Saturday, December 23, 2006

Betty & Veronica Spectacular #76

Betty & Veronica Spectacular #76, January 2007, Archie Comic Publications
writers: Dan Parent, Mike Pellowski
artists: Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski
letterer: Jack Morelli
colorist: Barry Grossman
editor: Victor Gorelick
EIC: Richard Goldwater

Reading this holiday issue of Betty & Veronica Spectacular, I realized just how dysfunctional the romantic concept in Archie comics have been. The girls seem to be the best of friends, walking the halls of Riverdale High and shopping together, but at the very mention of Archie, or at the sight of another cute boy, the “BFFs” are at each others’ throats in a treacherous quest for date night domination. Even Christmas couldn’t keep these vixens from their futile feud, as this installment reveals . . .

The two short stories in this issue are amusing enough, the first one more so than the second. In the first, a disgruntled elf boycotts Santa’s harsh working conditions by transforming himself into a cute Riverdale student to reap the benefits of Archie’s polygamist-like dating lifestyle. Sure enough, Betty and Veronica battle for the new student’s affections, and therein pushes the elf-turned-teen away, back to the North Pole, realizing that Archie’s life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In the second story, Betty and Veronica spot Archie at the mall and assume he’s Christmas shopping for them, but when the large portrait he picks up at the photo shop turns out to be for his mom, the girls are both relieved (the gift is egotistical, the girls ironically comment) but still zealous about what their respective gifts could be. If these stories weren’t so light-hearted, they’d be fodder for a Jerry Springer pay-per-view.

What amazed me about this issue is how much post-production went into the artwork. The pages were drawn decently, but the coloring utilizes the best technological techniques around, including the ability to transform the hues of inked lines to create a more lifelike look. The cover itself is nothing more than a sketch with a slew of clip art snowflakes and teaser blurbs, understandably creating the impression of a magazine for girls. The fashion and shopping pin-up pages obviously went over my head, not because of its content, but because of its appeal. Yeah, I think girls would best get this issue, not to mention the whole Betty and Veronica thing. This is a good example of how it takes one to know one.

Now, to hit the road to Arizona. Tomorrow: more holiday comic book goodness.

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