Betty & Veronica Double Digest #180

The latest “New Look” project (with more soap opera and a different art style) is the first with a plot I’ve found worthy of a lengthy four-part story and the tendency to wallow in exaggerated emotion that comes along with it. Betty has decided to try out for the boys’ baseball team instead of sticking with softball.

Betty & Veronica Double Digest #180

The girls on the softball team are upset, because they had an award-winning season last year and want to repeat. The boys are upset, because they don’t want to play with a girl. Veronica is upset because she thinks it’s all a ploy for Betty to spend more time with Archie. (She often projects on Betty her own motivations and schemes.) All these different motivations allow for lots of reactions and character interaction.

The biggest flaw in the story is inadequately explaining Betty’s motivation. She mentions how much she really misses playing baseball, but as a non-athetic person, I didn’t understand … aren’t softball and baseball basically the same thing, except for the size of the ball? What’s the big appeal to her? We see lots about how others react to choice, but not enough about why she made it. She’s treated as a plot device at times, and I wanted to see more of her as a character.

Also, I understand that everyone’s responses have to be outsized to go along with the style of the story, but I found it implausible that all of Betty’s friends become so vicious so quickly. Are Midge and Nancy really so eager for sports glory that they turn on her for deserting them? Betty keeps saying “all you guys are great players, you can win without me,” but no one else seems to believe that, which contradicts the message of teamwork sports are supposed to instill. Are the guys really so misogynist that they ignore Betty’s abilities and shun her? (I found it interesting that, when we’re shown in one scene boys telling her they don’t want her on the team, we see the word balloons coming from off-screen, so we don’t know whether it’s our familiar friends yelling at her or “utility player” walk-on characters.) Is Archie so conservative that he won’t date her if she tries out? No one seems to want to ask her what she’s doing and why before jumping to conclusions, and it makes all the characters look unpleasant.

Still, I’m eager to see how this story plays out, and if we learn more about Betty’s choices in the following three parts.

Among the reprints, one of the oddest is one in which Veronica tries to outright buy the yearbook contest for Most Popular. She’s giving away cars and $100 bills on a scale that we don’t often see in the current comics. Even weirder are her outfits, which appear to have come from a light bondage-themed costume party. There’s a fitted minidress with a buckled collar around the neck, a cleavage-baring tight black minidress, and a short purple off-the-shoulder number with cutout lacing up the sleeves. Most are accompanied by knee-high black boots. It must have been the eighties, because in part two, she’s wearing a spaghetti strap tank top with pants with laces up the side and a dropped-waist wrap belt.

We’re starting to see more credits in the reprint stories, but only on the relatively modern ones. I’d like to see a brief note (nothing too obvious, nothing to scare off younger readers) on all the stories that included the original publication locations and dates as well as the artists responsible. That might require a good deal of research in some cases, I’m guessing.

I was quite touched by the older story where Betty digs up a paint-can time capsule in her backyard, then finds the woman who put it there in 1968. It’s sweet and gets the character away from Archie and Veronica for a while, a pleasant change.

Similar Posts: Betty & Veronica Double Digest #198 § Betty & Veronica Digest #171 § Betty & Veronica Double Digest #158: Irresponsible Cheerleading § Archie Launches Second Magazine Format Title: Veronica & Betty § Betty & Veronica #218


7 Responses to “Betty & Veronica Double Digest #180”

  1. James Schee Says:

    There are some other differences in baseball and softball beyond size of ball.

    Number of players on field, distances, strategy and then there is a certain stigma related to both.

    I could sort of see Betty wanting to challenge her skills in sort of the same way Anna Sorensten wanted to to in the PGA.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I was hoping someone would explain the differences in the sport to me further, thanks. What do you mean by “stigma”?

    And yeah, since boys’ sports are taken more seriously, still, in most cases, I could see Betty aiming higher, but that aspect hasn’t been mentioned in the story so far. They’ve stayed away from institutional sexism — Riverdale is shown to support both boys’ and girls’ sports — and the legal question, although I suspect that’s coming up.

  3. James Schee Says:

    Stigma was really just that softball is really thought of as a girls sport, and baseball is a boys one.

    Though goals can also be different as well. A high school baseball can be drafted by a major league baseball club if they are thought good enough. While softball is generally looking/hoping for scholarships, I know a couple of young women who got these.

    Oddly the #1 draft pick in MLB’s draft this year was someone whose parents let him drop out of high school and get his GED. At 16 he played one year in some amateur baseball league before being drafter at age 17. (may sound ridiculous, but he’s likely to be signed for millions)

    There are apparently a lot of girls here in the US who try out for their high school baseball teams though here’s a good article from last year on it
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/sports/baseball/01baseball.html

    Plus in Japan one team actually rafted a 16 year old female pitcher 2 years ago, she’s in the minors but may one day make her debut for their major league club:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/19/japan-baseball

  4. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the links! I appreciate reading more on this story. I especially like the quote from the NY Times article: “The so-called bat and ball sport offered girls at most high schools, softball, is played with a larger ball on a smaller diamond. ‘It’s like saying Ping-Pong and tennis are the same sport,’ Marti Sementelli said.”

  5. James Schee Says:

    No problem, while I am far from athletically gifted. I have played softball (and before it Tee-ball) as well as baseball in youth leagues growing up. Plus my dad and I would usually make at least 2 trips a year to see the MLB Houston Astros when I was growing up. (it was so weird to be in a building that could house the entire population of my town 15 times over)

    So baseball’s something I’ve always been interested in. One of my favorite Avengers stories is one where the teams play a baseball game in the Astrodome.:)

    Oh and I thought you’d like that quote.:)

  6. Hsifeng Says:

    Speaking of switching sports…

    Gene Towba of Plainview, Long Island Says in “Letters to the Editor,” NY Daily News, Thursday, June 17th 2010, 4:00 AM:

    “First, my kid chose fútbol over football. Now, he wants to play lead vuvuzela in the school band.”

  7. James Schee Says:

    Read the first and second parts of this today. Gotta say it was just startling to see goody, goody Archie characters acting so awful to one of their own, especially to Betty!

    I mean if it was just Reggie I could understand, as hey that’s what he’s there for in the series. Even Moose I can sort of nod at, because he’s never been known to be so brainy. Heck even Veronica you could say was a nod to her more catty past.

    Yet Dilton?? Chuck?? Jughead? Wow….

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