Betty and Veronica Double Digest #196A comic review article by: Penny Kenny
One of the great things about Archie Comics' Double Digest line is that there's pretty much something for everyone in them. For instance, this issue of Betty and Veronica Double Digest offers both comic and heartfelt Christmas tales. If you're looking for the former there's Dan Parent's "Santa's Helper." Veronica decides to surprise Archie when he gets a job as a mall Santa, but she's the one in for a surprise. If you want a story that goes more with the reason for the season, there's Pellowski and DeCarlo's "The Real Thing." In this one, Betty and Veronica have very different ideas about how to help the unfortunate at Christmas.
Continuing the theme of helping others, if you're looking for a story about teens trying to do good deeds with comic complications, there's Bill Golliher and Stan Goldberg's "It's a Wrap," featuring Archie wrapping Christmas gifts for charity.
If you like a bit of magic with your Christmas, there's Frank Doyle and Bob Bolling's classic Sabrina the teenage witch story "Three is Trouble." With some help from witch Tidbit O'Toole, Sabrina and her aunt teach a cranky coven a lesson about spying during the Christmas season.
Or maybe you're looking for a way to introduce history to your favorite young reader. There's a story for that. In George Gladir and Tim Kennedy's "Then and Now" Betty and Veronica compare the way teens entertained themselves a hundred years ago to what they do today.
This digest offers the perfect way to create enthusiastic comics historians by introducing two of Archie Comics' former leading ladies. Old style glamour never looked so good as it does in Bill Woggon's Katy Keene stories. The lovely model hula hoops, skates, and mothers her way into readers' hearts in three short stories. The other classic character making her reappearance in this digest is "Ginger, sweetheart of a nation." This charming teen puts up with obnoxious boys and innocently gives her principal headaches -- and stomachaches! -- as she waltzes through life.
If you're looking for a contemporary dating story Kathleen Webb and Stan Goldberg have "Choose or Lose" to offer. A simple "movie-and-pizza-at-home" becomes a complicated affair when Betty and Archie are involved.
Looking for some gentle satire on education financing? Dan Parent's "Shopping 101" makes a point while telling an amusing story that's true to Veronica's character. Young readers will pick up something to think about as they laugh over the heiress's antics.
Any tween or young teen who's worked with younger children will appreciate Betty's frustration in Gladir and Crane's "All Work & No Play" as the pretty teen discovers that working in a toy store isn't all fun and games.
The other great thing about a Double Digest is that you're getting almost 150 pages of comics, mini-posters, and game pages for $3.99. It's a stocking stuffer that can't be beat.
For the past 13 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.