B & V Friends Double Digest #216

A comic review article by: Penny Kenny
Beneath B & V friends Double Digest #216's lovely Dan DeCarlo cover lies a treasure trove of light summer reading.

The fun begins with Angelo DeCesare and Dan Parent's "Team Spirit." While on a cruise, Betty and Veronica encounter a love-struck ghost who takes a dislike to Archie and the guys. It's a cute idea and DeCesare handles it well, keeping the story moving at a brisk pace. Parent's art, inked by Jon D'Agostino, is attractive and expressive.

George Gladir and Stan Goldberg contribute three stories: "Ollie Dollies," a tale of skateboard tricks and girl power; "Double Trouble," in which Betty discovers horoscopes and boys don't mix; and another Betty story, "Action Faction," which has the teen using her life experience on the job at the Action Girl Doll Company. All three stories are fun and feature solid art. Goldberg draws the boys in a beefier, huskier manner that works quite well. In "Cheer Camp," Gladir teams up with Parent to send Archie to cheerleading camp with the girls. Our hero discovers it's not the breeze he thought it would be. This story also features an appearance by Betty's other beau Adam, as does "Double Trouble." While Adam doesn't play a large part in either story, it is nice to see Archie have some competition for Betty's affections.

Kathleen Webb's "Set in Sandstone" is a cute story about Betty and Veronica trying to make a shopping date. Girls will find it amusing and something they can relate to. My favorite Webb story this issue, though, is "La La Land" with artist Jeff Shultz. In this story we get a peek at what goes on in Betty's mind when Veronica starts lecturing her on her faults. Webb is true to both girls' characters and Shultz's wordless panels are lovely.

Dan Parent scripts and pencils three stories: "To Marcy with Love," "When Divas Meet" and "As the Tide Washes In." Of the three, "To Marcy" is my favorite. It's always a pleasure to see the smart, but socially-challenged Marcy. In "To Marcy" she asks her cousin Veronica to help her get a date with the cute guy she's got a crush on. Parent does a nice job showing Marcy's nervousness without making her a total misfit. We also see that Veronica is genuinely fond of her cousin. There are some humorous as well as sweet moments that readers will enjoy.

Holly G! contributes "Jungle Blossom." When one of Cheryl Blossom's plans to humiliate Veronica backfires at a rain forest benefit, it's Cheryl who ends up as the monkey's uncle. Holly makes the conniving Cheryl likable. Even as we laugh at her and think she deserves her come-uppance, we still have some sympathy for her.

"Tennis, Anyone?" is a terrific example of the kind of verbal-situational humor that was prominent in the stories of the '50s and early '60s. Though it's uncredited, it looks like it might be a Doyle and Harry Lucey piece. Betty certainly sports a Lucey-style figure. This is a screwball, cross-purpose conversation tale that could have come straight out of a George Burns/Gracie Allan routine.

Throw in some Josie and the Pussycat, tween-age Sabrina, and Li'l Jinx stories, along with a cute Fernando Ruiz Wendy Weatherbee story, some fun one-page gags, and multiple fashion pages and you have an entertaining digest that gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

For the past thirteen years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine's unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.

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