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Author Topic: Some reviews.  (Read 35529 times)

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DeCarlo Rules

Re: Some reviews.
« Reply #90 on: April 08, 2018, 11:19:05 am »
So yesterday (Saturday) I got my subscription copies of both B&V FRIENDS JUMBO COMICS #260, and BETTY AND VERONICA JUMBO COMICS #262.

(As an aside, it annoys me a little that the two titles are so close in numbering that I'll probably never be able to keep straight which one is slightly ahead, and always have to check to make sure I didn't miss one issue somewhere. Anyway...)

B&V FRIENDS came out in comic shops last Wednesday, so it was four days late for me. But BETTY & VERONICA doesn't technically come out until next Wednesday in comic shops, so for me it was four days early. This business of having one digest (from the previous Wednesday) and another (from next Wednesday) arrive in the mail on the very same day has happened to me a LOT as a subscriber. I'd say it's happened about four or five times in the last year (out of the ten times a year both digests ship) which is pretty weird, but there you have it. You might think it should happen less now that I've let my subs to the two ARCHIE digests run out, but I swear that the same thing happened with the same two B&V digests about 2 or 3 months ago. It's either feast or famine, and now that I'm down to just the two B&V digest subs that means there will be a long stretch between until the next digest arrives. So yesterday was a DOUBLE JUMBO COMICS digest day for me to read lots & lots of B&V stories, but I wanted to make sure I got them read this weekend because next Wednesday the trade collection ARCHIE'S BIG BOOK VOL 3: ROCK 'n' ROLL comes out, and I'll want to get to that one as soon as I can, so I can't let these things pile up on me.

There were a few stories in each of those Jumbo Comics issues that I wanted to comment on for one reason or another, but I'll get to most of those in a later post. Interestingly, I had commented last month about the lack of JOSIE reprints in the digests since last Fall, and the new B&V FRIENDS not only HAS a Josie section, but it's a whole 22 PAGES of Josie, including "O Solo Mio", a Dan Parent/Holly G collaboration (that was also included in last year's BEST OF JOSIE collection), followed by the less-often reprinted "Dreams", a classic Doyle/DeCarlo 6-pager, followed by the 1990s 5-page Hal Smith/Stan Goldberg "The Octopus and the Pesticide" (the title a pun which you'll have to read the story to discover, since if I explained it, it would spoil the joke). A nice selection spotlighting 3 of the 4 main Josie artists. 

The new BETTY & VERONICA also devotes 22 pages to Sabrina, in another case of stories taken all from the same issue (with art by Holly G and Fernando Ruiz).

The thing that got me to thinking were the two Cheryl Blossom stories. Each digest has one, in the case of B&V FRIENDS, it's "We've Got It Maid!!", which is technically a B&V story, and in the case of BETTY & VERONICA it's "Who Is Cheryl Blossom?" from BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #160 (Jun. 2008). That story more or less summarizes Cheryl's status up to that point in time, and it's sort of a prequel/re-intro for Cheryl before the 5-part series "And the Winner Is...", that originally appeared in BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #161-165. Issues #166, 167 and 169 all had new Cheryl stories in them, too, so it was almost like a try-out miniseries. That series had a tie-in for readers to vote for one of a series of potential boyfriends, and the winner of the popular vote would become the new steady boyfriend for Cheryl (spoiler: the winner, George, didn't last as Cheryl's steady guy for very long -- just until next year's BETTY AND VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #179 (Nov. 2009) story, "The Seven Month Itch").

Now, I don't know if anyone noticed, but BETTY AND VERONICA JUMBO COMICS #260 reprinted a 2-part Cheryl & Reggie team-up story "Love Is Nasty" (and its epilogue, "How's Tricks?"), all of which were 6-page shorts, from BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST #180-182. The ending of the three stories left Cheryl in the situation of dating Reggie Mantle, but checking the original publication dates, the last of those shorts appeared just one month prior to "Who Is Cheryl Blossom?", so despite B&V's antipathy towards Cheryl, apparently they felt that even she deserved better than dating Mantle the Mouth, and so they attempt to set her up on a series of blind dates with potential new boyfriends, in the 5-part series "And the Winner Is..." (but let's be honest, B&V are really doing this to make sure they can keep Cheryl away from dating Archie).

The thing about Cheryl is, her status since losing her own title was actually changing in nearly every story, so there is some continuity there and the stories have to be placed in order for Cheryl's evolution as a character to make some sense. I'm working on a chronology of her original appearances. The 1980s and 1990s are pretty straightforward and easy to figure out, continuity-wise, but after CHERYL BLOSSOM #37 (Mar. 2001) things get a little more vague. There seems to be a large gap of a few years there between that issue and her next major storyline, "Love Showdown 2" in B&V SPECTACULAR #60 and ARCHIE & FRIENDS #79 (also known as "Lights, Camera, Action!!"). I can identify the multipart story Cheryl appearances pretty easily from 2004's "Love Showdown 2" through 2011's "Queen B", but I still wonder what she was up to between CHERYL BLOSSOM #37 in 2001 and "Love Showdown 2" in Feb/Mar 2004. Most of those stories ... and when I'm talking about "a Cheryl story", I don't necessarily mean one where she's the solo star, or has her own logo on the first page, but neither do I mean the (many) appearances where she's just 'one of many' supporting characters who play minor bit parts in a story -- what I mean by "a Cheryl story" is one in which Cheryl is one of three or four main characters in the story, where she plays a major part in moving the plot forward. These are what I call the "significant" Cheryl stories, or the ones that are important to the overall "Cheryl Saga" or whatever you want to call it. I still haven't been able to locate the story in which she moved out of the country (post-CHERYL #37), so if anyone has a clue to where I might find that, let me know. Once I've had a chance to spend a little more time cross-checking the chronology I'm currently trying to hammer out -- let's call it CHERYL: 2001-2014, I'll post it here.

More comments on some of those other stories in those two Jumbo Comics digest issues later. This post has gone on long enough.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 04:07:49 am by DeCarlo Rules »


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