Sabrina special with a broader-themed story that included all the holidays between Halloween and New Year's Day, which had a final issue (#3) in the Fall of 1995. That would complete the line-up of titles for the rest of the 1990s, with the exception of the one-and-only issue of CARTOON NETWORK CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR #1 in Winter 1996. Wrapping up 1994 in the Winter season were second issues of JUGHEAD'S BABY TALES, ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING, and the single Winter-themed issue of ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL (that would be replaced by an ongoing separate title in the Spring of 1996, entitled ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK. All in all, fourteen of the 48-Page Giant Size issues were published in 1994, which was the biggest year for this format.

Subsequent years would see a gradual reduction in the number of 48-Page Giants produced each year: ten in 1995, six in 1996, five in 1997, four in 1998 and 1999, and only two (ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK #5 in the Spring, and ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #8 in the Summer) in 2000. [ . . . ] And that was the end of the Giant-Size floppy comic book format for ACP, at least so far as classic reprint material was concerned. Anomalies like the all-new material ARCHIE MEETS THE PUNISHER, ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO, and ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES, that cross over the ACP characters with existing known properties are the only exception, because those are the only classic Archie stories that independent comic shop retailers will order. And why won't they order them? After all, doesn't the success and increasing number of Annuals, Jumbo Comics, Giant Comics, and 1000-Page Comics digests prove that classic Archie readers want more stories, more pages? Yes, it does. BUT, it also proves that the vast majority of those classic Archie comics readers are NOT buying their Archie comics from independent comic book retailers. They are getting them at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and some other supermarket and department store chains. That's why they don't sell in comic book shops.  :'(

(See... you learn things. NOW you know why that REGGIE'S 80-PAGE GIANT COMIC #1 got cancelled.)

Here's a handy checklist (most of these are well worth searching for, if you can find them):

ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #1   Winter   1993
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #2   Winter   1994
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #3   Winter   1995
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #4   Winter   1996
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #5   Winter   1997
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #6   Winter   1998
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #7   Winter   1999

ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK! #1   Spring   1996
ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK! #2   Spring   1997
ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK! #3   Spring   1998
ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK! #4   Spring   1999
ARCHIE'S SPRING BREAK! #5   Spring   2000

BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #1   Summer   1994
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #2   Summer   1995
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #3   Summer   1996
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #4   Summer   1997
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #5   Summer   1998
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #6   Summer   1999

ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #1   Summer   1994
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #2   Winter   1994
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #3   Summer   1995
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #4   Summer   1996
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #5   Summer   1997
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #6   Summer   1998
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #7   Summer   1999
ARCHIE'S VACATION SPECIAL #8   Summer   2000

SABRINA'S HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR #1   Fall   1993
SABRINA'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR #2   Fall   1994
SABRINA'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR #3   Fall   1995

ARCHIE'S SUPER TEENS #1   Fall   1994
ARCHIE'S SUPER TEENS #2   Spring   1995
ARCHIE'S SUPER TEENS #3   Fall   1995
ARCHIE'S SUPER TEENS #4   Spring   1996

ARCHIE'S LOVE SHOWDOWN SPECIAL #1   Winter   1994
CHERYL BLOSSOM SPECIAL #1   Spring   1995
CHERYL BLOSSOM SPECIAL #2   Summer   1995
CHERYL BLOSSOM SPECIAL #3   Fall   1995
CHERYL BLOSSOM SPECIAL #4   Spring   1996

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #1   Fall   1993
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #2   Spring   1994

JUGHEAD'S BABY TALES #1   Spring   1994
JUGHEAD'S BABY TALES #2   Winter   1994

REGGIE'S REVENGE! #1   Spring   1994
REGGIE'S REVENGE! #2   Fall   1994
REGGIE'S REVENGE! #3   Spring   1995

All-New 48-Page Giants:
ARCHIE MEETS THE PUNISHER   August   1994

THE CARNEYS #1   Summer   1994

CARTOON NETWORK CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR #1   Winter   1996



Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on November 06, 2016, 07:50:32 AM
I have all the seasonal themed ones and the Josie, Sabrina, and Cheryl specials. Looking to finish collecting the Christmas themed ones.


What's in the Cartoon Network Special?
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 06, 2016, 09:12:27 AM
What's in the Cartoon Network Special?

Christmas stories featuring H-B characters SCOOBY-DOO, THE FLINTSTONES, THE JETSONS, and the HANNA-BARBERA ALL-STARS (a.k.a. "some or all of the following:" Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, Hokey Wolf, Magilla Gorilla, Snagglepuss, Quick Draw McGraw, Secret Squirrel, Atom Ant, Wacky Racers, Dastardly & Muttley, etc.)

Archie Comics had licensed all of those titles from Cartoon Network from September 1995 through June 1997. SCOOBY-DOO and FLINTSTONES ran the longest, at 21 and 22 issues, respectively. JETSONS and HANNA-BARBERA PRESENTS both ran 8 issues, and HANNA-BARBERA ALL-STARS ran 4. YOGI BEAR and the Christmas Spectacular were the only others, both one-shots. Come to think of it, though GCD gives 1997 as the date of publication, ACP Xmas specials were often dated in the indicia as January of the following year, so actually the HB Christmas issue would have been Xmas 1996.

The timing of ACP's licensing was roughly concurrent with the merger of Turner Broadcasting (the previous owner of the HB library) with Time Warner (the deal was finalized in October of 1996), which explains why the titles didn't go to Warner's subsidiary, DC Comics, until after ACP's original contract with Turner expired. At the time, Turner (apparantly somewhat of an animation fan himself) had ownership of both the pre-1948 Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies cartoons and the Hanna-Barbera television library, and merged them into his cable station Cartoon Network (still largely dependent on classic animated reruns at the time). Waner still owned the 1948 and onwards Looney Tunes, and controlled all the merchandising. After ACP's license expired, DC Comics lost no time in taking over comic book production of the now-merged company's character library, and two of the first titles they launched were SCOOBY-DOO and LOONEY TUNES, and in fact, both titles are still being published. They are the two highest numbered comic book series that DC publishes that have no breaks in their numbering sequence. DC's oldest legacy titles, DETECTIVE COMICS and ACTION COMICS, respectively, were renumbered as new #1 issues in 2011, and did not revert to their original legacy numbering until earlier this year, so nearly five years worth of sequentially-numbered issues of those titles do not actually exist.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 07, 2016, 06:14:51 AM
BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER FUN #3 (1996) - This has a lead story, "Lakeside Larceny" by Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo, that seemed familiar to me, but I don't think I'd actually read it before. In it, B&V want get away from the crowds at the seashore and go to a secluded little beach at Crystal Lake that they know of. When they get there, they're rudely turned away by Cheryl, whose school has purchased the beach and turned it into a private beach exclusively for use by Pembrooke students. Mr. Lodge takes a hand and is the hero of the story, using his Hollywood connections to get a famous SFX technician to create a lake monster to drive the snooty Pembrooke students away. Also, we learn that one of Smithers' former occupations was lion tamer with a traveling circus, when he uses his steely-eyed glare to stare down one of Pembrooke's attack dogs into submission. Mr. Lodge didn't even know this -- didn't he read Smithers' resume before hiring him? Smithers bemoans the fact that the one creature his dominating stare won't affect is the teenager.

The most interesting story in here (with 20/20 hindsight) is entitled "Summer Fun 2016 A.D." and takes B&V into the near-flung future 20 years hence. B&V, of course, are still sixteen (and why not, since they'd been sixteen for 55 years by the time this story was published in 1996). As is fairly typical of this sort of 'what if' story in Archie Comics, no setup or explanation is offered for the shift in chronological setting. It's merely an excuse to showcase some technological innovations of the typical B&V summer fun experience as foreseen by writer George Gladir.  To begin, B&V are on their way to Wonder Beach for an afternoon of summer fun, and Veronica stops by Betty's house to pick her up in her 3-wheeled electric car. Veronica decides to let the car's computer drive via the pre-programmed route while she and Betty don a couple of those big hair salon domes (plugged into a socket in the car seat's headrest) to automatically change their hair styles on the way. Veronica decides to stop at a gas station (she doesn't need gas for her electric car, but fortunately, since the ubiquitous electric car has made the need to fill up unneccesary, the fuel pumps have all been converted into soda dispensers and they fill up a couple of 2-gallon jugs with "Whoopsie Cola"). They're back on their way, but the weather's beginning to cloud over. Veronica says "Who cares? Our new artificial beach is temperature and light controlled!" as they come into view of a mall-sized dome labelled WONDER BEACH, surrounded by a huge parking lot. As the girls enter the indoor beach in their swimsuits, Ronnie gives us the lowdown on all the advantages of the indoor beach - "These days the water at the real beaches is so filthy! Ocean bathers also run the risk of getting zapped by harmful ultraviolet rays! Here we never even need to use sunblock to get a safe tan!" Then Archie shows up to the beach, carrying his surfboard with him. They decide to get some ice cream, and Archie uses his remote to call the Mobile Vendo machine (which has tank treads to navigate the beach sand right to the customer). He inserts his money card into the machine, but he's embarassed when it rejects his card, displaying the message "TILT - Funds Depleted". Fortunately, Veronica loans him her money card to buy the ice cream. Archie wants to go surfing, but he's disappointed with the puny 3-foot high artificial waves generated here. He craves the excitement of 50-foot monster waves, so he attaches his surfboard to the giant spring posts of the VR Surfing station and dons his virtual reality helmet, but the VR experience turns out to be a little too realistic, and he's thrown from the board into the water. Veronica continues as our tour guide: "I can't get over how everything here is so improved! The sand here is so clean... and the water is temperature controlled and salt free! But there's one thing they'll never improve on - the handsome lifeguards!"  THE END. Just a typical day at the beach in 2016. Well, at least George Gladir got the part about vending machines taking debit cards, and having your debit card rejected for insufficient funds right.

As is the case with most of the B&V Summer Fun comics, every story has at least one opportunity for B&V to appear in their swimsuits, and there were three pinup/fashion pages as well. It's also neat to find those stories like "Summer Fun 2016 A.D.", that you know will never be reprinted again.  :)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 08, 2016, 02:40:54 PM
BETTY AND VERONICA #2
Overall grade:  C-
ART = Good. Adam Hughes is a good comic book artist.
COLORING = Bad. What's up with the de-saturated, washed-out colors?
STORY/SCRIPT = MEH. It's slightly more straightforward than #1, but not much more interesting. AH hasn't really made me care much about these characters or what's going on here.

The bottom line is this: Would I even be bothering with reading this issue #2 (despite the fact that it was borrowed as opposed to paid for with my own money) after reading issue #1, if this comic were published by any company other than ACP, if it had the exact same artwork and script, with the exception of changing all the characters' names? NO. There are numerous examples of comics out there that have been published, written and drawn by some Big Name Artist, that hold zero intrinsic interest (that is to say, interest based on the sum of the writing and artwork) to me, and this is just one more of those.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 08, 2016, 05:25:47 PM
BETTY AND VERONICA FAIRY TALES TP (Archie & Friends All Stars Vol. 27)

Contents listing:
I.  Snow White & the Riverdale Dwarfs2 (from: B&V 266)
II.  A Tale of Two Cinderellas1 (from: B&V Double Digest 184)
III.  Betty & the Beast2 (from: B&V 265)
IV.  Sleeping Betty1 (from: B&V Digest 207)
V.  The Little Mermaids2 (from: B&V 267)
VI.  There's No Place Like Riverdale1 (from: B&V Digest 188)
VII.  The Story of the Rapunzels2 (from: B&V 264)
VIII.  Betty in Wonderland1 (from: B&V Digest 195)
IX.  Reggiestiltskin2 (from: B&V 268)
X.  What's the Story? - Part 1 (from: Archie 637)
XI.  What's the Story? - Part 2 (from: Archie 638)

1 = Previously collected in BETTY & VERONICA STORYBOOK (Archie & Friends All Stars Vol. 7, 2010)
2 = Previously collected in BETTY & VERONICA PRINCESS STORYBOOK (Archie & Friends All Stars Vol. 21, 2013)

Comments:  Instead of combing the vaults for older stories not reprinted in TP collections from the last decade, what we have here is essentially an omnibus edition of two previously-released volumes in the Archie & Friends All Stars series. Unlike most of the earlier volumes in the series, this one is now in the smaller page-format (5" x 7") used for ACP's last couple of TP releases - Archie's Campfire Stories (2015), and Betty & Veronica Girls Rule! (2016), rather than the earlier standard size used for most of the Archie & Friends All Star series (6" x 8.75"). The only story uncollected from the prior B&V Storybook TP releases is the 2-part "What's the Story" from Archie 637-638 (which I wouldn't be surprised to see appearing in a couple of upcoming WORLD OF ARCHIE digests, since they've been reprinting continued stories from just about this same time period).  While I am forced to admit that overall this is one of the best collections of B&V stories (indeed, one of the very best collections, content-wise, of ANY that ACP has done so far), it's sort of a pointless purchase for anyone who bought the earlier Archie & Friends All Stars B&V Storybook collections, even if it's nice to see the addition of that Dan Parent 2-parter from Archie 637-638. If they'd decided to do it as a Deluxe Edition hardcover, at the larger page size (7" x 10") instead of reducing the page size, maybe it would have been a lot less pointless.

Once again, ACP runs true to form in RE-recycling reprints easily available elsewhere, rather than doing the work to dig up UNreprinted stories not recently collected. They continue to disappoint. Maybe I should just give up on expecting any better from a company that recently re-issued the same stories collected in the earlier BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS (Book 1) TP in not just one, but two different formats - as a Deluxe Edition hardcover, and as the ARCHIE 75th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION JUMBO COMICS DIGEST. Pure greed or pure laziness, or a 50/50 mixture, what's the difference??  And if they are going to just reprint stuff from the last decade, can't they at least reprint something that ISN'T easily available, like those four digests that contained Fernando Ruiz's Memory Lane stories ("Archie Meets Archie", "Betty & Veronica Meet Betty & Veronica", "Jughead Meets Jughead", and "Reggie Meets Reggie", and the associated classic reprints)??

 :tickedoff:


Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 10, 2016, 01:26:56 AM
Here is the cover of the long-delayed ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL #7, on sale the week of 11-16-2016.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archiefans.com%2Findex.php%3Fmedia%2Ffile%2Farchie-comics-super-special-7-11-16-2016.1870%2F&hash=7ae5882248d4b6f43458f346e275628c)

Quote
ARCHIE COMIC SUPER SPECIAL #7
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
(W/A) Various (CA) Dan Parent

Join in on the fun and adventure in the the town of Riverdale! Follow the hilarious antics of the lovable goofball, Archie Andrews, and the rest of his pals and gals! This magazine features the greatest stories from the Archie vault, plus creator spotlights, the latest news and much, much more!

[EDIT (11-25-16): updated to include contents listing.]

ARCHIE in "Christmas Socking!"1 - 6 pages
ARCHIE in "Christmas Spirit" - 5 pages
ARCHIE in ""More Pull Than Talent!"2 - 1 page
BETTY & VERONICA in "Nursery Rhyme Time" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
JOSIE in "All For the Birds!" - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Spread the Cheer" - 5 pages
ARCHIE Pin-Up - 1 page
ARCHIE in "Snow Mistake"2 - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
BETTY & VERONICA in "Do No Evil"2 - 6 pages (non-Xmas [takes place at Xmastime, but really has nothing to do with the holiday])
CHERYL BLOSSOM in "Hot Stuff" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
MOOSE in "Snow Drifting" - 5 pages
SABRINA in "The Fruit Cake" - 5 pages
VERONICA in "A Symbol Problem" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
ARCHIE AND ME (Mr. Weatherbee) in "Wanted: Santa Claus"2 - 12 pages
ETHEL in "Guile Style" - 1 page
BETTY in "Wrap Flap" - 1 page
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS in "Gift Rapped" - 6 pages
SABRINA in "Ice Folly" - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
BETTY'S DIARY "Red and Green Blues" - 5 pages
MR. WEATHERBEE Pin-Up2 - 1 page
REGGIE in "Seasonal Smootch"1 - 6 pages
ARCHIE in "Ho-Ho-Humm" - 5 pages
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Santa Spirit" - 5 pages
ETHEL in "Appeal Zeal" - 1/2 page
MOOSE in "Yule Fool" - 1/2 page
ARCHIE in "Close Shave" - 5 pages
+plus 14 pages of advertisements (mostly for New Riverdale comics)

Notes:
1 - previously reprinted in ARCHIE'S CLASSIC CHRISTMAS STORIES, VOL. 1 (2002)
2 - previously reprinted in ARCHIE CLASSICS SERIES VOL. 1: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS (2011)

Comments: I'd read most of these before, and there's some duplication of material from earlier ACP Christmas TP collections, but not too bad. Overall percentage of Xmas stories to non- is still pretty high, and the mix between older and more recent stories is varied (a good thing). As well, they managed to include a variety of characters represented, not just Archie but B&V, Josie, Sabrina, Reggie, Mr. Weatherbee, and Moose (and of course, a couple of Little Archie stories, but OK, it's Christmas). No Jughead stories, though? Overall I'd rate this pretty well, say about 8 out of 10.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 11, 2016, 03:53:30 PM
VERONICA #29, 37, 41, 44, 45, 46, 48, 56, 58, 84 (August 1993-February 1999)

I have to admit I was a little disappointed, because I was expecting that there would be a lot more Dan Parent stories in these issues. I think I only counted about 3, and one pin-up (but it was a nice pin-up). However, those were stories written by Dan, but drawn by the Kennedy brothers (who were merely average illustrators at this point in their careers). Things pick up in the later issues, where there were a lot more stories written by Kathleen Webb, a couple by Barbara Slate, and even 2 or 3 by Frank Doyle. There's a fashion page or three by Dan DeCarlo (lots of nice covers by him, though), but he drew only one or two of the stories in these issues. A few Rex Linsey pin-up/fashion pages, too (he always takes a very imaginative approach to these). But overall, far too many non-notable stories by writers like Mike Pellowski, Hal Smith, and Joe Edwards, and even fewer outstanding stories art-wise, although the few drawn by Jeff Schultz looked good as always.

I can't kick about it since they all came out of the fifty-cent boxes, and to me they were always going to be just "reading copies" as opposed to "collecting copies". Some of the coupons had been filled out by then-owner 12-year old Maggie Berman, and in a couple of instances she even cut one or two out of the comic. She also liked to color the girls' lips in with a red felt-tip pen (very neatly), and in one issue she had a gold pen,and even covered an entire drawing of Veronica's car with it, along with a couple of earrings here and there.

Sometimes I like to comb through the letters written to Betty and/or Veronica, because the woman who wrote the letter pages (Sara Algase... she actually gets credited on the letters page as "by Sara Algase") will sometimes slip in a ringer, and she always has a devastating sense of irony. To wit, from the "Dear Veronica" pages in VERONICA #46:

Quote
Dear Veronica,
There is a girl in my school who is really snobby. All the boys like her. She modeled for ONE picture and she thinks she's awesome. At times she considers herself my "best friend" but at times she laughs at me and says, "How would you know? You're only an average girl." Sometimes I get a little jealous.
--  Confused
San Francisco, CA


Dear Confused,
This girl has quite a swelled head on her shoulders. But don't take it all at face value. Sometimes people act snobby because they are really insecure inside. She is probably jealous of you for being so down-to-earth. If you remind yourself of that the next time she brags, you won't feel as jealous.
-- Veronica

When I read one of those (I'd say you can find one of these planted in about 1 out of every 3 letters pages), I just have to roll my eyes and smile. Sara was obviously chomping at the bit to write some B&V stories herself. In some of the more boring issues, a letter like that can be the funniest thing in there.



New sig... too much? Still mulling it over, might have been a tweak or two too many in manipulating the bits'n'pieces.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 13, 2016, 06:13:22 AM
ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING #3, 1995 - Darn, it's missing the calendar, but in otherwise Fine condition for something I pulled out of a 50-cent box.

I just want to comment on the two outstanding stories in here. The first one is Betty & Veronica in "Jingles' Belle", written by Bill Golliher with pencils by Sean Murphey (...? Yeah, totally unfamiliar... but he's very on-model with the characters, as inked here by Pat Kennedy). And what exactly is Jingles' "belle"? Why, it's none other than MRS. Jingles, who isn't given an actual first name in this story, so... I'm just going to call her Belle. Which may or may not be her actual name, depending on how you want to take a bit of dialogue exchange on Page 3, in Panel 5 - After bursting into Betty's home in the previous panel with the greeting "He's here, isn't he?! I know he is!", Veronica replies in the next panel "I take it you're MRS. JINGLES?" to which Mrs. J retorts, "No, honey! I'm TINKERBELL! Now where's my old man?!" She does have a sharp tongue, so maybe we can take that as sarcasm, but on the other hand, "Belle" could actually be a diminutive form of the name Tinkerbell (which for all we know, may be as common a female name among fairy-folk as Alice or Sarah is for American girls). Of course it's a typically punning title for an Archie Comics story, and this particular Northern Belle blows in like a stinging arctic wind. But also, as the word belle implies, she's rather cute for a little person. She has short curly orange-red hair, and I'm debating on whether she's supposed to physically resemble Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy, especially in the scene on Page 3, where Jingles' forgetting that it's the couple's 100th Anniversary makes her bawl and burst into tears (the expression on her face, and the red hair, reminded me of I Love Lucy). Anyway, I'm not going to recount the plot details of whole the story here, but how many of you even knew that Jingles was a married elf? And doesn't this put a whole new slant on the more recent Dan Parent stories where Jingles (in his human guise as Jimmy) carries on a passionate romance with Sugar Plum (in her human guise as Summer)?? Oh Jingles, you cad! You bounder! I guess (?) anyone who's been married for over 100 years is bound to succumb to having a roving eye once or twice... ? Some of these 1990s Bill Golliher-written stories are on a par with the contemporaneous Dan Parent-written stories, which is a round-about way of saying he was capable of turning out some good ones.

*****

The other notable story in this issue is "Gifted", another Betty & Veronica story, a 5-Pager written by Kathleen Webb with pencils by Dan DeCarlo, featuring Sugar Plum. Now the logo on the story may say B&V, but this is essentially a Betty story in which she gets the Christmas blues, and Sugar Plum sees it as her sworn duty in helping Santa to spread Christmas Joy to use her natural magical abilities to cheer Betty up, by helping her find the perfect gift for the hard-to-please Veronica. Fortunately, those abilities include her diminutive size, flight, and magical teleportation, as well as the ability to remain unseen to anyone except when she wishes to be seen -- which makes her the perfect espionage agent to collect intelligence from the Lodge Mansion. Along with Sugar, we get to peek at
 Veronica's Christmas List :

* NEW FERRARI
* TRIP TO BERMUDA
* SET OF MATCHED PEARLS
* UNLIMITED CREDIT ACCOUNT AT MY FAVORITE DRESS SHOP
* MY OWN SODA FOUNTAIN
* STOCK IN MY FAVORITE SHOE STORE
* FINE JEWELRY
* MINK COAT
* SABLE COAT
* BOOTS

When the doll-sized detective reports back to Betty, she can't help but express her editorial opinion: "Boy! That kid could give a crash course in Materialism 101!"

This seems like a good point to comment on a few noticeable things in a Kathleen Webb story. There's never a shred of doubt as to where Webb's loyalties lie when it comes to Team Betty versus Team Veronica -- her natural sympathies lie completely with Betty, and she never misses an opportunity to exploit the comedic possibilities inherent in Veronica's personality flaws. When it comes to Christmas stories, if she's writing a Veronica solo story, she usually finds the 'heart of gold' among those flaws and gives Ronnie a break at this time of year, but when it's a Betty solo story or a Betty AND Veronica story, it's always clear that Webb empathizes with, and inhabits Betty's persona for the duration of the story. Which is exactly what makes her both THE best writer for Betty, as well as one of the best for both Betty & Veronica. When I hear people say that they find Betty boring or 'too perfect', I can understand that, because when you look at the BETTY comic book, it's mostly a musical chairs line-up of the workhorse writers of ACP, just filling more pages to earn a living. For most of those writers, a Betty story is just another assignment in a string of assignments for multiple Archie Comics ongoing series, but you also get the feeling it's not the character they'd choose to write if given their choice to cherry-pick any title or character to make their own. When I'm reading a Kathleen Webb story featuring Betty, I get the feeling that there's nothing else that she'd rather be writing, that she is totally inside Betty's head as a writer, that she really understands what makes Betty tick, and that why I think she chose to make BETTY'S DIARY her main regular feature, not just because there probably wasn't a lot of competition for the job, but because Betty is probably the character that led her to want to write stories for Archie Comics in the first place. All of this is pure speculation on my part based on a reading of her stories, and what seems to set them apart from the majority of writers when it comes to Betty, but I'd be pretty shocked to discover otherwise (but I'd just add as an addendum that both Al Hartley and Bob Bolling clearly had a soft spot for Betty in their hearts, and Dan DeCarlo stated on more than one occasion that Betty was his favorite character). That said, Webb makes a capable writer for any of the Archie characters, although for anyone with a definite partiality to Veronica over Betty, she might become a little irksome over reading the many stories where Veronica... isn't winning. I don't know, they're funny to me, but then I admit I'm on Team Betty.

What I learned about Betty's personality, mostly from reading Kathleen Webb stories, is this: it's true that Betty is prettier, smarter, and has an array of talents well beyond that of the average teenager, and it's also true that she's more helpful, kind, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful than even the best of us (so I can understand the perception that she's "too perfect"). But at her emotional core she's very much just a typical, ordinary teenage girl. While she's generally cheerful, optimistic, upbeat, honest, and forgiving to the degree that most us can't maintain nearly as consistently, she's also capable of being mad, frustrated, sad, lacking in self-confidence or self-esteem. She can be witty or acerbic, making thinly-veiled sarcastic or self-aware ironic observations, indulging in playful or punning wordplay (must be all those years of writing out her own thoughts in her diary), or just fail in trying to maintain her overcommitted schedule. She's probably more innocent and naive in some ways than most 16-year olds. While you do see most of those things in other writers' stories, rarely are they as well-integrated as aspects of her personality, or applied with as much consistency, as in Kathleen Webb's stories.


Where was I... ? Oh yeah. Sugar Plum trying to help Betty find the perfect gift for Veronica for Christmas. I guess this is a bit of a spoiler, but in the end Sugar Plum doesn't do anything at all. What pulls Betty out of her Christmas funk is Veronica showing up at her door in tears, upset over a string of recent minor misfortunes, elaborated in a list filling three panels of Veronica's dialogue while having a crying jag. While Betty is clearly not identifying with Ronnie's personal issues (as indicated by her brief replies: "Oh, no!"/"What a shame!"/"How inconvenient of him!"), what she IS responding to is Veronica's very genuine emotional distress, and being supportive to her best friend is what rallies Betty out of her OWN depression. She manages to rise to the occasion not by commiserating with her because of her troubles (pretty hard to do, since Veronica's hardships are patently ridiculous), but by consoling Ronnie, and giving her a pep talk assuring her that everything will work out for her and get better. And it helps, and Veronica is cheered up to hear Betty say these things. Really all that Sugar Plum contributes here at the end of the story is a little more of writer Kathleen Webb's authorial voice: "I don't think you need to worry about her Christmas present anymore! Who ELSE would have listened to that overblown tale of woe with sympathy? You gave her the best Christmas present that she's gonna get! Keep it up, and I'll think you're after MY job!"
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 18, 2016, 07:15:00 AM
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicsalliance.com%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F07%2FBettyBoop01-Cov-C-Lagace.jpg&hash=e4e511c6b72697832e0205d6a906c352)(https://www.dynamite.com/previews/C72513025269202011/BettyBoop02CovALangridge.jpg)

BETTY BOOP (Dynamite Entertainment) #1-2 (of 4)
I really like this interpretation of Betty Boop, given that it's a bit modified from the classic Fleicher Brothers Studios cartoons of the 1930s.
By that I mean it's somewhat of a fusion of different elements from both the early pre-Hays Code era Betty, and the later (drastically toned-down) Betty cartoons, as well as being mildly modified for the sensibilities of modern audiences. In the early talkies, Betty was a real hot tomato, wearing short skirts, and showing a bit of décolletage and a leg garter. That was considered racy stuff in the early 1930s, as well as some sexual innuendo implied by things like Betty singing "Don't take my boop-oop-a-doop away". Then came the Hays Code. Will Hays was the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), and the Code was instituted in 1930, although not seriously enforced for a few years. The Hays Code was a form of censorship enforced on the motion picture industry that was similar to the later Comics Code Authority for the comic book industry, and an early precursor to the later MPAA ratings system for movies. By 1934, it had caught up with the Fleischers' cartoons, and Betty was forced to clean up her act. Prim collars and dresses below the kneeline became the order of the day, and lacking the sex appeal of the earlier Betty, the cartoons started to focus less on Betty herself and more on whimsical side characters like Betty's cute little pup Pudgy, and her relative Grampy, the wacky old inventor. The earlier co-stars like KoKo the Klown and Bimbo had been phased out even before the Hays Code took effect, first KoKo and then later Bimbo. Koko had been the very first Fleischer Brothers cartoon star in the silent era of the 1920s, replaced by Bimbo (before coming out of retirement later), and in fact, when Betty first appeared in one of Bimbo's cartoons, she was also a dog with long ears (after a few more cartoons she was redesigned to be more human, with big hoop earrings replacing the long ears).

Dynamite's version, written by Roger Langridge and drawn by Gisele Lagace, is a slightly modified (in line with Gisele's usual style) interpretation of the earlier cartoon version of Betty, and KoKo and Bimbo are regular characters in the stories, too, but Grampy (from the later cartoons) has also been added. Langridge has given Betty a regular job as a waitress at the Oop-A-Doop Club, a jazz joint where she works while living at Grampy's house and awaiting her big break in showbiz. She's occasionally called on to sing at the club, or she takes a side job at the carnival. Langridge throws in some original songs with an early-30s jazz flavor, since jazz tunes were always part of the original cartoons. Another important part of those early cartoons that Langridge retained was the New York, urban vibe, and the surreal quality of the animators, who filled the cartoons with fluidly morphing objects and characters, ghosts and spooky things. Since nearly all the original Betty cartoons were in black-and-white, the comic book version has a toned-down color pallet using lots of gray tones, and limited use of the standard four-color comic book coloring. I think the amalagamation (neither quite B&W nor color) works pretty well here. Gisele is stretching her artistic skills by adapting to a character style that's not her own, but she manages a nice fusion here, where her own distinctive style still comes through, yet is not working against the classic character designs. It's primarily notable in that Betty's body has slightly more realistic proportions than in the original cartoons, but the overall effect looks nice and is still recognizably Betty Boop. Langridge has also given the stories a slightly linking continuity from issue to issue, so that while each issue can be enjoyed on its own, there are reoccuring characters who crop up in issue #2 who were originally seen in issue #1. Bimbo of course is still smitten by Betty, as he was in the original cartoons, All in all the story retains the feeling of a classic comic strip, as in Langridge's earlier POPEYE series written for IDW. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 21, 2016, 11:30:52 PM
WORLD OF ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #64 - This is the Christmas issue. It's a little light on Christmas stories. Nothing worth mentioning that I hadn't read before, anyway. The new lead is "Spinner Winner!" by Tom DeFalco and the Kennedys. It's only vaguely-justifiable as a Christmas story. It really fits more squarely into the "Archie the klutz" trope, but if you're going that route then there's no better choice of artists for the story but the Kennedys. You can always count on them for capturing those freeze-frame panels of hurtling bodies and objects, tumbling end-over-end, defying gravity. They just happen to be better at that than any other Archie artists, past or present.

There's the usual Double Digest mix of shorts in this issue, but there are only a couple of things worth commenting on. There is a 22-page SHE'S JOSIE section (that uses the old Fernando Ruiz title page from years ago). There are three 5-pagers and a 6-pager: "The Rescue!", "Dream Stuff", "Fiddle Faddle", and "All Unstrung". At first I was thinking these might all be from a single issue of JOSIE, but I guess not, since Albert has the longer hairstyle and guitar in the last story but not in the previous three. They might have just pulled the entire section from an older issue of WOADD, though. It was a nice surprise to me, in any case. (Hooray for PEPPER!)  There's also an 11-page sampling of stories from ARCHIE 3000 towards the back. (No LITTLE ARCHIE this time, yay!) There's also an 11-page Archie & Chuck sports story from ARCHIE AT RIVERDALE HIGH, interesting only for the fact that instead of the usual Betty & Veronica squabbling, we have Nancy & Veronica doing the plotting and scheming.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 25, 2016, 05:56:25 AM
EDITed my earlier post [http://www.archiefans.com/reviews/some-reviews/?message=7383 (http://www.archiefans.com/reviews/some-reviews/?message=7383)] on ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL #7 to include contents listing and brief comments.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on November 25, 2016, 05:48:47 PM
Here is the cover of the long-delayed ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL #7, on sale the week of 11-16-2016.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archiefans.com%2Findex.php%3Fmedia%2Ffile%2Farchie-comics-super-special-7-11-16-2016.1870%2F&hash=7ae5882248d4b6f43458f346e275628c)

Quote
ARCHIE COMIC SUPER SPECIAL #7
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
(W/A) Various (CA) Dan Parent

Join in on the fun and adventure in the the town of Riverdale! Follow the hilarious antics of the lovable goofball, Archie Andrews, and the rest of his pals and gals! This magazine features the greatest stories from the Archie vault, plus creator spotlights, the latest news and much, much more!

[EDIT (11-25-16): updated to include contents listing.]

ARCHIE in "Christmas Socking!"1 - 6 pages
ARCHIE in "Christmas Spirit" - 5 pages
ARCHIE in ""More Pull Than Talent!"2 - 1 page
BETTY & VERONICA in "Nursery Rhyme Time" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
JOSIE in "All For the Birds!" - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Spread the Cheer" - 5 pages
ARCHIE Pin-Up - 1 page
ARCHIE in "Snow Mistake"2 - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
BETTY & VERONICA in "Do No Evil"2 - 6 pages (non-Xmas [takes place at Xmastime, but really has nothing to do with the holiday])
CHERYL BLOSSOM in "Hot Stuff" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
MOOSE in "Snow Drifting" - 5 pages
SABRINA in "The Fruit Cake" - 5 pages
VERONICA in "A Symbol Problem" - 5 pages (non-Xmas)
ARCHIE AND ME (Mr. Weatherbee) in "Wanted: Santa Claus"2 - 12 pages
ETHEL in "Guile Style" - 1 page
BETTY in "Wrap Flap" - 1 page
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS in "Gift Rapped" - 6 pages
SABRINA in "Ice Folly" - 6 pages (non-Xmas)
BETTY'S DIARY "Red and Green Blues" - 5 pages
MR. WEATHERBEE Pin-Up2 - 1 page
REGGIE in "Seasonal Smootch"1 - 6 pages
ARCHIE in "Ho-Ho-Humm" - 5 pages
LITTLE ARCHIE in "Santa Spirit" - 5 pages
ETHEL in "Appeal Zeal" - 1/2 page
MOOSE in "Yule Fool" - 1/2 page
ARCHIE in "Close Shave" - 5 pages
+plus 14 pages of advertisements (mostly for New Riverdale comics)

Notes:
1 - previously reprinted in ARCHIE'S CLASSIC CHRISTMAS STORIES, VOL. 1 (2002)
2 - previously reprinted in ARCHIE CLASSICS SERIES VOL. 1: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS (2011)

Comments: I'd read most of these before, and there's some duplication of material from earlier ACP Christmas TP collections, but not too bad. Overall percentage of Xmas stories to non- is still pretty high, and the mix between older and more recent stories is varied (a good thing). As well, they managed to include a variety of characters represented, not just Archie but B&V, Josie, Sabrina, Reggie, Mr. Weatherbee, and Moose (and of course, a couple of Little Archie stories, but OK, it's Christmas). No Jughead stories, though? Overall I'd rate this pretty well, say about 8 out of 10.


Lots of reprints from their other Christmas collections. I collect the Giant Series Christmas issues. They still couldn't find other Christmas stories?


I indexed this collection at GCD if anyone's interested.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on November 29, 2016, 09:38:21 PM
JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS #23 - Why am I reviewing this now, when it came out a whole month ago? Well, the subscription department at ACP never sent me my copy, so I was forced to reorder it through my LCS. ACP says they'll credit me for the issue, as three weeks past the release date they were out of copies (but I bet the credited issue added to my subscription won't turn out to be a Jumbo Comics edition). Not the first time I've had to complain about missing an issue, but the first time they didn't mail out a copy in response. Grr.

Now this turns out to be a very good issue, with a surfeit of Craig Boldman stories in it. Among them, "The Elevenaire II" (6 pages), "Command Performance" (6), "Seat of Power" (5 pages, mis-credited as by George Gladir/Stan Goldberg, but really Boldman/Lindsey), "The Show Stopper" (11), "Go For the Juggler" (5), "All Dressed Up" (5), and "Will the Real Jughead Please Stand Up?" (5).

The Elevenaire stories are a lot of fun, and Boldman wrote four of them. The first one starred Archie, then "The Elevenaire II" starring Jughead, the third part was a Veronica story, and the fourth a Reggie story (I haven't read that one, but it's in WORLD OF ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #18, "Alias: The Elevenaire"). If you're interested in these stories, Craig Boldman wrote a piece about them on his blog (which you should really check out anyway, to see some of his artwork): http://www.craigboldman.com/2016/10/09/the-elevenaire/#more-896 (http://www.craigboldman.com/2016/10/09/the-elevenaire/#more-896)

But what I really want to talk about here is the two Trula Twyst stories in this issue. In the first one, "Seat of Power", Jughead enters Pop's and goes into a tizzy when he sees Trula Twyst sitting at the counter on what he considers "his" stool. Oh Jughead, when will you ever learn that you can't outwit Trula? For all his vaunted cleverness, Trula is the one girl Jughead just can't out-clever. The smart thing to do here, regardless of whether or not he considers any particular counter stool at Pop's to be his, personally... would be just to ignore it. I mean, did Jughead think she just sat on that particular stool by random chance? Of course not. She knows him better that that, and he should know that she knows him better than that. Therefore, if he really does dislike her and want to avoid her, the smart thing to do would be for him to feign disinterest, and ignore her occupying that particular stool as if it were no big deal to him -- but he doesn't, instead he insists on making a big deal out of it. Jughead declares that she's always looking for "cracks in his armor" to exploit, and he won't stand for it, that Trula's trying to "encroach on his turf". Oh, brother! Pop, being a normal human being, says that it's a public seat, first come first served, and refuses to arbitrate any dispute between the two. Betty at one point declares that she always thought Trula was kind of interested in Jughead, but Archie remarks that all taking his stool is going to do is make him MAD. Trula, of course, refuses to give up the stool, and Jughead's insistence that it's HIS seat only makes her more determined. She insists that when she finally leaves, she'll be back to take the same stool again the next day, five minutes BEFORE Jughead gets there. Of course Jughead counters that he'll arrive five minutes before THAT, but Trula replies that she already anticipated that, so she'll be there five minutes sooner than THAT. It becomes pretty heated, and there's some finger-pointing, boldified wording, and exclamation points!! And one of those famous panels in which Juggy and Trula are shown facing off in profile, nose-to-nose (they look cute, like angry Eskimos). It devolves to "Oh, yeah?!" -- "YEAH!" and "What are you gonna DO about it?!" -- "I'll SHOW you!" Then Reggie happens to show up, wondering what's going on. Archie says they're just watching Jug deal with his enemy. Reggie looks over and sees Jughead, with a satisfied smirk on his face, sitting on Trula's lap while she's still sitting on his stool (also looking pretty satisfied). "They don't look like ENEMIES to me!" says Reggie.

And that's the brilliance of Trula. She always gets what she wants. Even when she makes Jughead think that he's winning. And if Jughead truly had no interest in her... well, he doesn't NEED to have an arch-enemy. That's all him there, whether he wants to admit it or not. Jughead insisting that she's his nemesis, and thinking of her that way, forces him into her little psychological beartraps more than anything Trula herself can do. But of course, she knows this, and knows exactly how he will always react, like a huntress stalking her wily prey. You do have to wonder whether Jughead doth protest too much, and his own subconscious is betraying him and letting him fall into Trula's trap (and lap). "Seat of Power" is by no means an atypical example of Jughead's interactions with Trula.

It also occurs to me that Betty ought to be taking note of what's going on here, and maybe get a little friendlier with Trula. She could use Trula's help in studying some psychology tips to give her an edge over Veronica with Archie. It stands to reason that Archie would be less resistant to begin with, and even easier to manipulate than Jughead, not being as smart (but then again, it's Jughead's own contrariness that's his Achilles' heel). If Betty really understood how Archie would react in any given situation, and could predict his reactions in advance and plan her counter-moves several steps ahead, like a chess player, then she could learn to wrap him around her little finger with greater ease than Veronica does, and without resorting to Veronica's monetary resources and playing hard-to-get.

Wow, I can't believe I wrote all that on a 5 page story. And I haven't even talked about the other Trula story in here, the 11-page "The Show Stopper". That's enough for now though, I'll edit this later with more.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on November 30, 2016, 09:54:50 AM
I always wanted to check out the Elevenaire stories. They have a digital collection of them. Good to know they're worth checking out.


Yay for more Trula Twyst. I'm still looking for a copy or reprints of her original appearance.


Edit: Read the Elevenaire stories. Loved it! It's actually funny and I love the whimsical style. Did Craig Boldman only write for the Jughead series?
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 01, 2016, 01:41:59 AM
Yay for more Trula Twyst. I'm still looking for a copy or reprints of her original appearance.
Edit: Read the Elevenaire stories. Loved it! It's actually funny and I love the whimsical style. Did Craig Boldman only write for the Jughead series?

Well, if you read the Elevenaire stories, you know the answer. Here's where the Elevenaire quadrilogy first appeared:

ARCHIE #545 - “The Elevenaire”
JUGHEAD #157 - “The Elevenaire II”
VERONICA #180 - “The Return Of the Elevenaire”
WORLD OF ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #18 - (Reggie in) “Alias: The Elevenaire”

On his blog, Boldman noted that what's really missing there is a story in which Betty encounters the Elevenaire, and he already has a title for the story should he ever get the opportunity to write it - "Bride of the Elevenaire". (Seems doubtful that will ever happen it this point in time.)

Once he took over as the regular writer on JUGHEAD (which coincides, more or less, with the first appearance of Trula), that became his main regular assignment -- apart from the Archie newspaper strip, which he also wrote, beginning in the mid-1990s. When Boldman took over as writer on the newspaper strip, Henry Scarpelli was the artist. Later, Fernando Ruiz took over as penciller, and Boldman continued to write it until June 2011, when the strip went into reprints -- the point which Fernando considers in retrospect as 'the beginning of his end' at ACP, by which he meant the end of his ability to make a full-time living working for ACP. (As a side note, Fernando also drew a number of Jughead shorts, many of which he wrote as well, that mostly appeared in the digest titles - although a few showed up in the regular Jughead title - in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and I'd judge those as quite good, among the best of the stories he wrote himself.)

Unfortunately, there's been no JUGHEAD VS. TRULA TWYST collection as of yet, and, when you look at the collections ACP has done so far, there are very few classic Archie collections centered around Jughead. Only ONE in print form (The Best of JUGHEAD - Crowning Achievements, Archie & Friends All-Stars Vol. 9), and though there are a few more Jughead collections in the Pep Digital series, that's only a tiny fraction compared to the Pep Digital series as a whole. The original Trula trilogy appeared in JUGHEAD #89-91, with a followup where Jughead attempts to get revenge on Trula in #93-94. To the best of my knowledge those stories haven't been reprinted in any collections so far. Those stories, along with most of the remaining key Jughead/Trula stories, would fit into a 200-page or so collection. Virtually all of Trula's significant appearances have been written by Craig Boldman, and most of them were drawn by Rex Lindsey (although there are a few, like "The Show Stopper", drawn by Stan Goldberg). The two other thematic collections of Jughead stories deserving of a collection are the Jughead/Jellybean stories (written by various writers), and Craig Boldman's last epic multi-part Jughead story, "A Jughead in the Family", from JUGHEAD #207-212 (a.k.a. "Movin' In", on the covers), #210 of which is a feature-length appearance by Trula, her last. Boldman often wrote Jughead stories based on some new eccentricity that Jughead fixated on for that one story, and a collection of those stories would be greatly appreciated, as well.

In my opinion, one thing that LIFE WITH ARCHIE's "The Married Life" series got all wrong is that if Jughead were ever to get married, it would be to Trula Twyst. Unless she somehow decided otherwise, she would be the only one to make that happen, regardless of what Jughead might think of the idea at first. The existing Trula stories offer ample proof of her interest in him, and her ability to use her comprehensive knowledge of his character to maneuver him into doing whatever she wants. Despite his protests of her being his arch-enemy, on an unconscious level Jughead has a great respect for her cleverness and is actually flattered that Trula has taken such a keen interest in him that she knows him better than he knows himself, and that fatal attraction is what allows him to fall into her traps. Outwardly he couldn't be more resistant to the idea, but inwardly it's another story. Jughead had never met a girl like Trula before, who is both more intelligent and more self-confident in her ability than he is. Apart from their "girliness", there are things that Jughead respects about Betty's character or values, just as there are things that disgust him about Veronica's character or values. IMO what Jughead detests is not females per se, but the social conventions of "dating" and "romance" - those are things he doesn't respect or value. Trula is both a little scary and attractive to him at the same time, because she doesn't "follow the rules", just like him, but he can't relinquish his male pride and admit to anything like that. There's nothing in Jughead's playbook that gives him any hints on how to deal with a girl like that, so it's easier to just demonize her as the source of all evil.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 02, 2016, 02:28:29 AM
Here's a list of all the Jughead/Trula Twyst stories I've been able to identify so far (I've intentionally left out several minor or cameo appearances). All stories originally appeared JUGHEAD (2nd series, 1987-2012), with a few exceptions at the end of the list -- appearances of stories in digests that I haven't been able to confirm the original first appearances of.

JUGHEAD VS. TRULA TWYST

   #89   "Target: Jughead (Part 1)"   A new threat emerges to disrupt Jughead's way of life, in the person of Trula Twyst and the girls of J.U.S.T. (Jug Under Surveillance Team).

   #90   "Target: Jughead (Part 2)"   The Machiavellian machinations of Trula Twyst force Jughead to begin dating. In the backup story, "Steady As She Goes!", he attempts to make Ethel his steady girl, but things don't turn out as planned. So he begins to date other girls casually -- but what Jughead doesn't know is that his dates Aimee, Beebee, and Celia are actually Agents A, B, and C, of J.U.S.T.!

   #91   "Target: Jughead (Part 3)"   Jughead has finally found a steady girlfriend, and her name is Trula Twyst! It appears as though Jughead has never been happier, but has he fallen into the brainy beauty's tender trap? Meanwhile, all is not happy with the members of J.U.S.T., and Trula begins attracting attention from the boys at Riverdale High.

   #93   "Target: Trula (Part 1)"   Jughead plans his revenge on Trula. (Part 1)
   #94   "Target: Trula (Part 2)"   Jughead plans his revenge on Trula. (Part 2)

   #99   "Mint Condition"   Archie and the gang try to trick unromantic Jughead into kissing Trula Twyst by suggesting to Jughead her kisses taste like peppermint.

#100   "The Homebody"   After the Jones family moves to a new house, Jughead takes a wrong turn and ends up at Trula Twyst's house.

#105   "Notes to You"     Trula Twyst leaves Jughead a series of leading notes.

#112   "Snow Brainer"   Trula demonstrates an ability to discern character traits from the way people construct a snowman.

#120   "That Sinking Feeling"   Jughead is so relaxed at the beach that he starts sinking into the sand. Until he sees Trula Twyst.

#125   "Fit to Be (Yule)Tied"   Jughead, and his sworn nemesis Trula Twyst engage in their latest battle of wits -- what kind of Christmas present to surprise each other with!

#129   "Embracing the Inner Moose"   Jughead's most feared nemesis, Trula Twyst is back, and there's only one thing he can do: emulate Moose to throw her off the trail! Trula has studied every thought, every movement of Jughead, but will she be able to keep up with him now that he thinks and acts like Moose?

#132   "The Case of the Real-Gone Pest"   It's a Jughead story of a different stripe when he learns his epidemic sneezing fits are caused by the mere thought of being in Trula Twyst's presence! But when Trula's mom reports her missing, Jughead feels responsible. He sets out to clear his conscious by finding his nemesis, even if it means clearing his sinuses in the process.

#134   "Do the Write Thing"   When Jughead thinks he spots Trula Twyst reading a book on graphology (the analysis of people's handwriting) he immediately destroys every piece of paper he's scribbled on! But what if he's mistaken? The handwriting is sure to be on the high-school walls!

#139   "No Fear"   Be afraid... be very afraid.... because Jughead is out to prove to Trula Twyst that he's not afraid of girls!

#147   "Disguise the Limit"   The challenge of the day: find a Halloween costume that will conceal Jughead from Trula Tywst!

#148   "De-Lighted I'm Sure!"   Jughead enjoys Trula's company as long as she is watching the Christmas light decorations but she returns to her normal aggravating self when the lights go out.

#153   "The Trula Trap!"   Jughead is bound and gagging when an unfortunate encounter with finger cuffs leaves him stuck to Trula Twyst! Will this commingled condition confound Jughead all summer?!

#159   "The Pooch Plot"   Jughead has gone to the dogs... or at least his name has, when Trula Twyst names her dog after the crowned one!

#160   "The Triple-Threat Kiss of Trula Twyst!"   Trula closes her file on Jughead. The end result of her research is the conclusion that if Jughead were to kiss any girl 3 times, he would fall irrevocably in love with her… but Jughead is skeptical.

#164   "T-Trouble"   Tongues start wagging when Jug is spotted wearing a T-shirt featuring a picture of his nemesis, Trula Twyst!

#165   "Luck, Flee A Lady"   When Jughead pits the bane of his existence, Trula Twyst, against the bad luck-dispensing Jinx Molloy, how can he not end up getting caught in the middle?

#175   "We Meet Again!"   It's a "Twyst" of fate when Trula Twyst returns! Can she and Jughead finally put aside their differences, or will this latest encounter become an outsmarting contest, too?

#176   "The Opinion Maker"   Trula Twyst decides to make some comments about Betty and Veronica to see what the students at Riverdale do about it. Angered by the comments, Jughead takes matters into his own hands.

#187   "Advice Times Twice"   Archie is always coming to Jughead for advice, but now that he needs advice on winning over a certain girl, Jughead is shocked to find he's consulting Trula Twyst! Will Trula's advice on the girl prove successful - or will Jughead's unheeded warnings about Trula end in disaster?

#191   "The Show-Stopper!"   Jughead has been bitten by the acting bug, but will Trula's appearance in the play make him break character?

#199   "(Jug)Head Game"   Jughead's nemesis Trula Twyst sets out to prove her thesis that there's only room for one Jughead in Riverdale - by becoming another Jughead! Who will be the last Jug standing? Trula's unique fascination with and conflicted feelings toward Jughead come to the fore in this tale that threatens to spin the Jughead mythos on its crowned beanie!

#210   "Psyche Out"   Jughead continues his search for a place to call home (at least temporarily). After yet another living situation goes awry, Jughead finds shelter with Riverdale High's resident pop psychologist, Trula Twyst! Jughead hopes to use the opportunity for Trula to analyze him and sort out his family issues before he overstays his welcome! However, Jug may not be the only one taking advantage of his stay.

DIGEST appearances - original source unknown   

"Quirk For Hire!"    JUGHEAD & FRIENDS #11 (digest original?); JUGHEAD DOUBLE DIGEST #170 (July 2011). Archie helps Jughead get a job at the local movie theater, but when Jughead learns his boss is Trula Twyst, he's looking for a fast-fadeout!

"It Takes Two to Tangle"   JUGHEAD DOUBLE DIGEST#191 (June 2013). Trula tricks Jughead into taking her to the school dance.

"Til Debt Do Us Part"   JUGHEAD & ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS #5 (Oct. 2014). After inadvertantly accepting a loan from Trula Twyst, Jughead is desperate to pay her back so as not to be beholden to her.

"Seat of Power"   JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS #23 (Nov. 2016). Jughead definitely has territorial issues when he enters Pop's only to discover "his" accustomed stool at the counter being occupied by Trula Twyst.

Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on December 02, 2016, 01:20:22 PM
^^I definitely gotta pick these up.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 06, 2016, 03:53:38 PM
REGGIE AND ME #1 - It's readable, but definitely one of Tom DeFalco's lesser efforts at scripting for ACP. There's no problem following the story, at least. The biggest criticisms here are ones that generally apply to most of the New Riverdale comic books, i.e.: (A) not much happens in the course of 20 pages, and (B) what does happen isn't particularly funny, or even that interesting. I will admit that there are a lot of classic-style ACP 5 or 6 page stories where you could fairly say that "not much happens", but as long as the story is funny, it hardly matters -- you didn't invest much money or time in those 5 or 6 pages. Another thing that occurs to me is that it's a lot easier to forgive Reggie for being such a total dick as long as it's for the purposes of humor and entertainment -- but when he behaves the same way and he's not being funny, it makes him much less likeable as a character. There's probably no good reason for copying the format of B&V here and having the story narrated by Reggie's dog Vader. The information conveyed in the captions could just as easily be delivered by a disembodied omniscient narrator. The artwork wasn't terrible, or particularly good either, not the worst artwork to appear in a NR comic, but nowhere near the best, either.

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #3 - Might as well admit here that I only picked this up to read the classic reprint in back. I attempted to read the new lead story, but half-a-dozen pages in the dialogue was so boring and tedious that I just gave up and skimmed the rest. Good god, reading an Archie comic book shouldn't feel like work, and this feels like trudging through waist-deep molasses. Audrey Mok's artwork isn't bad, and I could probably get to like it if the writing on this title wasn't nearly incomprehensible. All in all, some of the best art I've seen in a NR comic (aside from Derek Charm), along with absolutely the worst writing on any of the NR comics so far, which is a real shame.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 06, 2016, 08:22:30 PM
A couple of additional thoughts here.

Re: REGGIE #1 - It might have been more interesting if the narration had been via Reggie's own thoughts about himself and the other characters. That might have given us some new insight into how the world of Riverdale High is as seen from Reggie's POV. Missed opportunity. I appreciated the cameos of Evilheart and Pureheart here, but was puzzled that Tom D. was not able (or allowed... editorially speaking) to milk more comedy out of those brief scenes. Or really much comedy at all, on the whole. Nice to see the New Kids appearing somewhere, but unfortunately there's no characterization given to them -- functionally they are mere props in the story.

Re: JOSIE #3 - Just skimming through most of the pages in the lead story, it seems to me that a really decent writer could have made a funny (or at least fun) story out of the artwork just as it was. Things like Alexandra appearing out of nowhere on a Back To The Future-type hoverboard with a T-shirt bazooka really ought to have been funny, but the comic is really bogged down by dialogue which seems to think of itself as too clever by half -- as if merely loading up the dialogue balloons with excess verbiage containing all sorts of non-sequitur references somehow makes it funny. It doesn't. It works against the story, slows down the flow of reading it, and doesn't meld organically with the illustrations. More isn't always better. Get out of the way and let the pictures carry most of the story. Marguerite Bennett must have a tin ear if she thinks anyone talks like this in real life, or that it's the slightest bit believable. I suppose she must think that it's "smart" dialogue, but if it was really smart it wouldn't be trying to hog all the attention to itself, and distracting from the artwork and what's supposed to be going on in the story. It needs to be cut down by at least half. Contrary to what Ms. Bennett may believe, every single dialogue balloon does not need to make the reader stop and think "Oh, isn't that clever".
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on December 08, 2016, 12:06:00 AM
Reggie: Lots of exposition and set up. Of all the new Riversale titles, the writing is the most similar to classic Archie. Another dog narrator? Why?? But Vader was more charming than Hot Dog. I was never a huge fan of Reggie but I'll continue. It's a light read and his dashund is cute.


Josie: my favorite of all the new Riverdale titles. The humor is definitely targeted towards millennials like Archie is targeted towards teens. Continue with at least one Mean Girls reference per comic please! Case in point the Back to the Future reference went over my head. The comic is definitely targeted towards girls (thank you ACP for thinking of us!) with its wordiness and pop culture mentions. With the word count, it's actually worth the cover price in how long it takes me to read it. Whereas other $4 comics I can read in about 2 minutes. And the high waisted bikinis which were causing a fuss over on the Archie Facebook page. Girls look at that and say that outfit looks cute. I want one. Whereas guys automatically deem the girls not sexy enough. I agree the pace of the story is off and Marguerite should fix that. But so is DC Bombshells. It jumps around with non sequiturs but girls love this stuff. Otherwise why would Gilmore Girls be so popular?
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 08, 2016, 12:30:06 AM
I was tempted to say it looks like Valerie has put on a little weight, but then that's true of Pepper as well, and on the whole it pales into insignificance compared to the many other changes rung on the personalities of the characters. This really isn't the Josie and the Pussycats that I know. But then that also applies in varying degrees to all of the characters in the New Riverdale books. 

What works on TV for Gilmore Girls doesn't work in a comic book. They're two different media. Unlike TV, you can't look at the artwork and read extensive text at the same time. The art is supposed to be "read" as a series of still frames that directs your eyes in a natural flow from panel to panel to keep the story moving, with the reader filling in the missing information between panels as your eyes move across the page. Too much dialogue is making the reader linger too long in a single panel, and the non-sequitur references are tangents that take your mind out of what's going on in the story. It's like trying to watch a subtitled movie where there's a ton of dialogue to read and you need to think about what that dialogue is about, and meanwhile there's something going on in the picture that you're missing. It's not exactly like that, because you can control how long it takes you to read it and when you move on to the next picture, but it turns the whole comic into slow motion with commentary. That's the same reason I skip Ryan's North's bottom-of-the-page commentary in JUGHEAD on the first reading. You lose connection with the immediacy of what's actually happening. I don't want a 20-page comic that can be read in five minutes, but there's got to be some balance, and the dialogue here is just too distracting to no good purpose. It calls attention to itself where it shouldn't. Or maybe *sigh* it's because I'm not a girl, and therefore not that smart. I didn't like DC Bombshells, either.

At any rate, that's all I have to say about it because now I'm done with it (unless the comic gets a new writer). Well, I gave it more of a chance than I gave ARCHIE (which I dismissed after issue #2), only because I had more of a vested interest in wanting to like a comic with these characters (same for Sabrina) than I did for Archie, Jughead or Reggie, and I was more predisposed to like it because of the artwork. I'd say the same about B&V, except that when I heard Adam Hughes was writing as well as drawing it, somehow I had a hunch that it wasn't going to wind up being too satisfying for either gender. I'll accept your contention that JOSIE is a 'for girls only' comic, but that being the case, I don't see much of a future for it as a print comic, since the comic shop audience demographic is still overwhelmingly male dominated. I'll be pretty surprised if the print version runs more than 12 issues. It would have to have a pretty heavy word-of-mouth buzz going for it within the comic fangirl network for it to survive. Maybe this is one title that's better off as a Digital-Only comic.

It's funny that you perceive ARCHIE as being targeted to teens. My subjective perception based on the handful of people I know who are reading it (and weren't reading classic Archie before) is that they're all 40-something adults, like the marketing is based on some vague nostalgic brand name recognition for people who stopped reading Archie (if they ever really did) by the time they reached their teens. Of course these are also people who are mainly coming into a comic book shop to buy other titles. It might be vastly different in the digital marketplace.

Between the change in the art style, the change in the writing style, the changes in the characters, the change in who the books are aimed at, and the change from humor-based stories to... something else, there's nothing here for me to connect to. It just seems like ACP is heavily invested in relying on the characters' names and branding more than anything else.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 11, 2016, 01:03:49 PM
REGGIE AND ME #36, 50, 107, & 113

#36 has all Samm Schwartz artwork, and #50 is entirely drawn by Al Hartley. Some interesting stories in some of these. In one of them, Veronica prefers Reggie to Archie, and he then literally knocks himself out trying to impress her. To make a short story even shorter, Reggie winds up taking Veronica to the big dance, and Archie winds up in a full body cast. It's GOOD to have your name in the title, am I right??

In another story, Reggie's car breaks down, and Archie offers him a ride to pick up his date... who is none other than Midge, at her house. After a series of mishaps (all caused by Archie), Reggie's clothes are ruined and he smells like the fish Archie had just caught and had in his car with him, and not only is he a mess, he's late to meet Midge. Arriving finally at Midge's house, Reggie is fit to be tied and furious at Archie, but just misses Big Moose as he's leaving, saying something to Midge like "It's a good thing that rumor I heard about you having a date with Reggie turned out to be untrue!" Wow, did that just sound like Moose was threatening her? And of course, Reggie as well, but it certainly seems like Midge made a date with Reggie, and just finished lying to Moose about it, when confronted by him. And sure enough, when Moose has left, Reggie and Archie pop out of the bushes that hid them from Moose's view as they approached the house, and Midge tells Reggie "It's a good thing you were late! If you'd been on time, Moose would have pulverized you!" Now, Reggie is grateful to Archie for all the problems that caused him to be late, and goes with Midge and Archie to Pop's, to celebrate his good fortune in having narrowly escaped Moose's wrath. The End. ... Wow, that's a switch. Reggie and Midge sure pulled a fast one on Moose, and they seem pretty pleased with themselves. She's quite the little firecracker, isn't she? Makes you think, doesn't it? Maybe Moose's constant paranoia and barely-contained rage is based on something more real than just his imagination -- or is it his jealousy and possessiveness that makes Midge cheat on him? In fact, this story tells you that Midge will try to get away with whatever she can when Moose isn't watching her like a hawk, which implies that she... well, I don't need to draw a picture, do I... ? It would seem to go a long way towards explaining why Reggie is so willing to risk life and limb time and again, if there's even a slight chance he can get Midge alone for a little while. He's not just deluding himself with his own vanity that she's attracted to him. But again, here's another story where REGGIE WINS AGAIN, contrary to the beatings he's usually seen taking from Moose in the final panel of a story from ARCHIE or JUGHEAD, or any other title not called REGGIE AND ME.

Now, there's another story in here where Reggie goes on for pages cruelly taunting Ethel and making all sorts of insensitive wisecracks about her looks, after she asks him to go to a movie with her, using the two free tickets she had (naturally, Jughead had turned her down first). It isn't just one or two mean-spirited insults, he's really laying it on thick with the cruelty. I mean, this goes on for like, two-and-a-half, three pages. It starts out with Reggie, after he turned her down, saying "Hey, I've got to think of my reputation! I can't be seen out in public with someone who looks like you!" and gets worse and worse. Stuff like "Hey, did you try to sue your parents for sticking you with that face?" In one panel, even Moose joins in on the "fun", and makes up his own insults about Ethel's looks. Then Betty hears what he's saying, and (being Betty) leaps to defend Ethel, putting Reggie in his place by telling him what a rotten excuse for a human being he really is. And that goes on for a half-dozen panels or so, and then Archie joins in to try to make Reggie feel like the heel he actually is. They begin to wear him down, and Reggie protests he's really not that bad. To prove it, after they've shamed him into it, he goes out with Ethel on the date as she originally wanted. REALLY? Ethel would even take him up on her original offer after all the really NASTY, hurtful things he said to and about her? Yup. So off they go, arm in arm, as Reggie, with a glum expression on his face, thinks to himself "My problem is, my HEART is bigger than my MOUTH!" BOY, what a fun evening that must have turned out to be for all involved.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 15, 2016, 11:16:39 AM
WALT DISNEY'S MICKEY & DONALD CHRISTMAS PARADE #2 (2016)

This is a 68-page "bookshelf format" (thick glossy white pages, squarebound, with a stiff glossy cardboard cover) comic book, that contains only 4 pages of non-story material (and one contents page), for the very nice price of $5.99.

The new (to the USA, translated from the Swedish Kalle Ankas Pocket 422, 2013) lead story is the epic 43-page all-star adventure, "Tis No Season". In it, Mickey Mouse, returning from a time-traveling adventure in the 1890s in which he teamed up with Sherlock Holmes, arrives back in Mouseton 2016 to find that his friend Doc Static's laboratory is nothing but a dusty, disused building that looks like it's been vacant for decades. Doc Static had invented a device that charged Mickey's body with chronal energy, so he could visit the past without using a time machine. When the chronal charge dissipated, Mickey was supposed to return to the exact moment he left. He did return to 2016, but not the same 2016 that he left! So what happened? Seeking out the Doc, Mickey discovers that he's now a librarian, and had never even been a scientist! Even worse, he soon discovers that Christmas no longer exists! Accessing a computer, Mickey finds to his relief that the new timeline he finds himself in had nothing to do with his adventure in the 1890s, but that Christmas has been outlawed since 1956! Seeking to solve the mystery, correct the chronal divergence, and save Christmas, he turns to Donald Duck for help. Donald thinks his old pal Mickey has gone off his nut, since Don can never remember a time when Christmas was celebrated, but takes him to see Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge does remember Christmas (because he's way older than 60), and agrees to help Mickey (because having no Christmas season has negatively impacted Scrooge's many commercial ventures!), and Huey, Dewey, and Louie are very interested in this idea of a holiday on which kids receive tons of presents! Scrooge explains that on the night of December 24, 1956, when Santa Claus visited all the houses in the twin cities of Mouseton and Duckburg, instead of leaving presents, he robbed every single home! The shocking news quickly spread around the world, and people were so frightened by the idea, and the possibility of a repeat performance, that Christmas itself was quickly outlawed. Irascible Donald is still skeptical, but grudgingly agrees to help, and takes them to see Duckburg's resident genius inventor, Gyro Gearloose, who of course has a time machine on hand. Traveling back to the fateful night of the time divergence in 1956, Mickey, Donald, Scrooge and the boys all witness a horde of miniature robotic Santas wreaking havoc on their two hometowns and robbing homes of all their valuables, which attack our heroes with destructive ray beams when they are caught being observed in the performance of their pernicious programming. Obviously this must be the work of a sinister mastermind -- and why didn't the real Santa Claus stop it? To discover what happened to the real Santa, the pals take a quick trip to the North Pole, where they discover that Santa, his workshop, and all his elves and reindeer have been trapped in a time stasis bubble! Mickey quickly deduces that this plot is so perfidious, so diabolical, that only one arch-criminal mind can be behind it -- no one else but Mickey's nefarious Number One-nemesis, THE PHANTOM BLOT! How Mickey, Donald, Scrooge and the nephews track the Blot to his lair, free Santa from the time stasis bubble, defeat the Blot's evil army of killer Santa robots, and restore Christmas to its rightful place in history, makes for a fun and interesting Christmas story, in fact, the best Christmas story I've read in quite some time (although last year's MICKEY & DONALD CHRISTMAS PARADE also had quite a good, long Christmas story -- but I believe IDW has topped themselves this year).

I only wish ACP could offer something in a similar format. These Christmas specials from IDW aren't tied to any particular year, really (which explains how a time travel story that was published in Sweden in 2013 can easily be updated in translation, and lose nothing). Or at the very least, they should make a new, long story (25-30 pages) and include it in the ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL Christmas issue. Since ACP loves to sell direct through the mail, these could be stocked (and advertised as still available in the digests) for years, until they were all gone.

The special also contains a couple of one-page Xmas gag strips featuring Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, a 5-page Big Bad Wolf story called "That Sinking Feeling" where B.B. Wolf seemingly turns over a new leaf and gains the Christmas spirit (but Practical Pig, being the skeptical sort of swine, is still suspicious), and closes out with a 12-page Donald Duck and Gyro Gearloose adventure called "Vacation INGENIOUS" in which, during a blizzard in Duckburg, overworked and frazzled inventor Gyro decides to join Donald on an impromptu ski vacation, to get away from constant work and relax (but somehow, he's just unable to stop inventing things!) -- this last tale isn't really a Christmas story, but more of a "winter vacation" story. As with the lead story, all of these are translated from European-generated Disney comics, and appear here for the first time in a US publication.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on December 15, 2016, 08:41:18 PM
WALT DISNEY'S MICKEY & DONALD CHRISTMAS PARADE #2 (2016)

This is a 68-page "bookshelf format" (thick glossy white pages, squarebound, with a stiff glossy cardboard cover) comic book, that contains only 4 pages of non-story material (and one contents page), for the very nice price of $5.99.

The new (to the USA, translated from the Swedish Kalle Ankas Pocket 422, 2013) lead story is the epic 43-page all-star adventure, "Tis No Season". In it, Mickey Mouse, returning from a time-traveling adventure in the 1890s in which he teamed up with Sherlock Holmes, arrives back in Mouseton 2016 to find that his friend Doc Static's laboratory is nothing but a dusty, disused building that looks like it's been vacant for decades. Doc Static had invented a device that charged Mickey's body with chronal energy, so he could visit the past without using a time machine. When the chronal charge dissipated, Mickey was supposed to return to the exact moment he left. He did return to 2016, but not the same 2016 that he left! So what happened? Seeking out the Doc, Mickey discovers that he's now a librarian, and had never even been a scientist! Even worse, he soon discovers that Christmas no longer exists! Accessing a computer, Mickey finds to his relief that the new timeline he finds himself in had nothing to do with his adventure in the 1890s, but that Christmas has been outlawed since 1956! Seeking to solve the mystery, correct the chronal divergence, and save Christmas, he turns to Donald Duck for help. Donald thinks his old pal Mickey has gone off his nut, since Don can never remember a time when Christmas was celebrated, but takes him to see Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge does remember Christmas (because he's way older than 60), and agrees to help Mickey (because having no Christmas season has negatively impacted Scrooge's many commercial ventures!), and Huey, Dewey, and Louie are very interested in this idea of a holiday on which kids receive tons of presents! Scrooge explains that on the night of December 24, 1956, when Santa Claus visited all the houses in the twin cities of Mouseton and Duckburg, instead of leaving presents, he robbed every single home! The shocking news quickly spread around the world, and people were so frightened by the idea, and the possibility of a repeat performance, that Christmas itself was quickly outlawed. Irascible Donald is still skeptical, but grudgingly agrees to help, and takes them to see Duckburg's resident genius inventor, Gyro Gearloose, who of course has a time machine on hand. Traveling back to the fateful night of the time divergence in 1956, Mickey, Donald, Scrooge and the boys all witness a horde of miniature robotic Santas wreaking havoc on their two hometowns and robbing homes of all their valuables, which attack our heroes with destructive ray beams when they are caught being observed in the performance of their pernicious programming. Obviously this must be the work of a sinister mastermind -- and why didn't the real Santa Claus stop it? To discover what happened to the real Santa, the pals take a quick trip to the North Pole, where they discover that Santa, his workshop, and all his elves and reindeer have been trapped in a time stasis bubble! Mickey quickly deduces that this plot is so perfidious, so diabolical, that only one arch-criminal mind can be behind it -- no one else but Mickey's nefarious Number One-nemesis, THE PHANTOM BLOT! How Mickey, Donald, Scrooge and the nephews track the Blot to his lair, free Santa from the time stasis bubble, defeat the Blot's evil army of killer Santa robots, and restore Christmas to its rightful place in history, makes for a fun and interesting Christmas story, in fact, the best Christmas story I've read in quite some time (although last year's MICKEY & DONALD CHRISTMAS PARADE also had quite a good, long Christmas story -- but I believe IDW has topped themselves this year).

I only wish ACP could offer something in a similar format. These Christmas specials from IDW aren't tied to any particular year, really (which explains how a time travel story that was published in Sweden in 2013 can easily be updated in translation, and lose nothing). Or at the very least, they should make a new, long story (25-30 pages) and include it in the ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL Christmas issue. Since ACP loves to sell direct through the mail, these could be stocked (and advertised as still available in the digests) for years, until they were all gone.

The special also contains a couple of one-page Xmas gag strips featuring Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, a 5-page Big Bad Wolf story called "That Sinking Feeling" where B.B. Wolf seemingly turns over a new leaf and gains the Christmas spirit (but Practical Pig, being the skeptical sort of swine, is still suspicious), and closes out with a 12-page Donald Duck and Gyro Gearloose adventure called "Vacation INGENIOUS" in which, during a blizzard in Duckburg, overworked and frazzled inventor Gyro decides to join Donald on an impromptu ski vacation, to get away from constant work and relax (but somehow, he's just unable to stop inventing things!) -- this last tale isn't really a Christmas story, but more of a "winter vacation" story. As with the lead story, all of these are translated from European-generated Disney comics, and appear here for the first time in a US publication.


Great review! I love Christmas comics. I wish there was more of them. I have this on order from Midtown since it doesn't come in digital. :(
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 23, 2016, 05:15:53 AM
ASTRO BOY - Finally finished the last couple of years worth of the 18-year run of the original series from Shonen magazine(1951-1968), plus some miscellaneous stories from the 1970s through 1981, and the 27-month run of the newspaper strip (1967-69). The latter was more of a sequel to the 1963-66 B&W anime series, which ended its television run (Episode #193) with the boy robot hero melted to a slab of metal falling ever closer towards the sun, about to sacrifice his robotic existence in a last-ditch attempt to save every living creature on Earth. The metal slab was a fragment of a spaceship hull which had been destroyed by a meteor shower as Astro had attempted to pilot it into the sun's coronasphere, and contained an anti-proton bomb designed to quell errant solar eruptions which were wreaking havoc on Earth's global climate and would soon make human life on earth impossible. The rocket couldn't be directed by remote control from Earth, since the solar eruptions would interfere with any radio communications, and the bomb was the only one of its kind in existence, and had to be precisely targeted to have the desired effect. Solar magnetism would have affected any pre-programmed guidance system, and there was only time for one attempt, so an intelligent pilot was the only option. In the end Astro guides the course of the bomb using his own built-in rockets until his energy fails, and he is fused with the remains of the ship as he approaches more closely to the sun's heat. In the daily newspaper comic he's rescued from his final fate by technologically-advanced aliens who repair him and send him back to Earth along with one of their own, an insectoid female named Scara who has taken on human form, but the alien ship's method of spacewarp travel results in them both arriving on Earth in contemporary times (meaning the late 1960s). Astro experiences many adventures (including meeting his 21st Century mentor Dr. Ochanamizu as a young man, and getting involved in the Vietnam war) before finally running out of energy. His inert body does remain in existence until the 21st Century date when he will be born, finally disintegrating upon his actual 'birth'. From that point forward, the newspaper comic becomes a rebooted/retold version of his earliest adventures, although the actual stories (apart from the retold origin with new details) are different than those of the Shonen magazine run. It was quite a run of stories for AstroBoy -- 23 volumes in paperback. I'm still working my way through the rest of the anime episodes (about 45 left to go) of the 1963 anime series that were not adapted from the manga stories.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: SAGG on December 24, 2016, 12:39:13 AM

REGGIE AND ME #1 - It's readable, but definitely one of Tom DeFalco's lesser efforts at scripting for ACP. There's no problem following the story, at least. The biggest criticisms here are ones that generally apply to most of the New Riverdale comic books, i.e.: (A) not much happens in the course of 20 pages, and (B) what does happen isn't particularly funny, or even that interesting. I will admit that there are a lot of classic-style ACP 5 or 6 page stories where you could fairly say that "not much happens", but as long as the story is funny, it hardly matters -- you didn't invest much money or time in those 5 or 6 pages. Another thing that occurs to me is that it's a lot easier to forgive Reggie for being such a total dick as long as it's for the purposes of humor and entertainment -- but when he behaves the same way and he's not being funny, it makes him much less likeable as a character. There's probably no good reason for copying the format of B&V here and having the story narrated by Reggie's dog Vader. The information conveyed in the captions could just as easily be delivered by a disembodied omniscient narrator. The artwork wasn't terrible, or particularly good either, not the worst artwork to appear in a NR comic, but nowhere near the best, either.

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #3 - Might as well admit here that I only picked this up to read the classic reprint in back. I attempted to read the new lead story, but half-a-dozen pages in the dialogue was so boring and tedious that I just gave up and skimmed the rest. Good god, reading an Archie comic book shouldn't feel like work, and this feels like trudging through waist-deep molasses. Audrey Mok's artwork isn't bad, and I could probably get to like it if the writing on this title wasn't nearly incomprehensible. All in all, some of the best art I've seen in a NR comic (aside from Derek Charm), along with absolutely the worst writing on any of the NR comics so far, which is a real shame.








SPOILER ALERT:
I think the writers were being cute here, and thought they were being clever, with the old Saturday morning cartoon version of Josie and the Pussycats, with the villain and all. I thought the way the Josie/Alexandra angle was being played had an interesting take: On the surface, from Josie's POV, Alexandra was the bad gal, but then Alexandra turned the tables, and made Josie really to be the one who's fault it was. However, I don't think Josie was really using Alexandra's money because they'd still be "friends" now just for the money angle where Josie could ride the gravy train. Josie basically used Alexandra, but not for the money. I think Josie just grew apart from her, but didn't let Alexandra know how much Josie's drifting hurt Alexandra, who grew resentful...
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on December 24, 2016, 02:34:21 AM
I think the writers were being cute here, and thought they were being clever, with the old Saturday morning cartoon version of Josie and the Pussycats, with the villain and all. I thought the way the Josie/Alexandra angle was being played had an interesting take: On the surface, from Josie's POV, Alexandra was the bad gal, but then Alexandra turned the tables, and made Josie really to be the one who's fault it was. However, I don't think Josie was really using Alexandra's money because they'd still be "friends" now just for the money angle where Josie could ride the gravy train. Josie basically used Alexandra, but not for the money. I think Josie just grew apart from her, but didn't let Alexandra know how much Josie's drifting hurt Alexandra, who grew resentful...

That's all well and good as cake frosting. That is, if it just adds some additional level of interest or depth to a story that primarily exists to be fun or funny and entertaining, because the latter is really the only reason I need to read Archie Comics. I'm not looking for serious character interaction as the primary reason for reading. It's all secondary to a story that interests me for what's happening -- the events and ideas in the story. The only thing that makes me want to read Archie Comics as opposed to some other comics that might have stories about interesting events and ideas is for relaxation and amusement, and they are entertaining to me only insofar as they they take my mind off the boring day-to-day grind, and leave me with a feeling of having had a little fun or a chuckle.

If I want something else from a comic book, I can easily read about Batman keeping the people around him at arms' length and alienating them emotionally by being controlling and/or distrustful, but I don't even particularly care to read about that anymore.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on January 26, 2017, 02:36:24 PM
ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #276 - Haven't finished reading this yet, but I flipped through it and read a few stories, including of course, the new lead story by Dan Parent.

Some of the highlights in this issue include: "The Elevenaire" by Craig Boldman and Stan Goldberg; a section with 2 stories of Archie's SuperTeens: "Mad Doctor Doom's Dupe!" (I wonder if that wasn't the first teenage Archie story to use Mad Doc D, who usually appeared only in Little Archie stories prior to this?) and "Evilheart's Revenge!" - both stories spotlighting Reggie as Evilheart, and both by Frank Doyle and Bob White; and a couple of selections from LIFE WITH ARCHIE issues, "That Far Out Feeling" (in which Archie encounters teen alien invader Supro) and "The Perilous Past!" (a 24th Century interplanetary escapade with the crew of Starship Rivda), again both written by Doyle with art by Stan Goldberg.

The new lead story is "Dear FAKE Diary", featuring Archie, Veronica, and Jughead. Dan's art is always a pleasure to look at, but the ending of this story left me puzzled and a little disappointed. The plot concerns Jughead putting Archie up to making up a fake diary as a test for Veronica - which he leaves lying around, and of course (I don't think this should be a spoiler for anyone - otherwise there wouldn't be any story here) she does read. I won't say any more for fear of giving it ALL away, but the ending sort of flabbergasted me, so I guess I have to explain why. At the end I sat thinking about it for a minute or two, and it seemed to force me to come to one of the following multiple-choice conclusions:

A)  Veronica is pretty stupid.

B)  Archie is pretty smart.

C)  Both A and B are true.

Since ANY of those conclusions seems to fly in the face of everything I've learned about these characters, I just didn't know what to make of the story's ending. Even more mystifying to me was that, in thinking a bit more about it, I know DAN PARENT can't believe any of those things. So I really, REALLY don't know how to explain this story.  ???
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on January 26, 2017, 03:18:20 PM
ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #276 - Haven't finished reading this yet, but I flipped through it and read a few stories, including of course, the new lead story by Dan Parent.

Some of the highlights in this issue include: "The Elevenaire" by Craig Boldman and Stan Goldberg; a section with 2 stories of Archie's SuperTeens: "Mad Doctor Doom's Dupe!" (I wonder if that wasn't the first teenage Archie story to use Mad Doc D, who usually appeared only in Little Archie stories prior to this?) and "Evilheart's Revenge!" - both stories spotlighting Reggie as Evilheart, and both by Frank Doyle and Bob White; and a couple of selections from LIFE WITH ARCHIE issues, "That Far Out Feeling" (in which Archie encounters teen alien invader Supro) and "The Perilous Past!" (a 24th Century interplanetary escapade with the crew of Starship Rivda), again both written by Doyle with art by Stan Goldberg.

The new lead story is "Dear FAKE Diary", featuring Archie, Veronica, and Jughead. Dan's art is always a pleasure to look at, but the ending of this story left me puzzled and a little disappointed. The plot concerns Jughead putting Archie up to making up a fake diary as a test for Veronica - which he leaves lying around, and of course (I don't think this should be a spoiler for anyone - otherwise there wouldn't be any story here) she does read. I won't say any more for fear of giving it ALL away, but the ending sort of flabbergasted me, so I guess I have to explain why. At the end I sat thinking about it for a minute or two, and it seemed to force me to come to one of the following multiple-choice conclusions:

A)  Veronica is pretty stupid.

B)  Archie is pretty smart.

C)  Both A and B are true.

Since ANY of those conclusions seems to fly in the face of everything I've learned about these characters, I just didn't know what to make of the story's ending. Even more mystifying to me was that, in thinking a bit more about it, I know DAN PARENT can't believe any of those things. So I really, REALLY don't know how to explain this story.  ???


I think they've used the fake diary story before. I think Betty wrote a fake diary about her life to fool Veronica.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on January 26, 2017, 03:26:47 PM
ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #276 - Haven't finished reading this yet, but I flipped through it and read a few stories, including of course, the new lead story by Dan Parent.

Some of the highlights in this issue include: "The Elevenaire" by Craig Boldman and Stan Goldberg; a section with 2 stories of Archie's SuperTeens: "Mad Doctor Doom's Dupe!" (I wonder if that wasn't the first teenage Archie story to use Mad Doc D, who usually appeared only in Little Archie stories prior to this?) and "Evilheart's Revenge!" - both stories spotlighting Reggie as Evilheart, and both by Frank Doyle and Bob White; and a couple of selections from LIFE WITH ARCHIE issues, "That Far Out Feeling" (in which Archie encounters teen alien invader Supro) and "The Perilous Past!" (a 24th Century interplanetary escapade with the crew of Starship Rivda), again both written by Doyle with art by Stan Goldberg.

The new lead story is "Dear FAKE Diary", featuring Archie, Veronica, and Jughead. Dan's art is always a pleasure to look at, but the ending of this story left me puzzled and a little disappointed. The plot concerns Jughead putting Archie up to making up a fake diary as a test for Veronica - which he leaves lying around, and of course (I don't think this should be a spoiler for anyone - otherwise there wouldn't be any story here) she does read. I won't say any more for fear of giving it ALL away, but the ending sort of flabbergasted me, so I guess I have to explain why. At the end I sat thinking about it for a minute or two, and it seemed to force me to come to one of the following multiple-choice conclusions:

A)  Veronica is pretty stupid.

B)  Archie is pretty smart.

C)  Both A and B are true.

Since ANY of those conclusions seems to fly in the face of everything I've learned about these characters, I just didn't know what to make of the story's ending. Even more mystifying to me was that, in thinking a bit more about it, I know DAN PARENT can't believe any of those things. So I really, REALLY don't know how to explain this story.  ???


I think they've used the fake diary story before. I think Betty wrote a fake diary about her life to fool Veronica.

SEVERAL times, in fact. But this isn't a B&V story, so the BFF/frenemies dichotomy which makes that such a good plot for them doesn't apply here. Unlike Archie or Jughead, there's never a doubt here in the reader's mind as to a question of whether she will or she won't*, so that's not even what the story turns out to be about (although that's what Jughead thinks it's about, and I guess it's fair to assume he's convinced Archie as well). The big deal with the story is exactly what she reads in the fake diary, and how she reacts to what she reads. I guess it's fair to say that that's also the case for those B&V stories, but the difference is this: We KNOW Betty is smart, of that there can be no doubt. Smart enough to fool Veronica, even though she's not dumb, but because Betty knows her so well.

*[After all, we HAVE read those B&V stories, haven't we?]
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on January 30, 2017, 02:39:43 AM
DEAD@17 (Vol. 1) TP - I've known about this for ages, but never really got around to it even though it was always on my 'have to check that out' list. Interestingly, this also started as a webcomic (same as with SCARLET TRACES, which I read earlier this week). It's got some interesting elements, and some that are more formula, but at least it's looking like this first volume sets up a little different mix to the formula elements. I like Josh Howard's art a lot (which to me seems similar to Michael Avon Oeming's). Either of those artists (or someone like Chynna Clugston) would have worked a lot better for an Archie reboot, assuming we have to have one, because they're still basically cartoon styles. It's kind of a 'girlfriends' story, as the title heroine, Nara Kilday (dead at 17, but resurrected as some type of pivotal player in a forthcoming epic battle between good and evil, whose exact role in coming events remains as yet unclear), and her BFF Hazy Foss are the two main characters.

It's made clear in the story that Nara now possesses great power and is functionally beyond death's grip, but knowledge about her purpose remains unknown to her, so in most respects she remains the same 17-year old high school student she was before she was killed. It seems like she's now part messiah and part Joan of Arc, but receives no answers to her questions from God. I thought it was interesting that Josh Howard addressed that aspect, since most horror stories about some ultimate evil apocalypse seem to avoid any mention of an opposing power. Ultimate evil in this instance is represented by a demonic creature named Bolabogg, whose chief lieutenant is Legion, another demon able to possess and control multiple bodies of the recently dead (but they don't behave like movie zombies). Fortunately Nara discovers that she has allies in a group called the Protectorate, and it is strongly implied that her birth parents were members of that group. A rogue faction of that covert group under the leadership of a Mr. Pitch tries to use the resurrected Nara's body as a vessel for Bolabogg to inhabit this world, but is foiled by Protectorate agents with help from Nara's friends and ultimately by Nara's own resistance to Bolabogg's domination of her will.

Bolabogg appeared as a character in Howard's THE LOST BOOKS OF EVE, which I also read earlier this week. There he is identified as the most favored of the 12 sons of Lilith (Adam's first wife). God also makes an on-screen appearance in that story as a character. Since that story does not appear to have continued beyond the first volume, hopefully DEAD@17 incorporates more elements of that story in later volumes and will explain a little about what happened after that story left off, with Adam kidnapped by Lilith and Eve left in the clutches of Bolabogg. Genre-wise, Afterlife With Archie would be the most direct comparison, but you could say it also has some elements of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (but Howard's story appeared much earlier - this version of the TP is from 2008). For what that's worth, I think I like this story better, enough to read the rest of the series. At least it seems to have a few more interesting angles than the usual zombie apocalypse/satanic cult story.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on February 02, 2017, 06:23:42 AM
MICKEY'S INFERNO (Disney Graphic Novel #4) HC - Until I saw this listed in the Previews catalog, I had no idea Papercutz was doing Disney Comics. I don't know what Disney Graphic Novels #1-3 were, either. There's an ad for other TP collections on the inside that includes PLANES (a spinoff of CARS, no doubt), 2 volumes of MICKEY X (looks like some kind of Disney/X-Files mashup), and 2 volumes of MINNIE & DAISY: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (a Disney spin on B&V?). MICKEY'S INFERNO is an Italian reprint from a 6-part serial that ran from October 1949 to March 1950 in Topolino, which makes it one of the earliest (if not the earliest) reprint of any of the European Disney material yet. It's an adaptation/parody of Dante's Divine Comedy (specifically The Inferno part), with Mickey playing the role of Dante and Goofy playing his guide through the underworld, the poet Virgil. I've never read any translation of Dante's Inferno, only seen a few adaptations, so it's hard to say exactly how faithful to the original work this is, but I'm familiar with the basic story. Various (1930s/1940s) Disney characters appear in the story in minor roles as some of the inhabitants of Hell that Dante and Virgil encounter, including Peg Leg Pete, Donald Duck, Dopey, Big Bad Wolf, Br'er Bear & Br'er Fox, Dopey and even Dumbo (...it's hard to imagine what Dumbo could have done in life to deserve being consigned to the fiery pit...)! The story is told using both traditional word balloons and a running series of caption text in every panel (one rhyming line followed by a line that doesn't, followed by a second rhyming line). I gather that's supposed to be imitative of the way that Dante structured the verse of his cantos, but it's somewhat distracting segueing back and forth between the panels and the running narrative captions (many of which include not just Dante's narration, but dialogue spoken by various characters as well). You know the translation (by Stefan Petrucca) of the original Italian comic script has to be very loose here, as some of the jokes contained in the captions contain modern references that would not have existed in 1949/1950. Makes for a bit of a slow read (I found myself reading a lot of the captions at least twice, as the meter seems very odd to me), but nonetheless I have a certain fascination with this story and Dante's imagined structure of Hell itself, as a series of concentric circles descending with each level (smaller than the last and reserved for those who have committed greater sins) toward the ultimate pit in the center where Satan himself resides. Being a Disney comic however, some of the nature of those sins is glossed over (and occasional cantos are skipped completely). I'm only about halfway through this (73 page) graphic novel at the moment.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on February 19, 2017, 05:18:59 AM
JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #25 - I was pleasantly surprised to find my subscription copy in the mailbox yesterday, 5 days ahead of its release in comic shops next Wednesday. The lead story in here by Dan Parent is "Child's Play", in which Archie and Jughead get jobs working as costumed performers on a local kids' show, "Jollie's Circus Show" (turns out Jughead is a big fan of Jollie's - he never misses the show). Archie gets hired to wear a rabbit suit (Mr. Floppy), and Jughead winds up cast as Bobo the Bear. They get the jobs because the show needs a guitarist and a drummer (so it's kind of like The Banana Splits?) Jollie turns out to be not-so-jolly, and Jughead is disillusioned (and this reminded me of stories I heard about a certain local kid's show host when I was young; it may be that there are a lot of local legends like that). It's a funny story, but the premise immediately struck me as oddly dated. I remember local programming of kids' shows from my childhood (and I'm sure Dan does as well), but I could have sworn these type of locally-produced programs ceased to exist a couple (or three) decades ago. Am I wrong about that? I guess I can just let it go, and say Riverdale is stuck in a never-neverland nostalgic timeless era.

There's a couple of other notable Dan Parent stories in here, one of which, "Streetsmart Strategy" is drawn by Stan Goldberg (I don't think I've ever seen one). In fact, I skipped reading the credits for the story, but noticed it's another one of those stories (I've seen several) where Jellybean is so adorably cute that she's attracting all sorts of attention (exclusively from teenage girls in this particular instance) while Jughead is out walking her in her stroller. On page 3, in panel 2, it's a medium head shot of Jellybean by herself, and in a thought balloon (responding to Jughead's comment in the previous panel: "I love you like a sister, JB, but you DO present problems!") Jellybean thinks to herself "A sweet little charmer like ME present problems? What a cockamamie idea!". At that moment, even though I'd never before seen a Dan Parent story drawn by Stan Goldberg, I thought... "Waitaminnit. Is this a DAN PARENT story?" and flipping back to the credits, I confirmed I was right. So it's a little scary to me now that I can so readily identify a DP story without even knowing the credits beforehand. In fact, there's another Jughead story in here that Dan Parent drew, which is credited here as written by George Gladir ("Identical Opposites!"). A couple of pages into it though, I was already beginning to doubt the veracity of that credit, as the whole story just seemed too Dan Parent-ish ... or Dan Parental? ... Whatever. Then on page 3, Ginger Lopez (a DP-creation) shows up in the story, and I was 98% certain that someone at ACP had flubbed the credits. Just to be absolutely sure though, I looked up the story (which first appeared, and was cover-featured, in JUGHEAD JONES DIGEST #100, May 1996), and sure enough, on GCDb the writing is credited to Dan. The story introduces Jughead's cousin Nathan, who looks exactly like Jughead, but behaves completely differently. (I was reminded here of Archie's identical opposite twin cousin, the well-mannered and cultured Alistair from the English branch of the Andrews family, but he's a later creation, first having appeared in ARCHIE #527 in 2002). Alistair Andrews was created by Greg Crosby. Both stories were probably inspired by The Patty Duke Show (and I know Dan is a big fan of classic sitcoms)... "They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike; You can lose your mind! When cousins... are two of a kind!". I should remind Dan about Nathan Jones next time I see him, and ask him about putting him in a new story together with Alistair Andrews... that could be fun. Like, what would happen if both Alistair and Nathan showed up in Riverdale at the same time, and Archie & Jughead hatched a 'Prince & the Pauper' scam at the same time that Betty & Veronica schemed their own little 'Trading Places' plot?

There's the usual mix of Jughead stories filling out this issue - a few Boldman/Lindsey Jughead stories (and a couple of Gladir/Lindsey stories, too), a half-dozen Samm Schwartz classics, a few new and a few old Stan Goldberg ones, and a mish-mosh of other artists like Dick Malmgren, Tim Kennedy, Bob White, Fernando Ruiz, Al Hartley, Chic Stone, and Bill Vigoda.

Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on February 19, 2017, 04:42:34 PM
JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #25 - I was pleasantly surprised to find my subscription copy in the mailbox yesterday, 5 days ahead of its release in comic shops next Wednesday. The lead story in here by Dan Parent is "Child's Play", in which Archie and Jughead get jobs working as costumed performers on a local kids' show, "Jollie's Circus Show" (turns out Jughead is a big fan of Jollie's - he never misses the show). Archie gets hired to wear a rabbit suit (Mr. Floppy), and Jughead winds up cast as Bobo the Bear. They get the jobs because the show needs a guitarist and a drummer (so it's kind of like The Banana Splits?) Jollie turns out to be not-so-jolly, and Jughead is disillusioned (and this reminded me of stories I heard about a certain local kid's show host when I was young; it may be that there are a lot of local legends like that). It's a funny story, but the premise immediately struck me as oddly dated. I remember local programming of kids' shows from my childhood (and I'm sure Dan does as well), but I could have sworn these type of locally-produced programs ceased to exist a couple (or three) decades ago. Am I wrong about that? I guess I can just let it go, and say Riverdale is stuck in a never-neverland nostalgic timeless era.


I remember local TV programming for homework. Where you could call in and a tutor would help you with a math problem live on the show.


Costume characters are still fairly popular at children's birthday parties. Like women dressed up as Elsa or other Disney princesses.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on February 20, 2017, 02:13:19 AM
I remember local TV programming for homework. Where you could call in and a tutor would help you with a math problem live on the show.

Costume characters are still fairly popular at children's birthday parties. Like women dressed up as Elsa or other Disney princesses.

I know that local cable access stations still exist, and so do major market stations that produce local programming, even some aimed at or starring kids (but these tend to be more in the mold of PBS' kids' programming such as Sesame Street).

The phenomena to which I'm referring here is similar to such nationally-syndicated precursors as The Howdy Doody Show or Bozo's Big Top (later known as Bozo's Circus). Bozo the Clown started out as a kid's show host in a local market and later expanded to national syndication. "Jollie's Circus Show" in the Jughead story above is clearly based on Bozo's Circus (some type of clown kids' show host may have accounted for almost half the local shows of this kind). Other types of kids' show hosts took on different personas, like cowboys or spacemen. The format of these shows nearly always involved a number of regular costumed cast members, a live (and frequently interactive) studio audience of kids, and skits, puppet characters, games & prize contests, usually interspersed with a number of syndicated cartoons (Gumby would not have been out of place in such a lineup). Both daily morning and afternoon programming time slots had shows of this type, as well as some weekly ones in early Saturday or Sunday morning time slots. This type of locally-produced kid's show host program was nearly ubiquitous in all major television markets in the 1960s, many of which were popular enough to continue through the 1970s. The introduction of cable TV programming into these same markets in the 1980s slowly made those kinds of programs an endangered species, and they were all but extinct by the early 1990s.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on February 26, 2017, 04:42:54 PM
FRANKEN FRAN by Katsuhisa Kigitsu. Seven Seas published this in 4 large omnibus volumes (originally the series ran 8 tankobon volumes published by Akita Shoten in Japan), totaling about 1600 pages. I spent the better part of 5 days reading the whole thing. Not what I was originally expecting. The covers sort of make it look like part of the 'sexy monster girl' subgenre of manga, but it was nothing of the kind (in fact, there's no fanservice here at all, and Fran never appears other than modestly clothed). It was more of a horror/black comedy thing, and it was excellent. A bit gory and grotesque (particularly the earlier stories), but what would you expect from Franken-anything? The earliest stories in the first volume weren't as good as later ones, and I didn't always quite comprehend what the endings were about. It gets quite a bit better as it progresses though, especially after the author begins to include a fair amount of real bio-science as the basis of the stories (I think I may actually have learned a few things about biology here, as explained by Fran). That aspect of it reminded me a lot of Osamu Tezuka's stories of the rogue surgeon BLACK JACK, which always included a fair amount of medical science to make the stories feel convincing (since Tezuka did have a medical doctorate). That made me wonder whether Kigitsu had studied biology and/or medicine as well, as he has included a lot of factual background explanations. The emphasis on the grotesque and disturbing here is of the human fear of biological processes and body morphology horror, similar to Junji Ito's TOMIE. The stories for the most part seem to have those black comedy twist endings based on irony or karmic turnabout of the same type favored in the classic E.C. Comics, although sometimes they varied by being of the open-ended "... The End?" type where the reader is left to wonder what sort of consequences (surely bad) would result. Kigitsu managed to cover quite a few genres or tropes as satires, too. Actually I'd say that there's quite a bit more than just horror and comedy here, as the stories become more varied as they go along. Each 24 page chapter is a complete story (although many of the stories are subsequently revisited by sequels in chapters later on), with 16 stories per omnibus volume (plus a couple of 6-page bonus stories, 2 one-page gags, and 2 pages of the author's notes on the stories), making up about 400 pages for each of the four omnibus volumes.

Fran Madaraki is a patchwork girl who resembles a very thin teenager with long straight blonde hair (her character design reminded me somewhat of Tim Burton's THE CORPSE BRIDE), if you ignore the fact (and almost everyone seems to) that she has two giant electrodes (the heads of which are the approximate size of tuna cans) protruding from the temples of her skull and her body is covered with stitched-up seams. She is considered the daughter of the famous (and now long-missing) Professor Madaraki, whose cutting edge work for the government of Japan in bio-engineering had begun back in World War II (so if still alive somewhere, and it's implied that he is, he'd be quite ancient). In reality, she's his greatest creation and his greatest pupil (in later stories, when Fran speaks of the Professor, it's clear that her love for him is more than that of a daughter for her father). She seems to be quite famous herself, and no one in the stories ever displays any shock or alarm at her stitches or electrodes. Whenever she's walking along the artist has drawn little "wobble, wobble" and "totter, totter" SFX to indicate that her gait or balance is somewhat unsteady or shaky, but in the operating room Fran's a positive dynamo of energy (and she usually preps for the surgery by upgrading herself with a pair or two of extra arms beforehand), announcing with great enthusiasm, "BEGIN THE OPERATION!!" or something similar. She's most commonly seen in a pensive mood sitting at her computer or at a desk with pen and notepad, pondering a biomedical challenge with a thoughtful look and a finger on her chin. Fran's personality is what really stitches all the stories together, as she sometimes plays a minor role (in terms of panel time), with the bulk of the story being given over to the patient or subject of her experimentation. Fran really does have the highest respect for saving (or restoring) a life, but she's perhaps a little less fussy about exactly what form that life might take, so you might say her morality is a little more flexible than the average person's, and she has no natural revulsion for the gruesome biological details, or prejudices regarding other forms of life than human. Her experimental surgery frequently leads to unforeseen results, and her patients should always think carefully before they engage her services. Then too, sometimes her best intentions have a way of going awry -- and at other times, her desire to prove an experimental theory seems to have overwhelmed her better judgment in considering the potential negative consequences. Or maybe her lack of a childhood and social upbringing leaves her somewhat clueless when it comes to understanding how normal humans view things. She charges exorbitant fees for clients that can afford them, yet she can be moved to tears by a luckless patient's story of true love lost, and waive her fees to grant their wishes. For a mad scientist, her optimism and good intentions are actually pretty charming.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on February 26, 2017, 07:21:08 PM
FRANKEN FRAN by Katsuhisa Kigitsu. Seven Seas published this in 4 large omnibus volumes (originally the series ran 8 tankobon volumes published by Akita Shoten in Japan), totaling about 1600 pages. I spent the better part of 5 days reading the whole thing. Not what I was originally expecting. The covers sort of make it look like part of the 'sexy monster girl' subgenre of manga, but it was nothing of the kind (in fact, there's no fanservice here at all, and Fran never appears other than modestly clothed). It was more of a horror/black comedy thing, and it was excellent. A bit gory and grotesque (particularly the earlier stories), but what would you expect from Franken-anything? The earliest stories in the first volume weren't as good as later ones, and I didn't always quite comprehend what the endings were about. It gets quite a bit better as it progresses though, especially after the author begins to include a fair amount of real bio-science as the basis of the stories (I think I may actually have learned a few things about biology here, as explained by Fran). That aspect of it reminded me a lot of Osamu Tezuka's stories of the rogue surgeon BLACK JACK, which always included a fair amount of medical science to make the stories feel convincing (since Tezuka did have a medical doctorate). That made me wonder whether Kigitsu had studied biology and/or medicine as well, as he has included a lot of factual background explanations. The emphasis on the grotesque and disturbing here is of the human fear of biological processes and body morphology horror, similar to Junji Ito's TOMIE. The stories for the most part seem to have those black comedy twist endings based on irony or karmic turnabout of the same type favored in the classic E.C. Comics, although sometimes they varied by being of the open-ended "... The End?" type where the reader is left to wonder what sort of consequences (surely bad) would result. Kigitsu managed to cover quite a few genres or tropes as satires, too. Actually I'd say that there's quite a bit more than just horror and comedy here, as the stories become more varied as they go along. Each 24 page chapter is a complete story (although many of the stories are subsequently revisited by sequels in chapters later on), with 16 stories per omnibus volume (plus a couple of 6-page bonus stories, 2 one-page gags, and 2 pages of the author's notes on the stories), making up about 400 pages for each of the four omnibus volumes.

Fran Madaraki is a patchwork girl who resembles a very thin teenager with long straight blonde hair (her character design reminded me somewhat of Tim Burton's THE CORPSE BRIDE), if you ignore the fact (and almost everyone seems to) that she has two giant electrodes (the heads of which are the approximate size of tuna cans) protruding from the temples of her skull and her body is covered with stitched-up seams. She is considered the daughter of the famous (and now long-missing) Professor Madaraki, whose cutting edge work for the government of Japan in bio-engineering had begun back in World War II (so if still alive somewhere, and it's implied that he is, he'd be quite ancient). In reality, she's his greatest creation and his greatest pupil (in later stories, when Fran speaks of the Professor, it's clear that her love for him is more than that of a daughter for her father). She seems to be quite famous herself, and no one in the stories ever displays any shock or alarm at her stitches or electrodes. Whenever she's walking along the artist has drawn little "wobble, wobble" and "totter, totter" SFX to indicate that her gait or balance is somewhat unsteady or shaky, but in the operating room Fran's a positive dynamo of energy (and she usually preps for the surgery by upgrading herself with a pair or two of extra arms beforehand), announcing with great enthusiasm, "BEGIN THE OPERATION!!" or something similar. She's most commonly seen in a pensive mood sitting at her computer or at a desk with pen and notepad, pondering a biomedical challenge with a thoughtful look and a finger on her chin. Fran's personality is what really stitches all the stories together, as she sometimes plays a minor role (in terms of panel time), with the bulk of the story being given over to the patient or subject of her experimentation. Fran really does have the highest respect for saving (or restoring) a life, but she's perhaps a little less fussy about exactly what form that life might take, so you might say her morality is a little more flexible than the average person's, and she has no natural revulsion for the gruesome biological details, or prejudices regarding other forms of life than human. Her experimental surgery frequently leads to unforeseen results, and her patients should always think carefully before they engage her services. Then too, sometimes her best intentions have a way of going awry -- and at other times, her desire to prove an experimental theory seems to have overwhelmed her better judgment in considering the potential negative consequences. Or maybe her lack of a childhood and social upbringing leaves her somewhat clueless when it comes to understanding how normal humans view things. She charges exorbitant fees for clients that can afford them, yet she can be moved to tears by a luckless patient's story of true love lost, and waive her fees to grant their wishes. For a mad scientist, her optimism and good intentions are actually pretty charming.


Too bad this isn't available digitally. The covers are a bit too...not readable in public. Her look reminds me of Princess Leia.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on February 27, 2017, 03:52:48 AM
FRANKEN FRAN by Katsuhisa Kigitsu. Seven Seas published this in 4 large omnibus volumes (originally the series ran 8 tankobon volumes published by Akita Shoten in Japan), totaling about 1600 pages. I spent the better part of 5 days reading the whole thing. Not what I was originally expecting. The covers sort of make it look like part of the 'sexy monster girl' subgenre of manga, but it was nothing of the kind (in fact, there's no fanservice here at all, and Fran never appears other than modestly clothed). It was more of a horror/black comedy thing, and it was excellent. A bit gory and grotesque (particularly the earlier stories), but what would you expect from Franken-anything? The earliest stories in the first volume weren't as good as later ones, and I didn't always quite comprehend what the endings were about. It gets quite a bit better as it progresses though, especially after the author begins to include a fair amount of real bio-science as the basis of the stories (I think I may actually have learned a few things about biology here, as explained by Fran). That aspect of it reminded me a lot of Osamu Tezuka's stories of the rogue surgeon BLACK JACK, which always included a fair amount of medical science to make the stories feel convincing (since Tezuka did have a medical doctorate). That made me wonder whether Kigitsu had studied biology and/or medicine as well, as he has included a lot of factual background explanations. The emphasis on the grotesque and disturbing here is of the human fear of biological processes and body morphology horror, similar to Junji Ito's TOMIE. The stories for the most part seem to have those black comedy twist endings based on irony or karmic turnabout of the same type favored in the classic E.C. Comics, although sometimes they varied by being of the open-ended "... The End?" type where the reader is left to wonder what sort of consequences (surely bad) would result. Kigitsu managed to cover quite a few genres or tropes as satires, too. Actually I'd say that there's quite a bit more than just horror and comedy here, as the stories become more varied as they go along. Each 24 page chapter is a complete story (although many of the stories are subsequently revisited by sequels in chapters later on), with 16 stories per omnibus volume (plus a couple of 6-page bonus stories, 2 one-page gags, and 2 pages of the author's notes on the stories), making up about 400 pages for each of the four omnibus volumes.

Fran Madaraki is a patchwork girl who resembles a very thin teenager with long straight blonde hair (her character design reminded me somewhat of Tim Burton's THE CORPSE BRIDE), if you ignore the fact (and almost everyone seems to) that she has two giant electrodes (the heads of which are the approximate size of tuna cans) protruding from the temples of her skull and her body is covered with stitched-up seams. She is considered the daughter of the famous (and now long-missing) Professor Madaraki, whose cutting edge work for the government of Japan in bio-engineering had begun back in World War II (so if still alive somewhere, and it's implied that he is, he'd be quite ancient). In reality, she's his greatest creation and his greatest pupil (in later stories, when Fran speaks of the Professor, it's clear that her love for him is more than that of a daughter for her father). She seems to be quite famous herself, and no one in the stories ever displays any shock or alarm at her stitches or electrodes. Whenever she's walking along the artist has drawn little "wobble, wobble" and "totter, totter" SFX to indicate that her gait or balance is somewhat unsteady or shaky, but in the operating room Fran's a positive dynamo of energy (and she usually preps for the surgery by upgrading herself with a pair or two of extra arms beforehand), announcing with great enthusiasm, "BEGIN THE OPERATION!!" or something similar. She's most commonly seen in a pensive mood sitting at her computer or at a desk with pen and notepad, pondering a biomedical challenge with a thoughtful look and a finger on her chin. Fran's personality is what really stitches all the stories together, as she sometimes plays a minor role (in terms of panel time), with the bulk of the story being given over to the patient or subject of her experimentation. Fran really does have the highest respect for saving (or restoring) a life, but she's perhaps a little less fussy about exactly what form that life might take, so you might say her morality is a little more flexible than the average person's, and she has no natural revulsion for the gruesome biological details, or prejudices regarding other forms of life than human. Her experimental surgery frequently leads to unforeseen results, and her patients should always think carefully before they engage her services. Then too, sometimes her best intentions have a way of going awry -- and at other times, her desire to prove an experimental theory seems to have overwhelmed her better judgment in considering the potential negative consequences. Or maybe her lack of a childhood and social upbringing leaves her somewhat clueless when it comes to understanding how normal humans view things. She charges exorbitant fees for clients that can afford them, yet she can be moved to tears by a luckless patient's story of true love lost, and waive her fees to grant their wishes. For a mad scientist, her optimism and good intentions are actually pretty charming.


Too bad this isn't available digitally. The covers are a bit too...not readable in public. Her look reminds me of Princess Leia.

That surprises and puzzles me. Certainly I would think the people at Seven Seas are aware that the market for manga in digital format is much more significant than that for mainstream American collected edition titles, relative to the total readership for the comic as a whole -- or, to put it another way, it seems to me that manga readers would be more likely to be digital-format adopters because they have less of the traditional collector-mentality than American comic book readers. I guess the other thing to take into account here is that (as I am aware from various online comments I've read elsewhere) these same stories had been previously available online as digital fan-made scanslations, so maybe they felt that a large percent of the potential digital market was significantly eroded already? (Although the scanslations have mostly now been removed from those sites, since being legitimately licensed for American translation by Seven Seas.)

Even though the covers used on Seven Seas' print omnibus collections are the same as the ones appearing on the original Akita Shoten tankobon volumes as drawn by original creator Kasuhisa Kigitsu (both tankoban covers for the volumes collected in Seven Seas' omnibuses appear as color inserts inside), they represent a more glamorous 'sexy pin-up' re-interpretation of the characters like you'd find on Deviant Art, and are completely non-representational of the style of artwork and characters as they appear in the actual stories. I sort of preferred the interior cover page images (unfortunately only printed in black and white in Seven Seas' paperbacks), which are more like homages to movie posters or old-school paperback book cover art. The "cover" images I display here would have appeared as color insert pages in select issues of CHAMPION RED, the seinin manga magazine where Kigitsu's Franken Fran series first appeared.

I realize this info does nothing to ameliorate any potential embarrassment you might experience if seen reading FRANKEN FRAN, but I guess the only solution would be to go literally old-school and make your own book cover out of a plain brown paper bag. While various protective vinyl covers for paperbacks are sold at bookstores, few of them would fit these otherwise-standard-MMPB-dimensions Seven Seas manga omnibuses due to the 400-page thickness.

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/2aRngiIRrPA/maxresdefault.jpg)(https://68.media.tumblr.com/8885c82d8c576d16fe5d56deb8098a84/tumblr_n5i0g0JO0i1tb7k1ko1_500.jpg)
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Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on February 27, 2017, 11:32:17 PM

I realize this info does nothing to ameliorate any potential embarrassment you might experience if seen reading FRANKEN FRAN, but I guess the only solution would be to go literally old-school and make your own book cover out of a plain brown paper bag. While various protective vinyl covers for paperbacks are sold at bookstores, few of them would fit these otherwise-standard-MMPB-dimensions Seven Seas manga omnibuses due to the 400-page thickness.



Haha I totally used to put slip covers on paperbacks I read as a kid/teen because I was embarrassed when strangers kept asking me what I was reading. I think it was Sweet Valley High or something. Of course this made them ask more. I probably borrowed the slip covers from some old hymnals.


I also remember the stretchy fabric covers for textbooks like these:


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91ElaRoHr5L._AC_UL320_SR288,320_.jpg)
I totally had that blue camo one. Of course I remember the grocery paper bag book covers. Those you could decorate yourself with your drawings.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on March 06, 2017, 02:44:58 AM
Read a small pile of romance comics yesterday:

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F474%2F235443_20111010151126_large.jpg&hash=b75ff8095355f0182d35e36cbabf7cca)
YOUNG LUST was one of the more successful of the original underground comix and ran 6 issues in its heyday, from 1970-1980, with a couple of late additions to the series in 1990 (#7) and 1993 (#8). It was the creation of Bill Griffith (of ZIPPY fame) and Jay Kinney, with the contributions of various other UG artists. This first issue was published while the traditional romance comics genre was still in full swing, and its success can probably be attributed to the fact that they captured the exaggerated emotional angst and relationship-difficulty tropes of the romance genre while applying that style of story to adult themes. Mine was a later reprinting from 1982 with a $1.50 cover price. These should all be reprinted in a trade paperback some day. The art's a little awkward by today's standards, but these original UG comix were a huge step in breaking the mold (and stranglehold) of traditional comics publishers, and this is definitely one of the better ones.

Here's another unique alternative romance comic that I was completely unaware existed until I discovered 4 issues in the 50-cent boxes:
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F550%2F186222_20130523164708_large.jpg&hash=0c655aecfeac52c20f053b73a6573049)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F550%2F94627_20130523164055_large.jpg&hash=8d8f461e0077aad5858fdf4d1376be14)
These first two issues of EMPTY LOVE STORIES were first published in 1994 (#1) and 1996 (#2), by B&W/alternative publisher Slave Labor Graphics. Steve Darnall is the creator/writer, along with various artists (many of whom are recognizable, like Colleen Doran). Issue #1 has a cover by Darnall's friend and comics superstar Alex Ross, and #2's cover is drawn by then up-and-coming indy comics supertalent Mike Allred (of MADMAN, BATMAN '66, and SILVER SURFER). Both issues received nominations for the Eisner Awards (for Best Single Issue, and Best New Series), and these comics are outrageously funny. I can't believe Steve Darnall didn't become better-known in the industry and go on to more successful and higher-paying gigs, because it's obvious he's got gobs of talent. Today he's mainly known (if at all) for scripting the 2-issue Vertigo prestige miniseries U.S. (a.k.a. Uncle Sam) with artwork by Alex Ross.
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F657%2F316614_20141013210355_large.jpg&hash=5ea2d064e209ac02af9916005da5fb18)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F550%2F94628_20130523165200_large.jpg&hash=6b3c17b700bacc873356cce7564b3eaa)
The EMPTY LOVE STORIES "SPECIAL" (quotation marks verbatim) from 1998 has a cover by Canadian cartoonist Ty Templeton. EMPTY LOVE STORIES 1999 has a cover by Jeff Smith (of BONE). For these next two issues of the series, Darnall set himself up in self-publishing. Inexplicably (other than the fact that, as a self-publisher, he could do whatever he felt like), when Darnell reprinted SLG's #1 and #2 under his own Funny Valentine Press imprint, the reprint of #2 contained a 7-page(!) text-and-photos article about the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. I'm a big fan of the show myself, but the straightforward article seems oddly out-of-place in this otherwise devastating satire of the romance comics genre. The pastiche lovelorn advice-column letter pages in these issues are particularly hilarious.


Lastly, we come to HEART THROBS #1, a 1999 Vertigo revamp of an older DC title (inherited from Quality Comics actually, when that publisher went out of business in 1956), HEART THROBS was part of a whole series of re-imaginings of old discontinued DC titles like STRANGE ADVENTURES (sci-fi), WEIRD WESTERN TALES, WEIRD WAR TALES, and THE WITCHING HOUR -- all of which had been cancelled by the mid-1980s, but were revived with late-90s spin by Vertigo.
(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F836%2F25628_20170214171739_large.jpg&hash=9f21012f5a97867725ef0c939ed0b5db)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F115%2F25631_20060901093622_large.jpg&hash=a96ab23441c41e59a3c636b6a4cf1b1f)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcomicbookdb.com%2Fgraphics%2Fcomic_graphics%2F1%2F837%2F25634_20170215162541_large.jpg&hash=4f1d42f40ea4294f0c30b54a68adfa49)
I didn't actually find any other issues than #1, but after reading it you can bet I'll be keeping my eyes peeled. I just love the covers, though. This flew entirely under my radar when it was first published, but again (as with EMPTY LOVE STORIES), all of these stories are great, with top-flight creators. #1 leads off with a great Bruce Timm cover and opens with artist Brian Bolland's spin on the old fairytale classic "The Frog Prince", and is totally funny -- Who even knew Bolland could write? As awesome an illustrator as he is, he should do it more often. The other stories are distinctly modern, but skewer the old comics genre properly. Again, no trade paperback collection (or any follow-up) on this 4-issue mini, which is a darned shame. It should be better-known, and the caliber of all the creators is tops.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on March 16, 2017, 03:52:53 AM
PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #16 (of 17) - The penultimate issue of the series. Can't say I'm too surprised, as I knew it wasn't selling that great. This seems to be the general pattern for most Marvel series that I like - they last for somewhere between 12 and 18 issues before ending. Recent examples that come to mind include FF (2nd series, 16 issues, 2013-2014), SHE-HULK (12 issues, 2014-15), ANT-MAN (19 issues over two series bridged by a one-shot, 2015-2016), HOWARD THE DUCK (5 + 11 issues over 2 series, 2015-16), and SQUADRON SUPREME (15 issues, 2016-17). The only Marvel title that I really like that seems to have escaped the chopping block (so far, anyway) is SILVER SURFER (15 + 9 issues over 2 series, 2014-2017).

Too bad about PATSY WALKER, because #16 was possibly my favorite issue of the entire series so far. There's basically no action here, and nobody punched anyone (or anything), with Patsy only wearing the Hellcat costume on 2 pages (plus one more panel) of the story. The entire issue is conversation, but what I liked about it is that Patsy had a conversation with her erstwhile frenemy Hedy Wolfe (who up to this point in the series had been portrayed more like a typical soap-opera scheming, manipulative villainess) and made a sort of peace with her. At this point I realized that this was just what the series had been lacking. I was halfway through reading the story, hoping that maybe this was a change of direction in the series to hopefully see if they could find some new readers, but alas the letters page revealed that it was not to be. Apparently it had been hovering at the cancellation point for a few issues, but the editor at Marvel allowed the creative team to wrap the current storyline up as they had intended, rather than force them to write some kind of hurried ending a few issues previous. Ah well.

I'd still like to see someone take a stab at a PATSY & HEDY series again someday. They were essentially Atlas/Marvel's answer to B&V for 15 years and 110 issues (1952-1967), although their relationship was more like that between Archie and Reggie than B&V's. Incidentally, Al Hartley was the main artist on that title for most of its lifespan (in addition to being the main artist on the PATSY WALKER solo title). Al Jaffee (now mainly remembered for his work on MAD Magazine) drew the earliest issues of the title, and in the beginning the stories were mostly humorous. Patsy had actually been created all the way back in 1944, as a feature appearing in MISS AMERICA, by well-known comic book scribe Otto Binder (famous for his work on Fawcett's CAPTAIN MARVEL in the 1940s and 1950s, and later, as the writer of many of the SUPERMAN family titles under editor Mort Weisinger in the early Silver Age), together with artist Ruth Atkinson, and received her own title in 1945, which ran for 20 years, ending in 1965 - but PATSY AND HEDY continued for over a year longer, attesting to the greater popularity of the two girls as rivals. Like KATY KEENE, the title often featured fashion pages with designs submitted by readers, or paper dolls to cut-out-&-paste on cardboard. Also like B&V, Patsy & Hedy started out as high school girls, but in issue #95 (Aug. 1964), they actually graduated, and subsequent issues of P&H were subtitled "Career Girls". This more or less coincided with a general shift away from humor towards soap-opera/romance plots, in post-1962 issues. From 1963 through mid-1967, all of Marvel's 'girl titles' - MILLIE THE MODEL, MODELING WITH MILLIE, PATSY WALKER, and PATSY AND HEDY, would probably best be classified as "romance" titles, although they had all started out as "girl humor" titles, and remained so for a decade or more. A somewhat typical issue of the later run of P&H was #104, which is strikingly similar to the 2006 New Look B&V story "Bad Boy Trouble" with Patsy and Hedy both being attracted to a Marlon Brando-type 'Wild One' eerily prescient of Nick St. Clair.

It's interesting to note that of all the titles Timely/Atlas/Marvel published from the 1940s through the 1960s, Patsy Walker and Millie the Model were the only two characters who had their own titles in continuous publication from the Golden Age right through to the Silver Age of comics, a time spanning tumultuous changes in the entire comics industry. That makes them part of a very select group of comic book characters who can claim likewise. At DC, there were Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as The Fox and the Crow and Leave It To Binky. At ACP, Archie, Wilbur, Katy Keene, and Jughead (who barely qualifies, his own title having squeaked in just barely in 1949). At Dell/Western Publishing, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Tarzan.

The other thing noteworthy about the 1963-1967 period in which all the girl humor titles converted to soap operas is that this was a time period in which audiences were changing and genres were in transition. The continued story which would soon become one of the hallmarks of Marvel Comics was not yet fixed, and the girl titles didn't have continuing stories. It wasn't even standard procedure for the superhero titles in this early stage of the resurgence of the superhero comics, and even the idea of a 'romance' title with continuing characters hadn't really existed up to this point in time. The emotional angst of romance comics was to make a significant impact on Marvel's Silver Age comics though, in the romantic relationships of many (if not most) of Marvel's superhero characters. Maintaining his secret identity as Spider-Man caused Peter Parker to have relationship problems with girls, keeping them at arm's length. An early potential love interest, Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle, where Parker sold news photos of himself in action as Spider-Man, had a romantic interest in Peter that was reciprocal, but maintaining his secret life as Spider-Man always kept them apart - he could never explain his odd disappearances, or occasional injuries in battles with supervillains. A rival for Peter in the form of Bugle reporter Ned Leeds also had romantic feelings for Betty. Blind attorney Matt Murdock had a similar romantic interest in his legal secretary, Karen Page, and she in him, but both his blindness and his secret identity as Daredevil kept the two from ever developing a real relationship. In order to teach him humility, Odin, leader of the Norse Gods of Asgard, had punished his son Thor's hubris in ancient times by means of an enchantment which kept him trapped in the body of a lame mortal physician, Dr. Donald Blake. Blake loved his nurse, Jane Foster, but Odin disapproved of his choice of a mortal woman as a mate, and Blake felt his physical infirmity while in his mortal guise made him somehow unworthy of Jane's love, while Jane was falling in love with Blake's Asgardian alter-ego, Thor. Dr. Bruce Banner, a nuclear physicist who was exposed to gamma radiation, causing him to turn into the raging, superstrong Incredible Hulk whenever he felt nervous stress or anxiety, loved Betty Ross, the daughter of Army General "Thunderbolt" Ross, whose avowed mission was to destroy the green behemoth, and he disdained Banner as a weak milksop and an egghead, while Banner was afraid that turning into the Hulk might expose Betty to danger. To make matters even further complicated, Major Glenn Talbot, a handsome, athletic and brave military man working under General Ross's command, also hated the Hulk, and competed with Banner for Betty's affection. These continuing soap opera elements grafted by Stan Lee onto superhero stories from romance comics stamped the Silver Age Marvel comics as different from the kind of straight, uncomplicated hero vs. villain stories in comic books that had come before, and were one of the key ingredients in their rise to popularity over DC Comics from the beginning to the end of the 1960s. Even though romance comics as a genre were already beginning to die out in the 1960s, the sticky emotional situations, misunderstandings, and rivalries and secrets that had given that genre its popularity to begin with lived on in the new Marvel superhero comics -- but there would be no resolution to these romantic crises, as the romantic subplots continued like daytime dramas from issue to issue. One can't help but wonder what might have happened if Patsy Walker and Millie the Model had also developed continuing dramas with supporting characters always at emotional odds with each other, like a true soap opera. That genre had been well-established since the days of radio dramas in the 1940s.

The last couple of issues of PATSY AND HEDY, cover-dated Dec. 1966 and Feb. 1967, were subtitled "Gals on the GO-GO!" and tried to tap into some Tiger Beat-style teen-mag hybrid fascination with celebrity teen pop, something that DC Comics was also doing at the time in a couple of their romance titles. Neither PATSY AND HEDY nor PATSY WALKER's solo title lasted long enough to catch the late-1968 trend at most major publishers to do teen-humor Archie Comics-style, in the wake of THE ARCHIE SHOW's debut in September 1968 to great television ratings. Marvel, always one to keep a watchful eye on what was selling for their competitors, was actually ahead of the trend, converting MILLIE THE MODEL to THE NEW MILLIE THE MODEL with issue #154, cover-dated Oct. '67, and later adding a new title starring MILLIE'S RIVAL CHILI (May '69), while DC followed suit in '68 by converting some of its older teen titles like LEAVE IT TO BINKY/BINKY'S BUDDIES and SWING WITH SCOOTER to this style, and later adding DATE WITH DEBBI/DEBBI'S DATES. Both companies featured the cartooning of Stan Goldberg on titles, while DC also included future ACP talents Henry Scarpelli, Doug Crane, and the prodigal Samm Schwartz, before he returned to ACP.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F1040587.jpg&hash=1fda7bdf9153a39a0de881d590a99c45)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F704153.jpg&hash=c7154c08f57de08f7dc7192fdcbada6f)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F901503.jpg&hash=8f8b3e4882ef38400639796767e50eec)



Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on March 16, 2017, 10:07:31 AM
PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #16 (of 17) - The penultimate issue of the series. Can't say I'm too surprised, as I knew it wasn't selling that great. This seems to be the general pattern for most Marvel series that I like - they last for somewhere between 12 and 18 issues before ending. Recent examples that come to mind include FF (2nd series, 16 issues, 2013-2014), SHE-HULK (12 issues, 2014-15), ANT-MAN (19 issues over two series bridged by a one-shot, 2015-2016), HOWARD THE DUCK (5 + 11 issues over 2 series, 2015-16), and SQUADRON SUPREME (15 issues, 2016-17). The only Marvel title that I really like that seems to have escaped the chopping block (so far, anyway) is SILVER SURFER (15 + 9 issues over 2 series, 2014-2017).

Too bad about PATSY WALKER, because #16 was possibly my favorite issue of the entire series so far. There's basically no action here, and nobody punched anyone (or anything), with Patsy only wearing the Hellcat costume on 2 pages (plus one more panel) of the story. The entire issue is conversation, but what I liked about it is that Patsy had a conversation with her erstwhile frenemy Hedy Wolfe (who up to this point in the series had been portrayed more like a typical soap-opera scheming, manipulative villainess) and made a sort of peace with her. At this point I realized that this was just what the series had been lacking. I was halfway through reading the story, hoping that maybe this was a change of direction in the series to hopefully see if they could find some new readers, but alas the letters page revealed that it was not to be. Apparently it had been hovering at the cancellation point for a few issues, but the editor at Marvel allowed the creative team to wrap the current storyline up as they had intended, rather than force them to write some kind of hurried ending a few issues previous. Ah well.

I'd still like to see someone take a stab at a PATSY & HEDY series again someday. They were essentially Atlas/Marvel's answer to B&V for 15 years and 110 issues (1952-1967), although their relationship was more like that between Archie and Reggie than B&V's. Incidentally, Al Hartley was the main artist on that title for most of its lifespan (in addition to being the main artist on the PATSY WALKER solo title). Al Jaffee (now mainly remembered for his work on MAD Magazine) drew the earliest issues of the title, and in the beginning the stories were mostly humorous. Patsy had actually been created all the way back in 1944, as a feature appearing in MISS AMERICA, by well-known comic book scribe Otto Binder (famous for his work on Fawcett's CAPTAIN MARVEL in the 1940s and 1950s, and later, as the writer of many of the SUPERMAN family titles under editor Mort Weisinger in the early Silver Age), together with artist Ruth Atkinson, and received her own title in 1945, which ran for 20 years, ending in 1965 - but PATSY AND HEDY continued for over a year longer, attesting to the greater popularity of the two girls as rivals. Like KATY KEENE, the title often featured fashion pages with designs submitted by readers, or paper dolls to cut-out-&-paste on cardboard. Also like B&V, Patsy & Hedy started out as high school girls, but in issue #95 (Aug. 1964), they actually graduated, and subsequent issues of P&H were subtitled "Career Girls". This more or less coincided with a general shift away from humor towards soap-opera/romance plots, in post-1962 issues. From 1963 through mid-1967, all of Marvel's 'girl titles' - MILLIE THE MODEL, MODELING WITH MILLIE, PATSY WALKER, and PATSY AND HEDY, would probably best be classified as "romance" titles, although they had all started out as "girl humor" titles, and remained so for a decade or more. A somewhat typical issue of the later run of P&H was #104, which is strikingly similar to the 2006 New Look B&V story "Bad Boy Trouble" with Patsy and Hedy both being attracted to a Marlon Brando-type 'Wild One' eerily prescient of Nick St. Clair.

It's interesting to note that of all the titles Timely/Atlas/Marvel published from the 1940s through the 1960s, Patsy Walker and Millie the Model were the only two characters who had their own titles in continuous publication from the Golden Age right through to the Silver Age of comics, a time spanning tumultuous changes in the entire comics industry. That makes them part of a very select group of comic book characters who can claim likewise. At DC, there were Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as The Fox and the Crow and Leave It To Binky. At ACP, Archie, Wilbur, Katy Keene, and Jughead (who barely qualifies, his own title having squeaked in just barely in 1949). At Dell/Western Publishing, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Tarzan.

The other thing noteworthy about the 1963-1967 period in which all the girl humor titles converted to soap operas is that this was a time period in which audiences were changing and genres were in transition. The continued story which would soon become one of the hallmarks of Marvel Comics was not yet fixed, and the girl titles didn't have continuing stories. It wasn't even standard procedure for the superhero titles in this early stage of the resurgence of the superhero comics, and even the idea of a 'romance' title with continuing characters hadn't really existed up to this point in time. The emotional angst of romance comics was to make a significant impact on Marvel's Silver Age comics though, in the romantic relationships of many (if not most) of Marvel's superhero characters. Maintaining his secret identity as Spider-Man caused Peter Parker to have relationship problems with girls, keeping them at arm's length. An early potential love interest, Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle, where Parker sold news photos of himself in action as Spider-Man, had a romantic interest in Peter that was reciprocal, but maintaining his secret life as Spider-Man always kept them apart - he could never explain his odd disappearances, or occasional injuries in battles with supervillains. A rival for Peter in the form of Bugle reporter Ned Leeds also had romantic feelings for Betty. Blind attorney Matt Murdock had a similar romantic interest in his legal secretary, Karen Page, and she in him, but both his blindness and his secret identity as Daredevil kept the two from ever developing a real relationship. In order to teach him humility, Odin, leader of the Norse Gods of Asgard, had punished his son Thor's hubris in ancient times by means of an enchantment which kept him trapped in the body of a lame mortal physician, Dr. Donald Blake. Blake loved his nurse, Jane Foster, but Odin disapproved of his choice of a mortal woman as a mate, and Blake felt his physical infirmity while in his mortal guise made him somehow unworthy of Jane's love, while Jane was falling in love with Blake's Asgardian alter-ego, Thor. Dr. Bruce Banner, a nuclear physicist who was exposed to gamma radiation, causing him to turn into the raging, superstrong Incredible Hulk whenever he felt nervous stress or anxiety, loved Betty Ross, the daughter of Army General "Thunderbolt" Ross, whose avowed mission was to destroy the green behemoth, and he disdained Banner as a weak milksop and an egghead, while Banner was afraid that turning into the Hulk might expose Betty to danger. To make matters even further complicated, Captain Glenn Talbot, a handsome, athletic and brave military man working under General Ross's command, also hated the Hulk, and competed with Banner for Betty's affection. These continuing soap opera elements grafted by Stan Lee onto superhero stories from romance comics stamped the Silver Age Marvel comics as different from the kind of straight, uncomplicated hero vs. villain stories in comic books that had come before, and were one of the key ingredients in their rise to popularity over DC Comics from the beginning to the end of the 1960s. Even though romance comics as a genre were already beginning to die out in the 1960s, the sticky emotional situations, misunderstandings, and rivalries and secrets that had given that genre its popularity to begin with lived on in the new Marvel superhero comics -- but there would be no resolution to these romantic crises, as the romantic subplots continued like daytime dramas from issue to issue. One can't help but wonder what might have happened if Patsy Walker and Millie the Model had also developed continuing dramas with supporting characters always at emotional odds with each other, like a true soap opera. That genre had been well-established since the days of radio dramas in the 1940s.

The last couple of issues of PATSY AND HEDY, cover-dated Dec. 1966 and Feb. 1967, were subtitled "Gals on the GO-GO!" and tried to tap into some Tiger Beat-style teen-mag hybrid fascination with celebrity teen pop, something that DC Comics was also doing at the time in a couple of their romance titles. Neither PATSY AND HEDY nor PATSY WALKER's solo title lasted long enough to catch the late-1968 trend at most major publishers to do teen-humor Archie Comics-style, in the wake of THE ARCHIE SHOW's debut in September 1968 to great television ratings. Marvel, always one to keep a watchful eye on what was selling for their competitors, was actually ahead of the trend, converting MILLIE THE MODEL to THE NEW MILLIE THE MODEL with issue #154, cover-dated Oct. '67, and later adding a new title starring MILLIE'S RIVAL CHILI (May '69), while DC followed suit in '68 by converting some of its older teen titles like LEAVE IT TO BINKY/BINKY'S BUDDIES and SWING WITH SCOOTER to this style, and later adding DATE WITH DEBBI/DEBBI'S DATES. Both companies featured the cartooning of Stan Goldberg on titles, while DC also included future ACP talents Henry Scarpelli, Doug Crane, and the prodigal Samm Schwartz, before he returned to ACP.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F1040587.jpg&hash=1fda7bdf9153a39a0de881d590a99c45)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F704153.jpg&hash=c7154c08f57de08f7dc7192fdcbada6f)(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F901503.jpg&hash=8f8b3e4882ef38400639796767e50eec)


I looked at the cover of this and thought it looked like a story I would like. I'm going to give it a try after ditching the series after issue 4 or so.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on March 16, 2017, 10:35:51 AM
I looked at the cover of this and thought it looked like a story I would like. I'm going to give it a try after ditching the series after issue 4 or so.

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, based on the character interaction between Patsy and Hedy, and was relieved to see Hedy portrayed at last as more multi-dimensional than the somewhat stock villain she played earlier in the series. I was really hoping for Hedy to become an important part of the cast, as she had been in the old Patsy series. This issue also had a more humorous bent to it, with Hedy's change of heart towards Patsy based on their long shared history and reaching out in friendship to ask forgiveness motivated by, of all things, Hedy having fallen in love with Belial, a demon from Hell who had tormented Patsy on her having previously visited his domain, sent their by her former boyfriend Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan. Oh, and Belial is also very sorry for what he did to Patsy, too.

That should probably give you some idea that in no way is this one issue comprehensible to anyone as a stand-alone story. There's just tons of old business being tied up here, and anyone who hadn't read the rest of the series prior to this would just be completely lost.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on March 16, 2017, 07:33:21 PM
Please Tell Me! GALKO-chan Vol. 2 - A weird slice-of-life comedy told in short segments, that purports to tell what Japanese high school girls talk about. Bodily functions, sex, hygiene, biological mysteries. Sharing feminine hygiene products, constipation, boobs, weight loss, pedicures, diets, nipples, belly-button lint, wiping one's bum. Of course they talk about other things as well, but it just seemed like I should get the "stuff you don't read about in comic books" out in the open first. Funny but in a subdued way that feels fairly genuine. I was attracted to this because of the unusual look of the artwork, which is in color -- but not the usual sort of four-color comics we're used to. The line art is mostly in shades of purple or dark blue (although borders, balloons, and lettering remain in black), and the coloring is done in textures, as with a fine-line marker or coloring pencils. In all probability it's being done in a graphics program to give it this unusual look, but I like the resulting effect.

Some of the pages have punch lines of a sort, after opening with a title like "When 2 people who are wearing glasses kiss, do their glasses bump and get in the way?" ... OR ... "Is it true that horny guys tend to lose their hair faster?" Please Tell Me! GALKO-chan.

I hadn't realized there was a anime made out of this last year, but the anime follows the actual content of the manga pretty closely, so that's the best way of getting an idea of the content of this manga ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10m-Y27K96c (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10m-Y27K96c)

The anime is all right, but isn't so interesting-looking in terms of the visuals. It's nothing special animation-wise, just your standard competent animation job. The cover of the book I've got here reproduces exactly the look of the pages inside (along with the margin notes about the characters in each strip).

GALKO: Despite her sharp tongue, she's a nice kid -- and popular in class. Her hobbies include cooking and watching movies.

OTAKO: She sits in a corner in the back of the class, but she and Galko are good friends, for some reason! Her hobby is teasing Galko.

OJOU :  An airhead who often gets involved in Galko and Otako's conversations. She has plenty of hobbies, but her current favorite is ... them.

All of the characters have punning nicknames. Galko is a kogal girl into fashion and makeup. Otako is a nerdy girl into manga and anime. Ojou is a rich girl who has everything but brothers and sisters, and lives in a big mansion with a huge home entertainment system. To be honest, I think Ojou gets a bad rap here with that "airhead" line. During summer vacation, she sent postcards to Galko and Otoko, inviting them to come to see her perform at a piano recital. After following Ojou's ridiculously detailed directions to find the recital hall (they stopped at a tobacconist's store along the way to shake paws with the friendly cat who lives there), they were ushered into the hall with great reverence and treated like V.I.P.s, and when Ojou went up on stage to perform, she appeared in a beautiful evening gown with her hair elegantly coiffed, wearing a tiara, earrings, and a jeweled necklace. Ojou then proceeded to sit down at the piano, and play a difficult, complicated and beautiful piece of music. After her stunning performance at the recital, they all went out to a local Japanese restaurant and Ojou looked at the waitress and said "I'll have the usual". Galko and Otoko asked if she came to the restaurant a lot, but I just got the idea that Ojou was trying to impress them by being suave. When the waitress brought Ojou's order it was Curry Udon (a very messy dish of ramen noodles in a soup-like sauce that is eaten with chopsticks), but despite the fact that Ojou was still wearing her elegant gown from the recital, she managed to methodically but gracefully consume all her noodles without spilling or splashing a drop.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rightstufanime.com%2Fimages%2FproductImages%2F9781626924307_manga-please-tell-me-galko-chan-volume-2-primary.jpg&hash=b2a241dba5a946d59da6130e6fb4bca8)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 19, 2017, 06:28:56 AM
JUGHEAD #15 (May 2017) - How could I not like an issue of Jughead drawn by Derek Charm and featuring both Sabrina and Josie & the Pussycats as guest-stars? That pretty much sealed the deal for me in terms of whether I'd continue reading the title after the departure of former Jughead writer Ryan North, and despite my dislike of Mark Waid's writing on ARCHIE. So, Waid and co-writer Ian Flynn have me for at least one story-arc, now let's see if they can impress me. While the story's not as inherently funny as what preceded under North's authorship, Derek Charm does his level best to wring the most humor possible out of the script he's been given here, which in some ways is kind of a throwback to the general plot of "Jughead finds himself in an uncomfortable situation where he's being chased by girls". That would fit the general description of a number of classic Jughead stories.

I call shame, shame on the shoot-from-the-hip knee-jerk reactionary Twitterati lambasting Waid for what they perceived as a betrayal of the new Jughead's established asexual persona, based on nothing more than a snippet of plot outlined in the solicitation copy and THIS highly-exaggerated variant cover by Marguerite Savage, which leaves us with the impression that Jughead is now starring in one of those harem comedy mangas:

(https://media.archonia.com/images/samples/00/70/280070_s0.jpg)

Nothing could be further from the case, and there's not a shred of evidence here to imply the least bit of waffling about Jughead previously-established orientation. The Ace-defenders simply pre-judged Waid's story. Based on their dislike of Ryan North leaving the title, or their dislike of Waid's work on ARCHIE, I don't know. I was leery myself of what to expect, but so far it seems to be turning out better than expected.

There are certainly nits to pick. Sabrina casts a spell using a magic wand? When has she ever needed any sort of appliances to apply her witchcraft? She's not a stage magician, and aside from some spellcraft books, physical objects imbued with mystic power have never played any sort of role in Sabrina stories. She enchants the Pussycats' instruments so that when they hear themselves play, they'll "become big fans of Jughead Jones", which in typical Sabrina-plot fashion, turns into a spell which makes them all fall madly in love with Jughead (even though they've never met him, and don't even know who he is). That's a little awkward. Waid & Flynn could certainly have come up with a better way of achieving the same effect. Any WHY is Sabrina casting this spell? To allow Jughead to attend the Pussycats' live show at the Lodge Ampitheater. Because he forgot his fully-punched "Chok'lit Tik'it" among the hamburger wrappers he left on his tray while hastily excusing himself (to avoid paying his tab) after a gorge-fest at Pop's, which he then peers in the window and sees Pop disposing of with the rest of his trash while cleaning up his table. He's too embarrassed to try to go back for it, because he'd then have to face Pop about settling his meal tab. Yet he's been eating tons of food at Pop's, and earlier Archie didn't give him his ticket for the concert because he figured that Jughead had eaten enough food at Pop's and punched enough Chok'lit Tik'its to "claim enough tickets (to the Pussycats' concert) for half of Riverdale". Which makes sense, given what we know about Jughead's appetite and his ability to run up a tab at Pop Tate's... so why would he be so concerned about this one ticket he left behind? Doesn't he have a half-dozen more? But apparently, he doesn't, so Sabrina tries to magic his problem away. And why is Jughead so hot to go to a Pussycats concert? Well, it's not for the girls or the music, it's for the arena's selection of junk foods that he considers rare delicacies. So couldn't Sabrina just have magicked up some of that same choice arena junk food? Or couldn't Jughead just have asked Veronica to get her father to give her a VIP pass for Jughead to the Lodge Ampitheather? I'm not sure if Mark Waid's version of Veronica is some kind of space alien or something. She doesn't even seem to be aware of such common colloquial expressions as "greasy spoon" and refers to this as "greasy fork" (based on her assertion that the specific utensil is irrelevant, since they'd all be equally as greasy. Really.) And how can the Pussycats fall madly in love with Jughead without even knowing who he is? So, yeah... plotting that makes some kind of sense is not the strong suit of this story. It's unclear how the duties broke down between Mark Waid and Ian Flynn, but I'm going to say that Waid didn't spend a great deal of time thinking the plot through. But who cares? It's got Derek Charm, and Sabrina and Melody and Valerie and Josie in it. I hope Waid spends some more time actually thinking about the plot in future issues, though.



Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 19, 2017, 07:19:12 AM
We could also ask how it is that Pop Tate can afford to give away tickets for a live concert (check typical prices on Ticketron) by merely purchasing a couple of dozen modestly-priced food items at his restaurant... certainly those tickets must cost far more than the profit generated by those food items -- better not to think about the logic (or lack of it).

I would say it was nice to see Toni Topaz again, but frankly, since she can't be anything more to Jughead than just a rival foodie, she's become a pointless character, IMO (some would say she was all along, but if she doesn't represent a possible romantic interest for Jughead, then she's just a background character with pink hair as far as I'm concerned). Same goes for Trula Twyst -- the new Jughead's asexual orientation renders that character pointless as well.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: Vegan Jughead on May 19, 2017, 07:50:24 AM
JUGHEAD #15 (May 2017) - How could I not like an issue of Jughead drawn by Derek Charm and featuring both Sabrina and Josie & the Pussycats as guest-stars? That pretty much sealed the deal for me in terms of whether I'd continue reading the title after the departure of former Jughead writer Ryan North, and despite my dislike of Mark Waid's writing on ARCHIE. So, Waid and co-writer Ian Flynn have me for at least one story-arc, now let's see if they can impress me. While the story's not as inherently funny as what preceded under North's authorship, Derek Charm does his level best to wring the most humor possible out of the script he's been given here, which in some ways is kind of a throwback to the general plot of "Jughead finds himself in an uncomfortable situation where he's being chased by girls". That would fit the general description of a number of classic Jughead stories.

I call shame, shame on the shoot-from-the-hip knee-jerk reactionary Twitterati lambasting Waid for what they perceived as a betrayal of the new Jughead's established asexual persona, based on nothing more than a snippet of plot outlined in the solicitation copy and THIS highly-exaggerated variant cover by Marguerite Savage, which leaves us with the impression that Jughead is now starring in one of those harem comedy mangas:

(https://media.archonia.com/images/samples/00/70/280070_s0.jpg)

Nothing could be further from the case, and there's not a shred of evidence here to imply the least bit of waffling about Jughead previously-established orientation. The Ace-defenders simply pre-judged Waid's story. Based on their dislike of Ryan North leaving the title, or their dislike of Waid's work on ARCHIE, I don't know. I was leery myself of what to expect, but so far it seems to be turning out better than expected.

There are certainly nits to pick. Sabrina casts a spell using a magic wand? When has she ever needed any sort of appliances to apply her witchcraft? She's not a stage magician, and aside from some spellcraft books, physical objects imbued with mystic power have never played any sort of role in Sabrina stories. She enchants the Pussycats' instruments so that when they hear themselves play, they'll "become big fans of Jughead Jones", which in typical Sabrina-plot fashion, turns into a spell which makes them all fall madly in love with Jughead (even though they've never met him, and don't even know who he is). That's a little awkward. Waid & Flynn could certainly have come up with a better way of achieving the same effect. Any WHY is Sabrina casting this spell? To allow Jughead to attend the Pussycats' live show at the Lodge Ampitheater. Because he forgot his fully-punched "Chok'lit Tik'it" among the hamburger wrappers he left on his tray while hastily excusing himself (to avoid paying his tab) after a gorge-fest at Pop's, which he then peers in the window and sees Pop disposing of with the rest of his trash while cleaning up his table. He's too embarrassed to try to go back for it, because he'd then have to face Pop about settling his meal tab. Yet he's been eating tons of food at Pop's, and earlier Archie didn't give him his ticket for the concert because he figured that Jughead had eaten enough food at Pop's and punched enough Chok'lit Tik'its to "claim enough tickets (to the Pussycats' concert) for half of Riverdale". Which makes sense, given what we know about Jughead's appetite and his ability to run up a tab at Pop Tate's... so why would he be so concerned about this one ticket he left behind? Doesn't he have a half-dozen more? But apparently, he doesn't, so Sabrina tries to magic his problem away. And why is Jughead so hot to go to a Pussycats concert? Well, it's not for the girls or the music, it's for the arena's selection of junk foods that he considers rare delicacies. So couldn't Sabrina just have magicked up some of that same choice arena junk food? Or couldn't Jughead just have asked Veronica to get her father to give her a VIP pass for Jughead to the Lodge Ampitheather? I'm not sure if Mark Waid's version of Veronica is some kind of space alien or something. She doesn't even seem to be aware of such common colloquial expressions as "greasy spoon" and refers to this as "greasy fork" (based on her assertion that the specific utensil is irrelevant, since they'd all be equally as greasy. Really.) And how can the Pussycats fall madly in love with Jughead without even knowing who he is? So, yeah... plotting that makes some kind of sense is not the strong suit of this story. It's unclear how the duties broke down between Mark Waid and Ian Flynn, but I'm going to say that Waid didn't spend a great deal of time thinking the plot through. But who cares? It's got Derek Charm, and Sabrina and Melody and Valerie and Josie in it. I hope Waid spends some more time actually thinking about the plot in future issues, though.


I agree with everything you wrote.  GREAT review!  I think the humor was good.  It's certainly different than Ryan North and to me, North was VERY different than most other Archie writers.  Flynn and Waid seem closer to what I expect from Archie for better and worse. 


I liked the book after being skeptical and sharing my skepticism with Archie Comics when it was announced Ryan North would no longer be on the book.  They told me they thought I'd be happy with what Waid and Flynn had planned for Jughead, but what were they gonna say?  Ha ha.  Anyway, I'm cautiously optimistic for the future here, but as you say, a lot of the credit goes to Derek Charm. 


Sadly, this title hasn't been selling so we have to hope that changes or we might not get to see how this all turns out. 
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 20, 2017, 03:25:17 AM
Sadly, this title hasn't been selling so we have to hope that changes or we might not get to see how this all turns out.

Digital and trade paperback sales still being an important part of the profit formula, I think we'll at least see story arcs conclude in a way that they're collectable in discrete chunks. I think we all know that the New Riverdale line of floppy comics isn't going to be a permanent fixture of ACP's publishing for the foreseeable future though. The next obvious shift would be to digital-only releases of singles, followed by a TP release (as the only print format) 6-to-12 months later, but whether any of the New Riverdale titles will still be around for that it's hard to say. Comic shop audiences are not enamored of this genre or these characters in the format which is their bread-and-butter, so ACP is likely to be one of the first companies to go that route.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 20, 2017, 06:51:22 AM
         BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER ANNUAL #253                              
   Featured character(s)      title      # pages         Script:      Pencils:      Inks: (notes)   
   Betty & Veronica      COVER      1   cover            Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Brigette's Jingle Jangle!" (NEW)      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Bob Smith   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Prints of Wails"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Party Planners"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Jeff Schultz      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Troop Money Bags"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   BETTY in      "Summertime and the Livin' Ain't Easy"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Stan Goldberg      John Lowe   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Green Dumb!"      5   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Fernando Ruiz      Rudy Lapick   
   SABRINA in      "Pussycats Plus One"      21   pages      Bill Golliher      Dan DeCarlo      Jon D'Agostino   
   SABRINA in      "Treat-To-Do!"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Big Attraction"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Fashions by the Sea"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY in      "Surf Turf"      1   page      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Bob Smith   
   BETTY'S FASHIONS      "The Hot Days of Summer"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA      "Betty & Veronica's Hawaiian Vacation"      1   page      uncredited      Dan DeCarlo      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Summer Simmer"      6   pages      George Gladir      DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   VERONICA in      "Clothes-Minded"      6   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Baby-Sitter"      6   pages      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Way the Ball Bounces…"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Guinea Pig"      6   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY      "Beachy Keen!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Hot Looks in the Bahamas"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Clean-Up Hitter"      21   pages      Frank Doyle      DeCarlo & Parent      Allison Flood   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Archie-Free Day"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Dan DeCarlo      Dan DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Paid in Fool"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   VERONICA in      "Cabin Fever"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Jog Jag"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   MR. LODGE in      "Castle Hassle"      5   pages      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Chef's Surprise"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Fernando Ruiz      Jim Amash   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Swimsuit Issue"      5   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Mow Money"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM in      "Night School"      5   pages      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM      "Suits Me Fine!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   JASON BLOSSOM in      "Drive Out!"      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Jon D'Agostino   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Beachwear Collection!!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Some Things Never Change"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Jeff Schultz      Al Milgrom   
   BETTY      "Betty's FUN Fashions"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "T.G.I.F."      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   




Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on May 20, 2017, 12:31:01 PM
         BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER ANNUAL #253                             
   Featured character(s)      title      # pages         Script:      Pencils:      Inks: (notes)   
   Betty & Veronica      COVER      1   cover            Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Brigette's Jingle Jangle!" (NEW)      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Bob Smith   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Prints of Wails"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Party Planners"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Jeff Schultz      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Troop Money Bags"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   BETTY in      "Summertime and the Livin' Ain't Easy"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Stan Goldberg      John Lowe   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Green Dumb!"      5   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Fernando Ruiz      Rudy Lapick   
   SABRINA in      "Pussycats Plus One"      21   pages      Bill Golliher      Dan DeCarlo      Jon D'Agostino   
   SABRINA in      "Treat-To-Do!"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Big Attraction"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Fashions by the Sea"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY in      "Surf Turf"      1   page      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Bob Smith   
   BETTY'S FASHIONS      "The Hot Days of Summer"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA      "Betty & Veronica's Hawaiian Vacation"      1   page      uncredited      Dan DeCarlo      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Summer Simmer"      6   pages      George Gladir      DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   VERONICA in      "Clothes-Minded"      6   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Baby-Sitter"      6   pages      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Way the Ball Bounces…"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Guinea Pig"      6   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY      "Beachy Keen!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Hot Looks in the Bahamas"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Clean-Up Hitter"      21   pages      Frank Doyle      DeCarlo & Parent      Allison Flood   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Archie-Free Day"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Dan DeCarlo      Dan DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Paid in Fool"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   VERONICA in      "Cabin Fever"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Jog Jag"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   MR. LODGE in      "Castle Hassle"      5   pages      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Chef's Surprise"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Fernando Ruiz      Jim Amash   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Swimsuit Issue"      5   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Mow Money"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM in      "Night School"      5   pages      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM      "Suits Me Fine!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   JASON BLOSSOM in      "Drive Out!"      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Jon D'Agostino   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Beachwear Collection!!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Some Things Never Change"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Jeff Schultz      Al Milgrom   
   BETTY      "Betty's FUN Fashions"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "T.G.I.F."      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   


I would give good karma if we could still do that!
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: SAGG on May 20, 2017, 05:56:48 PM

         BETTY & VERONICA SUMMER ANNUAL #253                             
   Featured character(s)      title      # pages         Script:      Pencils:      Inks: (notes)   
   Betty & Veronica      COVER      1   cover            Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Brigette's Jingle Jangle!" (NEW)      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Bob Smith   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Prints of Wails"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Party Planners"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Jeff Schultz      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Troop Money Bags"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   BETTY in      "Summertime and the Livin' Ain't Easy"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Stan Goldberg      John Lowe   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Green Dumb!"      5   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Fernando Ruiz      Rudy Lapick   
   SABRINA in      "Pussycats Plus One"      21   pages      Bill Golliher      Dan DeCarlo      Jon D'Agostino   
   SABRINA in      "Treat-To-Do!"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Big Attraction"      1   page      uncredited      uncredited      (1-page gag)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Fashions by the Sea"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY in      "Surf Turf"      1   page      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Bob Smith   
   BETTY'S FASHIONS      "The Hot Days of Summer"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA      "Betty & Veronica's Hawaiian Vacation"      1   page      uncredited      Dan DeCarlo      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Summer Simmer"      6   pages      George Gladir      DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   VERONICA in      "Clothes-Minded"      6   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Dan Parent   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Baby-Sitter"      6   pages      Dick Malmgren      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Way the Ball Bounces…"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "The Guinea Pig"      6   pages      Fernando Ruiz      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   BETTY      "Beachy Keen!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Hot Looks in the Bahamas"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Clean-Up Hitter"      21   pages      Frank Doyle      DeCarlo & Parent      Allison Flood   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Archie-Free Day"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Dan DeCarlo      Dan DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Paid in Fool"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Allison Flood   
   VERONICA in      "Cabin Fever"      6   pages      Frank Doyle      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Jog Jag"      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Rudy Lapick   
   MR. LODGE in      "Castle Hassle"      5   pages      George Gladir      Stan Goldberg      Rudy Lapick   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Chef's Surprise"      5   pages      Kathleen Webb      Fernando Ruiz      Jim Amash   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Swimsuit Issue"      5   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Mow Money"      6   pages      Mike Pellowski      Dan DeCarlo      Henry Scarpelli   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM in      "Night School"      5   pages      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly      Holly Golightly   
   CHERYL BLOSSOM      "Suits Me Fine!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably Parent)      (pin-up/puzzle page)   
   JASON BLOSSOM in      "Drive Out!"      5   pages      Dan Parent      Dan Parent      Jon D'Agostino   
   VERONICA      "Veronica's Beachwear Collection!!"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "Some Things Never Change"      6   pages      Barbara Slate      Jeff Schultz      Al Milgrom   
   BETTY      "Betty's FUN Fashions"      1   page      uncredited      (probably DeCarlo)      (pin-up/fashion page)   
   BETTY & VERONICA in      "T.G.I.F."      5   pages      Frank Doyle      Dan DeCarlo      Jim DeCarlo   


Hey, DR, did you boldface the Bridgette story because it's the newest one? Plus, Sabrina AND the Pussycats in "Pussycats Plus One?! With your hero DeCarlo drawing it?! Now, THERE'S the team-up with both of DeCarlo's creations as the heroines! Pretty good story, too....  :smitten:
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 20, 2017, 08:02:22 PM
Hey, DR, did you boldface the Bridgette story because it's the newest one?
Exactly!

Plus, Sabrina AND the Pussycats in "Pussycats Plus One?! With your hero DeCarlo drawing it?! Now, THERE'S the team-up with both of DeCarlo's creations as the heroines! Pretty good story, too....  :smitten:

Yeah, that's from the 1987 Sabrina series, and there's still a lot of those I haven't read yet. I knew it existed (because I've looked through all the covers and contents online), but somehow I'd forgotten about that one a while ago, when someone had started a thread asking if there'd ever been a Sabrina/Josie crossover story. Apart from some of those all-star guest-star lineups in a few issues (including the Tom DeFalco/Fernando Ruiz story in B&V #271, which was the first to show Alexandra & Sabrina together), Sabrina the Teenage Witch #17 is the only issue to feature a full-fledged crossover of Sabrina and Josie that I know of.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F660839.jpg&hash=8a658424d7aa5a690533fbe16912437c)
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 20, 2017, 08:05:31 PM
I'd have to say the timing of that particular reprint isn't coincidental with the Sabrina and Josie appearing together in the current story beginning in the new JUGHEAD #15...
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: SAGG on May 20, 2017, 08:12:32 PM

Hey, DR, did you boldface the Bridgette story because it's the newest one?
Exactly!

Plus, Sabrina AND the Pussycats in "Pussycats Plus One?! With your hero DeCarlo drawing it?! Now, THERE'S the team-up with both of DeCarlo's creations as the heroines! Pretty good story, too....  :smitten:

Yeah, that's from the 1987 Sabrina series, and there's still a lot of those I haven't read yet. I knew it existed (because I've looked through all the covers and contents online), but somehow I'd forgotten about that one a while ago, when someone had started a thread asking if there'd ever been a Sabrina/Josie crossover story. Apart from some of those all-star guest-star lineups in a few issues (including the Tom DeFalco/Fernando Ruiz story in B&V #271, which was the first to show Alexandra & Sabrina together), Sabrina the Teenage Witch #17 is the only issue to feature a full-fledged crossover of Sabrina and Josie that I know of.

(https://www.archiefans.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fd1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net%2Fn_iv%2F600%2F660839.jpg&hash=8a658424d7aa5a690533fbe16912437c)


"Someone started it"? Don't you mean me?  :)

https://www.archiefans.com/all-about-archie/quick-josiesabrina-question/
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on May 20, 2017, 08:54:56 PM
Couldn't remember! Did you know the "search" function no longer works? I was going to find the thread and mention the reprinted story there, but...  :(
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: SAGG on May 21, 2017, 01:05:12 AM
Couldn't remember! Did you know the "search" function no longer works? I was going to find the thread and mention the reprinted story there, but...  :(
Nah. I really never have used it...  :P
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on June 15, 2017, 06:49:27 AM
JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS #24-26 – “Outragreous” – I really wanted to like this comic more than I actually did. This 3-part story was pretty slow-moving and really not much fun. I suspect that the problem here is that the author wants to treat the characters as “realistic” (one of the main problems I have with New Riverdale comics), not as just a fun, funny, or adventure-type story. It really felt like it dragged down the pace of the story because the author insists on cramming so much dialogue on every page. Things do happen, but very slowly, because the focus is not on what’s happening, it’s about the characters all talking about what’s happening – how they feel about everything that’s going on, which is way too angst-y for my taste. The characters really don’t seem like they’re having fun being in a band, instead it’s all about dealing with this problem and that. There are a couple of brief scenes where they actually perform where it looks like they might be having fun, but they’re so brief, it’s over in a page or three. I really don’t know much about the original JEM cartoon series, but I doubt it was anything like this. I’m going to guess that realism is not what people wanted in a JEM comic book, or it wouldn’t be cancelled. Unfortunately some nice art by Gisele can’t save the story from being kind of a drag. I’d like to see IDW just do a straight adaptation of the original cartoon – not updated (taking place in the ‘80s), not ‘realistic’, just a fun adventure with some comedy to it. Nothing to do with the problems of being in a band, just the fantasy of it, the glitz, the glamor, and the adventure, and crazy oddball happenings.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on June 15, 2017, 08:11:51 PM
I’d like to see IDW just do a straight adaptation of the original cartoon – not updated (taking place in the ‘80s), not ‘realistic’, just a fun adventure with some comedy to it. Nothing to do with the problems of being in a band, just the fantasy of it, the glitz, the glamor, and the adventure, and crazy oddball happenings.


I'd like to see this too. I enjoyed the Jem comic series more for the gorgeous art. They're relaunching the comic series as a mini-series and making it more superhero-y without Gisele of course.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on June 25, 2017, 12:23:25 AM
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH COMPLETE COLLECTION v1
(1962-1971) TP
  :smitten:
(https://www.archiefans.com/index.php?media/file/the-complete-sabrina-v1-tpb.3087/preview/)

The short version is that it's the BEST trade paperback ACP has released yet, because it's exactly the sort of thing comic collectors want -- ALL Sabrina stories reprinted in chronological order of their original appearance. ALL the stories are credited, and the source of the original publication is noted in each case (there are a few errors that I caught). There's even a table of contents listing all the stories by title, and which page they're found on (something frustratingly lacking in most Archie Comics trade collections). The actual book design is very attractive as well. Here you get to see Sabrina's character develop over the early years in the same order readers of the time did, but in a highly focused and concentrated form. This collection is basically following the same blueprint as Marvel's Essential series, or DC Comics' Showcase Presents series: 500+ pages of comics on cheap paper, in black & white, at a bargain-basement price ($10), but the size is identical to that used for ACP's Best of Archie Comics or Archie's Favorite Comics collections.

How complete is it? ALL of Sabrina's stories (and a single cover appearance) from ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE/MADHOUSE MA-AD JOKES (before the title changed to THE MADHOUSE GLADS) are included, even the one-page and 1/2 page gags (plus you get a bonus 1/2 page gag featuring Fran the Fan and Bippy the Hippy). In a couple of those, Sabrina shared a story with other Madhouse regulars, like Ronald the Rubber Boy and Professor Transistor. ALL of Sabrina's early appearances from ARCHIE'S T.V. LAUGH-OUT (through issue #10), and issues #1 through 4 of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (all Archie Giant issues), plus the Sabrina stories from ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS STOCKING and the very first Archie Giant Series SABRINA'S CHRISTMAS MAGIC issue (technically dated Jan. 1972). Many of those early stories have Sabrina interacting with Archie and the gang. ALL of the covers on which Sabrina appeared are also reproduced -- down to those on which Sabrina made only a cameo appearance as part of the crowd, including random issues of ARCHIE and JUGHEAD.

Don't let the black & white format put you off. It's even on cheaper, thinner paper (this applies to the cover stock as well) than previous books in the "Best of Archie Comics/Archie's Favorite Comics" series, which is a detraction, but the content of the book trumps all of those drawbacks. The fact of the matter is that once you begin reading the book, your awareness of "no color" quickly fades, because you become engrossed in the stories, and watching the evolution of Sabrina and her supporting cast unfold. I'm hoping that if people support this, it will someday get the same Deluxe Edition treatment as THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS - BOOK ONE. But the catch is, if no one supports this version of the book, that's never going to happen.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: Hiram Lodge on June 26, 2017, 02:51:09 AM
OK. You've got me convinced. I had previously said that I would not buy the Sabrina book because it wasn't in color. I have just changed my mind. I will buy it.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on July 04, 2017, 09:15:22 AM
MILLENIUM: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO #1 - This was a 62-page story for $5.99, and it was interesting. Quite involved, actually, and I was surprised to find despite the length that it's only the beginning of a longer story (how much longer, I have no idea). I haven't previously read any of TGWTDT stories, and while the story itself was good, it didn't seem like a very good introduction to the character. It seems whoever wrote the comic assumed any reader picking this up would already be familiar with the character. The story in this issue mainly follows another character -- a writer who's just been framed for defamation of character in trying to expose a grafting politician, as HE takes on the role of investigating a seemingly unrelated mystery involving a decade-old missing person case. He takes on the cold case as a means of obtaining some information on the man who's targeting him for revenge, trying to destroy his reputation as an investigative journalist. Lisbeth (TGWTDT) is involved with troubles of her own, seemingly unrelated to the writer's case. She'd just been involved in a privately-commissioned investigation into his character and background (she works for a security consulting firm, so she's sort of a modern private detective). It's a bit hard to relate to the punkish, pierced-&-inked Lisbeth, a character carrying around plenty of pent-up angst (possibly with good reason; we learn in the story that she'd been in and out of foster homes from age 13 through 18, but it's now 11 years later). Probably not coincidentally, the case that Mikhal (the writer) is investigating involves the disappearance (or possible murder, it hasn't been established) of a girl 11 years ago, whose uncle hires Mikhal to look for leads. The uncle is one of several relatives that are part of a rich and powerful business family with all sorts of internecine grudges, all of whom live on a private island (in Sweden, where the story takes place). Most of the story here in this issue focuses on Mikhal, not Lisbeth. While it seems likely that the two characters will eventually become reconnected, how exactly isn't clear. I sort of wish this first issue had filled in more of Lisbeth's basic details of how she got involved in the private investigation business, and what she'd done up to this point, rather than assume all the readers of this comic had read the previous novels by Steig Larson or seen the movie (which I haven't). Some of the covers seem to convey the idea that there's something more to Lisbeth's dragon tattoo than just a tattoo, but that may just be artistic license, or it may turn out to be something mystical (although the story seems very straightforwardly 'real-world' crime fiction up to this point). It's a little slow-moving in parts, but the plot seems well-constructed and easy to follow, so far.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: fandemoniumnetwork on July 19, 2017, 03:04:56 AM
FANdemonium Network brings you the latest comic and book reviews and news online.  Visit us For the best comic reviews opinions and podcasts about comic...
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on July 19, 2017, 07:54:48 AM
FANdemonium Network brings you the latest comic and book reviews and news online.  Visit us For the best comic reviews opinions and podcasts about comic...

From the same Networm that brought you "Pernicious Web-bots"!
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on July 21, 2017, 02:51:44 PM
I’d like to see IDW just do a straight adaptation of the original cartoon – not updated (taking place in the ‘80s), not ‘realistic’, just a fun adventure with some comedy to it. Nothing to do with the problems of being in a band, just the fantasy of it, the glitz, the glamor, and the adventure, and crazy oddball happenings.


I'd like to see this too. I enjoyed the Jem comic series more for the gorgeous art. They're relaunching the comic series as a mini-series and making it more superhero-y without Gisele of course.

I'll admit to complete ignorance of how the "hologramic" (or superhero) aspects of JEM integrate with the band concept. I never did see the orignal cartoon. Only Jerrica/JEM has a dual/secret identity, and the rest of the band members seem to get along fine without any "holo"powered alter-egos. I got as much as Jerrica is sort of "non-glamorous" (still a cute girl, though) in her real identity, and JEM has sort of a fantasy image rockstar look, but couldn't she just wear makeup, a wig, and a costume? (Hey, it worked for KISS!) Or does she have some sort of crippling stage-fright phobia about performing in front of people that she can only overcome by "hiding" behind the JEM facade I.D.? It was never really clear to me. The only other possibility that occurred to me (which doesn't really seem to make sense for a lead character) is that transforming into her holographic JEM identity gives her some kind of singing or musical abilities that she doesn't have "in real life". I never saw any evidence of her sneaking off to "battle crime" or otherwise fight the evil forces of rotten music or anything.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on August 11, 2017, 12:18:36 PM
ARCHIE'S BIG BOOK: MAGIC, MUSIC & MISCHIEF is a full-sized (same page size as a standard comic book), 304-page collection of some of the best stories (all older ones) from Sabrina, Josie and Little Archie. I get the impression that they're putting this out to try to build familiarity with Archie readers for these, their next three biggest character franchises, and you really couldn't ask for a better introductory volume.

MAGIC: Most of the Sabrina stories here were just recently reprinted in the SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH COMPLETE COLLECTION v1, which I reviewed above, but there they were printed in black & white at the smaller page size used for the Best of Archie Comics trade collection. Here they're full-sized and in color. The editor selected all Dan DeCarlo-illustrated stories (with one exception, a short drawn by Stan Goldberg) for this collection, including all of his key earliest ones from Archie's Madhouse. The rest are choice early stories from Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and one from Sabrina's Christmas Magic.

It was when I was counting the pages that I noticed there are just about 80 pages of Sabrina stories here, and that the cover illustration of Sabrina (which is also used in a larger image for the title page of the Sabrina section) is the same one that appeared as the cover of the formerly-solicited, then cancelled, SABRINA 80-PAGE GIANT, so I think if that comic had actually been published these are exactly the same stories you would have seen reprinted in that 80-Page Giant. While there are a few more than 80 pages in both the Josie and Little Archie section, I noted (again) that the images used on both the cover of this collection and the title pages of those characters' sections were the same as the ones that appeared on the covers for the respective 80-PAGE GIANT comics solicited, then cancelled, for JOSIE and LITTLE ARCHIE, so I'm guessing that 80 pages out of each of those sections would have made up those Giant comics.

MUSIC: Well, not all music. Three of the longer stories that begin this section ("A Gym Dandy", "Footlight Follies", and "Sweater Girls") are non-musical/non-Pussycats stories reprinted in their entirety (they were book-length stories) from early issues of She's Josie. Issues #1-3, in fact. I couldn't have been more delighted. I consider the longer early stories of She's Josie to be the very best stories Archie Comic Publications have ever produced, and these three showcase the talent of Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo at the height of their artistic powers. If ACP is ever wondering how to produce a new comic book that will actually be good, then they should dissect and analyze the way these stories are written and structured, and try to adapt that to stories about modern teenagers taking place today. I'm not saying they could do it, but they should at least attempt it. Josie was an interesting creation, because it involved the three main female characters taken from a proposed newspaper strip which Dan DeCarlo tried, and failed, to interest newspaper syndicate editors in. The male characters didn't come from those prototype strips though. They came from the last thing that Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo had worked on together, which was "The NEW" Wilbur. If you look carefully at Albert and Alexander, they're really just Wilbur and his rival Alec from the aforementioned series, with slightly different hairstyles and more stylish (for 1963) clothes. Albert even originally had the same flattop/brushcut hairstyle as Wilbur's, except that Wilbur was blond, and tended to dress more like the 1950s Archie, with letter sweatervests, saddle shoes, and checkered pants. The main difference here between Alec (from Wilbur) and Alexander Cabot is that instead of just being upper-middle class like Reggie Mantle, Alexander Cabot is filthy rich like the Lodges, and just as spoiled by it as Veronica. Otherwise the early Alexander looks and acts almost identically with Wilbur's rival Alec. Then there is Sock (short for Socrates, by the way, in case you didn't know), the big, dumb, (but good-natured) jock athlete who's absolutely bananas for Pepper and would do anything for her. He's an evolution of Tiny, who played a similar role (inspired by Moose, of course) in Wilbur's stories. Then there's Pepper, who had a namesake in the earlier Wilbur stories, but was nothing like Josie's Pepper, personality-wise. Although she may have taken some personality bits from a character in Wilber named Dodo. I have been fascinated by how "The NEW Wilbur" fits into the picture of characters' evolution in Archie Comics ever since I began noticing all the similarities. It's not so obvious, when you look at the characters of Alexander, who evolved considerably further in later stories of Josie and the Pussycats, and even Albert and Pepper evolved a little differently towards the end -- before being dropped altogether to make way for Alan M. Mayberry and Valerie Brown (later Smith). Did I mention that all the Josie stories (including the Pussycats ones) reprinted in this collection are also illustrated by Dan DeCarlo? All except one, just like in the previous Sabrina section. There's one final short drawn by Stan Goldberg, reprinted from years later than the original run of J&tP.

MISCHIEF: I'm not going to lie to you. I didn't actually read this section yet. But they all look to be early LA stories written and drawn by Bob Bolling. Bolling is an interesting writer to me, because he has very specific tastes, and includes very distinctive elements of fantasy, mystery, adventure and the supernatural in his stories (that goes for most of them, if he's allowed the page length to develop those ideas, regardless if it's a regular Archie story, a Betty story, or a Little Archie story). The shorter Little Archie stories rarely have those elements in them, and those are the ones mainly reprinted in the digests. This section contains at least two longer (both look to be book-length) stories containing those elements, that I plan on reading later. They are "Little Archie on Mars" and "The Strange Case of the Mystery Map". These both seem to contain complex plots, and other interesting incidental characters. I couldn't tell you what it is about stories featuring mainly a cast of primary-school children that disinterest me, but it is what it is.

Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: Vegan Jughead on August 11, 2017, 02:02:14 PM
ARCHIE'S BIG BOOK: MAGIC, MUSIC & MISCHIEF is a full-sized (same page size as a standard comic book), 304-page collection of some of the best stories (all older ones) from Sabrina, Josie and Little Archie. I get the impression that they're putting this out to try to build familiarity with Archie readers for these, their next three biggest character franchises, and you really couldn't ask for a better introductory volume.

MAGIC: Most of the Sabrina stories here were just recently reprinted in the SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH COMPLETE COLLECTION v1, which I reviewed above, but there they were printed in black & white at the smaller page size used for the Best of Archie Comics trade collection. Here they're full-sized and in color. The editor selected all Dan DeCarlo-illustrated stories (with one exception, a short drawn by Stan Goldberg) for this collection, including all of his key earliest ones from Archie's Madhouse. The rest are choice early stories from Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and one from Sabrina's Christmas Magic.

It was when I was counting the pages that I noticed there are just about 80 pages of Sabrina stories here, and that the cover illustration of Sabrina (which is also used in a larger image for the title page of the Sabrina section) is the same one that appeared as the cover of the formerly-solicited, then cancelled, SABRINA 80-PAGE GIANT, so I think if that comic had actually been published these are exactly the same stories you would have seen reprinted in that 80-Page Giant. While there are a few more than 80 pages in both the Josie and Little Archie section, I noted (again) that the images used on both the cover of this collection and the title pages of those characters' sections were the same as the ones that appeared on the covers for the respective 80-PAGE GIANT comics solicited, then cancelled, for JOSIE and LITTLE ARCHIE, so I'm guessing that 80 pages out of each of those sections would have made up those Giant comics.

MUSIC: Well, not all music. Three of the longer stories that begin this section ("A Gym Dandy", "Footlight Follies", and "Sweater Girls") are non-musical/non-Pussycats stories reprinted in their entirety (they were book-length stories) from early issues of She's Josie. Issues #1-3, in fact. I couldn't have been more delighted. I consider the longer early stories of She's Josie to be the very best stories Archie Comic Publications have ever produced, and these three showcase the talent of Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo at the height of their artistic powers. If ACP is ever wondering how to produce a new comic book that will actually be good, then they should dissect and analyze the way these stories are written and structured, and try to adapt that to stories about modern teenagers taking place today. I'm not saying they could do it, but they should at least attempt it. Josie was an interesting creation, because it involved the three main female characters taken from a proposed newspaper strip which Dan DeCarlo tried, and failed, to interest newspaper syndicate editors in. The male characters didn't come from those prototype strips though. They came from the last thing that Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo had worked on together, which was "The NEW" Wilbur. If you look carefully at Albert and Alexander, they're really just Wilbur and his rival Alec from the aforementioned series, with slightly different hairstyles and more stylish (for 1963) clothes. Albert even originally had the same flattop/brushcut hairstyle as Wilbur's, except that Wilbur was blond, and tended to dress more like the 1950s Archie, with letter sweatervests, saddle shoes, and checkered pants. The main difference here between Alec (from Wilbur) and Alexander Cabot is that instead of just being upper-middle class like Reggie Mantle, Alexander Cabot is filthy rich like the Lodges, and just as spoiled by it as Veronica. Otherwise the early Alexander looks and acts almost identically with Wilbur's rival Alec. Then there is Sock (short for Socrates, by the way, in case you didn't know), the big, dumb, (but good-natured) jock athlete who's absolutely bananas for Pepper and would do anything for her. He's an evolution of Tiny, who played a similar role (inspired by Moose, of course) in Wilbur's stories. Then there's Pepper, who had a namesake in the earlier Wilbur stories, but was nothing like Josie's Pepper, personality-wise. Although she may have taken some personality bits from a character in Wilber named Dodo. I have been fascinated by how "The NEW Wilbur" fits into the picture of characters' evolution in Archie Comics ever since I began noticing all the similarities. It's not so obvious, when you look at the characters of Alexander, who evolved considerably further in later stories of Josie and the Pussycats, and even Albert and Pepper evolved a little differently towards the end -- before being dropped altogether to make way for Alan M. Mayberry and Valerie Brown (later Smith). Did I mention that all the Josie stories (including the Pussycats ones) reprinted in this collection are also illustrated by Dan DeCarlo? All except one, just like in the previous Sabrina section. There's one final short drawn by Stan Goldberg, reprinted from years later than the original run of J&tP.

MISCHIEF: I'm not going to lie to you. I didn't actually read this section yet. But they all look to be early LA stories written and drawn by Bob Bolling. Bolling is an interesting writer to me, because he has very specific tastes, and includes very distinctive elements of fantasy, mystery, adventure and the supernatural in his stories (that goes for most of them, if he's allowed the page length to develop those ideas, regardless if it's a regular Archie story, a Betty story, or a Little Archie story). The shorter Little Archie stories rarely have those elements in them, and those are the ones mainly reprinted in the digests. This section contains at least two longer (both look to be book-length) stories containing those elements, that I plan on reading later. They are "Little Archie on Mars" and "The Strange Case of the Mystery Map". These both seem to contain complex plots, and other interesting incidental characters. I couldn't tell you what it is about stories featuring mainly a cast of primary-school children that disinterest me, but it is what it is.


I was already going to get this but now I'm EXCITED to get it, thanks to you.  I agree with you that She's Josie is the best Archie Comics ever did!!  And I agree that they should try to do something like this now. 
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: irishmoxie on August 11, 2017, 02:06:00 PM
ARCHIE'S BIG BOOK: MAGIC, MUSIC & MISCHIEF is a full-sized (same page size as a standard comic book), 304-page collection of some of the best stories (all older ones) from Sabrina, Josie and Little Archie. I get the impression that they're putting this out to try to build familiarity with Archie readers for these, their next three biggest character franchises, and you really couldn't ask for a better introductory volume.

MAGIC: Most of the Sabrina stories here were just recently reprinted in the SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH COMPLETE COLLECTION v1, which I reviewed above, but there they were printed in black & white at the smaller page size used for the Best of Archie Comics trade collection. Here they're full-sized and in color. The editor selected all Dan DeCarlo-illustrated stories (with one exception, a short drawn by Stan Goldberg) for this collection, including all of his key earliest ones from Archie's Madhouse. The rest are choice early stories from Archie's TV Laugh-Out, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and one from Sabrina's Christmas Magic.

It was when I was counting the pages that I noticed there are just about 80 pages of Sabrina stories here, and that the cover illustration of Sabrina (which is also used in a larger image for the title page of the Sabrina section) is the same one that appeared as the cover of the formerly-solicited, then cancelled, SABRINA 80-PAGE GIANT, so I think if that comic had actually been published these are exactly the same stories you would have seen reprinted in that 80-Page Giant. While there are a few more than 80 pages in both the Josie and Little Archie section, I noted (again) that the images used on both the cover of this collection and the title pages of those characters' sections were the same as the ones that appeared on the covers for the respective 80-PAGE GIANT comics solicited, then cancelled, for JOSIE and LITTLE ARCHIE, so I'm guessing that 80 pages out of each of those sections would have made up those Giant comics.

MUSIC: Well, not all music. Three of the longer stories that begin this section ("A Gym Dandy", "Footlight Follies", and "Sweater Girls") are non-musical/non-Pussycats stories reprinted in their entirety (they were book-length stories) from early issues of She's Josie. Issues #1-3, in fact. I couldn't have been more delighted. I consider the longer early stories of She's Josie to be the very best stories Archie Comic Publications have ever produced, and these three showcase the talent of Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo at the height of their artistic powers. If ACP is ever wondering how to produce a new comic book that will actually be good, then they should dissect and analyze the way these stories are written and structured, and try to adapt that to stories about modern teenagers taking place today. I'm not saying they could do it, but they should at least attempt it. Josie was an interesting creation, because it involved the three main female characters taken from a proposed newspaper strip which Dan DeCarlo tried, and failed, to interest newspaper syndicate editors in. The male characters didn't come from those prototype strips though. They came from the last thing that Frank Doyle and Dan DeCarlo had worked on together, which was "The NEW" Wilbur. If you look carefully at Albert and Alexander, they're really just Wilbur and his rival Alec from the aforementioned series, with slightly different hairstyles and more stylish (for 1963) clothes. Albert even originally had the same flattop/brushcut hairstyle as Wilbur's, except that Wilbur was blond, and tended to dress more like the 1950s Archie, with letter sweatervests, saddle shoes, and checkered pants. The main difference here between Alec (from Wilbur) and Alexander Cabot is that instead of just being upper-middle class like Reggie Mantle, Alexander Cabot is filthy rich like the Lodges, and just as spoiled by it as Veronica. Otherwise the early Alexander looks and acts almost identically with Wilbur's rival Alec. Then there is Sock (short for Socrates, by the way, in case you didn't know), the big, dumb, (but good-natured) jock athlete who's absolutely bananas for Pepper and would do anything for her. He's an evolution of Tiny, who played a similar role (inspired by Moose, of course) in Wilbur's stories. Then there's Pepper, who had a namesake in the earlier Wilbur stories, but was nothing like Josie's Pepper, personality-wise. Although she may have taken some personality bits from a character in Wilber named Dodo. I have been fascinated by how "The NEW Wilbur" fits into the picture of characters' evolution in Archie Comics ever since I began noticing all the similarities. It's not so obvious, when you look at the characters of Alexander, who evolved considerably further in later stories of Josie and the Pussycats, and even Albert and Pepper evolved a little differently towards the end -- before being dropped altogether to make way for Alan M. Mayberry and Valerie Brown (later Smith). Did I mention that all the Josie stories (including the Pussycats ones) reprinted in this collection are also illustrated by Dan DeCarlo? All except one, just like in the previous Sabrina section. There's one final short drawn by Stan Goldberg, reprinted from years later than the original run of J&tP.

MISCHIEF: I'm not going to lie to you. I didn't actually read this section yet. But they all look to be early LA stories written and drawn by Bob Bolling. Bolling is an interesting writer to me, because he has very specific tastes, and includes very distinctive elements of fantasy, mystery, adventure and the supernatural in his stories (that goes for most of them, if he's allowed the page length to develop those ideas, regardless if it's a regular Archie story, a Betty story, or a Little Archie story). The shorter Little Archie stories rarely have those elements in them, and those are the ones mainly reprinted in the digests. This section contains at least two longer (both look to be book-length) stories containing those elements, that I plan on reading later. They are "Little Archie on Mars" and "The Strange Case of the Mystery Map". These both seem to contain complex plots, and other interesting incidental characters. I couldn't tell you what it is about stories featuring mainly a cast of primary-school children that disinterest me, but it is what it is.


Sounds like a lot of reprinted stories for me but it would be nice to read them in color.
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on August 12, 2017, 12:18:38 AM
A couple of other things I forgot to mention here about stories I found surprising. There's one Gladir/DeCarlo Sabrina story here where she's reminiscing about when she was a little girl (which also includes an appearance by Harvey), that I would bet dollars to donuts pre-dates any appearances of Little Sabrina in the Little Archie stories. Actually, if I'm not mistaken, I don't think Bolling ever used Little Sabrina in his original run on Little Archie, and she was first incorporated into the strip by Dexter Taylor after he had taken over the writing and art on Little Archie.

There's one Little Archie story here by Bolling that's quite recent because I saw it as the lead story in one of the digests within the past couple of years ("The New Kid"), and although it's a 5-page short, it does involve a fantasy angle, where an alien kid lands his UFO on earth and meets up with Little Archie, who's on his way to a costume party, and naturally both Little Archie and the kids at the party think the alien kid is just another friend in a weird costume, before Little Archie eventually learns the truth.

Also notable was a story in which Veronica appears in a Josie story when Alexander's car has trouble, and she stops to offer Josie and Alex a lift. Alex's bloated ego is profoundly insulted when Veronica asks him to wipe the mud off his feet before getting in the car. He refuses the ride, and determines to revenge himself for what he considers Veronica's insult. He knows not who he's dealing with...
Title: Re: Some reviews.
Post by: DeCarlo Rules on August 12, 2017, 07:39:25 PM
Some thoughts on those two longer Little Archie stories, now that I've read them. "On Mars" is 14 pages and semi-predictable in some of its elements, but I enjoyed it enough, I guess. Characters unique to the story included the Martians Abercrombie and Snitch, and a brief appearance by a purple Plutonian alien beatnik, who shared a cage with LA in the Martian Zoo.

The other story, "The Strange Case of the Mystery Map" was almost twice as long at 29 pages, and considerably more interesting to me. I'm guessing it must have first appeared in one of the 25c Little Archie Giant issues. LA is more of a minor character in this one, a straight action-adventure tale, whose main characters included Jimmy Lee, earnest young office boy of The Riverdale Register, also a photographer who aspires to make his mark as a cub reporter for the paper. Jimmy rides a motorcycle (he also has a motorboat, later in the story). LA happens to be talking with Jimmy when the two witness an attempted holdup in broad daylight at the pawn shop belonging to an elderly woman. Only the "elderly woman" uses judo to toss her two thuggish attackers out the door of the shop. Seeing a potential news story, Jimmy and LA question her, and she's suspiciously reticent to discuss her business and tries to avoid any publicity. She hurriedly disappears out the back, but Jimmy tracks her and witnesses her disappear into a clothing store's changing room, only to emerge later as a beautiful young girl whose name we later learn is Toni Greenwood. She notices their trailing of her and disappears into thin air at the river's edge, but it later turns out that she's the niece of Riverdale's most eccentric millionaire recluse, Caleb Wharton, who obsessively hates newspapers. Toni presents her uncle with information found hidden in the back room of the pawn shop that will lead to the location of Caleb's pirate ancestor's secret treasure map. There's a lot more to it, of course, but I don't want to spoil everything.