In a thoroughly modern take on DC’s old “Imaginary Stories” concept, Betty daydreams about what it would be like to be married to Pureheart the Powerful in George Gladir and Pat Kennedy’s “Fantasy Flair.” This is a wonderful story that’s both smart and funny. Even in her fantasies Betty is a practical personality, while Archie as Pureheart is still impulsive and broke. Gladir has some fun playing the two types off one another and suggesting ways in which a superhero might make some cash with his powers. Pat Kennedy’s art, as inked by Mike DeCarlo, is beautiful. Betty’s sister Polly is gorgeous,
while Betty has a bit of a Marlo Thomas-That Girl look going for her.
There’s also a panel of Pureheart, flying over the Sphinx with Betty seated on his shoulder, that’s cheesecake at its richest.
When Betty and Mr. Cooper need to recharge after a rough week, they take Mrs. Cooper and Midge and head for a lake cabin in Mike Pellowski’s “Just Relax.”
This is a fun take on the Generation Gap as Cooper and Betty’s ideas of relaxing are very different. Tim Kennedy does a super job of showing both action and quiet moments. Tim’s version of Betty is a bit more “girl next door,” but she’s just as attractive.
Tom DeFalco’s “Love the One You’re With” is almost a throwback to Betty stories of the ’50s. Unhappy that Archie prefers Veronica, Betty pours out her heart to Dilton — unaware that he has feelings for her. This little five-pager has lots of heart and a bittersweet ending. The moment when Moose gives his friend advice is both comic and sweet. While Pat Kennedy’s Moose looks like he has no neck, it’s more than made up for by an absolutely stunning shot of an unhappy Betty
and a surprisingly good-looking grease stained Archie.
Finishing out the issue is John Rose’s “Shell Belle.” This story not only features Betty, her Brownie troop, and Jughead, but it also teaches readers how to make a shell mobile. Rose balances instruction and story perfectly. I particularly like the interaction between Jughead and Betty.
He’s amiable and ready to help – even without the lure of food. He’s also rather cute in Tim Kennedy’s hands.
On the craft front, Tim Kennedy does a good job illustrating the directions so readers have an idea of how the mobile should look when completed.
Digikore Studios’ colors are bright and attractive. The book looks sunny when you open it. Jack Morelli’s lettering is top-notch. The text is easy to read within the balloons and the sound effects are fun. “Zoosh” is now one of my favorite sounds.
The Kennedys and Mike DeCarlo bring a glamorous, polished look to this corner of the Archie-verse. The various writers give readers stories that are funny and heartfelt. Betty #193 is an issue that shouldn’t be missed.
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.