Betty & Veronica Digest #171

It’s December, so the Archie digests are all about winter. Building snowmen, missing summer, vacation escapes, snowballs — all are typical subjects for forgettable short stories with the characters.

Betty and Veronica Digest #171 cover

However, this digest has a couple of pieces I found interesting for other reasons. In the first, Mr. Lodge is upset about Veronica’s spending, so he tells her she needs to learn to say “no”. In a classic example of missing the forest for the trees, this somehow becomes a bet that Veronica can’t go a day without saying the word “yes”.

It doesn’t matter whether she agrees to things or not or whether she learns the self-control she so desperately needs; all that counts is whether the sound passes her lips. And she’s not clever enough to think of anything besides “yes” or “no”, either. When asked “did you like the movie?”, she could say “it was very enjoyable” instead of simply “no”. But that would require more creativity than the story has.

The second story that caught my eye does have a bit more wit to it. Veronica decides to start wearing her hair in a ponytail, just like Betty’s. The change gets attention (as is often the case; something new, no matter good or bad, draws the eye and freshens up the jaded), which makes Betty jealous, so she and Dilton scheme to convince Veronica to change back.

Since artists draw Betty and Veronica the same except for hair, and since their personalities have been made more similar, no wonder Archie can’t choose between them! This story plays with that common criticism of Archie comics, and it has some welcome snap to it.

The digest also contains three Josie (as in “& the Pussycats”, but no band in these) stories. I was surprised to see, in the middle one, Josie and Valerie playing a trick on Melody. I know it’s tempting to tease the birdbrain, but I thought it was usually the other characters doing it, not her friends.

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