Betty & Veronica This Month: #225, Digest #173

Quick thoughts on two recent Betty & Veronica comics.

Betty & Veronica Digest #173 was predictable and boring, full of generic sitcom plots — Veronica flatters people to win Teen Queen, Betty gets stuck trying on a wedding dress, the Lodges’ butler told his mum that he was the rich guy and Mr. Lodge was the butler, Cheryl has a party while her parents are out of town — until the Josie & the Pussycats reprints started.

Betty & Veronica Digest #173
Betty & Veronica Digest #173

In the first one, Valerie’s fallen in love with a clarinet player with the symphony and is embarrassed because she thinks he’ll think popular music is low-class. Great dialogue exchange:

Josie: So you don’t think he’d like rock’n’roll?
Valerie: Would Shakespeare read comic books?
Josie: If they’d have been around at the time, I think he’d have written them!

She’s totally right. And it’s neat to see a story where everyone likes different things and ends up crossing boundaries without preconceptions. All in only five pages, too!

The next one is a trifle where the boys are wallpapering and the girls are baking a cake (gender preconceptions? where?) and they manage to get the paste and the icing swapped. It’s dumb, especially since the colorist made the spread brown for chocolate. White would have been more plausible, although that’s a ridiculous thing to say about the whole piece. The last one plays off of Alex Cabot being girl-crazy and Melody being clumsy, but it set up a nice double-cross on the reader.

The Betty and Veronica stories pick up after the break, with the girls demonstrating a certain kind of creativity, even if it is in support of such traditional subjects as fashion and shopping and getting revenge.

Betty & Veronica #225
Betty & Veronica #225

The cover of Betty & Veronica #225 is strangely self-referential, with the girls reading each other’s comics. The cover copy “I wonder what she’s been up to?” makes me wonder if it’s intended to attract readers reminded of the books’ existence after recent news coverage of the upcoming change.

The first story is oddly mis-targeted. It’s been promoted and positioned as the two girls becoming superheroes (“When Cheryl Blossom threatens to steal Archie away, Betty and Veronica become super-heroic protectors of their man in this costumed-crusader fable!”), but anyone who knows comics will recognize that what they really become are manga-style magical girls.

The two girls yell “Chic change mode begin!”, spiral ribbons of color surround them, and they get new outfits. They yell attacks like “handbag bombardment swirl!” and gesture to take out their opponent. The names give it away. “Elegant Pure Fashion Diva Supreme” and “Ever-Adorable Pretty Game Star Deluxe” are not typical American costume monikers.

It’s all in service of a fight that achieves nothing, and I think it would have been more interesting to read with artists who demonstrated more knowledge of what they were supposed to be homaging/evoking.

The other stories deal with catching a cold, giving a pet fashion party, and an oddly miserable one about how Veronica is never given the benefit of the doubt even when she works for charity. The message, about not making assumptions, is a good one, but it’s so downbeat — it seems to have ended at the wrong time. Either more or less of it would have been preferable.


7 Responses to “Betty & Veronica This Month: #225, Digest #173”

  1. david brothers Says:

    I kind of inordinately like that B&V 225 cover and I’m not sure why. It’s simple and a little clever.

    Looking at the comics on the rack is interesting, too. The little kid is reading Flash, there’s a “Star Man,” a “Black Raven” (isn’t he a DC character? Native American with wings…), “Sonic the Hedgehog” (which is published by Archie Comics), and, of all things, “The Bears”, which looks just like the Berenstein Bears. I used to love those kids books.

    Archie Comics (the whole line, save Sabrina, which I could never get into) are a guilty pleasure to me. I’ll pick up the digests every few months just to see, and they’re always like the books I read as a kid, for good or ill. It blew my mind when I found out that Al Milgrom was inking a few of their books, too.

  2. James Moar Says:

    Yeah, but Shakespeare’s comics would have been pretty wordy, and he’d have left all the details of how to interpret the characters and action up to the penciller.

  3. Oliver Says:

    I have this issue but the cover is different than the one in the picture because all the books on the rack and table are either Archie Graphic Novels or comic books from that month. I live in Canada so maybe it’s different.

    Great series, and if you’re like me, you find it expensive to buy the whole line of comics every month (even Sabrina, which I love), whew!

  4. Johanna Says:

    Oliver, I suspect that what I have here is an early draft of the cover, and by the time the final version was published, they’d changed the image to reflect only their books.

  5. katherine sunny Says:

    oh!archie comics i love it!

  6. Lindsey Says:

    Betty and Veronica comic books are really good! They are my favorite comics!! But I think they should make a bunch of new ones! BETTY AND VERONICA COMIC BOOKS ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. Meshelle Says:

    I love betty and Veronica. I like Betty more but I like the love triangle between Archie and them. I been reading their comics for 5 years




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