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  • Vegan Jughead: Happy Birthday BettyReggie!
    February 18, 2019, 07:40:11 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Taking Care of Business" from B&V #257: [link]
    February 17, 2019, 09:14:58 am
  • archiecomicscollector: Icon Heroes just announced Riverdale and Sabrina figures will debut later this year.
    February 15, 2019, 08:23:37 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Fall" from Betty and Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 2: [link]
    February 09, 2019, 10:04:42 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Faith, Hope and Cheryl!" from Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 2: [link]
    February 07, 2019, 08:32:08 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: Congrats to Riverdale on its renewal! :)
    February 02, 2019, 09:03:31 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Brotherly Love" from Cheryl Blossom, No. 22: [link]
    January 26, 2019, 10:10:27 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Jughead the Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 is coming in April. This is the first alternate-Archiverse crossover (they exist in different parallel universes) since "The Married Life".
    January 25, 2019, 06:31:05 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Wild Things" from Riverdale, No. 3: [link]
    January 24, 2019, 05:32:04 pm
  • Archiecomicxfan215: That was a headline on the Archie Comics facebook page i just saw
    January 23, 2019, 11:12:34 pm
  • Archiecomicxfan215: Breaking News: A Riverdale spin-off starring Katy Keene is heading to The CW!
    January 23, 2019, 11:12:11 pm
  • BettyReggie: Later Pals & Gals
    January 21, 2019, 03:12:11 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Summer's End" from Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 1: [link]
    January 12, 2019, 11:02:58 am
  • BettyReggie: It's pouring in The Bronx.
    January 05, 2019, 03:20:04 pm
  • BettyReggie: Happy New Year
    January 01, 2019, 03:41:55 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Kiss of the Century" from Cheryl Blossom, No. 28: [link]
    December 31, 2018, 09:15:22 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Holi-Daze" from Cheryl Blossom, No. 28: [link]
    December 25, 2018, 06:19:02 pm
  • Vegan Jughead: Thanks, BR!
    December 25, 2018, 11:09:37 am
  • BettyReggie: Merry Christmas Vegan Jughead
    December 25, 2018, 09:49:06 am
  • BettyReggie: I'm still in bed.
    December 25, 2018, 09:48:20 am

Some reviews.

Started by DeCarlo Rules, October 06, 2016, 03:01:24 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

DeCarlo Rules

November 01, 2016, 03:46:58 pm #15 Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 03:48:54 pm by DeCarlo Rules
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).

DeCarlo Rules

November 03, 2016, 12:45:04 am #16 Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 07:13:41 am by DeCarlo Rules
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').

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.


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.  :)

DeCarlo Rules

Quote from: steveinthecity on November 03, 2016, 07:23:42 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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 06, 2016, 04:37:07 am #19 Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 06:36:26 am by DeCarlo Rules

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 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 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


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:

THE CARNEYS #1   Summer   1994



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?

DeCarlo Rules

November 06, 2016, 09:12:27 am #21 Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 09:43:38 am by DeCarlo Rules
Quote from: irishmoxie on November 06, 2016, 07:50:32 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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 07, 2016, 06:14:51 am #22 Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 06:30:34 am by DeCarlo Rules
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.  :)

DeCarlo Rules

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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 08, 2016, 05:25:47 pm #24 Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 06:13:09 pm by DeCarlo Rules
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)??


DeCarlo Rules

November 10, 2016, 01:26:56 am #25 Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 06:00:57 am by DeCarlo Rules
Here is the cover of the long-delayed ARCHIE COMICS SUPER SPECIAL #7, on sale the week of 11-16-2016.

(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)

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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 11, 2016, 03:53:30 pm #26 Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 04:45:15 pm by DeCarlo Rules
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:

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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 13, 2016, 06:13:22 am #27 Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 12:20:34 am by DeCarlo Rules
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 :


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!"

DeCarlo Rules

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.

DeCarlo Rules

November 21, 2016, 11:30:52 pm #29 Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 03:40:29 pm by DeCarlo Rules
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.

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