Betty and Veronica!

Betty and Veronica Double Digest #s 151-153/$3.69 and 161 pages each from Archie Comics/various writers and artists/unlike most comic books, sold in lots of places.

Those two wholesome look-alikes, Betty & Veronica, have gotten real. The two are easily the best known teenage girls in the history of comic books, and have always been drawn in the minimalist style associated with animated cartoons. But their last three anthologies are experimental; the lead story features Archie?s two girlfriends drawn in a more realistic style that makes them look more distinct from one another.

In addition, these stories also add a slight edge to their continuity as Veronica dates a "bad" boy.

It is almost certain that this approach was taken to increase publicity for Archie Comics through the outraged reviews of diehard fans, and through shocked media reports. One might suspect that the publishers are also dipping their toes into a new pool to test the waters for future, more realistic adventures. This reviewer is neither outraged nor shocked, and hasn?t heard a peep in the media.

These lead stories are well-written and drawn, and are followed by more than 100 pages of Betty and Veronica as they have traditionally been portrayed. Both versions are entertaining.

Although this male reviewer can?t be certain, both Betty and Veronica seem to ring true as girls, although their world is much more pleasant than the real one. Real young girls should find much to relate to in these young ladies, and will enjoy these stories.

Recommended for preteens yearning to become teenagers. MV

MINIVIEW: Thunderhead Underground Falls [Alternative Comics]. Two young, outcast lovers steal a few moments together before the boy leaves for military service. Drawn in an unpolished, unsophisticated style with lots and lots of silent panels and pages, this is a five minute, unsatisfying read. MV

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